ACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

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Nirasha Guruge Named Women’s College Squash Richey Award Finalist

Nirasha Guruge is one of three nominees for the 2012 Richey Award (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Nirasha Guruge of the Harvard women's squash team was named a finalist for the 2012 Richey Award, the College Squash Association (CSA) announced Monday. The honor is presented 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."

The award is named in honor of Betty Richey, a graduate of Radcliffe College and standout athlete. Richey began teaching at Vassar in 1937 and helped launch numerous athletic programs at the college, including men's and women's squash, during a thirty-year career. She was also a key founder of the women's individual national tournament in 1965 and ran the Howe Cup until the 1984 season. Richey was inducted into the Women's Squash Hall of Fame in 1995.

Guruge, a senior co-captain for the top-ranked Crimson, was named a finalist by the CSA Executive Committee along with two other college squash seniors. Katie Giovinazzo of Princeton and Alicia Rodriguez of Trinity are also contenders for the award.

The Richey Award winner will be voted on at the CSA Women's National Team Championships (Howe Cup) Feb. 24-26. Each school gets two votes consisting of a team vote and a coach's vote.

During her four years in Cambridge, Guruge has built an impressive resume on the squash courts. The Colombo, Sri Lanka native was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman, twice named first-team All-America and once a second-team All-America honoree. Guruge has a 42-16 (.724) overall record, while helping the Crimson to two Ivy League titles and the 2009-10 Howe Cup championship.

Guruge is looking to become the third Harvard student-athlete to be presented the Richey Award and first since Diana Edge in 1988.

The season, Guruge has helped Harvard remain undefeated throughout the regular season with an 11-1 individual record. The Crimson enters this year's Howe Cup, which is hosted at the Murr Center Feb. 24-26, as the No. 1 seed.