Tag Archives: Yasser El Halaby

Harrity ’13 enters as favorite at squash nationals

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Top-ranked Todd Harrity ’13 continues to improve. "I think if I played myself from two years ago," he said, "I would beat him 3-0." (© Beverly Schaefer)

While many athletes wilt under the pressure of being ranked first in the country, sophomore Todd Harrity’s run through the college squash season has exemplified the dominance often associated with the number “one.” Harrity recently completed an undefeated team season as Princeton’s No. 1 player.

 
During that stretch, Harrity won all but two of his matches 3-0 and never had a match go to five games. As a result, he enters this weekend’s individual national tournament as the overwhelming favorite.
 
“He’s one of the two best American players at this age, ever,” senior co-captain Peter Sopher said. The other, 2006 Yale graduate Julian Illingworth, is the highest ranked American in professional squash history.
 
In November, Harrity traveled to the Pan-American Games in Guatemala as a member of the United States national team. While the team finished in third-place, Harrity used the experience to gain valuable insight about his game.
 
“[The tournament] was a big eye-opener,” Harrity said. “I learned a lot of little things about my game and technique I could improve. I think if I played myself from two years ago, I would beat him 3-0.”
 

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Grand Central squash

i-da91f6d4bf2319a7f9ee158df98c0f6c-elhalaby.jpg Tiger of the Week: Yasser El Halaby ’06

As a collegiate squash player, Yasser El Halaby ’06 achieved unparalleled success. He won four individual national titles in four tries and rarely lost a match in team play, helping Princeton win two Ivy League titles and reach the College Squash Association finals twice. But when El Halaby continued his career after college, professional squash promised new challenges. Many of the world’s best players are El Halaby’s age, and they’ve faced pros regularly since they were teenagers.

El Halaby has held his own, climbing as high as No. 40 in the world rankings (he’s currently 51st), and he had one of his best tournaments to date at last week’s JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, held in a glass court at Grand Central Station in New York. El Halaby was one of eight players to reach the main draw through a qualifier. In the round of 32, he won a tight 3-2 match over Scotsman John White, once the world’s No. 1 pro. El Halaby lost his next match, 3-0 to James Willstrop (No. 5 in the world), despite having what the tournament Web site called a “roaring fan contingent” that included Princeton alumni.

The crowd support should come as no surprise to a player who drew standing-room-only audiences at the Jadwin Gym courts. As teammate Hugh Meighen ’05 told PAW in 2005, “A lot of people don’t know squash, but they know Yasser.”

(Photo: Beverly Schaefer)

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