Report courtesy of Winston Price.
The 47th Annual Price-Bullington Invitational Squash Tournament took place over the weekend of October 27-29, 2017. The tournament featured a full draw of 16 men and 8 women representing the best of college squash for this season. The top seeds for the men were Thoboki Mohohlo of Trinirty at 1, Mohamed El-Gawarhy of St, Lawrence at 2, Michael Craig at 3 and Adhitya Raghavan at 4. For the women, the top seeds were Gina Kennedy of Harvard at 1, Reeham Sedky of Penn at 2, Kayley Leonard of Harvard at 3 and Raneem Sharaf of Penn at 4.
For the first time in many years, however, the Tournament’s Men’s division had jet assists in the form of three unseeded and unranked but very qualified freshman: Youssef Ibrahim of Princeton, Velavan Senthilkumar of Columbia and Andrew Douglas. Each of these players had performed exceptionally well in international junior open tournaments during the past year and of whom much was expected. Spectators were not to be disappointed.
The north end of the men’s semifinal featured Thoboki Mohohlo (Trinity) against Princeton’s talented freshman Youssef Ibrahim while the south end featured Columbia’s strong freshman Velavan Senthikumar of Columbia matched against #2 seed Mohamed El Gawarhy of St. Lawrence.
El Gawarhy defeated Senthilkumar in 3 games. While the Columbia freshman got stronger and more confident with each passing game, Mohamed used his experience to win (11-3, 11-9, 14-12).
The Ibrahim/Mohohlo match was something else altogether. The start of the match was all Trinity as Mohohlo ran off 8 almost uncontested points. At 8-2 for Mohohlo, Ibrahim began to wake up. The Princeton freshman ran the table to force the game into overtime and then took the final two points. The second game was a mirror image of the first as Youssef was in control all the way. At 9- 5 Mohohlo fought for three more points but Ibrahim, varying his shots from featherlike to vicious forehand and backhand wrists shots, won this game 11-8. The final game was a dog eat dog battle with neither player giving quarter. Rallies were long but Ibrahim managed to control the “T” more than his opponent did. Game and match for Ibrahim 12-10.
The Men’s Division final featuring Ibrahim vs El Gawarhy was a spectators dream. El Gawarhy started off in control running the score to 9-3 before Ibrahim got his act together. Settling down at this point, Ibrahim determined to run his opponent into the ground and managed to bring the score to 10-8 before El Gawarhy closed the door. Between games, Youssef huddled with his teammate Adhitya Raghavan and they must have come up with a new strategy. The next three games were intense but there was no question who was in control. Ibrahim would get the lead in each game, then allow El Gawarhy a few points and then slam the door. The result was a 47th P-BI Men’s Division Championship won by Youssef Ibrahim, (8-11), 11-8, 11-9, 119.
The women’s Division P-BI was a replay of last year’s final (same outcome) with lots of injuries in between. Out of the box, Gina Kennedy, the number 1 seed from Harvard, had a blood clot in her arm. While she was able to finish her first match with a win over Jess Davis of Penn, she was unable to continue to play. Next to fall to injury was Lucy Beecroft of Yale who injured her ankle in her losing match against Raneem Sharaf of Trinity 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4. Kayley Leonard won her first match against Laila Samy but lost her second to #2 seed Reeham Sedky of Penn in 3 games. Sedky had defeated Julia LeCoq in her first match, 3-0.
The Final once again matched Raneem Sharaf (who won her semi over Jess Davis in three games) against Reeham Sedky of Penn. The match was a virtual replay of the 2016 final with Sedky notching a powerfully played three game win (11-8, 11-3, 11-6) over her Trinity opponent to become the Women’s Division P-BI Champion for the second year in a row.
View all results here.