East County crowns a pair of champions
Reynolds senior Justin Juul was no stranger to the state racquetball championships, but he wanted to make his final trip a special one.
"I was sixth my first year, fifth the next and second last year — I wanted to comeback with a vengeance this time," Juul said.
The No. 1 singles finals saw him take on Sprague's Mitchell Turner in a rematch of last year's finals.
It would prove to be the most entertaining showdown of the entire tournament with Juul coming out on top in a third-set tiebreaker that saw both players serve for the match.
The match stepped up in intensity late in the first set when Turner dived after a shot near the sidewall, taking out Juul's legs in the process. Juul fell backward onto the court before carefully picking himself up and spending an injury timeout to walk off the bumps.
"Both of my knees buckled, and I just needed to stretch it out and calm down a little," Juul said. "I used that as my drive to stand back up and overcome."
The break in play also resulted in line judges being added to the glass, putting three sets of eyes on the remainder of the bout.
After a 10-minute delay, the players returned to the court. Turner served for the set twice before Juul won it 15-14 and exited the door with his arms raised above his head.
Turner took the middle set 15-12, setting up a winner-take-all race to 11 in a third-set tiebreaker.
The duo traded the lead three times with Juul fighting off a match point before winning the last four volleys to claim the title 11-10.
"I was thinking about my shot and his return — it's all about staying two shots ahead and putting the pressure on him to make mistakes," Juul said.
• Barlow rookie Annie Roberts cruised to a 15-4, 15-3 win in the girls singles finals, winning the bulk of her points with solid backhand hits.
"I paid attention to where she was on the court and was able to keep the ball in front of her," Roberts said.
She teamed up with Kelsey Klinger to take second in the doubles bracket.
View photos from the tournament at daveball.exposuremanager.com.
Look for expanded coverage ahead in our Tuesday, Feb. 6, print edition.