No. 3 raquetball team ready to bring home another championship

Terry Barrette
The national championship racquetball team finished with a combined ranking of No. 3 at the finals in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Mar. 17, 2018. The women placed first overall and the men placed sixth. (Terry Barrette)

The BYU Racquetball team may be a lesser-known competitive sport on campus, but it has brought many national titles to the university.

Although the team flies under the radar, when interviewed, the members of the team are passionate about their sport. The team has consistently been a top-four program since the 1990s and places high in its appearances at nationals.

Members of the 2018 Racquetball Team pose with their medals after winning the national championship. (Terry Barrette)

Last season, the women placed first overall at the national collegiate championships in Minnesota on March 14–17. BYU racked up 921 points to best Northern Arizona’s 920.5 and Oregon State’s 905.

“The most memorable moment of the season last year was at the national tournament when the announcer said that the BYU women’s team placed first,” said Krista Porter, an Iowa native who has been on the team for four years. “The last time that had happened for the BYU women’s team was 10 years ago.”

Porter said the team thinks back fondly on the win and wants to use that momentum as it integrates new team members to the program and works toward the 2019 national championships.

“There was only a half point difference between No. 1 and No. 2 for our women’s team, and we ended up beating Oregon State for the national title,” said head coach Paul Snyder. “Last year we had a fantastic season, and I think we will be just as good if not better this year.”

With tryouts complete and the new members officially announced, the program has begun to prepare for its first local competition, the Provo Open, on Oct. 18.

“We start each practice in the Smith Fieldhouse and do some conditioning, usually involving running, stairs, sit-ups and pushups,” said assistant coach Sara Moulton. “Preparing for tournaments involves various skill drills, talking through strategy, filming stroke mechanics and games and analyzing that film afterward, and lots of practice playing with each other as much as possible.”

All this training is necessary for a program that calls for athletes with or without a background in the sport to try out. According to Snyder, many of the members came to the program with little-to-no experience in racquetball, but quickly develop a passion for the sport.

“I hadn’t touched a racquetball racket until college, and I didn’t even think about trying out for the team until I took an intermediate racquetball class after my mission,” said Michael Goodman, a father of two who has been on the team for three years. “The instructor was on the team, and he urged me to try out.”

With a dedicated group of athletes and a desire to continue their winning streak, the coaches plan to keep growing their program and reach the No. 1 spot in the nation.

“Players who are returning are excited, motivated, and ready to work hard this year,” Moulton said. “Building on their enthusiasm and helping them see their individual growth and the growth of the team as a whole will help them use that energy to practice even harder and smarter than they have in the past.”

The team has three upcoming local competitions. The details and times of these competitions can be found on the team’s website, along with team photos, information and match results.

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