Racquetball club finds success in first year

By James Cantagallo

In its first year and without funding, the racquetball club is making a name for itself.

The racquetball club began during the spring semester. The club allows students to improve their skills and compete in tournaments against other schools.

“We have a wide variety of skill sets on our team,” said club President Amanda Hayes. “We have people who don’t know how to play versus people who are nationally ranked.”

One of the nationally ranked players who competes for NIU is senior Eric Mathews. In 2012, he competed in the USA Racquetball Nationals in California.

NIU has only taken part in two tournaments so far, but it has been successful in both.

The first tournament the club participated in was at the University of Illinois in spring, and it won first place in the top


NIU played in another University of Illinois tournament this fall and took second in the top division. The team placed second and third in the lower divisions.

Hayes is happy with the club’s early success and expects the club will continue to improve and compete at a high level. NIU will travel to Champaign in the spring for its third tournament.

The racquetball team is also hoping to host its own tournament for the first time in the spring.

“It would mean a lot to us because we are a new club,” Hayes said.

“We don’t receive any funding yet, and that is a way for us to collect revenue for the club. That way members will not have to pay out of pocket to go to a tournament.”

Having quality players like Mathews has benefited the club in its first year of competition.

“We had a strong foundation when we started our team,” said Vice President Joe Eminger. “It has just carried through as we have been playing tournaments.”

Along with having some highly skilled club members, the work the team puts in is showing in training.

“We have good dedication from a good amount of the members,” Eminger said. “They come in every week and practice every week. Everyone has gotten better because of that.”