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February 19, 2012

Princeton Men's Squash Topples Trinity to Win 2012 CSA Team Title

Portions courtesy of College Squash Association and Princeton Athletic Communcations

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Kelly Shannon capped a perfect run in the final three matches with a win at No. 4 to give Princeton a 5-4 win over Trinity and the Collegiate Squash Association (CSA) Men's National Championship Sunday afternoon at Jadwin Gym.

The Tigers and Bantams were playing against the backdrop of a history of thrilling championship finals. Each of the last three times Princeton has hosted the CSA Men's National Team Championships the two teams have met in the finals. Each of those championships were decided by a score of 5-4 — and Trinity won the final match every time. The last time the two teams played for the national title was in 2009, and it was an epic, six-hour battle that came down to the fifth game of the final individual match.

The first round featured matchups between Miled Zarazua (Trinity) and Tyler Osborne (Princeton) at No. 3, Vishrab Kotian (Trinity) and Clay Blackiston (Princeton) at No. 6, and Moustafa Hamada (Trinity) and David Pena (Princeton) at No. 9. Princeton took the early lead as Osborne won 3-0 and Blackiston won in five games at #6. Hamada kept Trinity in the match with a win at No. 9. Going into the second round Princeton led in the overall match score 2-1.

In the second round, two seniors and the co-captains of their respective teams met at #2: Antonio Diaz (Trinity) and Chris Callis (Princeton). The match was a spectacular five-gamer. The Trinity senior took the match with an 11-6 win in the fifth.

The matchup at No. 8 featured Stephen Harrington (Princeton) and Matthew Mackin (Trinity). Mackin, a sophomore, has not dropped a match this season, and he came through again, putting Trinity ahead 3-2 in the overall match score. In the No. 5 match, Johan Detter went up 2-0 for Trinity, but Samuel Kang regrouped to win the third game and force a fourth. Detter came back and won the match.

Princeton entered the final shift needing to get all three matches, and that's exactly what the Tigers did. Dylan Ward started the run with a win at No. 7, and Todd Harrity won in three game as at No. 1 to even the match at 4-4.

Shannon, who was up 2-0 when Harrity's match ended, calmy won Game 3, giving Princeton the national championship and ending Trinity's 13-year run at the top of men's collegiate squash.

The win extended Princeton's streak of having at least one team or individual national champion to 41 straight years.

"I'm just so proud and happy for the guys," Princeton head coach Bob Callahan said after addressing the team one final time. "They really believed this year, and they really dedicated themselves to the championship this year. They committed themselves to each other, and they made it happen."

Callahan also offered kind words to Trinity, which showed incredible grace and class both during and after the match. Bantams' head coach Paul Assaiante, following the match, told the crowd how proud he was to be involved with Trinity squash, and he added that he was very happy to congratulate Callahan on the championship.

"Paul has been a good friend of mine for a long time," Callahan said. "They have gone through so much together, and they handled themselves with class today. When it was over, they were so gracious in sincerely congratulating us. We have had some really remarkable matches over the years, and this was another one."

Princeton 5, Trinity 4
1 - Todd Harrity (P) d. Vikram Malhotra 6,8,6
2 - Antonio Diaz Glez (T) d. Chris Callis (3),6,4,(7),6
3 - Tyler Osborne (P) d. Miled Zarazua 7,8,9
4 - Kelly Shannon (P) d. Reinhold Hergeth 11,8,9
5 - Johan Detter (T) d. Samuel Kang 9,3,(8),11
6 - Clay Blackiston (P) d. Vishrab Kotian 6,(5),(9),9,2
7 - Dylan Ward (P) d. Juan Flores (8),1,7,9
8 - Matthew Mackin (T) d. Steve Harrington 7,8,(8),8
9 - Moustafa Hamada (T) d. David Pena (9),5,8,8

HOEHN CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
In Hoehn Cup action, Penn defeated the Cinderella story of this division, No. 14 Columbia, 8-1, to capture its second B Divsion trophy in three sesasons. With the win, the Quakers finished as the ninth-ranked team in the country.

2012 CSA MEN'S AWARDS
Sloane Award
(Team Sportsmanship)
Princeton

Barnaby Award (Most Improved Team)
Columbia

Hall of Fame
Peter Yik, Princeton