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BW veteran and rookie crowned national collegiate racquetball doubles champions

Longtime player Julia Stein '24 teamed up with a newcomer to the sport, Angie Case '25, to vanquish D1 competitors on their way to the single-elimination women's title.

2023 National Collegiate Racquetball Women's Doubles Champions Julia Stein ’24 (left) and Angie Case ‘25 (right)

Julia Stein '24 was a phenom on the racquetball court from a young age and even has world titles to her name. The Malvern, Ohio, native and Serra Catholic High School graduate came to Baldwin Wallace University in part because of BW's rich tradition of success on the national racquetball stage.

At BW, Stein forged a doubles partnership with Angie Case '25, a Brunswick High School graduate who discovered racquetball only after she arrived on campus.

"I just started playing racquetball in fall of 2021 as a freshman with no prior experience," Case recalls. "So, to go from not knowing how to play to winning women's doubles at a national level has been a rewarding achievement."

Defeating D1 competitors

Stein and Case on the racquetball court

The two captured that national title in mid-March at the 2023 USA Racquetball National Intercollegiate Championships, which took place at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Stein relishes the victory from a perceived underdog position.

"We won the gold in the Women's #1 doubles, which makes us the best collegiate doubles team in the country," Stein explains the tournament format. "We are from a small D3 school, and we beat teams from large D1 schools, including Mizzou [University of Missouri] in the finals for the gold."

Each woman also medaled in singles and scored enough points for the Baldwin Wallace team to place fourth in Division I and earn BW the Division II first-place trophy.

Kudos to coach

BW racquetball coach Andy Hawthorne (left) poses with his national champion women's doubles team and their team trophy.

Both women give kudos to BW racquetball coach Andy Hawthorne for helping to develop their on-court strategy and chemistry.

"Having Andy Hawthorne as the racquetball coach to guide me and the other players on our team has been an unmatched source of knowledge in this sport," the rookie Case says.

Her veteran partner agrees. "He is an incredible coach and person," offers Stein.

"He helps the racquetball team out so much and dedicates a ton of time and energy to improving our team. Everyone that plays is so grateful to have him around, and he plays a major role in the success of the team and our gold."

Off-the-court support

Stein is also grateful that she's able to balance the demands of being an elite athlete with her coursework as a double major in biology and public health.

"BW faculty have been so helpful and flexible, letting me go to tournaments and being open to me taking tests early or making up labs. I think I want to go into biology research, and I have made great relationships with biology professors who will help me with summer research and advise me on my grad school journey."

Case also finds balance with her career focus on the arts and education. In addition to her major in art education, she is adding a double minor in studio art and multi-age education. She also lets her creative side shine in BW's Clay Club, which meets every two weeks to create ceramic pieces.

Recruiting new members

Their chosen sport is also a welcoming one. Case, Stein and Coach Hawthorne told The Exponent earlier this year that students of any ability should consider trying out for the racquetball team "just for fun."

"Even in the years that we've dominated the country in racquetball, we've always had beginners on our team," Hawthorne told the student newspaper. "[Whether] you've never picked up a racquet or whether you've played for ten years, there's a spot for you on the team."

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