BW Club Racquetball Teams Place Third and Fifth at Nationals; Lotts Wins Women’s Championship
TEMPE, ARIZ. -- The Baldwin Wallace University women’s and men’s club racquetball teams competed successfully at the 37th Annual USA Racquetball National Intercollegiate Championships last week (Wednesday, April 1 through Saturday, April 4, 2009) at the Arizona State University Student Recreation Complex in Tempe, Arizona. It was the end to another successful season for Head Coach Tim Miller and his team.
Overall, the BW men and women won team titles at both the Ohio Collegiate Racquetball Conference (OCRC) and at the annual Midwest Regional tournaments. At the USA National tourney, the BW women placed third of 24 schools at the Division I level and the men placed fifth of 37 schools. Overall, the BW men and women were a combined fourth.
Highlighting the season was Miller who received the Larry Lyles National Intercollegiate Racquetball Coach of the Year Award at the banquet in Tempe. In addition, Miller’s No.1 women’s player, freshman Sheryl Lotts (Bedford/ St. Pete Chanel) won the individual title in the number-one Gold Division to both earn the title as the best women’s intercollegiate racquetball player in the country and earn a one-year appointment to the United States Racquetball Team.
In addition, Lotts, junior Sarah Hettescheimer (Cincinnati/ Mother of Mercy), graduate student James Daly (Akron/ Firestone) and freshman Molly Haragan (Louisville, Ky./ Dupont Manual) all earned U.S. Intercollegiate Racquetball Association All-American accolades.
Miller, who originated the Yellow Jacket program and has made it a powerhouse on the club and intercollegiate level, also is the director of the Lou Higgins Recreation Center on campus. On the plaque that Miller received, it said “For your excellence in recruiting, teaching and coaching of the Baldwin Wallace University Racquetball Team. You have taken a small school in Ohio and placed them on the map of powerhouses in the world of Intercollegiate Racquetball. Your dedication to the Baldwin Wallace program and all of its student athletes should be commended.”
Miller responded to the award by saying, “I love Baldwin Wallace University and its staff and students. I am grateful to the College administration for allowing me to coach and create a program that has become one of the best in the country. It is a priviledge that I get to teach and coach such wonderful student-athletes.”
The biggest individual win of the weekend came from freshman Sheryl Lotts (Bedford/ St. Peter Chanel), who won the women’s Singles No. 1 Gold championship by defeating the University of Alabama’s Kara Mazur by the scores of 15-3 and 15-3. The victory makes Lotts the top women’s intercollegiate player in the country and she automatically earns a one-year appointment to the United States National team.
“Sheryl winning the title at No.1 Gold singles is a significant accomplishment for her and our team,” said Miller. “She now receives a one-year appointment to the U.S. National team. She played very well and we are very proud of her efforts.”
Others placing for the women’s team in singles competition include Hettesheimer, junior Tyler Fridley (Niles/ Niles McKinley) and Meridith Caraway (Wooster/ Senior), sophomore Becca Pittenger (Alliance) and Haragan. Earning second place was Hettesheimer in No. 2 Gold, Fridley in the Blue No. 4 singles championship match and Pittenger in the final of the No. 6 Red match. Caraway placed third in No. 3 Red singles and Haragan earned fourth place in the No. 5 Gold pool.
In women’s doubles, the duo of Lotts and team captain Hettesheimer placed second and won the sliver medal in the No. 1 Gold match while Haragan and Pittenger teamed up and placed third in the No. 3 Gold match. The second place finish by Lotts and Hettescheimer makes them the second best doubles team in the country.
“All of our ladies had an excellent tournament and each played as well as they possibly could,” said Miller. “Sarah and Sheryl winning a silver in the Women’s No.1 Gold bracket was significant.”
For the men’s team, sophomore Zach Apperson (Zanesvile/ Rosecrans) had the top highlight as he won his first three matches at No.1 Gold before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medal winner Jose Rojas of Delta (Calif.) College. Daly also had a solid tourney and finished second in the Men’s No.4 Gold bracket. In addition, Justin Labelle (Mayfield Heights/ Benet Academy) and senior Andrew Danford (Louisville) played solidly. Labelle, who earned a gold medal and placed first in the No. 2 Blue division. Danford placed second in the No. 6 Blue division.
“Zach really played well and ended up playing a pro in the quarterfinals,” said Miller. “He is really a very good player and that was as tough a No.1 bracket as I’ve seen. We also got some great effort from James, Justin and Andy.”
In men’s doubles, the duo of senior Matt Fuller (Cincinnati/ Indian Hills) and Apperson earned fourth place in the No. 1 Gold pool and are reagrded as the fourth best doubles team in the nation. In addition, the team of Danford and freshman Galen Reding (Wilmington, N.C./ John T. Hoggard) placed fourth in the No. 3 pool.
“Overall, this was an outstanding tournament and our young men and women represented BW with class and strength,” said Miller. “We are very proud of each of our 12 participants.”