Bowdoin College’s Zach Linhart and Peter Cipriano captured the 2007 National Intercollegiate Hardball Doubles Championship this spring at the University Club in New York, with successive wins over Princeton, No. 1 seed Yale and Bates.
Linhart, a senior co-captain of Bowdoin’s squash team, and Cipriano, a first-year player, defeated Bates’ Ricky Weisskopf and Sean Wilkinson, 3-1 (13, (9), 9 and 11) in a surprisingly all-Maine final to win the traditional Ketcham Cup in the tournament’s 20th year.
After knocking off Princeton 3-0 in the quarterfinals, Linhart and Cipriano battled back from a 15-4 pounding in the fourth game of the semifinal against Yale’s Todd Ruth and Ethan Oetter to win, 3-2.
The Bates players defeated one of two teams from Amherst and then Navy to reach the final. El Salvador-native Weisskopf lost the singles (Cummings Cup) final to Kimlee Wong of Princeton just before the doubles final—his first experience with hardball doubles.
The Ketcham Cup, started in 1988, was named for the late Treddy Ketcham, squash legend and seven-time senior doubles champion who almost single-handedly revived the intercollegiate tournament in the early 1990s. While players from several premier squash schools, including Trinity and Harvard, did not take part this year, the victory by the Bowdoin team remains a significant and timely achievement. Bowdoin College is planning to tear down the only US doubles court north of Boston to expand its fitness facilities, though a new doubles court is included in its long-term plans for expansion of the new Lubin facility.
Weisskopf and Wilkinson gained a share of revenge in early May when they edged Linhart and Cipriano 3-2 in a see-saw final of the 2007 Maine State Doubles Tournament at Bowdoin. The spring tournament also featured a dazzling exhibition of hardball doubles with an ISDA tour team, Doug Lifford and Pat Malloy, overcoming former Franklin & Marshall teammates Morris Clothier and Chris Spahr 3-2 before a capacity crowd for an older, enclosed court.
Clothier, nine-time US Open champion and head of the US Squash Doubles Committee, and his colleagues then discussed the surge in the popularity of hardball doubles, the ISDA tour and various doubles shots and tactics for the players and spectators.
The veterans’ draw was won by Paul Yaphe and Kerrie Martin, from Montreal, who despite similar 2-1 records, edged out Hody White (Brunswick, ME) and Robin Ledwith, (Camden, ME) on fewer games lost.