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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Coach’s commentary: A&M Handballers Shine at the Collegiate National Championships

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Photo curtesy of Eilish Owens

Coach Martin Mulkerrins, Derek Schirripa, Jason Buley, William Henry IV, Trevor Austin, Coach Don Johnson. Front row: Amesley Davis, Macy Drew, Caitlin Behne during the USHA Collegiate Handball Championships. 

Editor’s Note: This piece was contributed to The Battalion by Martin Mulkerrins, coach of the Texas A&M Handball Club.
Six students from the Texas A&M Handball Club traveled to Tucson, Ariz. last week to compete in the 70th United States Handball Association Collegiate Nationals.
The tournament had teams from all over the United States, as well as players traveling from universities in Canada and Ireland. The team was accompanied by Head Coach Martin Mulkerrins who is currently ranked second on the WPH R48 Pro Handball Tour, and the experienced Don Johnson, who won A&M’s first Men’s Open Collegiate National Handball title with his doubles partner, Jim Mathis, in 1954. The tournament started on Wednesday, Feb. 22, with all six players competing in singles or doubles.
All members of the team played extremely well and represented the club and the university with honor and pride. A&M’s women’s team of Macy Drew, Caitlin Behne and Amesley Davis won the Women’s ‘A’ Team National Title, the second highest division, which was an exceptional achievement, especially considering this was their first time at the National Championships. Caitlin and Amesley reached the Women’s ‘A’ Doubles National final, however, on this occasion, they took second place against an experienced Lake Forest College Team from Illinois.
All of our men, Trevor Austin, Derek Schirripa and William Henry IV, competed in the A divisions which again highlights the high standard they are playing at. Trevor reached the A2 semifinal and lost to the eventual winner, Cian O’Donnell from Ireland. O’Donnell praised Trevor’s performance and stated the score line of 21-9, 21-6 did “not reflect the difficulty of the match,” which lasted one hour and twenty minutes.
In the upper half of that same bracket, Derek caused an upset by defeating the No. 1 player, Missouri State’s Payton Strand, in a tiebreaker. This win set up a quarterfinal match against the University of Texas’s Avery Lewis later Friday evening. This may have been one of the matches of the tournament with both players playing amazing handball much to the enjoyment of the packed gallery. After almost two hours and tied at 8-8 in the tiebreaker it was Lewis who would take the match on this occasion, scoring the last 3 points.
Each year, the USHA holds a banquet for all the participants and their coaches during which awards and scholarships are presented. This year, the banquet was held at the University of Arizona. Former TAMU Handball Club president Jason Buley was awarded a Mardak Scholarship for assisting with coaching new players at A&M, while Amesley Davis was awarded the Team Aware Collegiate Handball Scholarship in memory of Chatten Hayes who was a passionate supporter of the “perfect game.”
The banquet was also a special occasion for Johnson, who addressed the crowd regarding his recent publication titled “The History of Handball at Texas A&M University.” Don presented a copy of the book to both Vern Roberts and Matthew Krueger to acknowledge their help and the help of the USHA in providing material for the book. A copy of the book will now be placed in the Handball Hall of Fame in Tucson for visitors to see and read.
All the members of the A&M Handball Club, past and present, would like to congratulate the team on their outstanding achievements at the Collegiate Nationals as well as Johnson on his tireless work over a number of years writing the book capturing our history. The team would like to thank all of those who have made this trip possible, including Doug Randolph and members of the Houston Handball club. We now look forward to more regional tournaments before the end of the semester and of course to next year’s Collegiate Nationals at the University of Minnesota.
New members are always welcome! For more information, please follow our Instagram and Facebook pages: tamuhandballclub and/or contact head coach Martin Mulkerrins at: [email protected].
Martin Mulkerrins is the coach of the Texas A&M Handball Club and an instructional assistant professor at Texas A&M.

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