Two separate teams for Columbia hit their highest national rankings in program history in the final days of January. Off of a sweep of Tennessee and Notre Dame, the men’s tennis team jumped up to #16 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. And in other racket sports, men’s squash hit a program high and Ivy best #3 of the College Squash Association’s rankings after defeating #5 Yale and #3 Rochester.
Winston Lin, the unequivocal star of tennis in Morningside Heights, fell from #8 in the nation before the fall semester to his current #22 spot, mostly due to some spottier play near the end of 2014. Max Schnur, Mike Vermeer, Ashok Narayana, and Dragos Ignat have all stepped up this season to help the Lions achieve the best ranking of any Northeastern team. Columbia defeated two top-20 teams to open up the dual season (as opposed to tournament play), and with that earned a spot in the ITA Indoor Championships later this month. If you want to see this squad in person, take the 1 train up to Baker to see them take on Army on Saturday, February 7th (time to be announced).
Men’s squash has a star of at least as high a caliber in Ramit Tandon (whom we interviewed), an internationally ranked senior who started his career in India. He’s helped the Lions achieve a 10-1 record on the season, with the only loss coming against #1 Trinity. Ramit’s biggest accomplishment for the team was his defeat of Rochester’s top player, which gave Columbia a 5-4 win over a top 5 team. Squash’s number two man is Osama Khalifa, who has put up an unblemished 11-0 record this season. Since their #3 ranking, a weird system of “ranking triangles” have pushed the Lions down to #4, but a strong performance in Cambridge, MA today could push them back up. To see one of the top squash teams in the nation, go a bit downtown to the SL Green StreetSquash Center on Sunday, February 8th for a matchup against Penn. And I remind our readership of Tandon’s promise to us in his interview: “If you promise me people will come, we can make [players] dance. We also give out free jerseys and food and stuff like that.”
- Men’s Basketball went 1-1 on the weekend, losing to Ivy-leading Yale (4-0) and defeating Ivy-trailing Brown (0-4). The 63-59 loss to Yale was a heartbreaking one to watch. After a fast start, the Lions seemed to always be two scores behind the Bulldogs, with turnovers plaguing the Light Blue. Yale forward Justin Sears put on an absolute clinic with 28 points to his name, while Maodo Lo scored 20 points, 18 of them from beyond the arc. It was a contest until the final seconds, but Columbia couldn’t finish. Against the Bears, though, the Lions pulled away hard in the final ten minutes, leading to an 86-65 victory. Kyle Castlin led the offense with 21 points and 9 rebounds. With this weekend over, the Lions move to 2-2 in conference, with Yale, Harvard (3-1), and Princeton (2-1) in front. Next home game: Friday, February 6th at 7 pm vs. Princeton
- The Women’s Basketball team was unable to bounce back from being swept by Cornell. Against Yale, they played their traditionally heart-pounding style, falling behind by double digits before taking the lead twice. But Yale proved too strong in the final five minutes, and the Lions lost 55-47. Alexa Giuliano took 14 of the team’s 15 three-point attempts, and led the team with 14 points. The next night in Providence, the freshman duo of Giuliano and Camille Zimmerman each scored 19, but the starting five combined to commit 21 fouls, and the team committed 28 turnovers. The Lions lost their competitive edge out of the gates in the second half, and the women dropped their fourth straight, 85-76. Next game: Friday, February 6th at 7 pm at Princeton.
- Men’s Swimming & Diving is in the middle of a four game win streak. The Lions are absolutely dominant on the diving boards, where Jayden Pantel has notched ten straight wins, with Micah Rembrandt so often pulling up in second for the juicy runner-up points. In the swimming lanes, David Jakl is setting records right and left, most recently recording a 19.97 second 50 free and a Uris Pool record in the 100 back. Next home meet: Friday, February 6th at 6 pm vs. Princeton
- Wrestling took a pair of duals in Levien against American and Hofstra last weekend. It was a swingy match against American, really going back and forth until Tyrel White earned a technical fall (16-1) at 165 pounds, to give the team the lead. The teams traded pins, but the last two slots held Columbia wins, giving the meet a score of 23-16 in favor of Columbia. They then won all but two bouts against Hofstra, including the last six in a row, later in the day to win in dominant fashion, 27-7 Next home dual: Saturday, February 7th at 6 pm vs. Cornell
- Women’s Squash has been performing nearly as well as the men’s team. The #9 team in the nation was set to do battle with #8 George Washington and #7 Dartmouth. They couldn’t finish an upset bid against GW, where it came down to the last match. Colette Sultana fought valiantly in each set, but lost the match 3-0. The team did better against their Ivy League competitors, with the top 3 for the Lions all taking home victories. They defeated the Big Green, 6-3. Next home match: Sunday, February 8th at 1 pm vs. Penn