By Anne Bello
Published Aug 9, 2010 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Aug 8, 2010 at 8:22 PM ET

New Haven, CT — The Chaffee Award was presented to coach Sakhi Khan and the Colby College Mules at the 2010 Women’s National Team Championships (Howe Cup).

Named for former Williams coach Clarence C. Chaffee, the Chaffee Award is given annually to a coach whose team has demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, teamwork, character, and improvement. Teams are evaluated on these qualities as well as their work ethic and friendliness to other teams.

The Mules certainly demonstrated improvement from last season. After finishing 23rd in the nation in 2009, they improved and ended the 2010 season ranked 16th. They were recognized for their work, winning the 2010 Most Improved Team Award.

Much of the character of the Colby squad can be attributed to their seniors: Maddie Dufour, Jessica Kravetz, Caroline Reaves, Kaeley Shepard, and captain Samantha Smith. Smith’s efforts in particular stand out. She received Colby’s Pamela Hoyt-Sanborn Award for her contributions to the Mules’ squash program. According to Colby Athletics, Smith “is one just four athletes in all NESCAC sports to earn all-league, all-sportsmanship, and all-academic honors the last two years in a row. She was a NESCAC All-Sportsmanship selection for the past three years. The lone captain this season for women’s squash, Smith played four straight years as the number one position player.” Fittingly, Smith’s college career was bookended by team sportsmanship awards; the Mules also won the 2007 Chaffee Award, during her first year of college play.

The Mules will open the 2010-2011 season against the 2009 Chaffee Award winner, Wellesley, on November 21.