The Quakers look to blend a talented incoming class with an experienced group of upper classmen as the Red and Blue return nine letter winners to Ringe Courts for 2004-05. This season also marks the first for Head Coach Jack Wyant.A four year letterwinner at Princeton University, Wyant joins the Quakers after serving as head coach of the women's squash program at Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. last year.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to be at Penn,” said Wyant. “I plan to do my best to improve upon the recent success that Penn has achieved. I am eager to get started and am looking forward to having a great season.”
Although the Quakers lost All-American Dafna Wegner to graduation, they are returning a solid core of student-athletes that can impact all areas of the lineup.
This season the team will be ably led by its two captains, senior Rohini Gupta and junior Lorin Riley. Not only does the duo bring valuable leadership and experience to the team, Gupta and Riley have worked tirelessly to make the coaching transition a smooth one, making the best of what could have been a difficult situation in order to make the team stronger and successful in the upcoming season.
“Both of the captains have been incredible since I was brought on board,” said Wyant. “They have been instrumental in making sure that the team has been strong and together through everything. They are also both excellent players and will bring experience as well as leadership to the team throughout the season.”
In addition to the captains, sophomores Paula Pearson and Radhika Ahluwalia will be challenging their teammates and each other for the top spot in the lineup. Both were second-team All-Americans for the 2003-2004 season.
“Paula and Radhika will compete for the top spot with a host of other players throughout the season facilitating improvement both amongst themselves and with the whole team,” said Wyant.
Another important component of the Quaker’s success in the coming season is junior transfer Rhea Bhandare. “I am looking forward to working with Rhea,” said Wyant. “She was new to the program last year and has an immense amount of potential and talent to bring to the team. She also has the experience of winning a national championship at Trinity as well as her success as a junior player that can help the team to succeed.”
Senior Caitlin O’Neil, junior Colleen Gurda and sophomore Annie Barrett will provide a solid backbone to the team throughout the season, and they bring with them invaluable experience that will help the incoming freshmen as well as their current teammates to achieve their goals during the season.
Four newcomers should also help the Quakers meet their goals of returning the Penn women’s squash program to the top tier of competition. Sophomore transfer Caitlin Russell and freshmen Lauralynn Drury, Elizabeth Kern and Chloe Wynne all have extensive squash experience and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the team.
Overall, the Penn women’s squash team has the talent and ability to compete at the highest levels of the sport in 2004-2005. The foundation of success for the season has been set.
Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, athletic communications assistant