Flames make a racket in first MACRC tournament of season
September 28, 2014 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's racquetball team made some noise this past Friday through Sunday at The Sports Racket in Lynchburg, where the Flames hosted the first Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Racquetball Conference (MACRC) tournament of the season.
One of nine schools in the event, representing all but six of the 14 MACRC schools, Liberty accounted for nearly one-third of the players in the field — 16 out of 49. The 12 men and four women combined to win nine singles and doubles titles in the Olympic format tournament.
"Overall, the Liberty team did very well," Flames Head Coach Danny Rodriguez said. "With 16 players, 12 of them were new to the sport, including all four of our women's players. So the results are really good for the first tournament."
Individual winners for the Flames were Ed Piering in the red division of Level 2 singles, Joe Gallagher in the red division of Level 3 singles, Juan Jaramillo and Nick Gadsby in the red division of Level 3 doubles, Phil Vorderstrasse and Philip Brown in the red division of Level 4 doubles, Brown in the blue division of Level 4 singles, and Alex Ecker in the red division of Level 4 singles.
Second-place finishers included David Schreck at Level 2 gold singles, Schreck and Piering at Level 2 doubles, Jaramillo at Level 3 gold singles, Ryan King at Level 3 red singles, Ben Musick and Kolton White at Level 4 gold doubles, and Sarah Bunyea at women's Level 4 red singles.
Also for the Lady Flames, who featured four of the 10 women's players in the tournament, newcomers Emily Parnell and Morgan Drake won the red division of Level 4 doubles; Kawin Barnes won the gold division of Level 4 singles; and Parnell won the red division of Level 4 singles.
Liberty wasn't the only team lacking veterans; 34 out of the 49 players in the field were novice to the sport.
"The majority of them were at Levels 3 and 4," Rodriguez said, noting 11 men played at Division 3 and 16 others competed at Division 4.
Team standings weren't finalized as of Tuesday, but teams represented in the tournament were Blue Ridge Community College, Colorado Tech, Duke, Liberty, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Western Community College, and William & Mary.
During a presentation held Saturday night, Phil Wheeler, commissioner of the conference, awarded Liberty its trophy for the 2013-14 MACRC regular-season champions and honored Rodriguez as Coach of the Year and the Lady Flames as the women's team of the year.
Liberty will travel to this season's second MACRC tournament Oct. 24-26 at UNC and the third, set for Nov. 14-16 at VMI. The Flames will host the fourth and final event in January.
Images by Kevin Manguiob/Liberty University