Racquetball among overlooked BYU extramurals

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Somewhere between tennis and badminton there is an exhilarating sport that often gets overlooked: racquetball.

Racquetball, along with lacrosse, rugby and soccer, is one of the four extramural sports at BYU. Though it is not on the same plane as NCAA-sanctioned sports like basketball or football, the BYU racquetball team offers students who love athletic competition a chance to experience it at BYU even though they may not be able to play on the major sports teams.

Members of the BYU racquetball team, Krista Yourstone and Kamila Welling practice. Photo by Ari Davis
Members of the BYU racquetball team, Krista Yourstone and Kamila Welling practice. (Photo by Ari Davis)

“I think racquetball is a sport that is pretty easy to pick up,” said Megan Goehring, a recently graduated recreational therapy major from Sandy. “It’s not something that you have to have done since you were five to be good at it.”

Before joining the racquetball team, Goehring already played and loved the sport. Many players on the team, however, are recruited from the classes offered, and many of the players didn’t play racquetball at all before college. On top of inter-collegiate and national competitions, the racquetball team also hosts a university-wide BYU Campus Racquetball Tournament each February, which is open to all students.

Though it is one of the lesser-known sports at BYU, the BYU men’s and women’s racquetball teams are top-notch competitors in the sport. The men’s and women’s teams took fifth and third respectively in the national championship this year on March 25 at the North Carolina State Racquetball Club.

Although the extramural or club sports at BYU are not as high-profile as the NCAA-sanctioned teams, they play an important role in the mosaic of BYU Athletics.

BYU’s men’s rugby team, for example, is anything but a pushover. Cruising toward a third-straight national championship, the rugby team has lost only one game of 15 so far this season. Due to its most recent win was against the University of Utah on April 4 the team will head into the Varsity Cup tournament starting April 19.

“Utah’s our rival, and that’s the game I look forward to most as a coach,” said rugby head coach David Smyth. “I think there’s a lot of value in playing as the two top teams in the state to see who’s going to be the best for that given year.”

The men’s lacrosse team boasts an impressive record at 12–2 thus far this season. The team is one of the best in the West, and its dominance is underscored by a resounding 35-0 rout of New Mexico on April 5. The lacrosse team played its first game on the BYU South Field on Friday, April 11, and faces off against Utah on April 19 for the season finale in Salt Lake City.

Capping the BYU extramural teams is the men’s soccer squad. In line with the rest of BYU extramural dominance, the men’s soccer team is off to a strong 4–0 start and is poised to keep that streak alive. Colby Bauer, a senior midfielder from Scottsdale, Ariz., is one of the recently named captains of the men’s soccer team.

“The team is looking good so far,” Bauer said. “We’re all coming together and slowly getting on the same page.”

Even though BYU extramural sports do not get the funding and scholarship support that many of the bigger university sports do, they are top-ranked teams in their respective sports and offer an exciting experience to game attendees.

Students interested in trying out for the racquetball team can get more information at racquetball.byu.edu.