Racquetball tourney hits Kleber

Mike Bowers, Kaiserslautern, captured both the men’s and masters’ titles as the only double-category winner of the KMC Invitational Racquetball Tournament held April 9 to 10 at the Kleber Fitness Center.

“It was not so much about winning the tournament, but rather seeing the great turnout,” said Bowers, who played in his last European tournament before being reassigned to the states.

“Among those participants were players I’ve played against during several assignments in Europe. Naturally, the competition was great, but the emotions ran deep as I will miss them all.”

Bowers defeated Ramstein’s Curtis Morgan in the open finals, 15-8 and 15-9. He faced old nemesis Dan Barbeau, Spangdahlem, in the masters division and won 15-6, 15-9 to finish the tournament without dropping a game in six matches.

“It was another enjoyable match, even though the tank was a little low after winning a tough tie-breaker in the semi-finals against Barbeau,” said Morgan, who has only beat Bowers once in a tournament.

Morgan remains the player to beat in the seniors division. He easily handled Robert Varkonyi, Spangdahlem, 15-7 and 15-8, to give him a perfect record in the division for the season.

Samuel Charles, Kaiserslautern, won his first title by defeating Andre Chun, Illesheim, in the C division. Scores were 15-3, 7-15, 11-6. The top-seeded C player, John Almodovar, Ramstein, lost to the 14-year-old Chun in the semis.

Chun was among three under 15-year-olds who played and competed well. “It is good to see young kids playing, since they are the future of the game,” said Gerd Backhaus, tournament director.
“Plus, the B and C entries filled out the bulk of the brackets. That is also good, because these are the players honing their skills to move up into the upper divisions,” added Backhaus.

Jeff Hager, Sembach, emerged as the B division champion. He got by the third-seeded Margarito Castanon, Ramstein, 15-12 and 15-11.

Consolation winners were: Varkonyi, men’s elite; Charles, B division; Christopher Milkes, Baumholder, C division; Hager, seniors; and Scott Hathaway, SHAPE, masters.

The tournament sponsored by the 415th Base Support Battalion Sports and Fitness Branch drew nearly 40 American and German players throughout Europe.
(Courtesy of the 415th BSB Public Affairs Office)