With graduation about a month away, I thought it was a good time to catch up with some of Penn’s best senior athletes and ask them all about their time in college, their favorite moments and their future plans after graduation. Let’s call it Senior Spotlight. (Real creative, right?)
To start things off, I talked to one of the best athletes at Penn: squash player Kristen Lange. A four-time first team All-American, the Woodinville, Washington native advanced to the individual national championship three straight years before falling in the semifinals her senior season. She also consistently led her team to deep runs at the Howe Cup.
Even though her college career ended in the semifinals and short of her ultimate goal of winning a national championship, Lange said, “I’m not bitter our upset I went out in that match.”
Here’s more reflection from Penn’s premier squash player:
On her decision to come to Penn: “I was on the West Coast so it was important to try to experience other cultures. West Coast and East Coast cultures are completely different. It was important for me to learn things from people here.”
Time devoted to squash over the past four years: About 3 ½ hour per day. “Freshman year it was a huge adjustment. I took calculus, bio and French 140 and was a little bit over my head. After that semester, I was fine. It was all about finding a routine.”
Favorite part about college squash: The camaraderie with teammates. “Aside from a couple of years of soccer in junior high, I never played a team sport. Squash was always very individual. Being able to captain a team spot was the best thing for me.”
Best squash moment at Penn: Comeback win over Princeton her sophomore year. “We had lost the first four matches and I was one of the last matches to play. I was sick with the stomach flu that day and lost the third game and told (coach) Jack (Wyant) I was going to throw up. I asked, ‘Can we win this?’ He said, ‘Yes we can.” So I went back out on the court and won, and then my teammate, Tara Chawla, who was celebrating her 21st birthday, won an insane match in five. We rushed the court and all hugged her. I was sick as a dog for the next three days but coming back from 4-0 in squash is pretty big.”
Favorite part of Penn away from the squash courts: Being tabbed to be in the Friars Senior Society. “One of my favorite parts is going to all of the performances. I have so much respect for all of them. I don’t think I would have seen that if I would have gone to another school.”
Favorite restaurant: Distrito. “The sangria there is amazing.”
Thoughts on graduation: “I’m looking forward to it. I think like anyone I’m nervous about it but really excited. It’s one of those things where you cannot believe it’s been four years at Penn already. I’m sure everyone says that.”
Future plans: Turn pro in the Women’s International Squash Players Tour, before going to med school. “Squash is a huge sport internationally. I’d really like to make some money before doing anything, and I’d be getting the chance to travel around the world. I’m not sure that’s going to be a career for me. I want to eventually go into biothetics or go to med school. For me, that’s the end goal. But I’m young. Why not get this experience while the economy is not the greatest? I’d get to do things most people only get to dream about.