DARIEN, Conn. – Darien's Marina Stefanoni may be only 12 years old, but she has amassed a strong resume as a squash player, recently winning both the Canadian Junior Open and U.S. Junior Open as well as finishing fifth in the British Junior Open last weekend.
Stefanoni, the top-ranked American in the girls under-13 category, defeated all comers in the under-15 category at the Canadian Junior Open. She also upset the defending champion, Nouran Youssef from Egypt, to win the final of the U.S. Junior Open at Yale University.
Having spotted Youssef a two-set lead and facing match ball, Stefanoni rallied to win in five sets, 5-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.
In the British Junior Open held in Sheffield, England, over this past weekend, Stefanoni was the only American to reach the quarterfinals out of the 29 who flew to Britain.
In the quarterfinals, she faced Youssef in a rematch and lost in five sets, eventually ending up in fifth place by winning her last two matches.
Stefanoni's accomplishment is highlighted by the American track record in the tournament since 1980: No American boy has ever won the tournament in any age division and only two girls have ever won in any age division -- in 2001 and 2007.
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