Photo of 2016 racquetball champions

It was center court as the men's and women's racquetball teams scored national championships, including a Division I crown for the men's team.

Racquetball Teams Win National Titles

April 12, 2016

The Baldwin Wallace men’s Olympic sport racquetball team captured the U.S. Intercollegiate Racquetball Division I National Championship at the 2016 USRA Intercollegiate National Championship Tournament. In addition, the BW women’s team won the Division II National title, and overall the combination of the men and women placed second.

Photo of 2016 racquetball champions“This makes us one of elite intercollegiate programs in racquetball at any division,” said BW Coach Tim Miller, who also was tabbed as the National Coach of the Year and for the second time in his career. “Our men have won the Division II title before, and by winning the Division I national title, we can now be viewed as one of the best teams in the nation. 

“Our student-athletes who play racquetball come from all over the United States and worldwide,” continued Miller. “Young men and women now want to come to Baldwin Wallace to play for our program. They all knew we had a great academic program. Now they know we have a great racquetball program.

“I am extremely proud of our men winning the Division I championship. I am equally as proud of our women for winning the title in Division II,” said Miller. “We have some exceptional student-athletes who represented the University with integrity, dignity and exceptional play.”

Hard Work Pays Off for Men

In the Men’s Division I Championship, all six BW players advanced to the gold medal rounds and all six earned USRA Intercollegiate All American status. Junior Thomas Carter (Murraysville, Pa.) won a bronze medal in No.1 singles; junior Manolo Sandoval (Guatemala) earned bronze at No.2 singles; sophomore Kyle. Ulliman (Westerville) was the gold medal winner at No.3 singles; freshman Daniel Hererra (San Pedro, Costa Rica) received a silver medal at No.4; freshman Ethan Slutzky (Chesterfield, Mo.) was the gold medal winner at No.5; and junior Jon Levin (Olmsted Falls) was the pewter medal (fourth place) at No.6.

In doubles action, Sandoval and Carter won bronze at No.1, Ulliman and Slutzky took silver at No.2, and Herrera and Levin earned silver at No.3.

“It was a great experience and a true team effort,” said Carter, BW’s top singles and doubles performer. “Everyone worked hard throughout the season and it showed with how well we performed at nationals. Winning the men’s title is a memory I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”

Teamwork Key to Women's Success

The Yellow Jacket women were led by senior Jennifer Pease (Rocky River); junior Natalie Kendrick (Amherst) and freshman Lily Pattyn (Bay Village), who each earned individual All-America status. Pease captured a silver medal in No.3 singles; Kendrick won bronze at No.5 and Pattyn took bronze at No.6. In addition, seniors Kristen Szutkowski (Brunswick) and Stephanie Poutz (Brunswick) and junior Courtney Ramey (Conneaut) also contributed to the team’s success by scoring points during their matches. 

“This year was especially amazing because we won the Division II title and the men won the Division I title, and overall the combined teams finished in second place,” said Pease. To go out and beat big Division I teams was the highlight of my four years.”

Miller is a firm believer the support from BW is another big key to his program’s success.

“We had success for a number of reasons,” said Miller, who also has helped coach in the USA Olympic racquetball program. “We have excellent support at BW from our administration and student body. Our players are talented academically and athletically. A number of our former players who have played on the Pro Tour volunteer as coaches.

“I want thank BW graduates Andy Hawthorne, Mike Dennison and Zac Apperson,” said Miller. With their help, we are able to offer prospective students great coaching, excellent academics and one of the best development programs in the intercollegiate racquetball in the country. It’s a great combination.”