Kaua‘i’s own going to racquetball nationals

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i’s Philip Eliana Jr. will be competing in the 44th U.S. National Racquetball Championships in Fullerton, Calif., as a member of the 2012 U.S. Air Force Racquetball team.

Eliana, a Staff Sergeant in 293rd Combat Communications Squadron at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, said he is honored to have been selected as one of the 13 members of the Air Force team for the second year in a row.

“It was really great when I made the team last year and to get re-selected again this year is awesome,” Eliana said.

Eliana said he learned a lot after last year’s competition and said the key component for success this year isn’t just his fitness level.

At 52, Eliana is the oldest on the Air Force squad. But he said his age won’t play a factor in how he performs in the tournament.

“Last year, I may have been in shape and fit, but I found out pretty quickly that I wasn’t ready for that level of competition,” he said.

“It’s an eye-opener when you compete against the nation’s best.”

Eliana said this year’s competition is even more important because of the questionable future of racquetball on Kaua‘i.

Eliana said the Kaua‘i Athletic Club is relocating to a facility that doesn’t include courts.

“With the sport of racquetball coming to an end here on the island soon … this year’s national championships is a very special event to me,” he said.

The five-day tournament began Wednesday and runs through Tuesday.

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