All in the Family

 

Smith siblings, top women's and men's squash players, lead by example

By Alexandra Desaulniers '11
Photography by Jeff Earickson
 

Harry and Samantha Smith
Harry Smith '12 and Samantha Smith '10 on the squash courts.
Around the Colby squash courts, it’s known as “the Smith factor.”

Samantha Smith ’10 and Harry Smith ’12, siblings from Locust Valley, N.Y., are each number one on their respective teams—“the first time in Colby squash history,” said Coach Sahki Khan of the sister-brother top billing. “It’s exciting.”

And the family factor is just the beginning.

The Smiths are not only co-number ones, they’re also team leaders who set the standard for both play and preparation. In other words, there’s no room for complacency in the Smith court. “Both of them have brought up the standard in overall team dedication,” Kahn said. “They are players who like to see people push themselves.”

Said Harry Smith, “I love the competition and working to improve.”

So far, so good for the top players and their teams. As this story was going to press, the women’s team was 4-0 and ranked 21st nationally after wins against William Smith (6-3) and Connecticut College (7-2), with Samantha Smith 3-1, including a wild 3-2 loss against the top Northeastern player. Harry Smith won his opening two matches at the number-one spot as the men’s team cruised to a 7-2 win over MIT and a 6-3 victory against Northeastern in November.

Last year both Smiths competed in the national individual championships and earned NESCAC honors for their outstanding seasons. “Both of them are grinders,” Khan said. “They dig down deep and they stay in matches as long as they can. [Samantha] never gives up. You can’t count her out.”

The Smiths grew up around squash courts, Harry picking up a racquet when he was 6, and Samantha, after watching her little brother play for a number of years, taking up squash in eighth grade.

Despite the years of practice, the Smiths agree there is always room for improvement, mentally and physically. “It is just as much about playing against your opponent mentally as it is about your physical endurance or strength,” Samantha said. Harry said he goes in feeling that no opponent is unbeatable. “It all depends on how hard you train and how hard you push yourself,” he said.

Harry and Samantha SmithBut both find time for a rigorous academic schedule. Off the court Harry is an economics major with a concentration in international economics and an art minor. He plays on the golf team in the spring. Samantha Smith is due to graduate in the spring as an English major with a double minor in economics and administrative science. With all of that, squash provides an outlet. “It’s a great break in our afternoons, a stress relief, especially before getting back to all the homework and papers,” said Samantha.

Last year, both Harry and Samantha Smith were named to the NESCAC Winter All-Sportsmanship Second Team, which recognizes outstanding student-athletes dedicated to sportsmanship. In a sport where the players referee themselves and their opponents, sportsmanship is especially important.

Khan said he was looking forward to a successful season with the Smiths at the top of their team ladders. And there’s another advantage to the sibling duo. “If I ever want to relay a strong message to Harry, Samantha is always a good way,” the coach said. “He really pays attention to his older sister.”
 
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