photos by: Jeff Gallemore (Gallemore Photography)
Back court: Kaitlyn Boyle and Kimaia Gassner. Serving: Elyse Duffie and Katy Moran on the championship court.
The 30th Annual USA Racquetball National High School Championships presented by Penn were held in St. Louis, MO on March 1st – 5th. Over 40 schools from 13 states were represented by 392 players playing their hearts out to earn points for their individual school. This event was hosted by Missouri Athletic Club and Vetta Sports Concord which showed the players championship level hospitality going above and beyond for the players and tournament staff. This is no easy task as about 400 players with coaches and parents takeover these facilities for up to 16 hours a day over the course of a week. I would like to give a huge “Thank You” to all of the staff members who went above and beyond to make this a great week for our kids.
The final team championship trophies were awarded to the top three finishers for boy's and girl's teams.
This Championship emphasizes team play and each player is slotted into divisions based on their ranking among their school in singles and doubles. In singles, each team can roster a player in #1 through #6 divisions and in doubles they can roster one team in divisions #1 through #3. The event is run in Olympic format to ensure that each player gets to play at least 3 matches in their respective divisions. Each player starts out in the Gold section of their division but drops down to either Red, White or Blue based on which round they lost. Medals and team points are given out in each of these divisions so each round advanced means a lot to the team totals. It was great to see someone who earned a medal in the Red division take as much pride in that accomplishment as the player who earned a medal in the Gold division. Parents and coaches beamed with pride as each player received their medal and had a chance to get a picture taken in front of the championship banner.
After almost 1,200 matches were played, the Boys, Girls and Overall Team Champions were announced. Congratulations to Parkway West High School from St. Louis, MO for winning the prestigious Overall Team Championship. They beat out a very strong second place team from Sprague High School of Salem, OR by 1,534 points. In the Boys Team competition, St. Louis University High School from St. Louis, MO took home the title by 1,025 points over Sprague High School. The Girls Team competition came down to a mere 766 points separating eventual champion, Parkway West High School over Cor Jesu Academy from St. Louis, MO.
Congratulations to the Team of Parkway West High School, the 2017 Overall Competition Team Champions.
1. Parkway West High School - St. Louis, MO (5,691 points)
2. Sprague High School - Salem, OR (4,157 points)
3. Lindbergh High School - St. Louis, MO (3,491 points)
1. St. Louis University High School - St. Louis, MO (3,499 points)
2. Sprague High School - Salem, OR (2,474 points)
3. Parkway West High School - St. Louis, MO (2,055 points)
1. Parkway West High School - St. Louis, MO (2,899 points)
2. Cor Jesu Academy - St. Louis, MO (2,133 points)
3. Lindbergh High School - St. Louis, MO (1,601 points)
• Online Results
• Final Team Results (Adobe PDF)
The Girls #1 Gold division was highlighted by several current and former US Junior National Team members as the top seeds. Hollie Scott from Lynden Christian High School in Washington state came in as the number 1 seed and proved throughout the tournament that she deserved that spot as she moved into the Semifinals easily. Waiting for her in the semifinals was upset minded Elyse Duffie from Parkway West High School, who defeated the #4 seed Annie Roberts from Barlow High School in a close 15-10, 8-15, 11-9 quarterfinal match. Hollie used a great mix of serves to keep Elyse off balance to win her semifinal 15-11, 15-6. On the other side of the draw the #2 seeded Kaitlyn Boyle from Beaverton, OR met the #3 seeded Briana Jacquet from Living Waters Christian Academy in AZ. Briana came out dominating game number one of the semifinal with a serving exhibition but Kaitlyn regrouped in game two to keep it close but eventually lost the match 15-2, 15-13. In the Final, Hollie continued her serving dominance as Briana never looked comfortable on the stadium court while succumbing 15-6, 15-2. Congratulations to Hollie Scott on her Gold medal performance and appointment to the 2017 Junior National Team.
All of the winners of the boy's and girl's teams and the overall team champions together for a final group photo.
The Boys #1 Gold division also had a deep field of high level players gunning for the top seeded Dane Elkins from Palisades Charter High School. Dane would get a scare in Quarterfinals from local John Dowell of Kirkwood High School, MO but pulled out the tiebreaker to move on to the Semifinals 15-6, 13-15, 11-4. Seeded in the #4 spot, Mitchell Turner had his hands full as well in the Quarterfinals against #5 seeded Brian Barberis from McKinney North High School, TX. This match had a packed house watching on the stadium court as these two players went back and forth right down to the wire in the tiebreaker but Mitchell finally closed out the match 15-14, 12-15, 11-9. In the Semifinal, Dane never let up on Mitchell who seemed to have suffered a back injury in the Quarterfinals and could not mount much of an offense against Dane’s power. Dane would move into the Final with scores of 15-5, 15-9. On the other side of the draw, #2 seeded Micah Farmer from International Leadership of Texas was defeated in the Quarterfinals by local Chris Schulze from St. Louis University High School by scores of 15-13, 15-10. Chris would meet #3 seeded Cayden Akins from Timber Creek High School, TX who survived a scare of his own in the Quarterfinals against Lucas Shoemaker of Bettendorf High School, IA 15-7, 10-15, 11-4. Cayden would squeak out two hard fought games 15-11, 15-12 against Chris to advance to the Final. In the Final it was all Dane as Cayden couldn’t find an answer to the powerful serve and return game he faced. Congratulations to Dane for not only winning the Boys #1 Singles but also the Boys #1 Doubles with partner Jared Anwar and the Mixed #1 Doubles with partner Atossa Rejaei. Winning all 3 of these divisions has only been accomplished one other time in the 30-year history of this Championship by Taylor Knoth in 2009. Dane has also been appointed to the 2017 US Junior National Team for winning the Boys #1 Gold!
Dane Elkins won the singles and mixed doubles with Atossa Rejaei, and boys doubles with Jared Anwar.