U.S. Women Go Undefeated on Pan American Games Opening Day

Marina Stefanoni in Squash competition at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games October 31, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. Photo by Mark Reis, USOPC.

Team USA is guaranteed three women’s individual medals at the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, after Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Weaver and Marina Stefanoni all won their first two matches on the opening day of play Tuesday, October 31, at the Estadio Nacional in Chile.

The first three rounds of individual play opened up the quadrennial games’ squash competition as five Americans took to the field of play.

Four of the five progressed through the second round including the trio in the women’s draw and Timmy Brownell, who defeated his former Harvard teammate from Canada George Crowne in his Pan American Games debut. Pan Am Games veteran Todd Harrity fell short against Colombia’s 5/8 seed Juan Vargas. Brownell would then bow out in a close three game quarterfinal against Mexican veteran Cesar Salazar.

Twenty-year-old Marina Stefanoni provided the biggest U.S. result of the day to mark her Pan American Games debut. Stefanoni, a 5/8 seed, came back from 1-0 down in games, and 5-0 down in the second game to upset Canada’s 3/4 seed Nicole Bunyan 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8.

The result ensured an American in the gold medal match with Stefanoni set to face two-time gold medalist Sobhy in the semifinals Wednesday morning, the loser of which would take home a bronze medal.

“It feels awesome to win,” Stefanoni said. “I wasn’t playing my greatest squash. It was a bit testy in the beginning but I was glad I was able to fight and pull through. 3-2 is always hard physically and mentally. I’m hoping I’ll feel good tomorrow I’m super exited to play Amanda. We’ve guranteed at least a silver and a bronze so I couldn’t be happier with that. This is my first Pan Am Games, I came here to get a medal and that’s what I’ve done so I’m over the moon.”

Sobhy, the top seed, and Weaver, the two seed, both comfortably progressed to the semifinals with two commanding wins. Both semifinals will take place simultaneously at 11am local time, 10am ET. While Sobhy and Stefanoni face off, Weaver will play Canada’s world No. 23 and 3/4 seed Hollie Naughton.