Date Posted:11/22/2002,  8:00AM

Men's Squash 2002-03 Preview

BRUNSWICK, Maine - With a 10-8 season and #12 national ranking behind them, the men?s squash team looks forward to the 2002-2003 season with high aspirations. Losing only two players out of the top nine and securing a very strong recruiting class, this year?s team has been mentioned as one of the best line-ups in Bowdoin squash history. A core group of veterans are led by Co-captains George Hubbard ?03 and Greg Clement ?04. With immediate contributions expected from at least three First-years, this team boasts a combination of youthful enthusiasm and tested match experience gained while many players competed in national junior tournaments before Bowdoin. Coach Tomas Fortson, in his third year with the Polar Bears, warns that ?While we have been improving, so have our main competitors.? However, Bowdoin has a new degree of intensity and depth this year, and will look for strength in the bottom half of the ladder to boost match results.

The top of the Bears? line-up will feature Clement, Sophomore Jon Crowell, and Junior Lawrence Delasotta. Clement and Crowell finished the 2002 season at the individual championships where they both had successful weekends, finishing in the nation?s top 50 players. Crowell did especially well, compiling three wins over tough opponents on his way to the consolation finals.

Shaping up the middle of the ladder will be Sophomore Eric Toan and Freshman Bruce Saltzman. These matches at the 4,5, and 6 positions will be key to winning team matches in the nation?s contentious second division, which is comprised of teams ranked from #9 to #16. The depth of a team often determines their success more than the skill of the top players. According to Fortson, Bowdoin shouldn?t be at a loss for depth this season with a very hard working crew of 7 players fighting for the sixth through twelfth ladder spots. Hubbard will contend with Freshmen Doug Weeden, Chris Metcalfe, and Nick Adams, along with Juniors Grant White and Mike Fensterstock and Sophomore Geordie MacLeod.

Fortson claims that ?each of these players is so dedicated to improving, it is impossible for any one of them to pull away from the group.? He is very excited about their work in the pre-season and expects that these players will continue to challenge each other through the season. Freshman newcomers Bryant Rich and Evan Fensterstock are improving rapidly and should provide support in exhibitions and some matches. Hubbard agrees that the team?s depth will be its strong point, both in matches , and by keepinG practice sessions intense. ?There are a few upperclassmen who have gotten a little blind sided by the amount of talent that has come to the team this year, but these few have begun to raise their own level of play very well in response to the new challenges. All in all, this could be our best season ever.?

With a tough schedule ahead, the Polar Bears are already stocking up on Gatorade as they get ready for another season of marathon 5-4 matches. 2002 brought the Bears five team matches that were decided by a one-match margin. Nail-biters against Bates, both home and away, gave the Bears a share of the CBB title, but this season they hope for a cleaner path to victory. The Bears will have to wait until December 8th at Williams to avenge a 5-4 loss to Navy that came on Sunday at Nationals. Bowdoin men?s squash kicks off the 2002-2003 season on Friday, November 22 at Dartmouth.