Northampton, MA — The finalists for the 2014 Men’s College Squash Association’s Skillman Award have been released: Ali Farag (Harvard University), Nick Sachvie (Cornell University), and John Steele (Wesleyan University).
The Skillman Award is given annually to a senior men’s squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career. This award is named for former Yale coach John Skillman, who led the Bulldogs to multiple national titles in over 40 years leading the team.
Players are evaluated based 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 Award Chair and the Executive Committee select the winner at the National Team Championships.
Here are this year’s finalists, listed alphabetically:
Ali Farag (Havard University): Beginning his collegiate career as a sophomore, Ali Farag wasted little time. He went undefeated in his first campaign, which included capturing the 2012 Pool Trophy (individual championship). Farag was the 2012 co-Ivy League rookie of the year and was twice named to the All-Ivy squad (2012 and 2013). He was named to the First Team All-American squads in 2012 and 2013. He helped Harvard win the Ivy League titles during his junior and senior seasons. For his senior project, the Engineering Sciences major is designing a solar energy storage for developing nations. According to Harvard Head Coach Mike Way, “Ali plays with the utmost fairness and integrity. One could not ask for a better example in a number one player.”
Nick Sachvie (Cornell University): During the 2010 – 2011 season, Nick Sachvie, a communications major, burst onto the college squash scene. At the individual championships, he was the runner-up for the Pool Trophy, the highest finish for any player in the history of Cornell squash. He was named co-Ivy League Rookie of the Year. He was named to the All-Ivy League teams in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Sachvie has been a First-Team All-American twice (2011 and 2013) and a Second-Team All American once (2012). In his sophomore season, he helped Cornell secure their first-ever Potter Cup quarterfinal victory. According to Cornell Head Coach Mark Devoy, “Nick has been a leader and motivator, leading the team at the No. 1 position during his years at Cornell. He is well liked by coaches and his peers, leads by example, and has been the most successful player that the BIG RED squash program has produced.”
John Steele (Wesleyan University): Upon arriving at Wesleyan, John Steele became a staple at the top of the Cardinals’ line-up. The economics and East Asian double major earned numerous NESCAC Conference honors, including Rookie of the Year (2011), First-Team All NESCAC (2011, 2012, and 2013), NESCAC All-Sportsmanship (2012 and 2013), and All-Academic (2012 and 2013). The Wesleyan co-captain and 2013 CSA Scholar Athlete is well known for his calm demeanor and sportsmanship. “John has acquired many followers over his four years of play, not just for his impressive squash ability, but for his commitment to play every ball if he can possibly get around his opponent or swing his racket,” states Wesleyan Head Coach Shona Kerr. “John has been an incredible example to the men and women squash players at Wesleyan and has set a precedent of how we conduct ourselves.”