Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 4/6/18– St. Louis’ Suz Koehler started playing handball just under six years ago and in that span has reached All-American status playing for Missouri State University, won prestigious titles, and earned her spot amongst the elite of the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour.
Suz was born and raised in St. Louis, playing virtually every sport during her childhood, to include basketball, soccer, volleyball, pole vaulting, swimming, ultimate Frisbee, and many others. Suz is active in extreme sports, playing outdoor handball, riding motorcycles, rock climbing, and anything that provides a great adventure. Suz is also an Expert Marksman in the M-4 rifle and M-9 handgun, the highest level in the Air Force National Guard. “I guess it’s just my nature to want to do and try new things, I am an adventurer and I love to travel and experience and meet new people,” stated Suz. “I like to say that I’m a “yes man” or I guess “woman.”
Being one of the world’s greatest female athletes and adventurers is just a small part of Suz’s extraordinary life, as this 27-year old is also one of our nation’s heroes. Suz ranks as a Tech Sergeant (E-6) in the Air Force National Guard, working on the flight gear and survival components for the pilots that fly B2 stealth bombers, packing parachutes and instructing survival trainings, among other things. When not serving our country in the Air Force National Guard, Suz works full-time for ThriVe, teaching self-defense to college students through a free sexual assault awareness program.
Suz is a superstar on and off the court with an undeniable presence and X factor unique to only a rare few. “When I saw Suz for the first time, she was on her sixth straight game of the day, having already polished off two would be challengers at the (St. Louis) Hinder Club,” stated Hinder Club board member and St. Louis R48 liaison Mat Iglehart. “It was obvious that this was a special athlete.”
Suz was inspired to play handball by Dr. Tommy Burnett, like so many at Missouri State. “I had never heard of handball before college and then I took the handball class at Missouri State,” recalled Suz. “During the class I kept getting pestered from Tommy Burnett about how I need to join the team and that I’d be an All American if I joined.”
Being busy with college, Suz was reluctant to invest in the new sport, but eventually started to play on a somewhat regular basis. Suz ultimately dedicated herself fully to the game in 2015. “I was hooked and I was getting better by playing in the tournaments. I officially caught the bug at the 2015 World Championships in Calgary. I’d seen Catriona (Casey), Danielle, (Daskalakis) Sandy (Ng), Ciana (Ni Churraoin), and Aoife (McCarthy) at some of the Collegiate Nationals, but after Worlds I was dedicated to the sport and I had my eye on becoming pro.”
Suz had the opportunity to cross paths with greatness last spring, meeting St. Louis and handball treasure Dave Chapman at The Great One’s outdoor home courts at Forest Park in St. Louis.
“I reached out to Dave through our mutual friend Tracy Davis and he agreed to meet me at Forest Park. Despite never playing 3-Wall Big Ball before, I must have impressed him in some way because Dave invited me to take a lesson with him at the Hinder Club. He yelled at me for being on time (and not early). We eventually got on the court together, he taught me a serve, and we played. From there, we became friends, texting and snap chatting daily. Despite only being friends with him for a short time, he definitely touched my life.”
Like everyone in handball who knew Dave, the memories and lessons with The Great One were unforgettable. Suz’s brief time with The Great One inspired her to continue to improve and set new goals. “My goals are to work on my weaknesses and improve my strategy like Chapman would do. Ultimately, I hope to become the top 4-Wall women’s player in the U.S.”
“Just watching Suz play a few points, I could tell she was extremely athletic and mentally focused and determined,” stated R48 star Emmett Peixoto. “Suz will definitely be in the WR48 mix for many years to come.”
Suz is certainly on her way to reaching her goals, having just dominated the USHA Women’s Classic in Austin by ousting Jenny Schmitt in two games in the final. “Winning the Women’s Classic has definitely been my most important and satisfying victory,” stated Tech Sergeant Koehler. “It was a mental win for me after trying so hard to win the Classic for two years and coming up short. It was a real comeback for me.”
Suz is just two months from marrying her fiancé, Dan Entzeroth, a former college baseball star now working in the financial sector.
“I don’t see marriage impacting my handball until Dan and I are ready to start a family. Even then, I hope to keep playing…Courtney (Peixoto De Melo) is an inspiration in that department.”
Follow Suz at the WR48 NYAC April 13-15, where the most interesting woman in the world will aim to follow up her Women’s Classic victory with a deep run in the Big Apple.
Height: 5’8 ½
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Residence: St. Louis, MO
Strong hand: right
Home court: St. Louis Hinder Club
Favorite athlete: Serena Williams (boss)
Favorite music before a match: hip hop/rap—mostly Drake
Favorite shot: fist shot
Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #12
Strengths: athleticism, length, competiveness
Summary: The Missouri Dynamo (TMD) is one of the WR48’s most dynamic players, forcing all of her opponents to play their best to beat her. Koehler is a student of the game, taking lessons from the late great David Chapman and always studying the techniques and strategies of today’s top players. Koehler is one of the tour’s heroes, serving in the military to preserve our freedom. Koehler is a fan favorite everywhere she plays, a testament to her great attitude and relentless determination
WPH Senior Writer