Maverick Handball Club gaining strength

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Handball Club is not part of athletics. It is,however, a recognized student organization through campus recreation and competes in different competitions throughout the Midwest.

Handball is pretty much the same as racquetball except in handball you do not use racket. You can play single or double two vs two, but the most interesting thing is if you have an odd number. You can play cutthroat in which there will be a server against the other two and then you rotate through.

In February the club is going to the United States Handball Association’s Collegiate Nationals. 

Mike Wells is the team’s coach and teaches in the Computer Information Science department. It’s been 25-years since Wells is teaching as a professor. Wells started the handball program in 2008. Last year’s team took the title of combined collegiate champion.

“I think you just must come and try it. Most people have a little period of frustration when they first start because you must use your off hand.” Wells said. “Most people haven’t much throw or hit things with their off hand, it takes a little bit of learning curve but people that kind of work through some adversity and like to try something new should just try it,”Wells said

This year’s team has a lot of new members. Among them are three who came specifically from Ireland to MSU to play handball. Shane Dunne, who is in his master’s program at MSU, has been playing handball professionally for the last two years. He played during his senior  and junior years in an ireland clu. Dunne first played handball as a trial and really like it and ever since has pursued a handball career. In the upcoming tournament, Dunne is going to represent the MSU handball team. When Dunne played his first match in Texas, that’s when he came to know about the MSU handball team and reached out to coach Wells to join the team.

“Try it out. I think at first people find it hard, but I think handball has a great opportunity to have fun but also to travel and meet new people.” Dunne said

Mark Doyle, a freshman who has been playing handball since he was four, has always been involved in handball. Doyle’s great uncle and grandfather were the top players in Ireland. 

Doyle joined the handball club at the age of seven. Doyle has been playing championship ever since his juvenile year and adult championship as well. Doyle and his partner reached the senior year semifinal, which is a great achievement.  

Wells contacted Doyle after the world championship in 2018 but by that time Doyle still had a couple years of high school left in Ireland. Last year after Doyle finished high school Wells contacted him and invited him to play for  MSU’s handball team.

“If you want to join just come just come down. Our coach is friendly and everyone will help. Just get into the court and see if you like it or not,” Doyle said

Clodagh Munroe,freshman at MSU, who has played for ten years and started playing at the age of eight. Dunne told Munroe about MSU, which interested him to come here and play. Munroe played three all Ireland, won two of them and won all provincial tournaments. Munroe likes Irish football beside handball.

“You need to put the practice in if you want to play seriously. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop your skills so just play,” Dunne said. “Handball is a very fun sport compared to other sports. Handball is a gender equal sport both for girls and boys.”

Header Photo:  Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Handball Club is a recognized student organization through campus recreation and competes in different competitions throughout the Midwest. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

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