2013 IVY TITLE l 2012 NATIONAL TEAM TITLE l 2011 NATIONAL INDIVIDUAL TITLE
Squash, at its core, is the ultimate individual game. It’s you, your opponent, and one ball. More often than not, Todd Harrity has been the best individual on the court.
The results speak for themselves. He had been a U.S. Junior champion prior to arriving at Princeton, and he was immediately the No. 1 player on a team that had dominated the Ivy League to the tune of eight titles in 11 years.
The individual success would continue as an underclassman. He became the first freshman to reach a national final since 2003 (by somebody named Yasser El Halaby ’06 … perhaps you’ve heard of him?), and he tore through collegiate squash as a sophomore.
So why is his career highlight one that he rarely gets remembered for?
Because it was about far more than the individual.
When Harrity entered his junior season, he did so as the reigning national champion and the dominant force in the sport. He had gone 20-0 as a sophomore, won his last 57 straight individual games, and he became the first American ever to win a collegiate squash championship in the soft ball era when he defeated Cornell’s Nick Sachvie in the national final.
But team success had eluded him, and he was determined to change that. With four talented seniors on the 2011-12 squad, as well as a pair of freshmen who immediately jumped into the top five, he knew Princeton would be a contender last season.
When Princeton surprised Harvard in Boston last season, everybody else figured it out too. The Tigers scored a 5-4 win, and they did so with Harrity taking his first collegiate loss since his freshman season against Crimson sophomore Ali Farag, the 2010 Junior World Champion.
That win, followed by hard-fought home wins over Yale and Cornell, helped Princeton to its first Ivy League title since 2009. The Tigers ended the season as the second-ranked team and earned a berth in the CSA national team final against 13-time defending champion Trinity, a match to be held at the Jadwin Squash Courts.
By the time Harrity took the court, Princeton trailed 4-2 with only three matches remaining. He took on Vikram Malhotra, a Trinity veteran who earned a key win in the memorable 2009 championship win over Princeton. During the regular season, Malhotra outlasted his Princeton rival in a five-game win.
This was a different story. Harrity took the match in three, which left all eyes on senior Kelly Shannon. Ultimately, it was Shannon’s victory over Reinhold Hergeth that will be most remembered; Harrity doesn’t seem bothered by it in the least.
"This is probably the best win of my life," said Harrity afterwards. "It was so emotional. With Coach tearing up, it was really special. The huge crowd and the energy of the team really got me going today. I was so inspired, and I just wanted to win so badly.”
While that win earned some significant national attention, it wasn’t as unexpected within the squash community as this season’s Ivy League championship for Princeton. There were four new, untested faces in the lineup, and upperclassmen Dylan Ward and Steve Harrington were moving three spots higher in the lineup than they held before.
But Princeton did it again, topping Harvard 5-4 at home and following with a 6-3 road win at Yale. The Tigers dropped a 5-4 road match at Cornell, but they clinched a share of the Ivy League championship with a 9-0 sweep of Columbia. Within that win, Harrity defeated Columbia’s Ramit Tandon 3-0 for his final victory on the Jadwin Courts; it was especially satisfying, considering Tandon had knocked Harrity out of the individual championships last season in the semifinal round.
So Harrity enters the final two weeks of the season with a résumé that can stand with the all-time greats of college squash: three-time All-America, two-time Ivy League champion, 2012 national team champion and 2011 national individual champion.
Now a Skillman Award (given annually to a senior men’s squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career) finalist, he’ll look to add a couple more titles during his senior run. Regardless of the results, he has enhanced the tradition of Princeton squash through both his skill and character, and he will stand among the program’s all-time greats for generations to come.