The Oregon State racquetball team has, quite simply, established its own dynasty in the sport club ranks.
The team recently wrapped up its sixth straight team national championship, sweeping the men’s, women’s and overall titles at the 2013 USAR Wilson National Intercollegiate Racquetball Championships at Arizona State University.
The men’s side was led by Taylor Knoth, who is the nation’s No. 1 men’s collegiate player and is ranked on the International Racquetball Pro Tour. OSU men won No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles. They also swept doubles, winning No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.
It was the first time Oregon State has won a men’s national championship.
“For the men, it was probably one of the most talented groups of guys to play here,” Racquetball Club coach Rob Durbin said. “They pushed each other to play better. They all wanted to play hard and improve.
“It was just a real tight bond. They knew they could be a special team.”
Knoth won his second singles title in a row and will move on to represent Oregon State on the U.S. men’s national adult team, according to Durbin.
The OSU women were also successful, winning their fifth straight national championship, with No. 1 singles player Amanda Lindsay finishing third in the nation. Having added four new members to the team this season — two of which weren’t even playing racquetball last year — Durbin said the women’s title was a special one.
“For the women, it’s a very unique (situation),” he said. “We had to replace four — picked up two out of retirement, so to speak.
“They became national champions. I told the team, ‘forever more, you can put down on your resume that you were a national champion.’”
Not only does the team’s recent victory mark six national championships in a row, but Oregon State has won seven of the last eight. Durbin has coached the team to its last six titles.
He said he’ll take away from this season that some of his players achieved what he hopes for all: to have a match they’ll remember forever.
“I always tell them, ‘I hope you have one match that you’ll remember for a lifetime,’” Durbin said.
“I had two girls call me and tell me, ‘I had that moment.’ It’s those types of moments that keep me coaching. To see the joy that they have in the sport.”