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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beaver racquetball winning with experience and youth

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State has quietly become a national powerhouse in intercollegiate racquetball. Under the radar, the Beavers have won four consecutive championships.

"You know what, there's not many national championships that come to Oregon State," said head coach Rob Durbin. "We have five."

This season the Beavers claimed their fifth championship in the past six years, thanks to a mix of experience and youth.

"It felt great," said Taylor Knoth, the number one player on the men's team. "I was really nervous because this is my first year here at OSU. I had a lot of pressure because they had just won the last two or three years."

Knoth, 20, is the reigning world junior champion. This season, along with the team crown, he also claimed the singles title.

That earned him a spot in the "Faces in the Crowd" section in the April 25 issue of Sports Illustrated.

"My family and friends saw the article and texted me and told me I was in it," said Knoth. "Even though it was such a small article, I was surprised to get as much recognition as it did."

Knoth's counterpart on the women's team, Frossene King, is also attracting attention for both her play - and her age.

"I'm 50," King said.

She is a graduate student pursuing a masters of fine arts at Oregon State.

"I said, 'Oh you're a full time student?' and she said yes," Durbin said. "So I said, 'Would you be interested in playing for Oregon State University?'"

King said yes to Durbin and played a pivotal role in the team's success.

"Well I've always enjoyed sports," said King. "I've been in athletics pretty much my entire life. I guess if you do something you love, then you can just keep doing it."

The Beavers hope to keep winning titles, whether it's under the radar - or in the spotlight.

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