The University of Pennsylvania men's squash program has built a solid foundation and has established its place amongst the nation's elite since Head Coach Craig Thorpe-Clark took the reins in 1999. In the past four seasons alone, the Red and Blue have finished the year ranked among the nation's top-10, highlighted by a No. 8 ranking in the 2002-03 and again in 2003-04 season. In 2004-05, the Quakers look to break into the top-five for the first time under Thorpe-Clark.
The Quakers look to blend a group of talented freshmen with an experienced group of upperclassmen, as the Red and Blue return ten letterwinners, including the entire top nine, in 2004-05.
"Our main goals for the season are to challenge the top teams in the nation and to establish ourselves as one of the consistantly top teams,” Head Coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said. “The talent pool we have is strong enough to accomplish that and we are becoming a much tougher team to beat. Teams will have to play exceptionally well to beat us this season.”
For the fourth straight season, the Quakers will be led by second-team All-American and first-team All-Ivy selection Richard Repetto. Repetto enters his senior campaign as the Red and Blue's top student-athlete after compiling a 32-13 record in his first three seasons as a Quaker. He has made three-straight appearances in the round of 16 at the NISRA Individual Championships and is once again expected to compete for time at the No. 1 position for the Quakers.
Said Thorpe- Clark of Repetto, “He is a very gifted athlete and can surprise people with what he can accomplish.”
Joining Repetto at the top of the lineup will be sophomore Gilly Lane, who had an outstanding freshman season. Lane had six victories in his first collegiate season and was one of only three rookies to earn All-Ivy League honors. Along with Repetto, Lane was named a second-team All-American and finished the season ranked No. 18 in the nation.
"Gilly Lane should have a really great season this year," Thorpe-Clark said. “He has trained very hard and pushed both himself and some of the more experienced players. He is looking to have a breakout season and trying to break the top 10.”
Thorpe-Clark is looking toward his five seniors to bring leadership and experience to pace the team to success. Eric Bardaill, Drew Crockett, Chris Miller and William Peelle along with Repetto, can all have excellent years for the Quakers.
“The seniors should all have a good year,” said Thorpe-Clark. “They have all been working hard and stayed competitive in the off-season. They will all have a leadership role and will work toward helping the entire team succeed.”
Despite having ten returning letterwinners, Thorpe-Clark expects several freshmen to vie for positions in the starting lineup, which should help the Quakers move into the nation's elite.
"Last year we had lots of new players in the lineup, but they all became a pretty experienced bunch," Thorpe-Clark said. “That experience is noticible now in the higher level of intensity and work ethic that the team has.”
Headlining this group of talented freshmen is Lee Rosen, who is expected to make an immediate impression oin the Quakers' lineup.
"Lee is going to make a big impact. He should challenge the returning players to compete in the top-four of the lineup," Thorpe-Clark said.
Rosen will be joined by fellow freshmen Spencer Kurn, Pierce Cravens and Suleyman Saleem. The Class of 2008 brings a wealth of talent and experience.
"We've had good depth in the past, but each year we keep improving the quality of the team. This year, the freshmen coming in are very strong and talented," Thorpe-Clark said. "Overall, we have improved the quality of the field and the depth of the team and the entire team is committed."
"We played very well last season, but it could have been better,” said Thorpe-Clark. “This season we should be looking at more Ivy League wins and a more consistant record. The guys are all committed to the success of the team and are looking forward to challenging the top teams.”