Written by Claire Booher
Megaphone Staff Writer
While basketball and swimming have been making a name for themselves in the SCAC news room, Southwestern’s intramural handball team has been burning up national sports arenas.
The handball women and men have been working hard and have had great results, winning 70 percent of their matches.
After six consecutive years of ranking in the top ten handball teams, Southwestern is shooting for its seventh year in a row.
Last year, Southwestern’s handball team won the Division Two Handball National Championship and it has a great opportunity of repeating that feat again this year.
Handball is a game that can be compared with tennis and racquetball. It is played with two people (or four people in doubles) using their hands or their fists to hit a small ball against a wall.
The object of the game is to win each rally by causing your opponent to be unable to return a serve off of the wall before the ball bounces twice on the floor. If the opponent is unable to return the ball, the server receives a point.
If the server loses a rally, he or she loses the chance to serve, and it is then the opponent’s turn to be the server. If the ball is served and the opponent misses it completely, it is called an ace.
This continues until one side has won two games. Each game is played up to 21 points. If there is a tie, a third game is played to eleven points.
Southwestern does not play other colleges in the SCAC; rather they play in open tournaments where anyone of any age can play.
Southwestern plays under the U.S. Handball Association which offers competitions for youth, collegiate and pro players.
After last year’s national tournament, captain John Yi, Matt Kauffman, Winston Pool, David Lazano, Juan Carreon, Suresh Thomas, Oscar Aviles and Eamon Briggs were all ranked nationally according to the US Handball Association.
Yi finished first and third in the two biggest tournaments Southwestern has played so far this year, the University of Texas and Texas A&M tournaments.
Brian Kasper, who has returned after studying abroad last year, placed third in both these tournaments as well.
First-years Matt Trawick and Jose Jimenez have joined and contributed to this new team.
Returning for the women from last year’s team are Kelly Parmet, Jennifer Huntsman and Casey Grier. All three of these women were ranked nationally after last year’s win.
Joining these girls are seven new first-years: Lauren Kjolhede, Rachel Gibson, Anabel Aviles, Katie Barker, Sarah Holifield, Kristin Kukura and Sara Mack.
All of these girls have contributed greatly to the success so far this year. Many of them of placed and won the tournaments played so far this year. Every player is looking forward to the upcoming events and are positive that they will be successful.
The handball coach is Gene McCormick, who said “Because of winning the Division two championship at last year’s National Collegiate Tournament, our team may be placed in Division one in this year’s national competition. As their coach, I am extremely pleased with all the players. They are all working hard, having a lot of fun, and really coming together as a team.”
Coach McCormick has done a great job in helping the team reach its full potential.
While handball may not be the most well known sport around Southwestern, is has given Southwestern another sport it can cheer for and another group of amazing athletes working hard.
The USHA National Collegiate Championship will be held at Missouri State University Feb. 20-24.
Southwestern is sure to make a great showing and will be a great representative of our athletic program.