A talented roster of returners coupled with a strong first-year class gives the Middlebury men's squash program high expectations headed into the 2016-17 season. Last winter, the men posted a record of 13-6 against a demanding schedule and finished the year ranked 15th nationally.
Led by second-year head coach Mark Lewis, the roster is sprinkled with talented returnees along with a solid class of newcomers.
Gone from last year's squad are key lineup contributors and captains Harrison Croll, David Cromwell and Andrew Jung. Cromwell posted a 9-10 record at the top of the ladder, while Croll solidified the middle of the lineup much of last winter mostly at #4 with a 9-9 mark. Jung, a two-time All-NESCAC recipient, played toward the top of the lineup during his career, tallying a 5-10 mark a season ago.
Despite the losses, the team returns a strong core of players this winter that gained experience a year ago. The squad will be led by seniors Andrew Cadienhead (pictured left) and Wyatt French (pictured below right) in the upper-third of the ladder. French, a first-team All-NESCAC selection last winter who moved up from the second team two years ago, had a successful junior season. He tallied a 14-5 record at the #2 spot in the ladder, including a consolation title in the 'A' bracket during the CSA Individual Championships.
Cadienhead, a second-team All-NECAC selection as a sophomore, concluded his junior season with an 11-8 record in the #3 spot.
Senior Ben Krant, who has a combined 28-9 record over the last two years with a 13-6 mark a season ago at the #6 spot. Senior William Kurth (14-5), a place below him in the ladder, saw playing time in numerous matches last winter and will add talented depth.
Sophomore Robert Rohrbach, who produced a 12-3 record at the #8 spot last winter, along with juniors Cameron Dewey, Sam Giddins and Ryan Swope and a talented group of first-year players will try and find a spot in the lineup as well.
"We lost three seniors from a year ago and those holes in the lineup are always hard to replace," said Lewis. "We welcome seven talented first-year players to the men's roster with skill sets who will battle for playing time."
The Panthers' slate opens at home with a match against Drexel on Friday, December 2 followed by a contest with Navy the next day. Overall, Middlebury will play its first six matches at home. Middlebury plays a total of 13 matches during the month of January, including taking to the road for the first time on Wednesday, January 11 with a 4:30 p.m. match at Amherst. Another key date on the schedule is the NESCAC Championships happening February 3-5 at Amherst.
"Much like last year, we play a challenging schedule that will test us early and often," said Lewis. "We look to learn and improve daily from the first match and into to the new year, before looking toward the championship season. Playing our first six matches at home will be a huge benefit to us."