|Bates alumni Ricky Weisskopf '08 (left) and Sean Wilkinson '08 return to the Bates Squash Center this weekend as part of the Pro Squash Tour's inaugural Bobcat Classic. (File photo)|
LEWISTON, Maine -- In its second season of existence, the Pro Squash Tour (PST) swings into Lewiston this weekend, bringing with it two standout Bates alumni among other stars of the sport, to play this Homecoming Weekend at the Bates Squash Center (56 Alfred Plourde Parkway).
"It's really exciting to host an event like this," Bates squash coach Pat Cosquer told the Lewiston Sun Journal. "Our program is improving, our visibility is improving, and to include the PST, it's another step to that improvement. To get this event to coincide with our alumni weekend is an amazing opportunity and really a unique experience."
All-time Bates great Ricky Weisskopf '08 of El Salvador is the second seed in the tournament, which will also feature his former teammate and Bates captain, Sean Wilkinson '08 of Ireland. A third former Bates star, Kush Mahan '10 of Kenya, has withdrawn from the tournament due to injury. Mahan made his PST debut last year.
In an interesting twist, Wilkinson will face a Egypt's Nour Bahgat in the Bobcat Classic's quarterfinal round -- marking the first time a male and female player will face one another in a PST event. Bahgat, now a senior at Trinity College, won the College Squash Association's women's individual nationals as a first-year with the Bantams in 2009.
"Our theory is, may the best athlete win, regardless of age, gender or nationality," PST founder Joe McManus said in a statement. "This allows completely open competition, and it makes for great competition."
Wilkinson and Bahgat are scheduled to play at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Weisskopf taking on Eric Lamsa of Canada at 12:50 p.m. A third quarterfinal, pitting Americans Adrian Leanza and Edward Columbia against one another, starts at 11:30 a.m. Top-seeded Mohamed El Sherbini of Egypt will receive a bye into the tournament's semifinals, which will begin at 6:30 on Saturday.