The Texas Racquetball Association's mission is to develop and promote the growth of racquetball.

Texas State Juniors ready to rock in Round Rock on June 1-2

As we continue to push the growth of racquetball in the state of Texas, it is contingent upon our youth to play a vital role in that effort.

That youth movement rolls into Round Rock on June 1-2 for the Texas State Juniors Racquetball Championships held at the Clay Madsen Recreation Center.

“The second Texas State Junior's tournament in Round Rock will host almost twice as many youth than it's inaugural year,” Texas Racquetball Association President Julienne Arnold said. “We are elated to see the increasing numbers of kids getting involved in racquetball these days. One of the primary goals of TXRA is to growth the sport through our youth. With the passionate work and dedication of coaches Sandy Long, George Bustos, Thomas Evans and many other volunteers, we are meeting that goal.

“I receive numerous calls and emails from around Texas each month from parents asking me where they can take their children to learn and play racquetball. The desire and eagerness to play exists in our youth. We need that same desire in our members to teach racquetball to our youth. This past March, Coach Fran Davis gave an instructor's clinic in Dallas in which five members enrolled and are on the path of certification. I am grateful to those giving back to the sport in the way of teaching. TXRA thanks all of you who contribute to perpetuate and eternize the sport of racquetball.”

IRT No. 1-ranked player Kane Waselenchuk is attending the event for several hours over the weekend to support the players and visit with all racquetball enthusiasts. Kane will also participate in awarding three special athletes with $500 scholarships who are playing in the 2019 National Junior Olympic Championship in Portland, Oregon June 19, 2019.

Costs for divisions are minimal, with the first event set at $15 and the second event at $10. There is a two-event maximum. Singles will be played on Saturday and doubles on Sunday. Play is also open to juniors in the surrounding states of Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Arkansas.

Donations are encouraged to help support junior racquetball. Goody bags will be distributed to all players and breakfast and lunch will be provided. Sponsors are needed to help with tournament shirts, hospitality and trophies.

All plays is round robin/pool play format. Divisions include multibounce, 8-under, 10-under, 12-under, 14-under, 16-under and 18-under.

One-of-a-kind junior Texas state championship medals are being custom-designed for the event.

Long said it is important for junior players to have an environment where they are playing other juniors in their age group from around the state and to make new friends along the way.

“Kids have the opportunity to improve their skill level by playing other kids in their own age group or test out their skills in a higher age group as well as introducing new juniors to tournament play,” Long said.

As for adult players, Long said there are things that can be done to encourage more junior players.

“Experienced players can volunteer at the tournament, donate money or product to help make the tournament a better experience for the kids,” Long said. “Encourage new juniors to practice and play. Bring them to the event to play or watch so they see other kids playing. Come out and cheer for the kids who are playing.”

Volunteers are needed to help with hospitality for lunch and dinner, tournament desk and other tasks. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Co-Tournament Director Sandy Long via email at longsk59@gmail.com. If you need help signing up online, send an email to Co-Tournament Director Howard Walker at hwrball@aol.com.

Visit the tournament site at Texas State Juniors tournament website.

TXRA awards three scholarships

The TXRA awarded three $500 scholarships to outstanding Texas junior players who are playing in the 2019 National Junior Olympic Championship.

Noah Ruby, Cayden Akins and Shane Diaz are the recipients.

To qualify for the scholarships, players must play in the 2019 Texas State Juniors Championships, must have two recommendations from a credible adult, such as a teacher, coach, etc., and it cannot be a parent or other relative and the players must submit a short essay on why they are deserving of the scholarship.

Scholarships are not needs based. They are merit based.

“One of the main reasons I love racquetball is simply because of how fun it is,” Ruby said in his essay. “It doesn’t matter if you are drilling by yourself, playing at a local club, or playing at a tournament of any size, the ability to have fun is always there, and the fun had is always immeasurable.

“Another reason I love racquetball is because of the fantastic community and people you meet. Almost anywhere you go, you can meet someone new and instantly have a similarity, not to mention the people and the community are all very warm and accepting. The community makes anyone at any skill level or of any age feel welcome, which is one of the best parts of the game.”