The Smith Squash Team finished the 2009-10 season near the top of the academic rankings of the squash playing liberal arts colleges in the country, ranked 9th in the U.S. News Academic Rankings, just behind 4th ranked fellow women’s college Wellesley College, but well ahead of the other women’s colleges like Mount Holyoke (25th), Bryn Mar (25th), and Barnard (30th). Smith College also outranked many of the other squash playing schools (many of whom Smith competes against during the season) like Colgate, Hamilton, Colby, Bates, Bard, F&M, and national team champions Trinity College – ranked 36th in the academic rankings.
The team had four College Squash Association (CSA) Scholar-Athletes with only Brown University (5) having more awards in the entire CSA. It is a well known fact that the Ivy’s garner most of their reputation from their research programs, and that the undergraduate learning experience is often as good or better at smaller liberal arts colleges like Smith. Here is a video of all of the U.S. squash scholar-athletes being recognized at the CSA Team National Championships of February 27, 2010 at Yale University – the Smith athletes are in the back row on the right, starting two from the end: Andrea, Su, Kelsey and Alice!
Nine of the twelve members on this year’s team were awarded Smith College Scholar-Athlete status, with team captain Alice Reznickova recognized as the top scholar-athlete in the entire college – with a 3.99 GPA (one prof had the nerve to give her an “A-“, all the rest of her grades being “A”s! Reznickova was also nominated for the CSA’s Ann Wetzel Award which goes to the top player who started playing squash at college – the Smith team has won more of these awards than any other program. In this video coach Tim Bacon hands out awards at the college’s Academic Luncheon – athlete GPA at Smith is higher than the average of the rest of the student body – play sports to score high grades!
Why is the Smith College Squash Team so academically successful? Part of the reason is the scheduling of the competitions – Coach Tim Bacon (the only U.S. College coach who is a bona fide member of Faculty who teaches academic courses) avoids competitions during the week and groups the weekend competitions to save precious studying time. Another reason is that outside of practice meetings and fundraising do not exist – another big timesaver for students! Former coach of the Canadian Jr. National Team (1990 members were Jonathon Power and Graham Ryding) and organizer of top summer squash programs like PPS’ Karim Darwish training camps, he feels you can do it all in two hours a day at the college level!