Wellesley Squash has seen one of its most successful seasons in history this year, having swept the competition at the Seven Sisters Championship and handily defeating Division I opponents such as Boston College and Northeastern University. Blue Squash enters the championship season with a 13-5 record, which bests last season’s record of 13-11. Senior captain Gabriella Wynne, who hails from nearby Brookline, MA, has been a key player for the past four years and has seen the team grow into a competitive force at the national collegiate level. Wynne and her fellow senior teammate, Kate Loftus, were honored at their final match at home on Feb. 9 against Boston College, where they both helped the Blue win another victory to improve on its historic 2015-2016 season. The Wellesley News spoke with Wynne about her career with Blue Squash and how strength training has helped improve her squash play during the past four years.
Laura Brindley ’16 (L.B.): Who or what inspired you to play squash?
Gabriella Wynne ’16 (G.W.): I got into squash when I started playing with my dad late in elementary school. My high school did not have a team, so I played by myself or with my family. It really bonded us!
L.B.: What made you want to play squash at Wellesley?
G.W.: I knew I wanted to continue playing in college to have a routine and a built-in workout. Playing sports has always helped me manage my time better. As a prospie though, what ultimately sold me was how tight-knit the team was!
L.B.: Describe a normal day at practice.
G.W.: Normally, we start with a team chat to talk about our most recent matches or to discuss the focus of the practice. We then do a team body warm up and break out into groups of three per court to do some basic warm up and shot specific drills.
L.B.: Has your team done anything different this year than in previous years in terms of training or competition?
G.W.: Over the past few years, we have been focusing more on fitness. Our strength training coaches have been supporting us by creating extra conditioning workouts and tailoring our lift sessions for squash. We really appreciate it!
L.B.: What has been the highlight of your Blue Squash career?
G.W.: Winning Seven Sisters in 2014 was definitely a highlight for me. Wellesley had not won the tournament in 12 years and fighting for that trophy was a major success for the team. It was great to see all of our hard work pay off.
L.B.: As captain, do you have any extra responsibilities? What are they?
G.W.: As a captain, I mostly communicate between my coaches and teammates. I am here to listen to and support [my teammates] in any way I can so that we can get better results on and off the court and have a good team dynamic. It takes a lot of work and responsibility, but it is worth it when I see how far the team has come and how much my teammates have improved.
L.B.: Do you think you will continue to play squash after you graduate?
G.W.: Yes, definitely. I don’t know whether I will be able to play as often due to court availability, but ideally I would love to continue playing as regularly as possible.
L.B.: If you could play another sport at Wellesley, what would it be and why?
G.W.: I would probably play soccer. My mom’s family is from Brazil, so it’s in my blood and I played when I was younger.
L.B.: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
G.W.: I love watching Ramy Ashour play squash because his matches are always entertaining. He plays some great trick shots and always puts on a show.
L.B.: What is one word of advice you would give to an aspiring Blue Squash athlete?
G.W.: Balancing life as a student-athlete at Wellesley is challenging, so I would say persevere, and don’t be afraid to ask for support from your fellow teammates, coaches and even professors. There are moments when the commitment is a bit overwhelming, but ultimately it’s worth it for all the great experiences you will have!
Blue Squash will compete this Friday through Sunday at Yale at the College Squash Association Women’s Team Championship.
Photo courtesy of Miles Wells