Gould goes for fifth women's title

April 28, 1994|By Maureen Sack | Maureen Sack,Special to The Sun

While most 10-year-old girls were getting bicycles or dolls as birthday presents, Michelle Gould received a membership to a fitness club. That's where she took up racquetball.

"Racquetball was something our family could do together," said Gould.

Gould, 23, the Women's Professional Racquetball Association's defending national champion, beginning today aims for her fifth consecutive WPRA singles title.

The $16,000 championship event will be held at the Merritt Athletic Club in Woodlawn and is open to the public.

Some 200 amateurs and 31 pros will compete in the four-day event.

Gould, of Boise, Idaho, attributes her accomplishments to her upbringing.

"I've come so far in so short a time because of the way I was raised. My parents kept me on the ground," said Gould.

However, like any successful athlete, Gould has had her share of setbacks. Her most challenging one occurred nearly a year ago, when she underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. Two weeks later, she was back on the court.

Gould, who attends Boise State University, still has a soft spot on the right side of her knee, which, according to her doctor, probably would have healed by now if she had not returned to the game.

For the past four years, Gould has been the American Amateur Racquetball Association's national singles champion. In 1990, 1991 and 1993, she was the AARA's national doubles champion as well. Gould has won 12 WPRA tournament titles, including doubles matches. Last year, she competed in a two-week event to win the WPRA world championship singles crown, a title she holds until 1995.

Gould, whose long-range goal is to qualify for the 1995 Pan American Games, says she is successful because she is a perfectionist.

"No matter what I'm doing, I'm always doing it better," she said. "I learn from my mistakes. I guess that's why I've stayed on top for a while."

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