The Sunday at the national intercollegiate teams is always a vibrant scene, and it was in Boston when the men’s event was held this past weekend: at least a thousand people, some with painted faces and signs and banners. A ton of loud roars, chanting of names, cheering
Most of the attention was on the national title match, Harvard v. Trinity. But the great thing about the event was there were sixty teams playing, not just those two. This was apparent during the start of Harvard v. Trinity.
While a saxophonist was piping out the national anthem in front of the glass court at Murr, ten feet away an epic New York upstate derby, the 5th-6th playoff, Cornell v. St. Lawrence, was literally on the edge. At that very moment, Anderson Good, #6 for St. L, was down 1-2 against Cornell’s Rishi Jalan; while the sax noodled it was 7-10 in the fourth. Good cooly saved the three match points and went on to win in five. It turned out to be a critical turn, because the Saints went on to beat the Big Red 5-4.
A couple of feet further over from the glass court was a fierce Midwest derby, Notre Dame v. Minnesota, in the (yet unnamed) H Division finals. It was very exciting. I watched for a long while, chatting with the Fighting Irish coach Geoff McCuen. He learned squash at a YMCA and has been the Notre Dame coach for eleven seasons. Despite having Dave Brown, Navy’s former squash coach, in the athletic department, the school still doesn’t have a single 21-footer on campus (there is one in South Bend in a private home).
Hard sledding like that is not uncommon for the lower-down CSA teams. A couple of courts on the other side of Harvard v. Trinity was the finals of the Chaffee Cup (E Division), yet another derby, this time between two local teams, Northeastern v. Boston College. I chatted with the senior captain and coach Nick Gadsden (yes, he’s the coach). They had lost to Northeastern 6-3 and 7-2 during the regular season; on Sunday they went down 5-4.
Gadsden did have a special moment early in the month. In a match in Philadelphia against Bucknell, the #4 match was between him and his first cousin Henry Gadsden (also an assistant coach at Bucknell). Their families are very close and all came to watch the ultimate derby, the family match. Henry won 11-8, 11-3, 13-11.