Gail Ramsay understands what it takes to be a champion. She is not only the only women’s player to ever win four national individual championships while an undergraduate at Penn State but has also led Princeton to six team championships, including four in the last eight years.
The Tiger women’s squash team is experiencing one of its greatest periods in program history, and Ramsay is looking for it to continue.
Two seasons ago, Ramsay helped a lineup that included only one senior starter to an undefeated regular season and the program's sixth Ivy League title. The Tigers had two All-Americas in Julie Cerullo and Libby Eyre, and they will return six starters will at least two years of experience to the 2013-14 season. Both Cerullo and Eyre were repeat All-America honorees, while rising junior Nicole Bunyan earned the All-America honor in 2012.
While the team didn't match those accomplishments last season, it did show that the future remained bright. Ramsay replaced Cerullo with Maria Elena Ubina, who became the program's fourth Ivy League Rookie of the Year; she and classmate Alexandra Toth combined to go 26-10 as new starters.
The prior championship run began in the 2006-07 season and was as memorable as any, especially for one magical week at the end of January. Ranked fifth at the time, Princeton knocked off the Nos. 1 (Penn), 2 (Yale) and 3 (Trinity) teams in the nation to claim the top spot in the poll. The Tigers made sure to never leave that spot. It was a different run to the top in 2008, but it was no less satisfying at the end. Princeton began the season as No. 1, but fell twice during the season and entered the Howe Cup, held at Princeton’s own Jadwin Squash Courts, as the second seed. The Tigers reached the finals, where it trailed top-seeded Penn 2-1 after one round, but Ramsay guided the home team to a 6-3 victory and a second straight national crown.
Perhaps no season was as dramatic or rewarding as the 2008-09 season, when Princeton won its third straight Howe Cup championship and its second Ivy League title in three seasons. Princeton went undefeated again, but needed a 3-2 comeback win from All-America Neha Kumar in the regular season finale to defeat Harvard 5-4 and win the Ivy League title. At the Howe Cup championships, Princeton won back-to-back nailbiters to win the title; in the semifinal, Kaitlin Sennatt fought off a match ball for a 10-9 win in the fifth game to send the Tigers to a 5-4 win over Trinity. In the final, both All-America standout Amanda Siebert and Nikki Sequeira recorded 3-2 comeback wins to send Princeton past Harvard by another 5-4 score.
Ramsay, who has served as the president of the Women's College Squash Association, will enter her 21st year as the head coach of women’s squash at Princeton with an outstanding 185-59 career record. Besides winning three Howe Cups in the last decade and the 2007, 2009 and 2013 Ivy League championships, she also guided the Tigers to back-to-back national championships at the Howe Cup in 1998 and 1999 and has coached the individual national champion four times (Katherine Johnson in 1997; Julia Beaver in 1999, 2000 and 2001).
Ramsay, whose teams have annually been among the top Howe Cup challengers, took the Tigers to the 1998 national title and ended Harvard’s five-year run at the event. She also led Princeton to the 1998 Ivy League title, its first since 1991, in a magical undefeated season for the Tigers.
Ramsay is a 1980 graduate of Penn State, where she became the only women’s four-time national intercollegiate individual squash champion. In 2002, the women’s intercollegiate national championship was renamed the Ramsay Cup. Prior to her appointment at Princeton, she had been the head squash and tennis coach at Williams College for six years.
Ramsay was a top-ranked player throughout her playing career, ranking as high as No. 2 in the United States on several occasions. She has also captured two U.S. doubles and seven U.S. mixed doubles titles with her brother Bill.
A two-time member of the U.S. national team, Ramsay captained the 1985 team on its trip through Ireland and also was on the 1983 team’s trip to Australia for the World Championships.
Ramsay has coached at the Heights Casino Club, Uptown Squash Club and NYU, while also playing on the professional circuit.
Ramsay was inducted into the CSA Hall of Fame as a player in 1995.
|Totals||185-59||88-33||4 Ivy/5 National|