Oct. 21, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Andrew McGuinness (Merion Station, Pa.) became only the third freshman in the 55-year history of the playing of the Naval Academy’s Barb Tournament to win the coveted trophy which was established in 1958 by the late Admiral Eugene Fluckey, a Medal of Honor recipient. He joins three-time Barb winner Spencer Wall (1983-84-85) and the only four-time winner of the trophy, 2008 All-American Tucker George (2004-05-06-07).
McGuinness played his way into the finals by defeating two cagey veterans, but opened play with a 3-0 sweep over senior Qasim Idrees, a member of the Mids’ JV program. McGuinness advanced to the quarters where he would battle junior David Koenig (Cincinnati, Ohio). However, McGuinnes easily took the match in three games, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9, and punched his way into the semifinals against one of the favorites heading into the tournament, junior Hunter Bouchard (Greenville, Del.).
McGuinness opened with an 11-4 win, but Bouchard evened the match with an 11-6 victory in game two. McGuinness, however, regrouped and won the match in four thanks to back-to-back 11-5 wins.
Advancing to the championship, McGuinness would meet fellow newcomer Jim Kacergis. An historical meeting, it marked the first time two freshmen played in the finals of the Barb Tournament.
Kacergis’ path to the finals began with a 3-0 win over junior Jack Shinnick (Shrewsburg, N.J.), who played his first two seasons with the JV squad. Sophomore Hunter Beck (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) gave Kacergis a stout challenge, pushing the match to four games. Kacergis picked up an 11-8 win in the first and just edged Beck in the second, 13-11, before Beck extended the match with a game-three victory, 11-6. Kacergis, however, took the decision by way of an 11-4 win in the fourth, setting up a semifinals matchup against fellow freshman, Colin Barry (St. Louis, Mo.). Kacergis cruised to the finals after handing Barry an 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 loss.
McGuinness claimed the Barb Tournament by way of an 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 victory over Kacergis. He trailed just twice in the entire match, twice falling behind in game two. Kacergis jumped out to a 1-0 advantage before falling behind 2-1. He then railled to take a 4-2 advantage, but McGuinness would score four-straight points to take the lead for good.
“As a team we ran to Admiral Fluckey’s grave and Coach Dawson talked to us about the history of the trophy and the legacy Admiral Fluckey left,” said McGuinness. “It was at that point I thought I could be a part of a long-standing tradition, part of something that has a special meaning to the Academy and this program. I’m not sure that it has truly set in just yet.
“I try not to look at my competitor, including my teammates, by what class they are in,” added McGuiness. “Once you are on the court, all of that means nothing. It is pretty remarkable that we (Kacergis and McGuinness) are the first freshmen (pair) to play in the championship.”
The most entertaining match of the afternoon was the battle between Bouchard and Barry. Bouchard took the first game, 11-8, before Barry settled in to take games two and three, 11-8 and 11-2, respectively. The more experienced Bouchard, however, inched his way back into the match with a game-four win and capped the match in the fifth with an 11-4 victory.
The remaining matches of the day went as follows: senior team captain John Tracey (Owings Mills, Md.) won by default over junior Billy Abrams (Wilmington, Del.), who bowed out of the tournament with a back injury; Koenig scored a 3-1 victory over Beck; freshman John Hsu (Jackson Heights, N.Y.) picked up a 3-1 win over junior John Richey (West Hartford, Conn.); and junior Cotter Walker (Orlando, Fla.) swept sophomore Emile Toscano (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 3-0.
The week-long Barb Tournament pits the Navy squash players against one another in a round robin competition which then sets up an elimination tournament. The tournament results determine Navy’s starting lineup to begin the season which is slated to officially kick off the weekend of Nov. 4-6 when the Mids play host to the Navy Invitational. Navy battles Fordham in its opener at 4:00 pm on Nov. 5, followed by a 6:00 pm nightcap against Bard. The Mids also face Johns Hopkins (9:00 am Nov. 5), Drexel (11:00 am Nov. 5), Bucknell (3:00 pm Nov. 5) and Washington (Mo.) (11:00 am Nov. 6) on opening weekend.
2011-12 Navy Squash Ladder
1 - Andrew McGuinness, Fr.
2 - Jim Kacergis, Fr.
3 - Hunter Bouchard, Jr.
4 - Colin Barry, Fr.
5 - John Tracey, Sr.
6 - Billy Abrams, Jr.
7 - David Koenig, Jr.
8 - Hunter Beck, So.
9 - John Hsu, Fr.
10 - John Richey, Jr.
11 - Cotter Walker, Jr.
12 - Emile Toscano, So.
### Go Navy ###