University of Richmond squash players are dedicated on and off the court.

On Feb. 19, 2017, the University of Richmond Club Squash Team achieved the highest of victories within the world of college squash. 

This season’s dedication, hard work and heart propelled the team toward a first place finish in the Serues Cup and its first ever division title.

At the end of every season, each squash team throughout the country, including Division 1 and Division 3 schools that offer scholarships for the sport, is placed within divisions. 

After beating Boston University, UR’s team went on to win their second match as well. At their last match, they were scheduled to play against D1 school Fordham University. Against all odds, they were victorious.

Just five years ago, squash became an official sports club at the University of Richmond.

 Head of Sport Clubs Seth Thomas expressed his praise for the relatively new club’s triumphs. 

“Sport clubs are student-driven and student-led and I attribute this success to student leadership," Thomas said. "The squash team has had great success over the last couple years.”

Team Captain Phil Shannon, RC '17, shared what he believed attributed to this good fortune as well. 

“The team is really dedicated and everyone is very self motivated," Shannon said. "The commitment is taken very seriously.” 

The team of 15 men practice 5 to 6 times a week at the Commonwealth Club in downtown Richmond.

Phil Shannon shared what it was that made him so willing to make this tough commitment for four years. 

“Since freshman year [the team and the game] has really helped me grow as a person and helped with my organizational skills.” He also remarked that it helped him develop into the man he is today. 

But, not only has the team helped him grow and improve as a person. Shannon and another UR squash player have been able to give back to the Richmond community and help others grow and improve as people through the sport as well.

Shannon and multiple other University of Richmond students are dedicated to bettering the community through SquashRocks, which is an Urban Youth squash clinic downtown which partners with CHAT (Church Hill Activities and Tutoring) in efforts to, through the game of squash, teach children to be strong, more confident, and active.

Mary Burns, WC '18, helps coach clinics at the Country Club of Virginia in addition to volunteering at SquashRocks. Burns coaches children anywhere from ages three to 18. 

Squash has been a big part of her life ever since she began playing at the age of five, and she is happy that she can share the love of this game with those as young as she was when she learned to play, though it is not always easy. 

“It is definitely hard because it’s really tough to teach someone to make contact with the ball, but coaching the kids has been awesome. I have learned a lot of interpersonal skills through it and I feel as though it brings the community together.”

In the coming years, Seth Thomas said that the University of Richmond Sport Clubs Council and members look forward to exploring the idea of a women’s squash team on campus.

Contact features writer Kakie Pate at katharine.pate@richmond.edu.