SAN DIEGO - The University of Pennsylvania men's squash team wrapped up its winter break traing trip to San Diego, Calif. The team was in San Diego from Dec. 29 through Jan. 5 training and visiting various tourist attractions. The following are blog entries written by the men's team, along with photos from the trip.
Greetings from California on the men's teams final day in San Diego. The weather, which has been unbelievable the entire week, gave us a warm Southern Californian 70 degrees send off before we return to the cold North East. We all took full advantage of this on our fial day with a morning trip to the world famous San Diego zoo. It did not disappoint. The boys walked from trail-to-trail featuring animals from around the world, rode the skytrain over the complex, and generally enjoyed some relaxation after a hard week of training.
After the zoo it was back on the road to grab a quick lunch and pick up our bags from the hotel. We took a taxi at 2-30 to the airport for the 6pm flight. Fortunately this time luck was on our side with no hitches in our travel plans from San Diego to Philadelphia, unlike the route from Philadelphia to San Diego. A sweet ending to what has been an awesome trip.
From a coaches perspective, we were extremely impressed with the boys' effort and their progress over the trip. With matches coming up next week, including an expected dogfight against Dartmouth on Saturday 1/11, the boys showed dedication, discipline, and maturity beyond their years. They met every challenge we threw at them, many of which rigorously tested their physical and mental strength. What is more, the chemistry on the team is great at the moment with each member egging the other on and as a group they are fixated on their goals. The boys are fit, strong, and hungry. This trip will serve as an ideal launching pad for what should be an exciting January to March of big matches.
-Ricky and Gilly
JANUARY 4 - Michael Mutscheller '15
The men began their last full day in San Diego with an early wake up, as we hit the road at 8 am for a friendly match at the PAC fitness club. Upon arriving to courts, the men were given a tour of the whole facility at the club.
We were blown away by the state of the art courts, workout facility, pool, and brand new locker rooms that the club had to offer. The members of the club were extremely welcoming, as they greeted us with food and an eagerness to see what we could do against them on court.
As we began the match, we quickly realized that our hard work throughout the season had paid off, as members remarked how impressed they were with our skill and fitness level on court. The match had a very friendly feel to it however, as the men and the members mingled with each other and cheered on both sides on court. Although the match maintained a friendly feel, we came away with a victory 14 to 0.
In typical Penn men's squash fashion, many of us were not satisfied only playing one match on the day, so we headed to the fitness center for a cardio and core workout as a team to conclude our training for the day. The time at PAC was capped off with the team and members enjoying a friendly exhibition match between Penn assistant coaches, Richard Dodd and Gilly Lane.
The team then headed just down the road for lunch at a local restaurant. We then returned to the hotel, as some went for a much needed nap while others laid by the pool to enjoy the sun for the last time before returning to Philadelphia.
Tomorrow, we are excited to head to the San Diego Zoo in the morning before our 5 pm flight. Overall, it has been a great trip for the men. We have worked very hard and loved being in San Diego. We are now ready and looking forward to heading home to face Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend.
On Friday, January 3rd, the team had an early wake up for an 8:15 am breakfast and subsequent departure to the Olympic training facility.
The team received an exciting tour of the training facility, which comprised of a grounds exploration as well as a group discussion with one of the top BMX athletes, Tyler Brown. While the discussion with Tyler was enlightening and revealing about the Olympic program, the team most enjoyed the grounds exploration, which included BMX, tennis, archery, and beach volleyball.
Afterwards, we proceeded to Subway, where the team consumed sandwiches and chips in anticipation of a difficult training session at the squash courts. The team then hit the courts in force, where everyone played particularly well and demonstrated our improvement from the beginning of the trip.
After practice- with everyone exhausted after a rewarding yet difficult session- we returned to the hotel and immediately entered the hottub for a team cool down.
Lastly for today, the team ventured into San Diego city for a team bonding Italian dinner.
Luke and Benton
Now that the holiday season is past us, the team is now focused and ready for some hard training before our big matches against Dartmouth and Harvard.
