Total Pageviews


Search This Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Henke inducted into racquetball HOF

Tom Henke spends much of his time these days teaching the fine art of how to handle a bat with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point softball team.

In his spare time, Henke has shown he's pretty skilled with a racquet -- namely the type used in racquetball -- in his hands.

In fact, Henke is so good with a racquet in his hands that he was recently inducted into the Wisconsin Racquetball Association Hall of Fame. A native of Wisconsin Rapids, Henke, who lives in Stevens Point, became the 15th member of the Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the West Allis Racquetball and Tennis Club on March 5.

"It's a very humbling thing and a big honor. I didn't expect it at all because there are a lot of great (racquetball) players in this state," Henke said.

Henke was first introduced to the sport while attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with the intention of playing baseball.

Henke was a natural and almost immediately had success -- first playing against friends and competitors around central Wisconsin -- and eventually on the state and national levels.

"When you taste a little success, that's a great taste," Henke said. "I started to enter tournaments and really fell in love with the sport. It's such a fast-paced, highly-competitive sport. I started at the bottom at D level and worked my way up."

Henke quickly climbed the ranks in the state, making a name for himself in doubles.

He won his first state title in 1987, teaming with Hall of Famer Gary Tanko to win the Men's 25+ Open double championship, and added titles in '89 and '90.

Ultimately, Tanko and Henke teamed to win six Men's Open doubles championships. With a variety of other partners, Henke won WRA or state YMCA doubles titles seven times.

"It's been fun to have a great friend (Tanko) and someone who has the same passion for racquetball as I do," Henke said.

Not only is Henke a great doubles player, he also proved to be a top flight singles player, claiming the State YMCA Men's Open title three times, while picking up five other individual state titles.

Racquetball has a special place in his life for another reason. He met his wife Lois met at a racquetball tournament in his hometown of Wisconsin Rapids.

"The biggest success (in racquetball) was when I met my wife," Henke said. "I've developed a lot of great friendships over the years."

No comments:

Post a Comment