By Nick Sisodia ’12
This year the Dartmouth squash team's annual training trip took place in Palo Alto, California. After previous trips to San Diego and Miami, the men's and women's teams took their talents to Stanford's beautiful campus just outside of San Francisco. After a stressful finals period, the squads were keen on getting back into playing shape and spending quality time together before breaking off for the holidays. Following a full day of traveling, both teams arrived at SFO International before heading to the Sheraton Palo Alto, our residence for the week.
The Sheraton is located about a mile away from the Arrigalla Sports Center where the Stanford courts are housed. Each day we passed the Stanford football stadium and training facilities, getting pumped to train on the same grounds once graced by John Elway, Tiger Woods and John McEnroe. We kicked off the trip with some dual match scrimmages at the Stanford courts. The women played Stanford's varsity team and the men played the Stanford club team and a collection of local all-stars. We were welcomed with open arms by the Stanford teams, coaches (legends Mark Talbot and Richard Elliot) and community players. Our first day was a great way to get acquainted with the facilities and transition into an intense and fun week of training.
Our coaches did an excellent job of keeping each session unique and challenging. We truly worked every part of our bodies through a series of on-court sessions, morning runs, lifts, beach volleyball games, basketball scrimmages and pool workouts. Each day had a similar structure. The morning session began with on-court drills followed by one of the many off-court activities. The afternoon session followed in the same manner, with more emphasis on match play and conditioned games. Three days of this physically draining activity was rewarded, as midway through the week the team took a day off to explore San Francisco.
We wound down Lombard Street in a series of vans. Once we arrived at Fisherman's Wharf, Jack Barrett '12 (Riverside, Calif.) displayed his knowledge of the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger. After some delicious burgers and shakes, different packs of each team broke off to navigate the city on their own. Julia Watson '12 (Rocky Mount, N.C.) and Heather Binnie '12 (Rye, N.H.) led a group of women on a trolley to Union Square. The council of six seniors on the men's team made sure to check out SF's Chinatown, which is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.
At the end of the day, both teams were further rewarded during a trip to the Olympic Club in downtown San Francisco. We got to spend quality time with ex-men's captain Daniel Wagman '10 and enjoy the impressive facilities the club had to offer. A Dartmouth hybrid team consisting of men's and women's players duked it out against the OC's top club players. We would like to thank Jeff Young and the Olympic Club staff for their hospitality and kindness.
Though the second half of the trip followed in similar structure to the first half of training, we did have time for some fun and relaxation before heading home. One of the highlights of the trip was the one-point tournament, in which members of both teams competed for the ultimate bragging rights. Though Marian Lurio '15 (Merion, Pa.) staged a valiant effort on behalf of the women's team making it to the quarterfinals, New Jersey natives and former junior training partners Brian O'Toole '12 (Short Hills, N.J.) and Alex Kurth '13 (Tenafly, N.J.) ended up playing for the title. Alex's flair and tank top were ultimately no match for O'Toole's patience.
After the tournament, Hansi and Busani surprised us with a yoga session administered by Stanford's head yoga trainer over an elaborate intercom system throughout the center's massive mat room. Though her hypnotic relaxation methods had half of us snoozing by the end of the session, we found the energy to celebrate two of the trip's most important events by the end of the day: Chris Hanson's '13 (Greenwich, Conn.) and Stephen Wetherill's '12 (Ambler, Pa.) birthdays.
All in all, the trip was a great way for us to build a fitness base and stay sharp over the break, and all the while spend precious time with our teams away from the busyness of college life. We would like to thank Mark Talbot, the Olympic Club, and the Palo Alto community for welcoming us to their home for the week. Though the seniors will sorely miss the annual training trips, the younger players can now look forward to cherishing each training trip and its traditions for years to come. Both teams look forward to continue to build on the work and memories established on the trip as we head into the final weeks of the season. Go Green!