UWF handball team competes in national championships
By Kelsi Gately
UWF handball members do more than just slam a rubber ball off the walls of a handball/racquet ball court. On February 23, the team bundled up and traveled to the University of Minnesota for the four-day 64th USHA National Collegiate Championships. Out of more than 150 players representing more than 25 universities from across the country and Ireland, UWF came in eighth place.
The National Championship is the biggest event the club has attended this school year. On average, the club participates in five tournaments per semester.
“We did pretty good,” said Michael Mathis, senior engineering major and vice president of the handball club. “Average for how we usually compete, but did well for having a lot of new players.”
Alex Grochowski, senior exercise science major and president of the club, said the team as a whole placed eighth overall, and individuals placed runners-up in several divisions. They are still waiting for final results to come in from officials.
“Compared to other sports I’ve played, handball is weird and unique in its own way,” said Spencer Watral, freshman biology major. “I lost in semifinals, but it was a fun and competitive experience.”
Members meet for practice 6-8 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and optional practice from 3-5 p.m. on Sundays in the HLS building. Team members are willing to help teach the game if you’ve never played before. The team’s purpose, according to its Facebook page, is “to introduce as many students as possible to the ‘Perfect Game’ that is handball.”
First-year international student and exercise science major Orestis Christoforou was expecting it to be similar to water polo, which is what handball is in Greece. He said the game hasn’t been easy to learn over the past week that he has been playing.
“I like it enough to keep playing,” said Christoforou.