Senior Wins Racquetball State Championship


Media by Donelle Sherman

Will Sherman, senior, became the 2021 Missouri High School Racquetball State champion for the second consecutive year on Sunday, Feb. 28. Sherman currently plays for Lafayette High School, as MHS does not have a team.

After being cut from the baseball team freshman year, Will Sherman, senior, said his disappointment led him to pursue another sport: racquetball.

“When one door closes, another door opens, right?” Sherman said.

A major success came after five years of playing, as Sherman clinched first place in the No. 1 seed varsity boys division of the 2021 Missouri High School Racquetball State championships for the second year in a row to become a 3-time All-American player.

In addition to those victories, Sherman is the fourth high school boy to become a back-to-back #1 state champion in Missouri, and the first Lafayette High School (LHS) racquetball player to win the state championship in high school.

Sherman plays for the LHS racquetball team, which is a combination of MHS and LHS players, as MHS does not currently have a team. 

It is a high like no other knowing that all the time and energy, all the blood, sweat and tears that you put into it, really just pays off.”

— Will Sherman

Sherman said his dad, a former racquetball player for Missouri State, introduced him to the sport in eighth grade and inspired him to begin his racquetball career. He said his dad trained alongside him at the club and pushed him to spend his mornings practicing over the weekends.

“He really propelled me through the training faster than even coaches can,” Sherman said.

However, the accomplishments come at a cost. Sherman said he gave up a social life in order to improve his racquetball skill and practice for at least two to three hours every day.

Sherman said one of his opponents from LHS, who he initially met freshman year, posed the biggest challenge throughout his racquetball career, pushing him to improve from the constant defeat.

“It is a high like no other knowing that all the time and energy, all the blood, sweat and tears that you put into it, really just pays off,” Sherman said.

The victory was bittersweet as well. Sherman said he competed against good friend Edwin Miller, a top player for Lindbergh High School, in order to win the State Championship.

During a previous racquetball State Championship sophomore year, Sherman lost. He said that led him to a three-month slump that set him back in his improvement. However, he learned not to be affected by those losses.

Travelling for the State Championship game, Sherman said he met a variety of competitors, from countries such as Canada and Germany. 

To be successful, his continued play and determination will take him very far in the game.”

— Manny Rodriguez

“It’s really good to go out and meet a bunch of other people who play the same sport,” Sherman said. “We’re kind of like a big family in a way.”

After COVID-19 restrictions lessened to allow two spectators per player, Donelle Sherman, Will’s mother, said she was grateful to be in person watching her son win the State championship.

“The feeling of your son possibly repeating a state championship is one of hope, joy and fear,” Donelle said. 

She said she noticed the pressure put on Will to succeed during the State Championship, as many other high school racquetball players saw him as a main target.

Manny Rodriguez, LHS racquetball coach, played a major role in Sherman’s career and admires his rare accomplishments throughout the seasons.

“I highly respect his determination and mental toughness in the game of racquetball,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Sherman possesses a focus on the game that drives him to put in the practice time to defeat any of his opponents.

After Sherman graduates, Rodriguez said he will miss Sherman’s leadership with the younger racquetball athletes.

“To be successful, his continued play and determination will take him very far in the game,” Rodriguez said. “The rest is up to what his ultimate goals are.”

Sherman plans to continue his racquetball career after high school, looking at potential collegiate teams, already having received an offer from Penn State.