***image1***Tournament racquetball returned to the North Side Fitness Center after a nearly 10-year hiatus in the form of the Ramstein Halloween Invitational held Oct. 30.
KMC players again collected the bulk of awards in the field that included nearly 30 players from throughout Germany.
Kaiserslautern Army’s Mike Bowers won the men’s open and over 40 divisions for the second consecutive tournament. Bowers defeated Ramstein’s Curtis Morgan, 15-10, 15-3, in the open division. James Johnson, Heidelberg, finished third.
Bowers bested Ramstein’s Tony Tingley, 15-8, 15-8, in the over 40 division. Dexter Chun, Illesheim, was the third-place winner. Bowers was the only player who played in the 1995 event.
“The difference between then and now is that I was 10 years younger,” joked Bowers who remains the top-ranked open and over 40 military player in Europe.
“Racquetball hasn’t changed that much. Back then, there were more players including lots of Europeans.
“Now, we are lucky to have enough Americans to fill the brackets. However, there is always good camaraderie among the dedicated few and great competition,” he said.
Morgan padded his lead in the over 35 rankings by winning the 30-39 division round-robin format. Robert Varkonyi, Spangdahlem, finished second and Jimmy Romasanta, Ramstein was third.
It was Morgan’s second consecutive 30-39 title, and he remains a solid second in the open division.
He said his match against Johnson in the open semi-final was the most enjoyable to the tournament.
“I knew it was going to be tough and to get the victory in a tie-breaker was a relief. Johnson is tough for a guy over 50 and is known for his clever play and not giving up.”
Kaiserslautern’s Tammie Milkes won the women’s division with an easy 15-0, 15-2 victory over Petra Kindermann, Frankfurt.
Margarito Castanon, Ramstein, first tournament resulted in a first-place finish in the B division. He defeated Paul McInnis, Ramstein 11-15, 15-10, 11-10. Baumholder’s Jeffrey Milkes was third.
McInnis fared better in the C division where he took the title with a win over Andre Chun, Illesheim. Scores were 15-2, 15-10.
“The tournament went well,” said Morgan who also assisted running the tournament.
Dwayne Robinson and the rest of the fitness center staff did a great job of marketing, organizing and accommodating the players.
“It’s just too bad that not that many people showed up. At least those of us that did had a great time,” he said.
The next scheduled tournament is the KMC Invitational Nov. 20 to 21 in the Kleber Gymnasium. Divisions include open, B, C, over 30, over 40, women’s and mixed doubles.
Players must pre-register by Nov. 12 by calling Gerd Backhaus at 486-8713.
(Courtesy of the 415th Base Support Battalion Public Affairs Office)