Sophomore Hallie Dewey is a player in the top nine of the women’s squash team. Dewey contributed to the team’s fourth-place finish at the Howe Cup last year and will play in the team’s three remaining Ivy League matches this weekend. Greenwich, Conn. is Dewey’s hometown, but attending Deerfield put her at odds with Greenwich Academy. Dewey recently sat down with the ‘Prince’ to discuss sibling rivalry, “Homeland” and Forbesian cockroaches.
Q: What is your role on the squash team at Princeton?
A: I play in the top nine, and I’ve played in the top nine for the last two years. I like to push my teammates every day in practice. Squash is hard because it’s both an individual sport and a team sport. Each day it’s about doing the best you can while also pushing your teammates.
Q: What are some of your athletic accomplishments?
A: I played lacrosse in high school, and I was All-American in that my senior year, and in squash at Deerfield I was number one for a few years. [During my] senior year we beat Greenwich Academy, which was my hometown high school.
Q: How did you get started playing squash?
A: My dad played, so he introduced it to me. I have a twin sister, so when we were little, we both picked it up. We both always wanted to be better than the other, so being competitive early on helped.
Q: Fraternal or identical sister?
Q: And where is she now?
A: She plays squash at Middlebury, so we both continue to play.
Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?
A: Greenwich, Conn. It’s definitely a big squash town. It’s on the smaller side, so everyone knows who everyone else is. Definitely very competitive.
Q: If you could change one aspect of your game, what would it be?
A: Probably to be more accurate. Sometimes I try to be too tricky and hit the unexpected shot, and I trick myself sometimes. I should try to be more simple when I play.
Q: What was your “welcome-to-college” moment?
A: I think it was walking into a dorm that I did not believe was a dorm, which was [in] Forbes, and being right on the golf course. I was so excited and also having people to move my stuff up - I was not expecting that. My roommate, Jenny Zhang, an international student from New Zealand, barged into the room, and she was so enthusiastic and exciting. When I heard her accent, I just immediately liked her.
Q: Where I am from, “squash” is usually a vegetable and not a sport. Have you ever needed to explain this distinction to someone after telling them you play squash?
A: Yeah, I occasionally get that. I usually start by asking people if they know about racquetball, and most people have heard of it. It’s very similar to that. Most people ask, “So you play in a box?” and I just say, “Yeah, it’s pretty much a box.”
Q: What are some of the less obvious differences between squash and other racquet sports like tennis? Do many athletes ultimately choose between playing squash and tennis?
A: The main difference between tennis and squash is that in squash you are on the same side as your opponent, and there’s a lot of physical contact, but technically they are the complete opposite. In tennis, you generally want topspin, and squash is slicing. I think they’re both just hand-eye coordination.
Q: Do you ever play tennis?
A: Yeah, during the summers I play against my sister.
Q: You have the Ivy League Championships coming up in a couple of weeks. Are you nervous or excited at all for that?
A: I’m very excited for that. Our team has been looking very good so far this year. We’ve all been working so hard, and I think beating Harvard gave everyone a huge confidence boost. Everyone has stepped it up in the last few days at practice, and it is looking good, but I don’t want to jinx anything.
Q: Why Princeton?
A: I loved the team, and I knew a bunch of the girls because I played junior squash. Squash is such a small sport that you pretty much get to know everyone very well. Knowing how much time it takes, practicing every day, traveling every weekend, knowing how much time you spend with your teammates, I pretty much based it off of the girls, and I couldn’t be happier.
Q: Public school or private school?
A: Private school. I went to private school my whole life. My parents chose it, and I haven’t known any different.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show or book?
A: Recently, “Homeland.” At the Thanksgiving table, my father was telling us about it. Our whole family decided to watch it, and before we knew it, we watched 10 episodes in a row. My other guilty pleasure is “The Bachelor.”
Q: What’s your dream job?
A: Probably to be on Broadway. I did musicals before high school, but I had to choose between sports and plays.
Q: What are you studying here at Princeton?
Q: Do you have any unusual fears?
A: Thanks to Forbes, stink bugs and cockroaches. I found a cockroach in my bed the other day, and I didn’t sleep in my bed for a week.
Q: Wikipedia tells me that there is an effort to qualify squash as an event in the 2020 Olympics. What are your thoughts on this? Any chance that future Princeton athletes would make that hypothetical 2020 team?
A: A freshman on our team actually just made a video about why it should be in the Olympics, and I definitely want it to be in the Olympics. It would help spread the sport. It’s already growing, but in the United States it’s not as big as it is internationally. Our top few players could go to the Olympics. It’s hard to watch it on TV, though.
Q: The ‘Prince’ has had some very funny past interviews with squash players. Do you have any quirky members on your team this year?
A: Senior captain Julie Cerullo. She’s the most organized person I’ve ever seen. Everything is at the perfect angle. In her locker, her clothes are organized by color. I like to mess with her and switch the left and right shoes.
Q: Are you involved in any other groups on campus?
A: I’m in PACT, Princeton Against Cancer Together.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: My team. Coming down to practice every day and having something totally separate from academics. It can be overwhelming at times. With the amount of time we spend together, we get to know each other very well, sometimes too well. It’s most of the time a good thing.
Q: What’s the worst thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: Walking from Forbes to Jadwin every day is definitely a tough part. There are not many bad things.
Q: If you could visit any part of the planet without worrying about cost or taking time off from school, where would you go?
A: Bora Bora. On those docks with the little Tiki huts. I’ve always wanted to go there.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing squash?
A: Probably play with dogs. I love dogs. I like any kind of animal other than bugs.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
A: I have just about every song from “The Voice,” and people make fun of me for that. There’s also some Backstreet Boys on there.
Q: Do you have any pre-match rituals?
A: Our team goes to the locker room, and we say individual and team goals.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
A: Either to fly or to be invisible. Probably to fly.