On a typical Wednesday afternoon, you will find junior Alain Pujolar with a racquet in hand, hammering away at a ball in an intense doubles match between his fellow club teammates.
Pujolar, the current president of the racquetball club, has excelled in the sport. He is ranked No.1 in the state of Florida in his tier of competition for the United States Racquetball Association (USRA) .
“Being in a club sport has given me a different perspective in what it is to be a college student,” Pujolar said. “I’ve been able to see that being in college is not only about the books and studying, but also expanding your horizons in ways that will make you grow as a person.”
The Racquetball Club has already achieved high prestige. This semester, the club hosted a statewide USRA tournament that, according to tournament coordinator Lynne Olvey, brings roughly five students per college to compete at the University of Miami.
Last February, the club hosted its 10th-annual “Great Balls of Fire Pro Am Racquetball Championship” with the Women’s Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO). Players were invited to compete in the championship and pay an entrance fee, part of which would go to the event’s sponsored philanthropy, the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
Internally, the club also hosts a signature tournament that is designed to draw new players to compete in the club. This year, the “Spooktacular Splatfest” will take place on Halloween from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This will be the eighth year the club hosts Splatfest.
“The tournament really helps us generate interest in racquetball,” Olvey said. “They are able to pick a team. Now we only have three really good players that were playing with, and we want at least five. In January we are headed to the University of Florida for the next [state-wide collegiate tournament].”
Pujolar and the club will be practicing hard to ensure they are ready for the tournament.
“What I do to prepare for a match is to play about three hours of racquetball at least three times a week consistently,” Pujolar said. “It’s not just playing anyone, it’s actually playing people that are as good as you or better; that way your game becomes more consistent, you learn to choose high percentage shots, and you also get used to the speed of the ball.”
Still, the Racquetball Club attempts to appeal to all people who are interested in the sport, both in competitive and recreational playing.
“Everyone is welcome to join the club, even non-students, faculty – if you are a member of the Wellness Center, you’re welcome to join,” Olvey said. “The team is for the students, but the club is for everybody.”
Ramon Galiana may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.