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    March 22, 2022 Tucson, Ariz. RSS |

    After traveling to North Carolina State for its third Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Racquetball Conference (MACRC) tournament in late February and hosting the Virginia Singles/Doubles State Championships at the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center courts in early March, Liberty University’s racquetball team will enter of its six men’s players and four women in this week’s USA Racquetball Intercollegiate Championships in Tucson, Ariz., with competition starting on Wednesday and concluding on Saturday.

    The Flames will be represented by graduates Seth Jordan and Garrison Walker, seniors Evan Keener and Trevor Melton, junior Timothy Adams, and freshman Andrew Cook on the men’s side while the Lady Flames will feature senior Ivana Quintanilla, juniors Danielle Passburg and Sadie Barham, and freshman Paige Jordan.

    The Lady Flames are entering their entire four-player women’s roster.

    Head Coach Danny Rodriguez and volunteer Team Assistants Herman Lewis and Pamela Passburg are also in Tucson. They will provide between-match instruction and encouragement to the players, many of whom are making their first trip to nationals after the past two were canceled by COVID-19.

    At the Feb. 25-27 MACRC tournament, Jordan and Keener teamed up to place first in the Blue Division of Level 1-2 doubles while Melton and Walker joined forces for a third-place finish in the Gold Division and Adams and senior Ryan Tomlinson captured first in the Red Division.

    Cook and sophomore Joseph Dennis placed second in the Level 3 Gold Division and junior Malachi Aviles and freshman Jacob Knox finished fourth in the Level 4 Gold bracket.

    In men’s singles play, Jordan was runner-up in the Level 1 Gold Division, where Keener defeated Walker in the third-place match. Melton won the Level 1 Red Division and Tomlinson placed third in the Level 2 Red bracket. Adams won the Level 3 Gold Division followed by Dennis in fourth place; Cook placed second in the Level 3 Blue bracket; Knox finished fourth in the Level 4 Gold Division; and Aviles won the Level 4 Red bracket.

    Danielle Passburg and Quintanilla placed third in women’s Level 1-2 doubles play with Jordan and Barham taking second place in Level 3-4. In women’s singles action, Quintanilla finished fourth in the Level 1-2 Gold Division and Barham defeated Passburg in the Level 3-4 Gold bracket with Jordan landing in fourth place in the Level 3-4 Red Division.

    As a team, Liberty moved back into first place in the combined standings after the third of four MACRC Tournaments with 5,229 points, ahead of UNC Chapel Hill (4,737) and NC State (4,441). That is based on the Flames’ first-place men’s standing with 3,882, barely ahead of second-place UNC (3,821) and well in front of the University of Virginia (2,187), James Madison University (1,885), and fifth-place NC State (1,852), and the Lady Flames’ second-place total of 1,347, behind only the Wolfpack (2,589) and well ahead of third-place UNC (916).

    At the March 4-6 Virginia State Championships, Walker and Melton won the A Division of men’s doubles, while Keener teamed up with Mason Dudley, who does not compete for the Flames, to finish fourth. Cook and Adams captured the B Division men’s singles title and Knox and Aviles placed third.

    Walker and Pamela Passburg finished third in the A Division of mixed doubles while Adams and Quintanilla defeated Danielle Passburg and Dudley in the B Division championship match.

    Danielle Passburg and Quintanilla formed the winning women’s doubles B Division tandem, beating Barham and Jordan in the final.

    Melton won the men’s singles A Division, with Walker placing fourth, and Adams defeated Cook in the C Division. In women’s 19-and-over singles, Barham beat Quintanilla in the B Division final and Danielle Passburg defeated Jordan in the consolation match for third place.  Lewis placed second in the men’s 60-and-over singles division and Pamela Passburg finished third in the women’s singles Elite/A Division and teamed with Al Kidd to take third in the Open/Elite Division of mixed doubles.

    Graduate Garrison Walker is one of a few Flames with previous national tournament experience.