By Michael T. Bello
Published Feb 21, 2012 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated May 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM ET

Northampton, MA — The Richey Award is given annually to the women’s college squash player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love of and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership.

Coaches consult with their teams and vote on the candidates at the Women’s National Team Championships (Howe Cup). Each school has two votes: a team vote and a coach’s vote.

This year, there were many talented nominees. The Executive Committee selected the three finalists for the Richey Award (listed alphabetically):

Katie Giovinazzo (Princeton University): As a first-year student, Giovinazzo’s victory in the Howe Cup finals helped the Tigers earn a 5-4 victory in the 2009 National Team Championships. Last season, she won the Holleran Cup, the second division at the national intercollegiate individual tournament. “Katie has a genuine love of the game which she displays in her commitment to fair play and unconditional respect for all her opponents,” states Princeton coach Gail Ramsay. Ramsay adds that Giovinazzo, Princeton’s co-captain, “has steadily over her four years developed the leadership skills that have helped make her teammates contenders year in and year out for the national team championship.”

Nirasha Guruge (Harvard University): Throughout her four years at Harvard, Guruge has amassed an impressive squash resume. She won Ivy League rookie of the year honors as a first year player, was twice first team All-American, and once a second team All-American. The senior co-captain helped Harvard capture the 2009 – 2010 Howe Cup and Ivy League title. This year, her 11-1 record has helped the Crimson earn the Ivy League title and enter the post season undefeated.

Alicia Rodriguez (Trinity College): Rodriguez, a chemistry major, shot up the Trinity ladder the past few years to 3rd. During that time, the senior co-captain has inspired her teammates. She is known for tremendous drive. According to Trinity coach Wendy Bartlett, Rodriguez  “hustles all over the court and fights to take her matches to five games. We’re just lucky to have a fantastic role model for the rest of our team.” According to Rodriguez, “If the other players can see my desire to improve and become a better player, they will maybe have an extra motivation to work hard for the team.” During her three years at Trinity, Rodriguez has a 44-10 record, which includes a 5-1 combined record in the past two Howe Cups. Rodriguez was the co-winner of Trinity’s 2010 – 2011 Burbank Award for positive attitude.