Waking up to sun and 60-70 degree weather makes getting up to train so much easier. We started the day with challenge matches at 10 at San Diego squash. With all the training we've been doing, the matches were very hard fought and the level of squash was significantly higher for everyone on the team. After, we took a team trip to the local Subway market for a sandwich, and then went back to the hotel for about an hour rest by the pool.
The hot tub and the sun proved critical in helping the team recover for our next training session. Everyone was not playing their best in the afternoon due to all the hard training we've done thus far.
While frustrating, the team was pushing themselves and trying to get the most out of it. It all seemed worth it after a post practice speech from Gilly about how staying positive even when we are exhausted and/or not playing our best is what will help us win.
"Sometimes winning when you are playing your worst are the best wins because those are the days you have to figure out new ways to win."
Once practice was over, we got some well deserved rest and got ready for dinner, where we enjoyed another delicious meal at Carl Strauss (same dinner as first night, too good). During dinner, lots of arguments about the Sugar Bowl were taking place about who would win. Freshman Luke Angelakis boldly stated that Alabama would crush Oklahoma and the rough start would not be an issue.
Much to his dismay, Alabama came up well short and the 14 point favorites lost by 14 points. Overall, today was one of the most successful days of the trip. Everyone is in high spirits, has aching bodies, and is looking forward to another great day out here in San Diego.
-BG and Peter
Starting the day right we got breakfast as a team at the hotel which included sausage and egg muffins - Tyler Odell's favorite choice. Then we all piled in the van to head off to Torrey Pines, a world renowned golf course that Gilly mentioned he would probably be able to shoot par on (unlikely!).
As we arrived we all observed the beautiful ocean view and rolling landscape while also appreciating not being in the sub freezing temperatures back home. Next we got a quick stretch in to shake off yesterday's tough practices that included training in the morning and inter-team matches in the afternoon. The next order of business was conquering a seemingly endless hill ahead of us. Heading the run was enthusiastic co-captain John Dudzik Jr. On our way up we passed multiple patrons enjoying the first day of the new year, many of them surprised to see a school from Philadelphia all the way out on the west coast! Not one of us was unimpressed with what we saw when we reached the top. Yet after finally reaching the top of this hill we dreaded the long run back to the van. However we managed to get some memorable photos in with spectacular backgrounds thanks to the kindness of a local San Diegan who took our photos so no one was left out.
After the run we piled back into the van and made our way to the famous In-N-Out burger restaurant. Luckily for us the run built up a large appetite and one of our smaller stomached players, Rahil Fahzelboy, was able to take down three double-double burgers with room for a chocolate shake. Later we headed into downtown San Diego, passing Miramar, the location of the film Top Gun much to Will Michele's delight. Running short on time our visit to the aircraft carrier USS Midway had to be abbreviated. USS Midway was truly spectacular as we had the privilege to see an aircraft carrier that saw action in all of America's conflicts from the end of WWII through the Gulf Wars. Lastly we piled back into the bus towards our hotel in Mira Mesa, fully exhausted from a day of activities. Ending our night was a visit to a nearby Chili's which culminated in a foggy drive back to the hotel.
So ends another great day in San Diego!
-Will and Augie
DECEMBER 31 - Derek Chilvers '14 and Liam Quinn '16
The Penn Men’s Squash team enjoyed a pleasant and hard-working New Year’s Eve in San Diego. After breakfast, we had our first session at the courts. It consisted mainly of drills to hone our accuracy, but we finished with a spirited game of “offense-defense.” After a productive morning practice, the squad headed down to La Jolla for lunch and walked along the beach. It was a beautiful day, and we made sure to get a picture of the whole team with the amazing backdrop.
After our relaxing hour at the beach, we drove back to the courts and had an excellent second practice. We split up into two teams, and had a competition that involved each player having a 9-point game with everyone on the other team. There were upsets, with Peter Ferraro and Will Michele – both not in the top 9 on the ladder – winning more than a couple important matches for their teams. It appeared as though it would be a landslide victory for Co-Captain Jack Maine’s team, which managed to win every single first round game, but as it neared the end Dudzik’s team started to make a comeback and ended up losing by less than 20 points! Everyone left exhausted, pumped up, and satisfied with the day.
