By Jeremy Twitchell
The BYU racquetball club team turned in an impressive performance in its first tournament of the year this weekend in Wyoming.
“I was absolutely thrilled with their performance,” coach Dennis Fisher said. “They really stepped it up, and we”re four months ahead of where we were at this time last year.”
The women of the team dominated the competition, led by juniors Laura Hafler and Paige Harris. The duo gave the tournament a one-two punch in the Women”s A Singles Division, where Harris took first place and Hafler finished second.
The pair also took second in the Open Doubles Competition, despite the fact that they had never played together before in a competition.
In the Women”s B Singles Division, senior Marci Mangelson took first and senior Eileen Sanchez took second.
“Everyone did very well, and we”ve already made lots of improvement over last season,” Sanchez said.
“Our girls were the talk of the tournament,” Fisher said. “They went up and beat some very talented and experienced players.”
The BYU men, younger and less experienced than most of their competition, also performed admirably.
Junior Nat McArthur was on his way to the Men”s A Singles Division championships in the tournament, but chose to forfeit his semifinal match because it was scheduled on Sunday.
“It”s hard to say if he would have gone all the way, because the competition was so close,” Fisher said. “But the way he was playing, it was very possible.”
Junior Mike King, playing in his first tournament in the Men”s B Singles Division, made it to the quarterfinals before losing.
Perhaps the brightest spot for the young men”s team was the play of doubles partners Parker Wells, a freshman, and Seth Soha, a sophomore. The young players were both in their first tournament, but fought their way into second place in the Men”s B Doubles Division.
As if the team”s performance were not good enough, the coaches also decided to get in on the action.
Fisher and doubles partner Brian Pointelin, an assistant coach, took first place in the Men”s Open Doubles Division. Pointelin, a professional racquetball player, also went to the quarterfinals in the Men”s Pro Singles Division.
For the team, the tournament was the satisfying culmination of nearly two months of hard preseason training.
“I think the players are seeing that a lot of training is paying off,” Fisher said. “It”s hard when you train but don”t play. This was their first opportunity to play, and I think they see that training makes a huge difference. I think they”re pleased with their performance and the way things have gone.”
The team”s next competition is next week at the Utah State Doubles Championships at the Marv Jensen Recreation Center in West Jordan. The competition runs from Nov. 6-9, and the team is poised for another great performance.
“Everyone looks really good,” Sanchez said. “Our A Doubles played very well, and my partner and I are looking to do well. We have a few experienced players back from last year, and the new players are working hard and doing well.”