Lynden teen advances to racquetball world championships

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 16, 2013 

16 Racquetball

Racquetball player Hollie Scott, 14, of Lynden, practices her serves at the Bellingham Athletic Club in Bellingham, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. In October Scott is going to Bolivia to play racquetball in the Junior Olympics.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

When Hollie Scott was five years old, her father, Carlos Scott, suggested she try one of his favorite sports - racquetball. She began lessons that year and couldn't have known that would put her on a path which would lead her to qualify for the 2013 International Racquetball Federation Junior World Championships in Sucre, Bolivia.

Now at age 14 and living in Lynden, Hollie Scott has trained at the Bellingham Athletic Club under Wanda Collins since her father convinced her to give racquetball a try.

"Wanda is kind of like a racquetball mom for all the kids who play (at the Bellingham Athletic Club)," Hollie Scott said in a phone interview.

This year, Hollie Scott has pushed herself to qualifying in not one, but two divisions for the world championships. In June, Hollie Scott took second in the 16-and-under singles division at the 40th USA Racquetball Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, and she took first in the mixed doubles division with her partner, Jake Birnel of Bellingham.

"She pushes herself harder than anything, she's a very tough competitor," Tara Scott said in a phone interview.

Hollie Scott started competing in local tournaments when she was six years old, and eventually Collins suggested she start competing in bigger competitions against harder opponents. She participated in three national tournaments to try to advance to the world championships before qualifying in this year's tournament, Hollie Scott's mom, Tara Scott said.

"I was kind of the underdog in the 16-and-under because I didn't go to nationals last year," Hollie Scott said. "Jake and I are around the same age and we know how to play well together (in doubles)."

Birnel, who is 15 years old, also trains at the Bellingham Athletic Club. Hollie Scott and Birnel train year-round, because there are tournaments scheduled all throughout the year. Hollie Scott trains and plays exclusively with Wilson athletic gear, which sponsors her.

Despite her rigorous training routine and travelling a lot for the tournaments she competes in, Hollie Scott still finds time to play with her dad. Carlos and Hollie Scott still sometimes will compete in local tournaments or play a game during open play at the Bellingham Athletic Club.

"He couldn't wait until she was old enough to try it, and when she did, she loved it," Tara Scott said. "His love of the game drove her to it."

The 2013 International Racquetball Federation Junior World Championships take place Oct. 20-26 in Sucre, Bolivia. Results will be available at internationalracquetball.com.

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