Boys at Smith College – Episode #7!

April 26, 2012

Only 5-14% of U.S. High School girls will consider a women’s college. At Smith College there are many opportunities to meet boys – in class and out! There are 10,000 male 5-College students close to Smith College – Tim Loftus, a student from UMASS Amherst, who we see here in ESS110 – Intro to Sports Coaching, is one of them.

If  you play squash and are considering a top academic college, why not choose the best of both worlds?  Studies show that academic and leadership opportunities are great at a women’s college:  at Smith you can also socialize with males!

More “Boys at Smith” Episodes:

Smith College Squash’ Clair Oblamski Wins CSA 2011 Ann Wetzel Award!

February 29, 2012

The CSA Ann Wetzel Award was given on Saturday to the women’s college player who started playing squash at college – not even a single lesson or game is allowed in order to qualify for the award – Smith college’s Clair Oblamski!

Clair only actually played for two and a half semesters, making her achievement even more remarkable.  She beat last year’s winner, Amherst’s Mimi Bell 3-0 just before her junior semester abroad in Denmark (where she had no access to squash courts). A captain on both the Smith College Tennis and Squash teams, Clair played won her first match at the #7 spot in the fall of 2009, and her last match at the #2 spot, leading her team to a 5-4 win over William Smith in the 2012 CSA Epps Cup final at Harvard University on February 26, 2012.  More specific details on her progress can be found here.  Here is a short interview with Clair after her first college squash match – at the end of her first week of squash:

Clair had beaten the second place nominee, Mount Holyoke College’s Marie Ozanne 3-1 at the Wesleyan Invitational in early December 2011.

Clair interned at StreetSquash in the summer of 2011, and although she is a CSA Scholar-Athlete and a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology, following graduation, she will be seeking a position with one of the NUSEA programs.

A historical note that Smith College has had more Ann Wetzel winners than any other college in the CSA since its inception in 1995:

  • 1998: Karen Carniol (Wesleyan College)**
  • 1999: Kanta Murali (Smith College)
  • 2005: Ashley Kilgore (Smith College)
  • 2006: Jennifer Recht (Smith College)
  • 2012: Clair Oblamski (Smith College)

**Note that Smith’s Patty Jang, a 1998 nominee, did in fact beat the 1998  Wetzel Award winner according to CSA Ranking Rules (2-1 overall having won the most recent match), was a three-year co-captain of the squash team, and an exemplary sport with excellent technique (shot-maker style of play).**

College Squash: What are you classmates doing for the summer?

August 2, 2011

Well if you are one of the lucky ones that made it into Smith College (a record year for admissions) or you are thinking about playing college squash at Smith College (the U.S.A.’s largest women’s college in the country’s #1 Liberal Arts Town of Northampton) you have two classmates who are going to:  SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL!!!

This is a great example of the type of “women leading” activity which is part of the Smith College philosophy – only available at a women’s college!

Here is a sampling of what the rest of the Smith College Squash Team is doing this summer:

  • Right after graduating co-captain Guyman went to Rwanda to lead a group of high school students in work projects to aid the local children;
  • The team’s other graduating co-captain is buy studying for MCATs to get into Med School;
  • Catie Blunt, Xi Zhao, Szilvi B. Kiss were all working in the Smith Science labs (Smith has one of the top science programs in the country) – Catie managed to flood one of the labs she was working in (sorry – no pics!) – Northampton is a beautiful place to spend the summer!
  • Clair Oblamski is interning at StreetSquash in New york City!

We will update what everyone is doing in college squash in our next post!  In the meantime if you have any questions about college squash or Smith College academics, drop head coach Tim Bacon a line ( – Tim has been busy doing professional development including a) working on a second strength training qualification Tim is the only College Squash Coach who is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist; b) he filmed the finals of the Women’s Junior World team championships between Egypt and the U.S.A. and will be analyzing the matches using Dartfish (he is the only Dartfish Trained Head College Squash coach) and publishing a report of the tactical tendencies of the two countries.

Smith’s video clips from the U.S. Women’s College Championships 2008

December 9, 2008

Smith Falls to Northeastern in Opener

November 9, 2008

Lots of progress and improvement, but too early in the season to score against the seasoned Northeastern team in Boston today.  The team did not win a match (nor a game) but fought very hard and there were some great rallies. First year Catie Blunt came closest with a great second game, coming back from a large deficit losing 10-8 in the final moments.  With only seven full years of squash experience on the squad the Smith players are showing great promise!  And they had a great lunch at Subway – they were so polite that the Subway manager offered free cookies all around!


