The Yellowjackets kicked off their season in mixed fashion this past weekend in Cleveland. Starting the season at No. 22, the schedule had the squad pitted in a doubleheader featuring a delectable appetizer of No. 40 Kenyon College and then the main course of No. 17 Denison University.
Kenyon was overmatched against UR, a top-heavy freshman powerhouse that showed no real remorse. The Yellowjackets gutted their opponents, securing eight of their nine matches.
Freshman Jim Bristow replaced junior Patrick Harris in the driver’s seat squashing his opponent, 9-3, 9-0, 9-2. The resume for this kid gets pretty long with numerous accolades and rankings that accommodate national and international scales.
Bristow hails from the Millfield School in Somerset, England. He’s competed in tournaments throughout most of Europe winning at both the Under 15 and Under 17 levels. And the degree of his success isn’t limited to words like “performed highly,” he’s actually won the Championship titles that both have to offer. Since graduating to the Under 19, he currently sits among the top eight players in England, hoping to pull off the hat trick in the third age group. Right now the College Squash Association has ranked Bristow at No. 11 out of a field of 533 players.
Freshman Yohay Wakabayashi surrendered his match by default at the No. 2 seat. This youngster joins the Yellowjackets fresh out of Brooks School and has competed in several Japanese National tournaments.
Freshman Jamal Callander punished his opponent in three straight matches winning the No. 3 spot for the Yellowjackets. He aced his first match 9-0 and then put away the remaining two with 9-1, 9-2 victories to steal the No. 3 seat away from Kenyon.
Freshman Alex Lee occupied the No. 4 seat and – like his colleagues – proved to the team how the newbies planned to bring a new dynamic to the squad. Lee hollowed out his opponent in the first match with a 9-0 pounce and went on to sweep him out the rest of the way with 9-5 and 9-3 victories.
“The new guys bring personality, cultural diversity and a more professional aura to the team spirit,” head coach Martin Heath said. “Jim is obviously the standout player, though each player brings their own strengths and character to the team standard.”
Junior Jamie Lynn manhandled his competition at the No. 5 position. He took the first match 9-3 and then followed up with back to back 9-0 shots to take the No. 5 spot away from Kenyon.
Sophomore Dan Carson shot nothing but live rounds at his foe, cleaning out the No. 6 seat with three straight 9-0 victories. Sophomore Ori Goldman had it his way in the No. 7 position with 9-1, 9-0 and 9-1 victories.
Senior Elie Biel had the same success as his teammates, carving out three consecutive match wins to take the No. 8 seat from Kenyon as well.
The Yellowjackets had trouble digesting the Denison match and in some cases, couldn’t keep them down.
Bristow swept his opponent 9-4, 9-0, 9-0. Wakabayashi played the full five with his opponent and was up 2-1 after the first three matches having gone 3-9, 9-6, 9-7 and yet lost it in the final two 9-3, 9-5.
Callander fought similarly forcing a game five showdown after dropping first and third matches 3-9, 4-9, while taking games two and four, 9-4 and 9-2. The pendulum swung in his opponent’s favor in the showdown as Callander lost 9-3.
Lee got swept at the No. 4 seat 9-6, 9-5, 9-6. Lynn made his No. 5 man work a little, but lost 6-9, 9-4, 9-4, 9-1. Carson also sparred a little with his opponent, but came up short with a 9-0, 9-7, 4-9, 9-1 finish. Goldman jousted with his No. 7 man, but couldn’t find a lane to pass on. He lost 9-2, 10-9, 5-9, 9-6.
Unlike most of his teammates, Biel was able to tame his guy at No. 8 seat with a victory 2-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-7.
“Elie continues to impress me with his focus, conviction and competitive spirit,” Heath said. “While all the guys gave 100 percent, Elie can look totally outclassed and still come up with the victory. He really is the rock of the team and an example to the others.”
Serafini is a member of the class of 2008.