Mustangs dominate squash
By Matt Lambert
After recently capturing their 21st consecutive Ontario University
Athletics title, Western’s most successful sports team continued
their dominance this past weekend.
The men’s squash team competed in the Ontario University
Singles Championship at London’s Town and Country Fitness
and Racquetball Club. The tournament was not a sanctioned OUA event
and most of the squash teams’ funding has been cut.
Despite competition from Brock, Waterloo and McMaster, Western
finished the tournament with the top eight positions.
In the finals, squash team co-captains Rob Nigro and Andrew Jones
squared-off with Nigro winning the match 3-0 for first place overall.
This was the third consecutive time Nigro has won the tournament.
“Typically we don’t get the exposure that you would
expect in relation to the success of the team,” said Western
head coach Jack Fairs.
“Western is a powerhouse,” said Brock head coach David
Forgeron. “We’re not going to come in here and win
this. [There are ] many things we can learn [from Western]; you
are blessed with something that is very special.”
“Western has the best squash team in Canada, for university,” said
first- year social science student Mark Ridgeway. Ridgeway attributes
the team’s success this season to hard work.
Despite losing in the final, co-captain and fourth year kinesiology
Andrew Jones said that he aims to be a leader to some of the younger
guys coming up. “We take our squash, our position and trying
to keep that winning record alive seriously,” Jones said
when asked what led to the team’s success. “But our
team is a lot of laughs with a laid-back atmosphere.”
The team’s successful weekend came in the wake of an announcement
that Fairs will be inducted into the NCAA Collegiate Squash Hall
of Fame at Yale University on Feb. 28.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those who know
Fairs. Ridgeway and Forgeron described Fairs as a legend. “I’m
not surprised because Jack is a huge influence in the OUA and NCAA,” Forgeron
Fairs has been the cornerstone of the program for 40 years. “We’ve
been fortunate at this school to have attracted a strong talent
base,” Fairs said. “You can be the best coach in the
world, but if you don’t have excellent players then you’re
not going to do well. Our program, no question, would be stronger
even if we had some courts on campus.”
The request is a natural one given the fact that the only courts
in the University Community Centre are not regulation size.
“We would love to see a new facility with an area for spectating.
It would be awesome for Jack before he retires or leaves,” Jones
The squash team’s next event is the US Intercollegiate Squash
Championship, which takes place at the end of the month — the
same weekend as Fairs’ induction. The Mustangs are ranked
seventh nationally in the NCAA.