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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Four from PVAC shine in national championships

Four junior racquetball players from Petaluma Valley Athletic Club participated in the Junior National Racquetball Championships in Portland last week.

Luke Sewall and Sawyer Lloyd in the 16-and-under division, Dima Gafarov in the 14-and-under division and James D'Ambrogia in the 8-and-under division and 10-and-under doubles represented the PVAC. The players were accompanied by PVAC junior coach Brian Dixon, the junior racquetball director for California.

More than 160 players from across the country competed in the event, held at the Sunset Athletic Club. California, with 15 players, placed second behind Oregon in state competition.

The Petaluma standout was 8-year-old James D'Ambrogia. It was his first national competition, and he competed in three events: boys 8-and-under multi bounce, boys 8 and under single bounce, and boys 10 and under doubles.

He played with enthusiasm, with his older PVAC friends, as well as his family and coach, cheering him on.

He won the gold medal and is the national champion of the 8-and-under multi-bounce division. He won a silver medal in the 8-and-under single-bounce competition and won a bronze medal in the 10-and-under doubles competition.

Lloyd made it to the quarterfinals, losing a tough match to eventual second-place finisher John Lindsay. Lloyd won two golds and a silver in the 14 and unders last year, and competed at the World Championships.

This year, he had minimal preparation time, as he was in Spain as an exchange student for several months before the event, giving him only three weeks to prepare.

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