Monday, November 4, 2013

Rugged Maniac, Jay Nelson Honored, Hameed Ahmed Joins Staff

Women's Team Runs Rugged Maniac 

Contributed by HWS Co-Captain Natasha Anzik

The weekend of September 28th started bright and early. The women’s squash team, who had only discovered the plans for our bonding weekend 48 hours earlier, still didn’t know what they were getting themselves into as we all waited for a bus on Mount Auburn. Haley and I had been planning and looking forward to this day for months, also keeping it a secret as long as we could, so there had been a lot of anticipation as the rest of the team found out and got as excited as we were. So we all hopped on a bus to Southwick, MA at 8am to compete in our first ever “Rugged Manic” race. The race was a 5km obstacle race, filled with walls to climb over, wires to climb under and a giant waterslide—basically a shorter version of a Tough Mudder. Dressed in matching camouflage shirts we ran as a team—helping each other through the obstacles and cheering each other on—as well as receiving cheers from many others along the way!  It was a great way for our team to get off campus, get a little dirty and have a lot of fun. The weather could not have cooperated better, and after the race we all sat out on the grass for a picnic.
After taking many team photos and enjoying the sun, we all piled into vans and headed to Rhode Island to spend the night at Megan Murray’s home. Eating pizza, watching movies and hanging out as a team was a great end to a great day! We headed back to campus the next morning. The weekend was an awesome chance to get the whole team together in a relaxed setting—it was definitely a highlight of my year!

There are photos posted on the Rugged Maniac website of our team at:

There is also an article posted on the gocrimson website HERE

John "Jay" Nelson '62 Inducted into US Squash Hall of Fame

We were thrilled to see the announcement at the US Open that "Jay" Nelson '62 was inducted to the US Hall of Fame.  He has been a stalwart of the Harvard Squash community and is the most successful American masters player ever.  We could not be more happy for him.  Congrats Jay, and well deserved!

Excerpt from US below.

Jay Nelson is the top masters player in U.S. Squash history with twenty-eight age-group titles, one better than previous record holder Henri Salaun. Nelson played at Andover and at Harvard (class of 1962) before moving to New York. Known for his three-wall and conditioning, he reached four semifinals of the U.S. nationals (losing in five games three of those times) and won three Metropolitan Open titles—the last at age forty-seven in a season when he also won the Met A, 35+ and 45+. In hardball, Nelson won the U.S. national 45+ in 1989 and 1990 and the 50+ in 1993 and 1995. Always an avid softball player—in 1973 Nelson played on the first U.S. national team to enter the world men’s championships—he won the national 40+ softball in 1984 and 1985; the 45+ in 1987 and 1988; the 50+ from 1992 through 1996; the 55+ from 1997 through 2001; the 60+ in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006; the 65+ in 2007 through 2011; and the 70+ in 2012. Nelson was awarded NYSquash’s Eddie Standing Trophy in 1974 (for exceptional sportsmanship), the Herbert Fischbach Trophy in 1989 (for winning his last Metropolitan Open), the President’s Prize in 1972 and 1974 (for highest winning percentage in league play) and the Bigelow Cup in 1977 (for outstanding performance).

Below is an excerpt from the BEST Friends Issue #1 Alumni Profiles.

John G. (Jay) Nelson ‘62

Baseball was actually my favorite sport growing up in Saugus, Mass. in post-WWll America, but once I was introduced to squash at Andover at age 16, I was hooked. I was lucky enough to be coached at Harvard by Corey Wynn and the legendary Jack Barnaby from 1959-1962. Not only did they shape my emerging game to suit my strengths and weaknesses, but they also fostered in me, as in so many others, an awareness that squash was a worthwhile lifetime activity in the context of a balanced life, and, specifically, as they presented it, an opportunity to nurture one's competitive spirit, sense of fair play, fitness, and appreciation of camaraderie. In addition to those coaches, I also benefited from playing with many, many gifted and committed (and competitive!) teammates on the Harvard teams of 1960, 1961 and 1962. The highest ladder position I was able to attain was #5. And speaking of Harvard players, doesn't it make us all proud that Harvard squash grads--starting with George Polsky and Tim Wyant -- figure so prominently in the urban squash outreach world! 
    Upon graduation I enlisted in the Army for 3 years, worked 2 years as a computer programmer (in the 60's, I shoulda' been Gates!), and then spent 2 years at HBS. I then worked for 29 years as a securities analyst on Wall Street, retiring in 1998. With just one break of 2 years I've been playing squash regularly since 1969, primarily at the Harvard Club of NYC--and what a staff there is there, led formerly by the late Milt Russ and now by pro Richard Chin!-- where I'm a member but also, more in the past, at many other clubs around the city. My extended family--especially my sister, Betsy, and my 2 daughters, Steffie and Jenny, have always been very supportive of my squash-playing, never a discouraging word. I am well aware that it could have been otherwise, which would have made a substantial, limiting difference. I think, too, that my grandfather Billie Gillespie having played 8 years around the turn of the last(!) century for the Manchester City soccer team--I've heard they're doing pretty well these days-- was a kind of spur to me in sports. 
     My life has been much enriched by the Harvard Squash experience. My national age-group titles (28 National Singles titles, 23 softball, including the last 19 in a row allowing for one year I didn't play because I had the flu, as well as 5 hardball) are of course great, a source of some recognition for me and, I hope, Harvard within the squash community. But, let me tell you, at 70, playing a competitive match at the Harvard Club of New York at lunchtime with one of my squash pals on a weekday, or even working alone on a court afterwards for 10 minutes on--will I ever succeed?-- better disguising my forehand drop shot, it sometimes strikes me with full force: this has got to be the best sport there is!

Hameed Ahmed Joins Coaching Staff


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Hameed Ahmed will join the Harvard squash coaching staff as an assistant coach.  Ahmed comes to Harvard after spending the previous two seasons at his alma mater, the University of Rochester, as an assistant coach. During his time at Rochester he made a big impact on the squash program, coaching six athletes that earned All-America honors, 10 athletes that were named All-Liberty League and one athlete that was tabbed as Liberty League Player of the Year. Ahmed saw his team win back-to-back league titles and land the No. 5 spot in the national rankings for two consecutive seasons.

During his collegiate career at Rochester, Ahmed was a three time All-America selection and served as team captain for three seasons.  The squad moved from the No. 16 spot in the nation to as high as No. 2 during the 2009-10 campaign.  Ahmed has also played for the Finnish National Team at six European Team Championships and three World Team Championships. He has won seven Finnish Junior Championships as well as three European Junior Grand Prix titles.

Ahmed earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2011. He was one of Finland’s 2007 Fulbright Undergraduates who received a scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies in the United States. Ahmed also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

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