And here are the scores for the Smith College’s top nine (although another four played exhibition matches against the NorthEastern players: Luisa Tsang, Sarah Lentz, Kailin Weng, Julia Howald):


Smith Squash Racketlon Results!

October 20, 2008

On Saturday, October 18th 16 Smith College students  (and 1 alum in the Pro Division)  showed up for the 2008 Smith College Racketlon – and everyone had a great time playing ping-pong, badminton, squash and tennis at Smith College’s great indoor faciltities!

Team 1 (Julia, Su, Sarah, Jess) won three of the four disciplines to win the tournament (56-39; 15-5,15-8,11-15,15-11;  so +17) in the final against Team 3 (Mercedes, Jasmine, Guyman, Shanita).  In the Pro Division Englander Andy Stenson narrowly beat local Smith Alum Erin Robson, losing to her in squash (15-11, 15-2, 12-15, ret.), before succumbing to host Coach Tim Bacon in a closely fought  final (5-15, 15-5, 15-4, 11-15; +7).

Smith Racketlon Tournament T-Shirt

Smith Racketlon Tournament T-Shirt

All participants got a very cool t-shirt!  Contact Tim if you would like to purchase one at the cost price of $7.50.

You can watch some of the play on the Smith Squash YouTube TV Channel:

Fall Break – Watch Some World Champion Squash to Stay Sharp!

October 12, 2008

Only four of the Smith College Squash team are staying on campus during the beautifully sunny and warm (average temp in the 70’s!) Fall Recess in Northampton.  Everyone else will be on the road – but if they have their Iphones or laptops and internet access they can watch a great YouTube match played recently between current world #1 Nicol David from Malaysia and former 5-time World Champ Sarah Fitzgerald from Australia.

We do not have any great local female squash in Northampton, so this is a wonderful opportunity to keep the squash neurons going (and yes – we know that sport imagery improves actual sport performance).

We will not give away the result, but note that Sarah is now 40 to Nicol’s 25, and it is hoped that  the Smith Squash Team are all playing 20 years from now (imagine how good they will be).

Smith Squash “Finds” Mel Gibson on Set of New Film in Northampton

October 9, 2008

It sometimes seems that Smith College and Northampton, MA are at the center of the universe. Coach Tim Bacon was working away in his office yesterday, when one of the film crew on the set of Mel Gibson’s new film Edge of Darkness called up looking for squash courts where the crew could play (he was English).

Northampton is a popular destination for Hollywood, and Gibson has set up steps away from the Calvin Theatre where both the Black Crowes and Lindsey Buckingham are playing next week, steps away from the new Urban Outfitters location. Why Northampton?  The U.S.’ #1 Small Arts Town has easy access to the Five College’s 25,000 plus students (including 10,000 boys for those high school girls looking at Smith College, the nation’s best women’s college).

So the Smith Squash Team set off on a training run to find Mel Gibson and ask him about the Edge of Darkness – and perhaps to get his autograph…

Smith Squash Team Runs for a Good Cause

September 22, 2008

Eight members of the Smith College Squash Team put on their shoes and ran their hearts out in the Smith College Fall Fit 5K – proceeds to Northampton Education.  More than 500 runners of all ages participated in both the 5k and 1.5K sections of the race.  Following the race massage, stretching and kids activities were available for all the runners and spectators.  After the race the team volunteered to help dismantle and put away the festival the Times will be posted shortly at the official site.

Way to go Jaye, Su, Guyman, Jess, Meg, Mercedes, Jasmine and Shanita!

Just Been “Cut” or “Burned Out”? Smith Squash May Be the Answer!

August 31, 2008

Squash and Rowing* are the only two sports at Smith where you can still excel as an athlete without having competed at high school.  Both programs have produced national level teams and athletes over the last 10 years. (*Having said that one of our captains Liz Guyman went out for the Lacrosse team last year, never having played before!).

Taking up a new sport can be invigorating and refreshing – especially if you have just been cut, are burned out or simply have reached a plateau where further improvement is more difficult.  Learning new skills, making new friends, improving quickly are all all great sources of enjoyment.

Britain has copied the Smith College Squash Team’s idea and recently has poured millions of dollars into  GIRLS4GOLD, a campaign to recruit Gold Medal Winners from complete novice athletes!

Squash is fantastic cross-training for all team sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball and field-hockey, and is obviously just as great for athletes in the other racquet sports.

The Smith team has a different vision and different values than most NCAA teams.  The squash program supports all women who come out for the team who are willing to make a college varsity-level commitment.  New people have a few weeks to try the sport and see if they are really enjoying it – if they are we provide all the tools to improve and have fun (an idea that the USTA has recently copied from us!).