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August 27, 2010

Columbia Squash Moves to Varsity in Fall 2010, Engman to Lead Women

Courtesy of Columbia Sports Information/Media Relations

NEW YORK -- Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, made two exciting announcements regarding the Columbia Squash programs today. Due to the overwhelming interest and support from alumni and friends, Columbia University's men and women's squash teams will be elevated to varsity status starting in Fall 2010, Murphy, Director, announced today. In addition, Kelsey Engman has been named the first-ever head coach of the women's squash program.

"We are thrilled to elevate the men and women's squash program to varsity status this academic year," Murphy said. "The support for the Columbia Squash Programs has been outstanding. We are extremely fortunate to have both Kelsey and Jacques (Swanepoel) to lead our two teams. Our programs have excellent leadership and are poised for success."  

Becoming the first-ever head coach of the women's team, Engman is ready for the challenge of building a women's squash program.

"I'm so excited and optimistic about the upcoming season and the opportunity to join the Columbia Athletics Program," said Engman. "We have a great group of returning women and I am so excited to get to know the new members of the team this fall. I am really grateful to Dr. Dianne Murphy for giving me this opportunity, and am excited to see the team climb the rankings this year. I can hardly wait for the season to begin."

Engman came to Morningside Heights after spending two years at Tufts University. She served as an assistant coach for both the men's and women's teams in 2007-08, before taking over as the acting head coach in 2008-09. The following year she was an assistant squash pro at the Fairmount Athletic Club in King of Prussia, Pa. where she coached clinics, ran summer camps, and provided daily lessons. That same year, Engman played No. 1 on the Philly Howe Cup A team which was runners up in the national tournament.

Engman was a standout player at Bates College, captaining the team as a senior in 2006-07. She played No. 1 for the Bobcats, and was nominated for the Richey Award, given annually to the women's college squash player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership.Swanepoel was a former member of the South African National Squash Team, and was a two-time All-American at Trinity where he helped lead the Bantams to four consecutive national championships. Swanepoel served as a captain at Trinity as a senior, and was named the team's Most Improved Player in back-to-back seasons (2005-06). Prior to his time at Trinity, Swanepoel was the No. 2 ranked junior player in South Africa, and participated on the country's U-19 national team.

The Lions will practice and compete at the new Street Squash complex located at 116th and Park.  While the teams will be competing as varsity squads this year, they will not compete in the Ivy Round Robin this season.