Princeton, NJ — Trinity senior Catalina Pelaez was named the winner of the 2014 Richey Award.
The award is named for former Vassar head coach Betty Richey, who was one of the founders of the women’s individual national tournament in 1965. A standout field hockey and lacrosse player, she launched varsity programs in women’s squash, men’s squash, field hockey, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis at Vassar. A proponent of women’s sports in general, Richey was inducted into the Women’s College Squash Hall of Fame in 1995.
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. Nominees for the award are evaluated based on their on-court poise and demeanor; skill level and ability; team play; contributions to intercollegiate squash; leadership; and cooperation with players, coaches, and tournament officials.
To be nominated for the Richey Award, a coach from another school must put forward a player’s name; teams may not nominate players from their own college or university. The award is decided at the Women’s National Team Championships, and each team has two votes: one from the coach and one from the captain and players.
Pelaez played at the number 1 or 2 positions throughout her four years at Trinity. As a first-year student, she made an immediate impact. She helped lead the Bantams to national ranking of fourth and a NESCAC Championship. She was named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.
As a sophomore, she led Trinity to a third-place finish at the National Team Championships and another NESCAC title. Pelaez began her three-year run as the Bantams’ captain. She was named the NESCAC Player of the Year for a second time. In the individual championship, Palaez won the second-round consolation of the Ramsay Cup (A Draw).
During her junior season, Trinity continued to climb the national rankings. They finished the season ranked 2nd in the nation, losing 4-5 to Harvard in the Howe Cup (National Championship) final. Trinity once again won the NESCAC title. Pelaez also was named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team. At the individual championships, Pelaez repeated as the winner of the Ramsay Cup second-round consolation.
Pelaez saved the best for last. She went undefeated in dual match play as a senior, which included the NESCAC title and three wins at the National Team Championships. The Bantams captured the national title by defeating Harvard, 5-4. She was also named to the NESCAC All-Academic team.
For her career, Palaez was named to the CSA First Team All-American squad four times. She was also honored as First Team All-NESCAC four years in a row. Overall, she finished with a career record of 60-15.
Pelaez is a studio art major, who is minoring in both Italian and architecture studies.
“Whether she is winning or losing, Cata shows fairness and grace. Throughout the past four years, Cata has been driven to be one of the best intercollegiate squash players, and at the same time be an outstanding role model,” states Trinity coach Wendy Bartlett.
Pelaez was presented with the Richey Award at the 2014 Women’s National Team Championships, which were hosted by Princeton University. She is the third Trinity player to receive the Richey Award.