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Falcons bag national racquetball title

Billy Wainwright and Taylor Knoth make it a three-peat in No. 1 doubles
by: submitted photo, Earning first place gold medals for La Salle at the recent National High School Racquetball Championships were: (kneeling, from left) Bailey Sheldon and Stevanie Medearis; and (standing) Jeremy McGlothin, Billy Wainwright, Taylor Knoth and Colby Neal.

PORTLAND - La Salle High School's boys racquetball team made school history on March 2, capturing the team title at the National High School Racquetball Championships, held at Multnomah Athletic Club.

The Falcons' girls team also made a strong showing, placing fourth in the talent-filled field. La Salle finished second only to Sprague in the combined boys and girls team standings.

'We virtually accomplished all our goals,' said La Salle coach Bill Wainwright. 'This is especially impressive when you think that we competed against 53 other schools across the country, many with 6A-level enrollments.'

La Salle athletes won seven gold medals during the five-day tournament.

The doubles team of Billy Wainwright and Taylor Knoth won the boys number one doubles title for a third consecutive year. They beat another local team, Rick and Ryan Charbonneau of Oregon City, 15-9, 15-5, in the title match.

Knoth also successfully defended his national title in number one singles, where he handled Ryan Ingram of Kannapolis, N.C., winning 15-7, 15-4 in the finals.

Knoth also teamed up with Ashley Sheldon to earn runner-up honors in No. 1 mixed doubles.

Knoth's performance in singles earned him a position on the 2008 Junior Olympic National Team.

Also claiming national titles for La Salle were Colby Neal and Jeremy McGlothin in No. 2 doubles, Wainwright in No. 2 singles, McGlothin in No. 3 singles, Wainwright and Bailey Sheldon in No. 2 mixed doubles, and McGlothin and Stevanie Medearis in No. 3 mixed doubles.

'I'm especially proud of the way our advanced players led by example,' said coach Wainwright. 'They showed leadership in practices, as well as in competition. Their willingness to contribute in this way helped me and made it particularly fulfilling as a coach to see Billy and Jeremy wearing their gold medals for winning all three divisions that they played in, and Stevanie and Colby winning their first-ever gold medals.'

The Falcons had nine other medalists. The team of Katie McCarthy and Ryan Ludlow won the consolation prize in No. 3 mixed doubles.

Ludlow was runner-up in No. 5 singles-red, and Medearis was runner-up in No. 3 singles-blue.

Other medalists included: Neal, third in No. 4 singles-gold; Ashley Sheldon, third in No. 4 singles-gold; Katie McCarty, fourth in No. 5 singles-gold; Erin Elrod, third in No. 6 singles-red; Megan Kieres and Medearis, third in No. 1 singles-consolation; and Kelsey Harris and Ryan Burbach, third in No. 3 mixed doubles-consolation.

'I hope years from now this team will still smile when they think about the fun and accomplishments they've enjoyed,' said Wainwright. 'Hopefully they'll also be able to point to a banner or plaque posted somewhere at La Salle, recognizing their win, and show their children what can be achieved when you have a goal that you're committed to.'