Racquetball players earn six medals at nationals (with video)
April 2, 2016 | Tempe, Ariz.
Liberty University's racquetball team had two individual men's singles champions during Saturday's final day of competition at the USA Racquetball Intercollegiate Championships, hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
"Last year, in our first year going to nationals, we ended up with five medals from five players," Liberty Head Coach Danny Rodriguez said. "This year, we got six medals from six players, and I was pretty pleased with success we did have. The competition was even tougher this year."
Flames senior Eric Piering lost his round-of-16 opening match in the Gold bracket of Division 3 by a 15-2, 15-12 score to Joseph Thiriot before winning all three of his Blue bracket matches in two games — over Miguel Olivas, 15-9, 15-14 in the quarterfinals, Vladimir Constantinoff, 15-5, 15-9, in the semifinals, and Rowan's Ryan Liberty, 15-5, 15-7, in the Blue bracket final.
Juan Pablo Jaramillo, a junior from Colombia who was slowed by sickness over the past three weeks, lost a tight opening match in the Division 2 Gold bracket to Carlos Rascon from Northern Arizona, 15-9, 7-15, 11-9, in the round of 32. But after dropping down to the Division 2 Red bracket, Jaramillo swept his final three matches, with the last two going to three games. He defeated Jonathan Gabriel, 15-11, 15-8, in the quarterfinals before overcoming Grant Junghons, 15-8, 10-15, 11-8 in the semifinals and Vincent Pan, 12-15, 15-13, 11-7, in the championship.
"He did what he could, and I was pretty excited he played as well as he did," Rodriguez said.
Jaramillo also teamed with sophomore Sadie Abramowicz to place third in mixed doubles despite losing the opening match to Northern Arizona's Amber Jones and Rascon, 15-12, 15-12. They bounced back to dominate Rutgers' Yulia Forte and Sol Torrel, 15-5, 15-5, in their second-round match before surviving Northern Arizona's Erin Boadway and Kevin Hayes, 15-10, 14-15, 11-9 in the third and final round.
In her Division I women's singles competition, Abramowicz lost her Gold bracket opener to Lindsey Raven, 15-4, 15-9, before advancing to the final of the Division 1 Red bracket, despite battling a knee injury. She overwhelmed Courtney Ramey, 15-1, 15-1, in the quarterfinals before conquering Emily Pieroni, 15-13, 15-3, in the semifinals before succumbing to Pooja Sheevam, 15-8, 15-5, in the final.
Liberty sophomore Jacob Simrell dropped his Division 4 Gold bracket match in the round of 16 to Corey Smith, 15-6, 15-5, before winning three Red bracket matches to reach the final. He swept Matt D'Agostino, 15-5, 15-6 to reach the quarterfinals, where he earned a straight-game victory over Nishesh Shukla, 15-9, 15-9. That sent Simrell to the semifinals, where he beat Devan Holt, 15-6, 15-9 before suffering a 15-4, 15-1 setback to Nick Buring in the final.
Simrell teamed with Division 5 singles player Seth Jordan to compete in doubles, dominating Nichols College's Justin Demma and Nick Adams, 15-6, 15-3, in the consolation dropdown round of 16 before winning the first game only to lose the last two to Rensselaer Polytechnic's Adam George and Mike Piekarz, 12-15, 15-4, 11-3.
A year after winning the Division 1 men's singles white bracket, senior David Schreck was eliminated from Division 1 with losses to Alejandro Almada, 15-3, 15-4, in the Gold bracket, and to Spencer Burr, 15-4, 15-7, in the quarterfinals of the Red after defeating Chris Vosburg, 15-12, 10-15, 11-9, in the first round of Red bracket play.
Schreck and Piering teamed up to lose their two Division I doubles matches, to Texas A&M's Jacob Garcia and Nathan Riddle, 15-7, 15-10, in the round of 32 and to Rowan University's Kyle Surette and Ryan Liberty, 15-9, 15-6, in the consolation dropdown.
Complete results are available online.