By ANNE LIU ’17
Sports & Wellness Editor
This season, Meera Nayar ’17 is the highest-ranked first year on the squash team, playing third in the lineup. As one of coach Wendy Berry’s five prized recruits, Nayar has contributed to the Blue’s 13-8 season with an individual record of 14-7. Many squash players think of this year as the beginning of a new era for the team. For the first time in roughly a decade, Wellesley squash won the Seven Sisters tournament and posted a winning overall record.
Nayar is a looming 5’7” and greets friends with an excited and genuine smile. Her current trademark squash stroke is the “volley kill” at the front of court.
She first picked up a racket when she was 8 years old—her father had played the sport—and fell instantly in love. Nayar has dedicated herself to the sport ever since.
Nayar is grateful for all the support she’s received from both her coaches and teammates, but most of all she appreciates her parents’ help.
“They are the ones who encouraged me and pushed me to strive and do my best every day,” she said. “They even sacrificed time out of their busy lives to take me to lessons and to cheer me on at tournaments. Even when my mom battled mouth cancer, she was always there for me and encouraged me to work harder. I have dedicated this past season to her, because she is such a special person to me and has done a lot for me in my life.”
Despite her best efforts to start a team at her high school, Nayar had to focus only on individual tournaments because her high school in Scarsdale, N.Y. never had a squash program. Three times a week, she commuted 45 minutes each way to various clubs for lessons. Nayar frequently had to sacrifice time with her friends and family in order to travel to matches and practices. But she said she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Even now, she sometimes sacrifices sleep to rush to morning practices and often forgoes food she enjoys because she’s trying to stay in shape. In part because she regrets not being able to play on a team in high school, Nayar decided to play at Wellesley because she thought the team would give her the camaraderie she missed.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, Wellesley played against Northeastern at the Dana Hall School. Because Wellesley doesn’t have regulation courts on campus, this match was the closest thing the Blue had to a home match all season. Fans arrived by bus to encourage and support the squash team, and Nayar appreciated the enthusiasm from not only her fans but also her teammates.
“I am blessed because my teammates are both my friends and a part of my Wellesley family,” Nayar said. “Squash has given me an outlet to leave all my anger and frustration on the court, so I feel calm and composed again. It has given me something that I will carry for the rest of my life: love for the game.”
For many of the players on the squash team, winning the Seven Sisters title has been a major goal throughout their time at Wellesley. Unlike some of her teammates, Nayar never experienced the sting of falling short year after year, but she still felt incredibly satisfied by the team victory.
“It was the best feeling for me to have been a part of something so great,” Nayar said. “It was great for the seniors, who have not yet won the Seven Sisters as well. Now they can go out with a bang knowing that they have accomplished a lot in their careers.”
Nayar hopes to build off her success this year and continue to set goals for her collegiate squash career. Her primary goal: to become the best squash player she can be.
“I want to be able to show how far I have grown as a player and a person,” she said. “I want to show that I worked hard to become the player I am today and keep building on that. But most of all I just want to have fun and work hard on the sport that I love.”