Graduating junior squash players Marina Stefanoni and Myles McIntyre have been named as the 2020 DeRoy Sportsmanship Award recipients.
Since 1998, the DeRoy Sportsmanship Award has honored one female and male graduating high school senior who displayed exemplary behavior on and off the court, while competing at a high level of junior squash.
In the previous two years, the DeRoy Award has been presented during the annual Junior Awards Dinner at the U.S. Junior Squash Championships. While the junior squash community is not be able to celebrate the recognition in person this season, this does not detract from the accomplishment of both Stefanoni and McIntyre in earning this award. US Squash congratulates and thanks both players for being exceptional role models of sportsmanship and integrity throughout their junior squash careers.
Both recipients have displayed competitive excellence throughout their careers. They have each represented Team USA at the World Junior Championships—four times for Stefanoni and in 2019 for McIntyre—and at the British Junior Open on multiple occasions.
At seventeen years old, Stefanoni has won three junior national titles–and became the youngest U19 national champion at just thirteen years old in 2016. Stefanoni started competing in professional events in 2018 and has already earned a career-high world ranking of No. 57 this month. A junior at Darien High School in Connecticut, Stefanoni will graduate high school early this spring and attend Harvard in the fall.
“Ever since I first stepped on court, I have loved to play squash,” Stefanoni said. “The best part is competing and trying to do my best regardless of the outcome. Growing up, there were many players I admired, and in particular, Olivia Blatchford. Not only is her squash great, but I like how she carries herself on court. She plays fair and has love and respect for the game and opponents. I am honored to receive the DeRoy Sportsmanship Award and hope to be a role model for the younger generation just as older squash players were for me.”
McIntyre will graduate from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire this spring and attend the University of Virginia in the fall. In addition to representing Team USA on the global stage recently, the Andover, Massachusetts-native trained at the US Squash Academy and Regional Squads earlier in his junior career.
“To me, good sportsmanship is a shared respect for the game and the opponent that goes far beyond any match, win or lose,” McIntyre said. “It’s the relationship between integrity, competitiveness, and compassion: exemplifying one’s character. Squash is one of the most mentally-tasking games out there. Anyone who has stepped on the court knows that. The hours we spend sprinting around the court can seem like only a physical battle, but the focus to keep a steady head is what goes unnoticed. I remember the mental breakdowns in U11 and U13, but learning from those emotional times are what makes us stronger. Personally, I looked up to Thierry Lincou and Roger Federer when I began to realize the importance of composure and good sportsmanship. These two world class athletes demonstrate what I see as the best sportsmanship in sport. They are steady, kind, and respectful of their opponents. But most importantly, their sportsmanship resembles their character off the court. That is the importance of sportsmanship: it shows the quality of a person’s character, something that is far more impressive than winning a match.”
“I would like to thank my coach Thierry Lincou and my mom for showing me the importance of good character throughout my squash career,” McIntyre said. “They are my most important role models and I know that I owe a lot of my success to their guidance and support. Thank you again, and I want to thank US Squash for recognizing me with this award as it means more to me than any trophy I have ever won. I can’t wait to go on and play more tournaments and demonstrate good sportsmanship to all the younger players.”
“A central part of our mission is encouraging good sportsmanship,” Kevin Klipstein, President & CEO of US Squash said. “Part of how we do this is by recognizing outstanding sportsmanship displayed throughout the season, and the Deroy Award is a prestigious honor in junior squash. These two candidates are most certainly extremely deserving of this important recognition. We also want to acknowledge and thank the entire community—parents, coaches and players—for their efforts in shaping a positive culture in junior squash.”