When squash captain Barrett Takesian '12 transferred to Bowdoin his sophomore year, he started off at the bottom of the ladder. Now, just two years later, Takesian is one of only two Polar Bears to have won more than half his matches, and, after leading the Polar Bears with six individual wins in the Maine Event tournament this past weekend, has a 13-3 individual record this season.
He went undefeated in the tournament, winning matches against players from Drexel, Boston College, Vermont, MIT, Brown, and George Washington.
Takesian admitted that he is often affected by nerves.
"People who watch me play think I'm 100 percent confident, but I don't always necessarily think I'm going to win," he said.
"Before matches, my teammates will find me alone in the locker room with the lights off blasting 'Icky Thump' and doing push-ups," he added. "It gets me pumped up."
A Falmouth native, Takesian learned how to play squash from his father while living in Boston at the age of six.
"I was obsessed," he said. "There was some serious appeal to just smacking a ball against a wall with a racket for hours on end. It's intense, you know? You're stuck in a little glass box with just one other guy for an hour, trying to beat him."
He took a brief hiatus from the game, however, during his first year at Santa Clara University in California, where squash is almost nonexistent.
The following year, he joined the Bowdoin team, and quickly improved under the tutelage of Head Coach Tomas Fortson.
"Our coach forces us to stay low, which basically means we want to play the entire match in a lounge position," said Takesian. "Once I embraced that, I realized I could cover the entire court and push the tempo faster than my opponents."
Takesian still stays in touch with his high school coach from Milton Academy, Frank Millet, who still plays squash well into his 90s. Takesian asserts he will probably do the same.
"I'll be playing squash forever," he said. "As long as my knees work, I'll be playing."
Takesian will need to prove himself again this weekend as he prepares to lead the No. 5-seeded Polar Bears in the NESCAC tournament, and later again this month in the NCAA tournament.
Above all this weekend, Takesian said, he wants to "bring the fire."