USU Handball Team Competes For National Handball Title

Feb 12, 2014

The USU handball team gathers for a group shot. From left to right: Marcus, Trevor, Jon, Kaneesha and Ryan. Jon and Kaneesha won in their division.

Utah State University's club Handball team will join other clubs from throughout the world to compete for a national title this month.

This will be the second year Utah State University's Ryan Campbell will compete in the United States Handball Association's National Collegiate Championships.  

"I won the division I championship last year and we won the doubles championship as well," Campbell said. "I have really good serves that stay really low. I love it when they return it and I just kill it."

A recent USU graduate, Campbell will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina for this year's competition on Feb. 19.

"We are losing a whole generation of kids who will know an absolutely terrific sport," said Herm Olsen, USU Handball team adviser.

Olsen, a Logan attorney, helped organize the USU Handball Club and class. University students can sign up for the class and receive USU credit. The course includes training from a group of retired volunteers who have a love for the sport and enjoy an occasional win against their younger student competitors.  

"The wile old guys still know how to get a point off of them," said Olsen.

Former North Logan Mayor, Cary Watkins, has been playing handball for more than 40 years.  At the age of 78 he spends three days a week playing against USU students to help them develop their skills and to promote the sport.

"We would love to get more support from the university because we are actually being recognized now in the collegiate ranks as a very significant handball school," said Watkins.

The team will compete against some of the strongest teams in the world, including Ireland. Scottish and Irish immigrants brought the game of handball to the U.S. in the 18th century. As many as 19 million people play some form of handball. The USU Handball club plays on a four wall court.

"I grew up in New York City," said retired USU employee, Ned Weinshe

American Handball Action

nker. "I started playing at age seven or eight, outdoor on a one wall court. Some friends suggested I try four wall. It is a very different sport and still, after playing for three years with this group, am trying to get my head around the back wall. It is a very different sport."

A golf ball sized handball, goggles, and leather gloves are used in playing this style of handball. Team members and their competitors use a cupping hand shape to slap the ball on a four wall court in single player and team tournaments.