Seckendorf ’20 powers Bruno to victory over Dickinson

Sophomore battles back from two-game deficit to lead no. 11 Brown team to 9-0 home win

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 26, 2018

The women’s squash team earned its second straight win last Thursday with a 9-0 victory over Dickinson College. The team, ranked 11th in the nation, was led by Hannah Seckendorf ’20. Playing in the number one slot, Seckendorf fought back from a two-game deficit in a best-of-five sets match to claim victory.

Seckendorf, a sophomore from New York, also won a match by three sets to one in a 7-2 victory over No. 16 Amherst College two days prior. For her outstanding performance this season, Seckendorf has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: Congratulations on the win last week. How did it feel to fight back and win in a tough match?

Seckendorf: It’s definitely tough mentally. I know many other people on my team who struggle with negative self-talk on the court when things start to not go in their direction. But what’s really helpful is that each court has three people that play on it, so every time I come off the court I have teammates that sit me down, coach me and help me get out of my own head. We also recently got a new assistant coach, Arthur (Gaskin), who is definitely helpful at taking that energy and making it into intensity and positive anger, rather than anger directed at myself.

Why did you choose to play squash? Were you involved in any other sports too?

I definitely sampled a bunch of sports. I loved ice hockey and gymnastics, but when I tried squash for the first time, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I just stumbled upon it by chance, since neither of my parents played, but I loved it because it was really quick-paced, athletic and could be played in any season. 

When did you decide you wanted to play squash in college?

I suppose that I didn’t think about it much until I got to high school. I started to meet people who were a few years older than me in the Junior Squash Circuit and saw them go to college and love their college teams. I realized how cool it would be to have a team experience while in college. So, in my junior winter, I started the whole recruitment process, receiving and sending out emails and calling coaches.

Why did you choose Brown?

I chose Brown mostly because, when I did my official visit, I fell in love with the team. I thought they were a bunch of nice, smart people who cared about both squash and their school work. I was really certain when I visited that this was the team dynamic that I wanted, since I think that is really crucial to being happy and performing well in a sport. I’d say the people make the place.

What’s your favorite part of playing squash at Brown?

My favorite part about it is to be with a mostly consistent small group of girls, to see them grow as athletes and to support each other in the process. Squash is an individual sport, and when I did it in high school, it was either individual or on the boys’ high school team, since I was the only girl in my high school that played squash. To be supported by and be able to support a bunch of female athletes has been really inspirational. 

The team is ranked 11th in the nation. Can you reflect on the season so far?

We had a really tough start to the season. We played Stanford University, Penn and Princeton back-to-back-to-back and traveled a lot. Those are all really strong teams, and we had a surprising number of competitive matches against them. I think everyone rose to the occasion and played really well. But it also had the potential to be really hard on morale because we did lose all of those matches. But it was really cool to see that when we played both Amherst and Dickinson — opponents that were not so far out of our league — we were all ready to step it up. We showed a lot of respect to our opponents and a lot of respect to ourselves and played really well. So I’d say that we’re on the upswing right now.

What are your personal and team goals for the rest of the season?

For personal goals, I’m trying to get a bit of a better hold on my mental game. You mentioned that I went down two games and came back to win three games, but I want to cut out the two games that I lost in the beginning. It requires a mental flip to do that, and I think that I could do that more efficiently. For the team, we have a lot of really close matches coming up against our two big rivals, Dartmouth and Cornell. I know that every year, we come really close, and last year we ended up losing to both of them at (the 2017 Women’s National Team Championships). I think that we’re going to come into the season with some revenge for those teams.

Do you have any aspirations to play squash after college?

Right now, I want to take a year to go pro. I don’t want to take more than a year, since I don’t see a future in professional squash. But the international squash community is really tight-knit, so I already know people in a bunch of different countries who play that would be willing to host me and would want to train me. So I’d love to take squash pro, partly as an excuse to travel the world and have that community. But also, I’ve never had the opportunity to solely focus on my athletics, since I’ve always been a student athlete. I’ve always been curious about how strong I could get and how fast I could get, and it would be cool to take a year and figure that out.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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