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Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Manning ’19 and Teddy Durfee ’19
Nate Zucker '22 Staff Writer
February 26, 2020
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Former Deerfield squash captains Ashley Manning ’19 and Teddy Durfee ’19 are each off to a great start playing collegiately at Penn and Virginia, respectively. 

Manning played at #1 for all three of her years at DA and was recruited to play at Penn, while Durfee, the #2 Deerfield player last winter, walked onto the UVA team. Both have already proved themselves as integral members of their teams, which are ranked in the nation’s top 10. Manning is currently playing #4 on a nine-woman-ladder, and her squad has team nationals the weekend of February 21st. Manning recently clinched Penn a 5-4 win against then 6th-ranked Columbia with her victory in the final match of the day. Durfee is playing #7 on a team of sixteen players––most of whom are recruits––and has nationals the weekend after Manning. Durfee, who has been contributing regularly to the team’s wins, believes his program is on an upward trajectory. The Penn women’s team has also been improving, as they are ranked three spots higher than they were last year. We wish the two of them best of luck in nationals!

Deerfield prepares athletes to play just about every sport in college, but squash is a particular strength of the Academy’s. Durfee and Manning could not better represent the class, character, and skill that make our squash program one of the best in the country. They each expressed their gratitude when asked to reflect on their time playing Deerfield squash.

MANNING:

“Ms. Heise (former coach) fostered an open, welcome, and competitive environment. She definitely emphasized the fact that she wanted our team to be supportive of one another and look after one another more as a family than just a group of girls. In college, the matches and the competition are just that much more stressful, and creating close relationships with the girls on your team is so important. When you’re playing on a sports team on top of making the transition to college, the stress levels are high, but since I’m used to seeing my team as my family at school, I have been able to adjust to college more easily than if I hadn’t gone to Deerfield. 

We lost to the 2nd ranked team only 6-3, and so many matches this season could have gone either way. Really, whichever team wants it most this weekend [at nationals] can win.”

DURFEE:

“Whereas most kids accept day-to-day advice on their game from their coach, which works to an extent––we lost to some teams–– what Coach Silipo taught us is stuff that will stay with you forever. It was more like life coaching, and that’s helped me in the long run. The stuff he’s taught me is so applicable outside of the game. A lot of kids forget their high school coaches, but the stuff that Coach Silipo taught us about hard work, how to treat other people, and how to deal with hardship made being on his team really special. Coach Silipo placed a lot of trust in me, as a captain, and on the team to better themselves. Having experience with that kind of responsibility has been really good because I’ve sort of emerged as a self-driven guy on the team, whereas some other kids on the team need someone on their back at all times. 

By the time I’m a senior, hopefully we’ll have a shot of being the top team in the country. I think my recruiting class is one of the best in our grade, so I’m excited for the future for sure.”