Cambridge, MA — At the women’s College Squash Associations National Team tournament (Howe Cup), the 2009 Chaffee Award was presented to coach Wendy Berry and her Wellesley Blue Pride team. The Chaffee Award is given annually to a coach whose team has demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, teamwork, character, and improvement.
Although Wellesley has a strong tradition of squash — the school first fielded a team in 1940 and hosted the first two women’s national championships in 1965 and 1966 — the past few years have presented the team with a series of challenges. During the summer of 2005, Wellesley shifted squash from a varsity to a club sport. The college cited the lack of international courts as the reason for the change.
Despite the move to club status, student-athlete participation, performance, and commitment to the program remained high. The club team formed a partnership with the Dana Hall School, a nearby women’s preparatory school that had recently built four international squash courts.
After two seasons as a club, Wellesley reinstated the team’s varsity status in 2007 – 2008. The school hired Wendy Berry to coach the new varsity team. Berry has an extensive coaching career, which includes teaching collegiate, professional, and national players. During her playing career, Berry represented England in numerous international competitions.
Persevering through an injury-plagued season, the team often had to compete with less than a full nine-player roster. The squad’s victories over Smith, Boston College, and Colgate earned the Blue Pride the thirty-first position in the season-ending rankings.