Beth Pellowitz, a junior at George Washington University, is a scholarship athlete on the women's varsity soccer and crew teams.
In her spare time, she heads for the racquetball court hoping that, one day, she'll play on the professional racquetball circuit.
She began her racquetball career as a change of pace from the sports she had participated in most of her pre-college years: swimming and soccer.
She remembers that "about 4 1/2 years ago, I tried racquetball and I really liked it. I remember I wasn't too good in the beginning, but I kept on working at it. I had a good teacher in Jimmy Young (racquetball pro at Riverside Racquet Club in Pennsylvania) and I learned a lot from him.
"I liked racquetball from the start because it was a real competitive sport. I knew I wanted to keep playing."
For two years, she practiced sporadically and played in a few tournaments.
"I have a lot of power for a girl and a lot of stamina," she said. "I think I have all the basic racquetball skills. I can consistently kill a shot off the back wall and kill with my forehand. I also have good ceiling shots.
"My only real weakness would be my backhand. I'm trying to improve it with practice."
On the George Washington campus, she has established herself as the No. 1 women's racquetball player. Mary Jo Warner, assistant director of women's athletics at George Washington, praises Pellowitz's ability as a versatile athlete. But it's her racquetball game that brings most of the praise.
"Beth is a smart player with classic racquetball strokes, " Warner said. "She can kill her shot off the back wall to give herself time to get into position."
Pellowitz's aggressiveness, stamina and ability on the court sometimes attract an audience at the Smith Center, where she often defeats the best male players.
Her competitive spirit and love for racquetball extend beyond George Washington. She has been playing in American Amateur Racquetball Association (AARA) tournaments throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.
She has progressed to the highest division (open) possible at the amateur level, which gave her the opportunity last year to play against the No. 1 ranked player in the country.
"I play soccer and row crew to keep in shape for racquetball," Pellowitz said. But John Munnell, who coaches women's soccer at George Washington, notes that "Beth is an amazing athlete and has been an excellent cog in our team. She'll probably be even more productive this year.
"She's serious, diligent and extremely competitive. The more intense the game, the better she likes it."
After graduation, Pellowitz hopes to pursue a career in special education. her major at George Washington. The careeer choice should not interfere with her racquetball goals.