As Stanford’s women’s squash prepares for the upcoming matches against Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale and Trinity this weekend, The Stanford Daily’s Elizabeth Trinh sat down with seniors Ariel Posner and Alex Yorke to discuss their shared major, symbolic systems, and to reflect on their four years on the Farm.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Where did your interest in squash originally stem from?
Ariel Posner (AP): I started when I was pretty young. I started when I was 9 [and living in Massachusetts], and it was just the kind of thing where I played a bunch of different sports growing up, and my dad thought I would be good at it. I was a pretty small kid, so I guess it kind of started from him thinking about sports that would be good. I got pushed around a lot in other sports, so squash was good for small people. I continued playing other sports as well, but I got more serious about playing squash in high school, but I started because my dad thought I would be good at it.
Alex Yorke (AY): I’m from Connecticut, and it’s really big on the East Coast in general, and it’s especially big in my town where I’m from. My high school won nationals a lot. We were really good for a high school squash team, so I knew about it through people who were playing it. I just picked it up. Compared to the rest of the people in my high school, I wasn’t amazing, but it was really good because everyone was really good, and I got to play it all the time, so I just got into it that way.
TSD: Just as squash is a lesser-known sport, you’re both majoring in symbolic systems, which is a smaller major. Why did you choose to major in symbolic systems?
AP: I came into Stanford having no idea what I wanted to do. I was totally non-technical. I had never coded before, but I really liked CS because it was the first class that pushed me to think a little bit differently. I just took 106A, and then I took 106B, and that snowballed from there. I like the diversity of classes that you get to choose in symbolic systems.
AY: Similar to Ariel, I came into Stanford having no idea what computer science or symbolic systems were. I began by taking math classes and econ[omic] classes, which is a little bit all over the place. I took CS106A the same quarter that Ariel did, and I really enjoyed it and liked the interdisciplinary aspects of symbolic systems.
TSD: This is your last year playing squash at Stanford, so what can you tell me about your upcoming senior season?
AP: It’s sad because squash has been a big part of my Stanford experience. We have an awesome group of girls this year. On top of being great teammates, everyone is really nice and really focused. Everyone has been working really hard. We have a big weekend coming up this weekend; we’re playing teams that are more closely ranked with us, and we’re looking forward to that.
AY: It’s definitely sad that this is our last season. Squash has been a huge part of my Stanford experience, and it’s weird to think that we won’t be coming to practices next year. Everyone has been super dedicated and motivated this season, and it’s been really exciting. We have a great team this year, and I mean we have a great team every year, but this year especially, everyone has been working really hard for this round of matches because we’re facing some really tough opponents.
TSD: What is your favorite memory or moment that you have from playing squash at Stanford?
AP: My favorite squash moment was our last match at Nationals last year when we played Dartmouth. It was my birthday actually, and for some reason, I felt as if I had the match of my life. I played really well, and I just had a lot of fun. We had just come off a tough loss right before, and I think it meant a lot to me and to the team to finish on a strong note.
AY: If I had to choose one, I would go back to freshman year. I actually got sick during the season. I wasn’t really playing that much. There were four weekends that we traveled, and I only ended up going on one. I also missed practice, and so I didn’t feel as if I knew everyone on the team or the other freshmen. Obviously I had spent time with them, but I didn’t have that bonding experience, so maybe that first trip as a whole when I really got to know all my teammates was something that sticks out for me.
TSD: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
AY: I think Ariel and I joke that Stanford squash is one of Stanford’s best-kept secrets. I think we have a really unique thing going on because we are on the West Coast, and not a lot of people know what squash is. We just get this amazing experience out here that no one really knows about, and so I’ll just always remember what an incredible experience it is playing with each other, and playing with our coaches, and playing here at Stanford.
AP: Alex, I feel as if you said it all. Above all, when I think about the end of the season, I just feel thankful for having this experience, both being able to play to improve my game and getting to know everyone on the team these past four years, including Mark and Richie. They’re the best coaches I’ve had. There is no one I would rather play for. I think being thankful is the strongest feeling I have.
Contact Elizabeth Trinh at entrinh ‘at’ stanford.edu.