We headed back to the hotel to play some casual basketball and lounge in the hot tub. By that time it was around 5pm, and the team got ready to head downtown for dinner. Assistant coach Ricky Dodd managed to find a delicious Italian restaurant called Mamma Mia that served family style traditional Italian food. After devouring heaping mounds of meatballs, gnocchi, lasagna, and more, we found ourselves in a serious food coma. It was a great way to cap off the day, and then we headed back to the hotel to hang out as a team and celebrate the coming of the New Year. The team looks forward to more days of training and enjoying the beautiful San Diego weather.
After the unanticipated 24-hour halt in Chicago, the men were ready for their much-awaited journey to San Diego. With the flight scheduled for 12:30pm, the boys made it to the departure gate well in advance with plenty of time for breakfast. Unfortunately, an “aircraft change” caused the team another 45 minute delay and with that more anxiety. A smooth flight and about 5 hours later, we were finally at our destination. The excitement could be seen on everyone’s faces, especially captain John Dudzik’s who changed into athletic shorts and a t-shirt in the airport moments after we landed. After getting our bags, we were greeted by our San Diego squash hosts, Renato Paiva and Yuri Franca, who drove us to their 4-court facility. We then drove to our hotel not too far from the courts to settle in and get prepared for a 6:30pm hit at the courts.
Waiting in the lobby while the coaches dealt with the check-in and rooms, many of the boys complained of hunger from the long trip and early meals before the flight. Since nearly everyone was hungry, the team took a hasty trip to Subway before returning to the hotel to go to the courts. Scrambling for time once again, the boys had less than 10 minutes to change and pack for their session at 6:30 and dinner thereafter.
With two courts available from 6:30 to 8pm, the boys were divided up into 2 groups for the session. While one group was on court, the other worked on fitness off court. The on court hit, run by Coach Gilly, consisted of basic drills for ease of transition and to get a feel of the courts. The off court session involved a tough circuit workout led by Coach Ricky, which comprised of a non-stop circulation of squats, burpies, lunges, and pushups for 12 minutes.
The men pushed themselves during the workout and stayed focused on court. Tired after a dedicated session, the boys showered up before heading to dinner at the Karl Strauss restaurant where the guys got to sit back and chat while enjoying a quality dinner.
Greetings Penn Men's Squash Alumni, Family, and Friends,
Yesterday marked the first day of the men's San Diego winter training trip. The travel day commenced bright and early with a pleasurable 3am wakeup and subsequent 6am connection flight out of Philadelphia to Chicago. Hopes of reaching San Diego and beginning our beach training yesterday afternoon were quickly scattered by a flight cancellation during the connection layover. Consequently, the team was relegated to spending the remainder of the day and evening in Chicago at the airport-adjacent hotel.
Upon settling into the hotel, the men took to a few hours of much needed rest and relaxation. The absence of a squash facility and San Diego beaches failed to deter the men from training, as the team pushed through a difficult 1 hour session at the hotel's exercise facility to mitigate any travel-induced stiffness. The training session consisted of three 15-minute cardio interval segments, followed by a plyometric core work out and stretching routine.
In addition to honing racquet skills and on-court tactics, the training trip will remain largely predicated on boosting the mens' strength and endurance, as fitness continues to be a hallmark of Penn Squash.
The boys reconvened in the evening for some team bonding over dinner and the Eagles' do-or-die NFL playoff game. The large contingent of hopeful PMSQ Philadelphia-natives, paired with the New Englanders' friendly banter throughout the game, made for a fun and enjoyable evening. Much to the Philly boys' pleasure and non-Eagles fans' dismay, Philadelphia pulled out the victory in a nail-biter and secured a spot in the playoffs.
Excitement & determination remain pervasive throughout the team as the men eagerly await today’s noontime departure to San Diego. Despite yesterday's weary morning of travel and delays, the men made the most of unfavorable circumstances and are looking forward to a hard week of training in the San Diego sun.
All focus remains on the January 11th annual grudge match vs. Dartmouth. More to come from the men in the following days.
Warm Regards and Happy Holidays,