2015 Scholarship Recipients

June 26, 2015, 2:52 a.m. (ET)
USA Racquetball Names 2015 Scholarship Recipients
Bailey and Birnel Stand Out Among Applicants

Colorado Springs, Colo. - USA Racquetball today named Kelani Bailey and Jake Birnel as recipients of the 2015 USA Racquetball Scholarship.  Bailey and Birnel were selected from among 10 applicants.  Each student athlete will receive $1,000 awards to assist with their college education.

A senior at Shenandoah University, in Winchester, Virginia, Bailey carries a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the Dean’s List while majoring in Business Administration.  She is a four-year member of the Shenandoah Varsity Field Hockey team.  Bailey, 21, has been a USA Racquetball member for 11 years and plays at the Stonebrook Club in Winchester, Virginia. Currently ranked 42nd nationally, she is the number one ranked woman in Virginia, just ahead of her mother, Malia Bailey, a 12-time U.S. National Team member.  Bailey has won 23 National Championships in her young career, including the 2013 and 2015 National Intercollegiate Championships.  She has been very involved in multiple student organizations at Shenandoah and has volunteered with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity.

Bailey remarked, “As a [USAR] Certified Instructor, I give lessons to members of all ages and provide free clinics.  I have brought countless peers to the club to learn the sport including classmates, professors and coaches.”



Birnel, 17, graduated from Meridian High School in Bellingham, Washington this past Spring with a perfect 4.0 GPA including multiple AP classes.  He has been awarded the Presidential Academic Achievement Award in each of the past three years.  While at Meridian, Birnel played four years of soccer while also serving as a Peer Tutor and staff member for the annual Meridian 3v3 soccer tournament. A USA Racquetball member for the past nine years, Birnel plays at the Bellingham Athletic Club.  He is currently ranked 39th nationally and is the top ranked American in his age division.  Birnel was a member of the 2013 U.S. Junior National Team and has won two National Junior Championships.  He has been a USA Racquetball All American for nine consecutive years.  Birnel will attend the University of Washington in the fall as a Pre-Med major.

Birnel commented, “There are racquetball courts at the University of Washington and I plan on starting a Club Team at UW.  I hope to build a team to bring to Collegiate Nationals.”

USA Racquetball congratulates these fine student athletes and appreciates all of the candidates who applied.  Thank you for the support of USA Racquetball members who help make the Scholarship Program possible.  Visit http://www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball/programs/college-racquetball/scholarship to learn more about and support the program.

About the USA Racquetball Scholarship
Begun in 1989, the USA Racquetball Scholarship program provides funds to assist with college costs to USA Racquetball members who have shown achievement on and off of the racquetball court.  To date, more than 100 individuals have received nearly $60,000 in scholarship funds. Applications are available the first of the year and due no later than April 15. http://www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball/programs/college-racquetball/scholarship

About USA Racquetball
USA Racquetball, founded in 1969, is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport. The organization annually conducts six national championships and sanctions hundreds of tournaments for players of all ages and skill levels. USA Racquetball also organizes the Adult and Junior National Racquetball Teams, oversees the Official Rules of Racquetball, administers National Player Rankings, manages a college scholarship program, and supports the introduction of new players to the sport.  USARacquetball.com; Facebook.com/USARacquetball

Media Contact:
Bob Bodor, bbodor@usra.org (719) 635-5396 x 120