Racquetball heads to nationals


Courtesy David Szafranski

Senior Eddie Rosen, number one boys player for Lincoln, competes at the State Championships Feb. 4 at Multnomah Athletic Club.

Many people believe racquetball is a sport played for fun, and not taken seriously. But that’s not the case for some Lincoln students.

Seniors Lindsay Briglia and Eddie Rosen are members of Lincoln’s racquetball team, and are some of the top racquetball players in the state. Briglia is the number one girls player for Lincoln and the top-ranked senior in state, while Rosen is the number one boys player for Lincoln.

This year there are about 40 kids on the team and most are underclassmen. The team, led by head coach David Szafranski, plays about three to four league matches each season. Szafranski has coached Lincoln for eight years and loves the sport. He has been playing since college. “Racquetball is a unique sport in that, as a beginner, it is easy to learn the basics. But the better you get, you start to play a much faster game, and often, the ball moves faster than you can react to it,” Szafranski says.

How does racquetball work, you may be wondering.

The scoring system is two games to 15. If the first two games split, there is then an 11-point tiebreaker.

The court is made up of six surfaces of which you can play the ball the four side walls, the ceiling and the ground.

Players have to wear goggles to protect their eyes from the ball. They can play either singles or doubles. Rosen says that “doubles gets very crowded with four people all on the same little court.”

Briglia prefers singles and says, ¨My favorite is when you go from playing doubles to singles, because you feel like you have the whole court.¨ Racquetball is all about court positioning. ¨You want to try to be in the middle of the court,¨ says Briglia.

The state competition was held the first weekend in February. Lincoln placed fifth overall, with the girls team taking sixth overall and the boys earning fourth. Rosen led the guys team, placing sixth in state for singles, while Briglia took third in singles for the girls. Sprague High School ended up winning state. Sprague is Lincoln’s biggest rival in the sport.

Next, it is on to Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri, for Rosen and Briglia, along with sophomore Kayla Rae. The team ¨continues to practice 3 days a week in order for everyone to stay tuned up until we leave for St. Louis on Feb 28th,¨ says head coach Dave Szafranski

Rosen feels pretty confident going into Nationals saying, ¨We are so going to win! Lindsay and I got this!¨

The duo will both play singles at nationals. Briglia will play mixed doubles with Rosen, as well as girls doubles with Rae. Nationals is set to take place the week of Feb. 27 to March 3. Nationals alternates every year between St. Louis or Portland, at the MAC Club.

Briglia started playing racquetball as a freshman and said she instantly loved the sport. She had never played before. In 2015, Briglia, as a sophomore, competed in Junior Olympics and nationals, where she won a national championship in mixed doubles.

She even has her name on the plaque on the center racquetball court at the MAC. Briglia has played as Lincoln’s number one girl for three straight years and is currently being recruited by Oregon State. Racquetball is not an NCAA sport, but Briglia hopes to continue playing in college.

Rosen began playing consistently his sophomore year. He is easily one of the best racquetball players in the state and has placed at the top of the competition throughout his high school years.

The Flock wishes Lincoln racquetball great luck at nationals next week in St. Louis!