1st Engr. Bde. takes home trophy
The 1st Engineer Brigade swept the championship round of the 2018 Commander’s Cup Singles Racquetball Tournament, beating the 554th Engineer Battalion, 3-0, to claim the tournament trophy Feb. 15 at Davidson Fitness Center.
“I’ve been playing racquetball for a number of years, and it was nice to have an actual tournament that allowed us to come out and show our skills,” said Seth Brubaker, who was the first 1st Engr. Bde. player to exit the courts after winning his No. 1 singles match in straight sets, 15-0, 15-0, over 554th Engr. Bn. competitor Martin Smith.
Trevor Walker sealed the championship for the 1st Engr. Bde. with a 15-6, 15-2 win in No. 2 singles against 554th Engr. Bn. team member Ethan Clouse.
“We had some very good volleys going back and forth,” Walker said. “At first, (the tournament) seemed somewhat easy, but it got harder as we advanced and faced better teams. Tonight’s match showed that, despite the score — even though I beat my opponent, I worked for it.”
Another hard-fought victory for the 1st Engr. Bde. occured on the No. 3 singles court, where Dan Runyon completed the sweep with a 2-1 victory over 554th Engr. Bn. competitor Kris Edson. Runyon won the first match, 15-12, then fell to Edson, 15-11 before coming back to take the third game 11-8.
“That was brutal,” Runyon said. “Captain Edson and I were very evenly matched. We went right down to the end on the tie-breaker. I just squeaked it out.”
The 554th Engr. Bn. players were the defending tournament champions, winning last year’s singles match in a four-team tournament, which was the first to be played after racquetball was reintroduced to the Commander’s Cup Series after being removed in 2016.
Participation was up for this year’s tournament, which included six teams.
Prior to the championship match, the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence team won the tournament’s contest for third place, defeating the Medical Department Activity, 3-0. In those games, Eric Downs earned the No. 1 singles victory for MSCoE with a 15-7, 15-0 win over MEDDAC’s Pablo Rivera. Cesar Rodarte won the No. 2 singles match against MEDDAC competitor Jackie Chen, 15-9, 15-1. Richard Obleada won the No. 3 singles match for MSCoE, beating Gerald Natalroman, 15-1, 15-2.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Chief of Sports Coleman Swinton and Danny Howell, FMWR sports specialist, thanked all players for participating before Swinton presented the 1st Engr. Bde. with the tournament trophy.
Brubaker, who got his start playing racquetball on the DFC courts in 2009, hopes to see the sport of racquetball continue to grow on Fort Leonard Wood. He said several players gather from around 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the racquetball courts, and are always looking for new players. “We take everyone who wants to come out and try it,” he said.