Men's Squash Opens with Cornell, Western Ontario

ITHACA - Coming off their highest national ranking since Head Coach Craig Thorpe-Clark took over the team in 1999, the Penn men’s squash team is looking to improve on its No. 5 finish last season as it moves into 2007-08.

The top of the order will be bolstered by senior Lee Rosen, who was named second-team All-America and All-Ivy last season. Rosen went 5-3 last season, 4-2 in the Ivy League.

Senior Spencer Kurn, who went 5-4 from the middle of the order last season, and Ryan Rayfield, who finished 4-1, will also be looked to as senior leaders.

“I expect my seniors to lead by example, first and foremost,” Thorpe-Clark said. “The younger guys can’t see them making excuses. If the seniors are accountable for themselves, the team will benefit.”

This year’s team features a five-man freshman class. Jay Bhagat, William Browne, James Clark, Porter Drake, and Chayapong Naviroj enter the Penn squash program looking to add depth to the returning starters and help the team improve upon last year’s success.

“The freshmen have been outstanding – very dedicated and motivated,” Thorpe-Clark said. “They are working hard and are excited about challenging for spots in the starting lineup.”

The season officially opens Nov. 17, when the team travels to Cornell to face an early road Ivy test. Matches with Trinity Jan. 25 and Princeton Feb. 6 highlight the home slate.

“Our Ivy matches are always a key to how successful our season will be, so getting off to a good start at Cornell will be very important,” Thorpe-Clark said. “This is a challenging year with a few tough road trips and very tough opponents.”

As the season approaches, Thorpe-Clark has expressed optimism and excitement about the possibilities for success this season. “I am really enthused by the work ethic and enthusiasm from the entire squad,” he said. “I feel that many of the guys have stepped up from last year. We had a strong and influential class graduate last year, so I’m very pleased to see this improvement.”

A mix of experienced talent and energetic youth bodes well for the Quakers, who will be one of the favorites nationally this season. The example set by the seniors will be a key, as Thorpe-Clark surmised, as they show the younger class how to win and succeed as a part of Penn squash.