club team hopes to give racquetball a name at USU
September 11, 2006 | Last semester Doug Holt represented
USU at the National Racquetball Tournament alone.
This school year, as he rebuilds the racquetball
club team, he hopes to change that.
"I want to take a team to nationals so bad,"
Holt, a junior majoring in chemistry, has taken
over leadership of the USU racquetball club team
after it fell apart last year. After the school
year ended two years ago, the former president
never really did much to keep the club going,
so last year there was no team, said Holt. After
that, he decided to step up and take over.
Because the club was already officially in place,
Holt's biggest challenge was to find team members
and a coach.
In order to find a coach, Holt did everything
from calling friends for referrals to e-mailing
the Utah Racquetball Association and asking for
names of local players who might be interested
THIS!: Club President Doug Holt follows
through on his first serve on the racquetball
courts in the HPER. / Photo by Kathryn Kemp
"I basically tried every avenue," he said.
After getting two names, Holt began making phone calls,
and on the first try found Jonathan Meatoga, the team's
"He was actually on the team when he was here
at school," he said. Meatoga was out of town for
the team's first meeting Thursday, so most of the players,
including Vice President Ward Cuff, haven't even met
"That's probably proof of the infancy of the club,"
Cuff said. "There's a lot of new people.
The team member part wasn't too hard for him. Cuff,
a junior majoring in Asian studies and pre-med, was
looking specifically for something like a racquetball
team when he transferred to USU from Dixie State College.
He began corresponding with Holt about the team during
the summer and when school started and Holt needed more
help running the team, Cuff becamevice-president. Together,
Holt and Cuff advertised the new team as much as possible.
They handed out flyers, visited racquetball classes,
put up A-frames, and even had a booth at Day on the
Quad during Week of Welcome last week. Their work earned
a response from students who were interested in finding
out what the team was all about.
Whitney Cowley, a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering,
began playing racquetball with her friends three years
ago just for fun. She joined the team as a fun way to
get exercise, but also to improve her game and take
part in competition.
"I like that I can hold my own. I can compete
pretty well," she said.
Brad Terry, a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism,
joined the team because he enjoys the higher level of
competition in the club.
"It's super fast-paced. You have to think
about so much going on around you," he said. "It
challenges you mentally and physically.
According to Cuff, racquetball is unique in the world
of sports because it is in tight quarters where things
are moving very fast, and you have to use strategy and
technique. That is one of the things Cuff likes best
in one-on-one play. He says he likes how it feels "to
be able to do something that the other guy can't do
in the end.
Whether beginners or pros, the game is "fun on
all levels," Holt said. You don't have to be a
certain type of person with a certain set of skills
to be able to play this game.
"It doesn't matter how tall or short you are,
how fat or skinny -- the playing field is leveled,"
he said. The club team had about 20 people at their
first meeting on Thursday night, all at different skill
levels, but all excited to be involved.
The team will be holding two types of tournaments during
the semester. They will be involved in intercollegiate
play with schools like BYU, UVSC, and Boise State University.
There will also be local tournaments that will be held
for the all team members, students, and community members.
For these tournaments, team members will receive a discount
on the tournament fees.
There are no tryouts this semester for the team; anyone
who signs up and pays the club fee of $20 is on the
team. In January, however, there will be tryouts for
a 6-man, 6-woman team to send to the national tournament
that will be held at the end of March.
"I went to nationals alone last year,"
Holt said, shaking his head. "I was a lone ranger."
Although Holt received what he called "a big serving
of humble pie," at the tournament, he learned
a lot, and this year he hopes to bring other people
with him and make a name for Utah State.
"My first and foremost goal: I want six men,
six women at nationals," he said. But along with
that plan, Holt and Cuff have other goals and hopes
for the team as well.
They want to give racquetball more exposure. Cuff said
he thinks that racquetball seems to be trapped in the
world of high-priced clubs for members only, and it
shouldn't be that way. They want students to be
familiar with the game, so that anyone and everyone
can enjoy it.
They also want to give the USU team a name among colleges
and throughout the state.
"I want people to say, 'Hey, Utah State's got
a team, and they play pretty good,'" Cuff said.
Finally, getting right down to the basics, they want
to give club members the opportunity to learn the skills,
improve their game, and be able to compete. And at the
same time, they just want everyone to have fun. And
if there is any doubt about just how much fun, just
ask Holt, and with a big smile on his face, he'll say,
"If racquetball was a major, it would be my major!"
For questions, those interested can contact President
Doug Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Vice President Ward Cuff at email@example.com.