HomeArticles2024 Richey and Skillman Award Finalists Announced

2024 Richey and Skillman Award Finalists Announced

The CSA announces Meagan Best of University of Virginia, Wen Li Lai of Cornell University and Marina Stefanoni of Harvard University as the 2024 Richey Award finalists. Veer Chotrani of Cornell University, Mohamed Sharaf of Trinity College and Siow Yee Xian of Yale University are named the 2024 Skillman Award finalists.

Top candidates for the Richey Award are those players who best exemplify the ideals of squash in their love of and devotion to the game, their strong sense of fairness, and their excellence in play and leadership. Nominees are also praised for their cooperation with opponents, coaches, and competition officials and their overall contributions to intercollegiate squash. 

The Skillman Award is the top honor in men’s college squash, given each year to a senior student-athlete who has displayed outstanding sportsmanship and skill throughout their college career. These individuals are evaluated on their on-court poise and demeanor, skill level and ability in the game of squash, team play, contributions to intercollegiate squash, leadership, and cooperation with players, coaches, and tournament officials. 

The recipient of the 2024 Betty Richey and Skillman Award will be announced during the CSA@100 Patron Event on Friday, March 1 starting at 5:00 p.m. We welcome you to join us in celebrating these impressive individuals and celebrate 100 years of college squash. Become a patron! 

The Richey Award is presented by the Aziz Family, strong supporters of the College Squash Association and Yale Squash. 

Finalists are listed in alphabetical order:

Betty Richey Award Finalists 

Meagan Best, University of Virginia

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Meagan Best’s devotion to the game is clear in her success over the course of her career. Best is the most decorated women’s player in University of Virginia’s program with a list of accolades that includes 2x All-America selections, 2x First-Team All-Conference selections and conference Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors. Meagan was also named Most Improved Player by her team as she continuously works to improve, finding herself as a top female competitor in the CSA. 

Virginia’s coaches shared their praise of Best’s character and career: “These individual achievements reflect the extraordinary talent and dedication that Meagan possesses. But it is the way that she shares her gifts with the entire program that makes her such a special player and such a valuable member of our team and our community. Over the course of her career at UVA, Meagan has afforded her coaches and teammates countless moments of joy, excitement, and laughter. Her ability to activate a ferocious on-court persona and style of play while remaining fair, honest, and poised in the most intense matches makes her the sort of player that people love to watch and love to root for”.

Wen Li Lai, Cornell University 

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Wen Li Lai embodies all the qualities of a leader in our sport. She has had an impressive career with selections to the First-Team All-America, Second-Team All-America and First-Team All-Ivy while winning over 73% of her college career matches. 

Cornell’s Head Coach, David Palmer, boasted about Lai’s game and character: “I have never seen another player so invested and she truly cares so much about her teammate’s day-to-day care and well-being. I will always remember Wen Li for her love of the game with a continuous smile no matter what the situation is. It has been a privilege to have been Wen Li’s coach and very proud of everything she has achieved. She is truly one of the finest representatives of the game that I ever had the pleasure to work with. And she is, without a doubt, a deserving candidate for the 2024 Betty Richey Award”.

Marina Stefanoni, Harvard University

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Marina Stefanoni will leave a memorable mark in Harvard’s program. After her freshman season was canceled due to COVID, Stefanoni set out on a successful college squash career. Earning consistent First-Team All-America and First-Team All-Ivy honors, she has found herself as one of the top female competitors in the CSA. She has reached the semifinals twice at the National Collegiate Individual Championships. Stefanoni’s leadership has contributed to her team’s success in the National Collegiate Women’s Team Championships. 

The Harvard coaches cannot say enough about her impact on their program: “While she will graduate as a highly decorated competitor, what makes Marina truly stand out is her exceptional attitude and sense of fair play. She gives every bit of effort she possesses in each match while treating her opponents with the highest level of respect. Marina has been a leader for our team on and off the court. She was voted co-captain by her teammates for this season. She has excelled in the classroom and earned the CSA Scholar-Athlete Award (2022-23). She is a remarkably mature young woman with a wonderful sense of humor who always brings a team-first attitude to our individual sport. She has led her team to 2 national titles and three Ivy championships. Next year, she will bolster the reputation of college squash internationally as she embarks on her PSA career”.

Skillman Award Finalists 

Veer Chotrani, Cornell University

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Veer Chotrani is one of the most successful men’s squash players in Cornell University history. His career statistics speak for themself as Veer is a 3x First Team All-American and 3x All-Ivy, Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Veer was a quarter-finalist at the Individual Championship in 2022 and a Semi-Finalist in 2023.

Cornell coaches reflect on what Chotrani has meant to their program: “The way Veer approaches the game is the type of example that you would want junior players to learn and follow. His sportsmanship and fairness are the best I have seen in my college coaching career. Coaching Veer has been an absolute privilege, and he has pushed our entire program to grow and improve. His teammates love him for not only how hard he works to be the best, but for the constant support he shows them”.

Mohamed Sharaf, Trinity University 

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Mohamed Sharaf has been a leader since the beginning of his college squash career. His first season was canceled due to COVID, but he didn’t let that stop him from succeeding. Sharaf is a decorated player holding First-Team All-America, Second-Team All-America, 2x NESCAC Player of the Year, 2x All-NESCAC honors. In addition to this impressive list of accolades, Sharaf is also the current defending National Collegiate Men’s Individual Champion.

Trinity’s Head Men’s Squash Coach, Moustafa Hamada, is honored to have coached such an outstanding individual and speaks to the positive impact he has had on their program: “Sharaf consistently brings an elite mentality and a relentless drive to improve in every practice session. His work ethic and determination are also mirrored in the classroom, embodying the essence of a student-athlete. Despite a setback when he lost the deciding match in the team finals, Sharaf showcased incredible resilience by bouncing back to secure the individual title just a week later. As a senior co-captain, Sharaf has led his peers by example on and off the court. Playing at the #1 comes with its challenges, but Mohamed has handled the pressure with high sportsmanship and respect”.

Siow Yee Xian, Yale University 

(photo: Michael T. Bello)

Siow Yee Xian sets an incredibly high standard both on and off the court with his academic rigor, athletic achievement, and model sportsmanship. Along with his remarkable character and leadership, Siow Yee Xian is an honored individual with First-Team All-America, Second-Team All-America, First-Team All-Ivy selection. 

Yale coaches cannot say enough about his impact on and off the court: “His academic achievements underscore the discipline and intelligence he applies to every facet of his life, highlighting his understanding of the importance of a well-rounded approach to both studies and sport. A quiet leader, he predominantly leads by example. His tireless work ethic, both on and off the courts, sets a standard of excellence that is both inspiring and instructive. His actions on the court demonstrate the pinnacle of sportsmanship and skill, while his thoughtful preparation and conduct off the court reflect a deep-seated respect for his responsibilities as a student, athlete, and role model. This unique blend of leadership does not necessitate grand speeches or overt gestures; instead, Siow’s consistent demonstration of dedication, respect, and excellence speaks volumes, guiding his peers through a path of impactful mentorship. It is no wonder he is one of the most respected members of our team and among his peers in college squash”.