Report courtesy of Palmer Page
On the weekend of April 5th, 2019, UNC-Chapel Hill hosted the 2nd annual hardball college tournament in 25 years. During this weekend packed with festivities, activities began Friday early in the day. Friday golf was planned in the morning, and practice was in the afternoon on the six UNC-CH Hardball Courts.
At Friday night’s welcome party, there was a smorgasbord dinner with beer and wine at the Chapel Hill Country Club’s Lawson’s Porch. Other meals throughout the weekend included lunch at the courts and Saturday’s evening garden party with food from the iconic Time Out, which provided southern chicken and all the fix-ins’.
Saturday the tournament officially began. All participants played fiercely and competitively, but in the end, there could only be one winner from each division. Professional doubles player Hamed Anvari took the win in the Open Division. Paul Chan, who never started the point with the same serve twice, beat Chuck Soderstom in five exciting games and took the win in the B Division. Another notable win was from Gary Yeager, who came in 3rd over Jim Gibbons. In the C Division, Duane Demaree, after winning five games against several rounds of college players, beat Jon McBride in four hard-fought games. In the same division, Rick Taft and Sharan Potluri (UNC ’19) came in 3rd and 4th.
Comments included “this is a great game. The shot making is critical to winning and so different. Playing the angles is a lot of fun. I can see this really catching on;” “we could put together a hardball team too”; “We can’t wait to use the new hardball in our wide courts;” and “This is great preparation for playing DOUBLES!”
After the tournament and some rest, players headed over to the Pages’ for a Saturday garden dinner party. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament weekend happened during this dinner. The UNC-CH Chancellor Emeritus, James Moeser, welcomed everyone and Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz made a much-hoped-for announcement to the assembly of 50 student athletes, adult tournament participants/supporters and Darin Padua, UNC-CH Chair of The Department of Exercise & Sports Science. The announcement was that UNC-CH will have four regulation squash courts for practice and matches and will completely redo four regulation hardball courts including new sprung (floating floors) in all the courts. The work will be completed in Fall 2019.
Christopher Gsell then provided an overview of the men’s and women’s season results and objectives. Finally, Hazim Mukhtar and Palmer Page presented recognition Rams to the Chancellors and Adult Tournament Patrons respectively.
Many Tarheels have contributed to the new Squash Facility at Carolina. The new center will be called The Grauer Family Squash Facility at Carolina. The squash team is very excited to have regulation courts that can be used for both hosting matches and practice. Since established club sports is one of the top attractions at UNC-CH, the Chapel Hill team looks forward to welcoming student squash-enthusiasts including SEA students who want to join the vibrant Carolina Squash Club team.
The Announcement of the University of North Carolina’s Grauer Family Squash Facility is an exciting development. It is the largest squash facility in the Carolinas. The University looks forward to welcoming students for “Competing in Carolina Blue”, new squash students athletes creating “stories of novel ideas and nimble minds” and the overall student exploration of campus life in Chapel Hill.