After leading Wesleyan to its first winning season in 10 years with a 14-12 overall record and a 20th-place national ranking, seven spots higher than the previous year, John Steele '14 (photo) has been named first-team all-NESCAC as well as NESCAC Rookie of the Year. He also represented Wesleyan at the College Squash Association (CSA) Individual Championships hosted by Dartmouth Fri.-Sun., March 4-6.
Playing #1 throughout the 2010-11 season, Steele fashioned an outstanding 19-6 record, the most individual victories by a Wesleyan squash player during the dual-match season in school history, spanning 71 seasons. The previous record for individual wins was 16 set by Matt Candal '11 a year ago (16-11). Competing in the Molloy Division at the CSA tournament, Steele open competition Friday with a victory over Vir Seth, the #3 player from St. Lawrence, which finished 13th nationally as a team. Steele won the match, 3-1 (10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 14-12). He then faced Nigel Koh, Harvard's #6 player. Koh prevailed, 3-1 (9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2). Harvard placed fifth in the country.
Steele faced Clay Blackiston, the #8 player from Princeton, the third-ranked team in the country, in a second level consolation match Saturday. Again it was a four-game affair with Blackiston coming out ahead, 3-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6). Steele was ranked 85th in the only rankings posted in December. Blackiston was 76th, Seth was 75th and Koh was 30th. In April, the final nationals rankings were release, and Steele moved up to 63rd.
In addition to Steele's NESCAC honors, the first time a Wesleyan player has appeared on the all-conference list in the four years the NESCAC has been selecting an all-conference squad, Head Coach Shona Kerr (photo insert lower right) was named NESCAC Coach of the Year. Kerr is in her sixth year in charge of both the men's and women's teams.