The Home Court Advantage
An ideal arena for training and showcasing athletes, Middlebury’s new Squash Center also provides a forum for students and community members to play, relax, and connect. Part of the first construction project in the College’s history fully funded by donors, the center has proved a winning addition in many ways.
Since the center opened in October, the nine squash courts, instead of the previous five, have supported larger squads of athletes on both varsity teams. The new configuration also encourages camaraderie between the men’s and women’s teams, now able to practice simultaneously.
Squash Coach John Illig has observed the center's positive influence on his teams’ morale: “The new facility is so grand and comfortable that the overall mood of each athlete is better during every practice—and happy athletes play well.”
The teams are already demonstrating the game-changing benefits of the center by their strong records this season, with both men’s and women’s varsity making it to NESCAC semifinals. As Abby Jenkins ’14, who plays for women’s varsity squash, notes, “Our team has improved and will continue to improve because of the new center.”
Moreover, as Jenkins explains, “The center has really increased the accessibility and general knowledge of squash in the Middlebury community.” The courts have invited droves of students to explore the sport, whether simply enjoying a round between classes or committing to join one of the College’s intramural teams.
The new facilities have likewise welcomed friends from the region. Middlebury’s teams have been able to host home matches with pride, drawing families from the town to watch and share the excitement. On Sundays, varsity squash athletes run training clinics, well attended by enthusiastic local youth. In Illig’s words, “For the first time we're growing a new generation of squash players at Middlebury College, which is very exciting for us.”
Thanks to the generosity of the benefactors who made the center a reality, Middlebury Squash has not only profited from new opportunities, but also extended those opportunities to its friends and neighbors.