head to Minneapolis to compete in national handball tournament
By Jackson Olsen
February 18, 2009 | Six students will represent Utah
State University this week at the National Collegiate
Handball Tournament held in Minneapolis, Minn.
The students, Zach Bateman, Brady Adams, Jackson Olsen,
Kimball Burton, Josh Sharpe, and Krista Allen, are all
members of the USU Handball Team, a product of the class
offered by the HPER department.
"This is exciting," said Allen, a sophomore majoring
in Exercise Science and the lone female of the group.
"Weíve never been able to compete at such a high level.
This is our chance to compete nationally and show how
good the USU program actually is."
According to Ron Bachman, the teamís assistant coach,
the USU Handball Club received an invitation from the
United States Handball Association in mid-December to
send a small group of qualified players. This was the
first time since the class was established in 2001 that
USU has been invited to participate in the national
Without a number set by tournament regulations, Bachman
was faced with the dilemma of determining which students
would attend. Bachman said that a campus-wide tournament
was held at the HPER building during the month of January
to decide which students would compete at the national
"We have several good players that take the class
or that are veterans of the class. We just had to put
everyone in a bracket tournament and let the best man
win," Bachman said.
The team has competed at a number of tournaments,
but never nationally. At the statewide tournament held
annually in Salt Lake City, USU students have brought
home first, second and third place trophies in both
singles and doubles over the years. Bateman, a senior
majoring in finance, won his division at last yearís
state singles tournament.
"This is a great opportunity for us, but thereís no
question that the competition is going to be tough,"
Bateman said. "I just hope we have a respectable performance.
I donít expect to win the [tournament], but I think
we can turn some heads."
Over 200 male athletes will be competing at the tournament,
while 50 female athletes will vie for the national championship.
Bachman is very optimistic about Allenís chance to do
well in the tournament.
"Iíve never seen a girl play as good as Krista," said
Bachman. "Sheís so committed and dedicated. She practices
hard every day. In fact, she ends up beating up on the
boys in the class. Thereís only a few who can beat her."
Allen, who only began playing the sport a year ago,
already has a first place finishes at the state tournament
in singles and a second place finish in doubles.
The team leaves for Minneapolis Wednesday morning
and will immediately begin tournament play that evening.
The tournament will conclude with the championship matches
being played Sunday morning.
"Champions or no champions, Iím proud of our
players for being invited to such a prominent handball
tournament," Bachman said. "I know theyíll