Friday, November 5, 2010

Squash Club competes on a national level

You may think of squash as a vegetable, but it’s also a competitive sport that’s growing in popularity at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Squash Club, an intramural sport club at TRAC, was formed 2 years ago by UIS assistant professor of History Bill Siles and is captained by UIS sophomore Political Science and Global Studies major John Tienken.

The team traveled to Yale University in New Haven, CT last year to compete in their first national competition. Now, they’re getting ready to face off against five teams, including Norte Dame, Purdue, U of I at Urbana-Champaign, Denison University and Kenyon College on Nov. 5-6 at a match in Gambier, OH.

“We’re one of only a handful of teams in the Midwest,” said Tienken. “Squash is mainly a popular sport out east and out in California.”

The lack of other teams in the Midwest means lots of travel for the seven-man team. They’re not only hoping the sport will grow in popularity regionally, but on the UIS campus as well.

“We need to get to a nine-man team to play for National Squash Championship, but that’s going to take in addition to adding members it’s going to take a lot of experience,” said Siles.

Squash is played on the same court as racquetball, except the walls are moved closer together. The sport has a thinner racket and players use a black ball to try and hit red targets on the wall.

“It’s an addictive sport. Anyone who hasn’t tried squash yet you need to at least do it once, because once you do it you’re hooked,” said team member Charlie Dobson, a sophomore Legal Studies and Communication major.

The Squash Club hopes that faculty, staff and students at UIS will follow their progress this season as they travel to more national matches and grow as a team.

“We hope that we can win some matches and win some games and establish a reputation for the university,” said Siles.

For more information on the Squash Club contact Bill Siles at or John Tienken at