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Parkway racquetball wins national championship–again

Senior Mark Duffie wins individual national title, as well

Members+of+the+Parkway+racquetball+team+pose+for+a+team+picture+after+winning+the+national+championship.+
Members of the Parkway racquetball team pose for a team picture after winning the national championship.

Members of the Parkway racquetball team pose for a team picture after winning the national championship.

Members of the Parkway racquetball team pose for a team picture after winning the national championship.

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For the second year in a row, Parkway is the national champion in high school racquetball.

The overall team took home the title March 4, when it took first place in the National High School Racquetball Tournament, held in Portland, Oregon. Also, for the second year in a row, second seed junior Mark Duffie won the national title in the Boys Gold 2 Division.

The Parkway girls’ team placed first in the tournament, while the boys placed third behind a high school from Oregon and SLUH. In addition to Duffie, South students on the team are seniors Katy Moran, Kristen Eads and Bethany Paul. Moran (1 seed)  took fifth in the Gold 1 Bracket, Eads (4 seed) placed third in the Gold 4 Bracket, Paul (6 seed) made it to the quarterfinals in the Red 6 Bracket.

The team is coached by Tim Duffie, Steve Slutsky and Mike Williams. The team consists of players from Parkway West, Parkway South and Parkway North.

“It felt really good because I was coming back from winning the year before and I hoped to be able to repeat,” Duffie said.

Duffie had to play four matches to win, and he beat a junior from SLUH he’s already played in the state finals to win the title.

“I really like the community of the teams. It’s a different and unique sport,” he said.

Next year Duffie will move up on the team to a 1 seed, and he said it will be much more challenging.
“We had a really strong team the last two years, but we’re losing a lot of seniors so next year will be tougher,” he said.

On the girls’ side, Moran said she couldn’t believe it when the Parkway team won nationals again.

“It was really surprising. I’m still stunned that we managed to do it twice in a row. It was an amazing experience,” Moran said. “I really love the team. The girls are all really close to each other. Unlike other sports, we only practice twice a week, which is really great,” she said.

Moran said she will miss playing high school racquetball.

“I’m going to miss the girls and the community. We’re all really good friends so it’s going to be tough to leave them all,”

Portland, Oregon and St. Louis are the two powerhouses in high school racquetball. Moran said this is because of the St. Louis commitment to the sport.

“I think it’s because we have established high school leagues, and the coaches try really hard to make it a good experience,” she said.

Paul said she was thrilled when she found out the team won Nationals again.

“It was a surreal feeling because all of your hard work over the year paid off,” said Paul. “Plus we can say ‘we’re the national champions’ which is pretty cool.”

Throughout the season the Parkway team practiced at the Chesterfield Athletic Club and played  its matches at various venues including Vetta West and Vetta Concord.

Paul said she started playing racquetball just last year because of her friendship with Eads, who was already playing.

“I liked it because it’s different and there’s more thinking involved than just kicking a ball,” Paul said.

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Parkway racquetball wins national championship–again