Betty Weed won the very first (the inaugural) women’s Outdoor National Singles division in 1974 over Joy Koppel. Next, Betty took 2nd in the top singles spot in 1975 to Diane Heims. And, in 1976, Betty Weed finished second to outdoor Hall of Famer Martha McDonald in singles and was fourth in doubles with Kathy Seavillo in 1976 (the winners were Aubrey Dinatale and Kathy Graden). In a short period of time, at the height of racquetball, Betty Weed captured the respect of the entire outdoor racquetball community by not only winning but by promoting the sport to other women as mentioned by founders Barry Wallace and Bob Wetzel during the voting process. Hall of Famer Martha Byrd McDonald would later come to the event after reading about the exploits of both of these stars.
Betty Weed dominated the sport early on by playing in three of the first three outdoor women’s singles finals and making the semis in every event she entered. Unfortunately, the world never got a chance to see women’s doubles in the first two years that the event was held because it wasn’t added until 1976. It is an honor to induct Betty Weed who is the very first women to earn a title at the outdoor championships. Betty is no longer with us and her memory is cherished.
Note 1: Women era records are pretty sparse and after a few years most played in the men’s divisions. The top division at the time was generally called women’s A’s ,but it’s really pro/open. Martha McDonald, a Hall of Famer from that era, confirmed that starting around the 1980’s, many women starting playing in the men’s divisions so also didn’t compete against each other.
Note 2 -Most Hall of Fames generally include the very first winner of the first event as an historic moment in the sport. For women, that was Betty Weed who also finished 2nd twice in three years in singles and had a top four in doubles (at a minimum). She was 3/3 in finals the first three years in pro/open/A singles.
Notable Finishes for Betty Weed (3 finals and 1 win in first three years) and a semifinals in doubles:
1974 - Betty Weed wins the first, inaugural National Outdoors in singles over Joy Koppel. Martin is 3rd and Nancy Gick is 4th . Note: We have no records of Betty (or any woman) playing doubles this year but we are fairly certain that they did not offer women’s doubles until year three (1976) . (special thanks to Todd Boss for his updates too).
1975 - In year 2, Betty Weed loses in finals of women’s singles to Diane Heims at the National Outdoors. Note: Likewise, we have no records of any women playing doubles since the first two years records are blank completely for women’s doubles. It is believed that Martha McDonald, one of the early leaders asked that woman’s doubles be added in 1976 when she started playing.
1976 - a) Singles- In year 3, Betty Weed again finishes 2nd in woman’s singles for a three peat (for three finals in a row) at the Outdoor Nationals. She loses to one of the best outdoor players ever, Martha Byrd McDonald, a future outdoor Hall of Famer. The top four in singles this year in order are Martha Byrd McDonald-1st, Betty Weed 2nd,, Karen Seavello-3rd and Julie Davdson-4th, and quite a line up.
1976 - b) Doubles- Betty Weed teams up with Kathy Seavillo (the 1976 second place finisher in singles) and finishes fourth in doubles with Betty here. The top finishers in doubles in order are Aubrey DiNatale/Kathy Graden-1st; David/Gribbon-2nd; Karthy Gardner/Nancy Gick-3rd.
“Both Betty Weed and Diane Heims clearly deserve to be in the Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame.” Bob Wallace, co-founder of the Outdoor Nationals
“I thnk all of our memories are fading ,but Diane Heims and Betty Weed are absolutely deserving of being in the Hall of Fame for the wins and for the enthusiasm they brought to the sport.” I was there when they were dominating the women’s field and its never easy winning a national title to be the best of the best at that time. They also helped promote the sport in the beginning era." Charlie Brumfeld
“This is going back to the early days of our sport and Betty Weed deserves to be in the hall of fame. She has the distinction of being the very first person to win the event. She was the best of those players who showed up and there were a lot of people who wanted to win it. She dominated and you don’t do this often at a major event without having some great talent.” Dr. Bud
“Waiting in the upper bracket for Diane (Heims) was Bette Weed, a strong, veteran racquetball pro from San Diego. As the defending Outdoor National champion Bette was heavily favored. “Bette’s too strong...” “Diane Doesn’t have enough experience...”said the sideline experts. Diane obviously wasn’t listening, as she went out and quickly silenced everyone with a very convincing 21-16, 21-7 win. Six months after first picking up a racquet, she (Diane Heims) was the Women’s Outdoor National Champions.“ Barry Wallace, cofounder of the national Outdoors
“Betty Weed was a great competitor and contributor who dominated outdoor racquetball at the very beginning of the sport. She was among the 300 plus participants and over 3,000 fans in attendance overall in the sports biggest heyday; and she won a national outdoor champion singles title (and two second place titles) in three straight years shows to me how dominate she was. We will never know if she would have won the first two doubles events had they been held. It’s truly a special honor to induct her as one of the pioneers of our sport along with Diane Heims, two friendly but fierce competitors.” Brett Elkins, Chairman WORHOF
“It is a special honor to honor the first women champion of Outdoor Racquetball and a lady who has a truly special place in the history of our sport.” Greg Lewerenz, WOR National Director