Northampton, MA — The Skillman Award is given annually to a senior men’s squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career. It is the “Heisman Trophy” of men’s college squash.
Coaches consult with their teams and vote on the candidates at the coaches’ meeting at the Men’s National Team Championships.
This year, there are four outstanding candidates for the Skillman Award (listed alphabetically):
Hameed Ahmed (University of Rochester): Ahmed has been part of the transformation of squash at the University of Rochester. Prior to his arrival on campus, the team finished the 2006 – 2007 season ranked 16th. Currently, the Yellowjackets are ranked 4th in the nation. Despite a chronic back injury, Ahmed, a three-year captain, has twice earned Second Team All-American honors. According to Rochester coach Martin Heath, “as he prepares to leave college and embark on working life, Hameed is a great advert for the diversity, academic excellence, leadership, team spirit, and sportsmanship that our collegiate squash experience strives towards.”
Adrian Leanza (Brown University): Fitness is the secret to Leanza’s squash game. He taught himself to play squash as a teenager in Colorado. His fitness and strength allow him to stay on court for hours. Brown coach Stuart leGassick reports that recently a match spectator was overheard saying of the triple major, “Goodness – how does he find time to study if he plays rallies this long?” The senior captain simply enjoys playing squash. Win or lose, Leanza’s demeanor on or off the court remains calm. His poise when confronted with ungentlemanly opponents is remarkable; he simply smiles and looks at the referee to see what should happen.
David Letourneau (Princeton University): Letourneau, an aerospace and mechanical engineering major, is Princeton’s captain. In his four years at Princeton, he has received the honor of being named twice named to the All-Ivy team, a Second Team All- American, and twice a First-Team All American. Letourneau enjoys interacting with his opponents. He is often found talking with opposing teams before, during, and after a big team match. “In my thirty years of playing and coaching squash, I have never met anyone who so epitomizes the ideals we preach each day to our kids – sportsmanship, fair play, respect for the opponent, effort, honesty, friendship, and love of the game,” says Princeton coach Bob Callahan.
Parth Sharma (Trinity College): Sharma, an economics major, has been a quiet but respected leader on the 12-time Men’s National Team Champion Trinity College team. During his four-year career, he has amassed an individual record of 65-5 and been named a First Team All-American three times. According to Trinity coach Paul Assaiante, “He is the quiet leader of our team, the first one in and the last one out daily. His understanding of the game is profound, and he has helped me with the daily practice organization for four years.”