New York, NY - It was a night filled with laughs, tears and smiles at Baker Athletic Complex for the 2017 Columbia squash banquet, as the seniors gave speeches and annual awards were handed out.
Assistant coach Joanne Schickerling spoke about how Colette has the heart of Lion, adding that practices with her were even intimidating. The Holleran West Champion finished the season with the best record on the women's squad at 10-6.
Schickerling also presented Khanna's MVP award. She singled out Khanna’s convincing win against Yale’s No. 1 player as the highlight of her season. Schickerling also added that Khanna truly bleeds Columbia blue and constantly supports her teammates.
Assistant Coach Allister Walker narrated how Sekhar really turned up the intensity in his practice regiment during his senior season. Sekhar finished the season 8-6 and captained the Lions.
Seif Attia was honored with Most Valuable Player. Walker spoke about how Attia overcame a lot of emotional ostacles and personal hardship this season but always showed up to play and gave one-hundred percent. Attia went 8-4 on the season, including a 4-1 tally in Ivy play.
Senior Maya Patel was honored with the final award of the night, the Kenneth W. Torrey Citizenship award, named for the patriarch of Columbia Squash, Ken Torrey. Schickerling outlined how Patel truly embodies what a student athlete is, juggling her pre-med course load, studying for the MCATs, all in addition to being a key player and captain for the Columbia squash team. She added that Patel always brought a positive attitude and put the team first.
Head Coach Jacques Swanepoel also announced the captains for the 2017-18 team. Tanvi Khanna, Addie Fulton and Maddie O'Connor were named captains for next year’s women’s team. On the men’s side, Osama Khalifa and Arhum Saleem will captain the Lions for the second straight season, and will be joined by rising junior Matthew Rebello.
The capped off what was a historic season for Columbia Squash. The men's team was ranked No. 2 at a point in the season for the first time in program history and finished No. 4 in the nation, and second in the Ivy League. The women's squad continued to solidify itself as one of the nation's top team's and finished eighth in the country.
The seniors gave speeches to conclude the night, and they all echoed a similar sentiment: They will forever be proud to be Lions, and cannot wait to see Columbia squash reach even greater heights in the years to come.