Freshman Knocks Off Defending National Champion Laura Gemmell for Ramsay Cup
HANOVER, N.H. – Yale freshman Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire, U.K.) provided the final highlight for Yale's memorable 2010-11 season, defeating Harvard's Laura Gemmell for the Ramsay Cup as the individual national champion in women's squash Sunday afternoon at Dartmouth's Berry Center. Tomlinson becomes the first freshman to win the title for Yale; the Bulldogs have had five individual champions overall. Her victory adds to a season that also saw Yale take home the Ivy League and national titles while going undefeated at 17-0.
Tomlinson won 3-0 on Sunday, capping an incredible run through the brackets -- she did not lose a game in her five matches against some of the best players in the country. Sunday's performance was perhaps her most impressive, as she handed Gemmell -- the defending national champion -- the first loss of Gemmell's two-year career.
Tomlinson has been on a run of her own; after dropping the first match of her career she has won every one 3-0 since. Still, she entered the championship seeded No. 7, and had to pull off an upset of No. 2 seed Catalina Pelaez of Trinity to make it through the quarterfinals. She then swept Harvard's Nirasha Gurgue in the semifinals on Saturday night to set up Sunday's showdown with Gemmell. Ironically, another Bulldog -- senior captain Logan Greer -- had come within a game of ending Gemmell's streak during Yale's win over Harvard for the Howe Cup two weeks ago.
The first game was tightly contested, a 12-10 win in which Gemmell rallied back from a 4-1 deficit to tie things at 10 before Tomlinson finally put her away. After an 11-3 win in the second game, Tomlinson was once again pushed by Gemmell in the third after jumping to an early 7-2 lead. With Tomlinson ahead 10-9, Gemmell hit the tin and the Yale freshman was officially a champion.
"All of us at Yale are so proud of Millie and the way she performed over the three-day championship," said Yale head coach Dave Talbott. "To not only win the title but do it without the loss of a game is amazing. She has achieved so much respect from her peers for not only her talent but her sportsmanship and clean play. Millie capped an incredible season for Yale women's squash, including an undefeated regular season, an Ivy title, a national team championship, Logan Greer's winning of the Betty Richey MVP Award, and a national singles championship. Millie put the icing on the cake of a dream season for the Yale women."
Adding to Sunday's storyline was the fact that Tomlinson was initially planning to return home to the U.K. for spring break this weekend instead of playing; Talbott convinced her to change her flight and take part in the championship.
Four of Yale's individual championships have come in the last eight years, giving the Bulldogs more than any other school in that span.
Yale Women's Squash Individual National Champion
Ramsay Cup Winners
1991 Berkeley Belknap
2004 Michelle Quibell
2005 Michelle Quibell
2008 Miranda Ranieri
2011 Millie Tomlinson
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity