Mexico Campeonato Nacional Preview

Sebastian Fernandez is the #1 seed at Mexican Nationals 2021; can he capitalize? Photo unk

This week and coming weekend features the Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol (FMR)’s Campeonato Nacional (National Championships), being played in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

This tournament was one of the few to get in before Covid shut down the sport in 2020; it is normally competed in February, and is one of my favorite tournaments to cover, usually filled with amazing upsets and names not well known to the global rball fanbase making big runs (though, more and more these players are becoming household names).

This year will be a bit different for FMR Nationals: they have comparable draw sizes in both the Men’s and Women’s draws to last year, but the men’s draw in particular is missing a TON of big-time names this year. The two finalists from last year are not present ( Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa ). Also missing are top names like Alan Natera Chavez and @Gerardo Gerardo Franco Gonzalez and Alex Cardona. No @Eduardo Eduardo Garay Rodriguez, who is I hear is returning to the Mexican fold. No Javier Estrada to make a deep run. No Eduardo Ochoa or Jaime Martell Neri to get big time wins. Lastly, no Alejandro Landa, who is entered into USA’s nationals in a month’s time after leaving the Mexican federation over some rather short-sighted decisions related to the Pan Am Games roster selection.

So that’s too bad …. but it also illustrates just how deep the Mexican player pool is, because the top 8-10 players who are here are solid.

R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=36616

Lets preview the Men’s Open draw first:

The 32s kick off the event on Tuesday; there shouldn’t be too many surprises in the 32s, and most of the top seeds are getting byes. However, some of the below predictions may already be obsolete if we see round of 32 upsets played before you read this…

Matches to look for in the round of 16:

  • I like 8/9s and I like Daniel Diaz to take out #8 Erick Cuevas in a slight upset. Diaz has been playing a ton of Texas tourneys and should have the chops to take out Cuevas.
  • #4 Christian Longoria may have his hands full with an under-seeded #20 Jordy Alonso, who I expect to advance here. Alonso beat Lalo Portillo in a local tournament in April, a pretty significant win, and i predict him to build on that victory here.

– #2 Javier Mar versus #15 Jose Ramos, recently graduated out of the juniors. Ramos made the semis of 2019 World Junior 18U, losing a heartbreaker 11-10 to close out his junior career; now he’s gotta compete with the pros.

Projected Qtrs: here’s where the rubber meets the road.

  • #1 Sebastian Fernandez, who gets the #1 seed by virtue of being the highest finisher actually present from the Feb 2020 event, projects to face #9 Diaz. Patata has stepped back from racquetball a bit, but still is a major player and should advance here.
  • #5 @Rodrigo Rodrigo Montoya Solis vs #20 Alonso: how is reigning World champ and reigning Pan Am games champ only seeded 5th? Well, he got beat early last year (by Portillo) and they re-seed every year based on last year’s finish. Agree or disagree, it always lends itself to some fun early matchups. Montoya moves on here.
  • #3 Lalo Portillo projecting against #6 Erick Trujillo; Portillo has been on a big-time roll lately, kickstarted at this event last year with his run to the semis. He moves on here.
  • #7 Andree Parrilla vs #2 Mar; two of the best seven or eight players in the world right now face off way too early in the quarters here. These two have generally split their matchups, but Mar took their most recent pro meeting at the 2020 Lewis Drug pro-am. I like Mar here.
    Semis:
  • I think #5 Montoya takes out Patata here; just too much firepower for Fernandez to handle.
  • #3 Portillo over #2 Mar: this is an upset by seeding, and an upset by my personal rankings, but Portillo is trending well right now. He just finished off an event where he topped multiple touring pros to win the IRT Tier 5 in Severna Park, and the last time these two played in a top-level event was in 2017. Lots has changed since. Lalo to move on.
    Finals;

– i’m going with Lalo over Montoya (just as he beat Rodrigo in last year’s Mexican Nationals) to climb to the top of Mexican racquetball. Mar beats Fernandez for 3rd.

Women’s Open preview:
15 women entered, headlined by the top 6-7 Mexican touring pros and then a slew of younger players. Most of the expected names are present, but we are missing a couple of names that usually shake the draw up ( Lucia Gonzalez in particular, but also Ana Laura Flores, Erin Nocamroves Rivera, etc.
Round of 16 matches to watch for: I see no jeopardy of any upsets in the opening round, with maybe the 8/9 being a toss-up.
Projected Quarters:

  • #1 Paola Longoria vs the winner of Rico/Ortega: should be quick work for the GOAT.
  • #4 Montse Mejia should make quick work of #5 Susy Acosta, who continues to compete at a high level after more than 20 years of playing professionally.
  • #6 Alexandra Herrera should start to get her Mexican rankings back in line with where her pro rankings are by taking out #3 Samantha Salas Solis
  • #2 Jessica Parrilla has a suddenly harder-than-it-looks match against #7 Nancy Enriquez. I think Enriquez looked awesome at the last LPRT tournament and is favored to beat Parrilla.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over Mejia: once again, seedings betray the two best players in Mexico and force them to play one or two rounds early. This should be the final, and was the final a couple years ago when Mejia stunned Longoria to take the 2019 Mexican title. But that’s the only time Montse has really threatened Paola, who should win and advance here.
  • Herrera over Enriquez: there’s a reason Alexandra has moved to #2 on tour, and its because she’s been getting wins in situations like this; tough wins against fellow top players over and again. She’s been consistently in the semis or finals on tour, and will be here as well.

Finals: Longoria over Herrera.

There’s only singles this weekend; Mexican doubles either doesn’t happen this year (with a FMR-named team) or is yet to be announced. The Juniors are playing … but as far as I know this is NOT junior nationals for Mexico 2021.

Streaming: i’m sure we’ll have personal streaming; follow FMR, RKT and the players all week and weekend.
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
Tags
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Capital City WOR Classic Recap

Hall of Famer Sostre dominates in DC. Photo 3WB 2020 by Steven Fitzsimons

Congrats to everyone who played in DC this past weekend!

It was a sunny and hot weekend, with the music blaring all day on the Stratton Woods courts. One-wall, 3-wall long wall and one-wall paddleball on display for the duration. Here’s a look at how the big draws played out.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37467


Here’s a quick recap of the notable matches in the top-level draws.

Three-Wall Doubles Draws:

  • Three-Wall Men’s Pro: the stacked draw full of visiting pros from NY and Fla all were vanquished by two home-grown teams who met in the final. There, the #6 seeded team of Dylan Pruitt​ / Thomas Gerhardt topped MoMo Zelada​ and Sergio Rivera in the final.
  • Three-Wall Men’s 75+: #1 seeded Robert Sostre​ and Benny Goldenberg took out two experienced players in Greg Lewerenz​ and Rob Mijares​ in final.
  • Three-Wall Women’s Pro Doubles: Abril Prado​ and Masiel Rivera Oporto​ took the 3-team RR Pro doubles draw in a Bolivia-heavy final against @Veronica Veronica Nogales Tellez​ and Paola Nunez​.
  • Three-Wall Mixed Pro Doubles: Carrie Handfinger Hoeft​ and Roy Hernandez​ held serve as the top seeds and took out #7 seeds Joe Young​ and Kathy Guinan in the final.

One-Wall doubles divisions:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro doubles: It was a very New York final, and there top seeds Sostre/ Benny Goldenberg​ made it a double on the weekend, topping #3 seeds Rolon/Young in the final.
  • One-Wall Women’s Pro doubles: The two group winners were Masiel Rivera / Aimee Roehler Ruiz​ in Group A, and Nogales/Nunez in Group B. The two teams met in the final with unknown results.
  • One-Wall Mixed Pro doubles: #2 seeds Goldenberg and Delia Silva took out the #4 team of Rolon/Guinan in an all New York final.

Singles Draws:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro Singles: Pruitt earned his outdoor creds this weekend, taking the 3-wall pro title by defeating top Florida outdoor pro Alejandro Barcelo in the semis then his doubles partner Gerhardt in the final. Gerhardt had taken out NYC top one-wall player William Rolon​ in the semis to make the final as the #2 seed.

Paddleball Exhibition

With so many New Yorkers onsite, the TDs added an impromptu Mixed Pro Paddleball division. In the final Jasmine India Suarez and her partner took out the two pro tour commissioners (and two USAR board members) Mike Grisz​ and Tj Baumbaugh​ in the final.


Thanks for all those who streamed live on the weekend. This is probably not a canonical list but I saw streams from Thao Le, Joey Logan​ (who i didn’t even know was flying into town!), Amie LeBrun Brewer​, Maddie Melendez, Ruben Pagan​ & OneWallBall, and others.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Amie Brewer, Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, Maddie Melendez and Thao Le for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.


Next up?

Mexican Nationals is next weekend, in Monterrey. This is always one of my favorite events to cover, since the draws are so full of talent. The weekend after that is the LPRT Team Root supermax in Kansas City, a grand slam that should draw all the top women from around the globe.


tags

International Racquetball Tour​
LPRT​
3WallBall Outdoor World Championships​
Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball​
USA Racquetball​
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball​
Reaching Your Dream Foundation​
Formulaflow​
Splathead Sportsgear​
onewallball.com​

Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Capital City WOR Championships Preview

One of the bigger non-major outdoor events on the schedule is happening this weekend, more than 90 players descending on the Nation’s capital from all over the eastern seaboard and states far and wide to compete in the annual Capital City WOR championships at the Stratton Woods park in Herndon, VA.

Stratton Woods is great example of the opportunity out there for outdoor racquetball, an example of new construction (it was built and dedicated in May 2015) that has created a community of players where there was really none before. It features four 3-wall/long-wall courts on one side of the structure and then three 1-wall courts on the other, thus attracting two unique sets of players to its tournaments from far and wide (in addition to the great local interest from the DC area community). The plans and effort was spearheaded by long-time dc area player Bill Bouie, and the plans (if you’re thinking of building your own outdoor courts) are available from USA Racquetball.

As a result of the unique facility construction, we have a ton of top one-wall players from both New York and from Florida who have made the trip to compete, plus we have a set of long-wall specialists from Michigan who have traveled in. The one-wall brackets in particular are stacked with some of the best talent out there, and the 3-wall brackets feature a great combination of local players, traveling pros and IRT touring pros who will hold their own.
It should be a great event all weekend.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37467

Here’s a quick preview of all the top-level pro draws, with some observations and predictions.


Three-Wall Doubles Draws:

  • Three-Wall Men’s Pro: 9 teams, and all nine of them have deep tournament quals. Even the 8/9 play-in will be tough, with an IRT touring pro in each team. I like the top seeds to hold to the semis, with #1 Gravier/Hernandez versus #4 Greg Lewerenz/ Nathan Tucker and #2 Sostre/Goldberg vs #3 Tommy Medina /Young. From there, i’m going with two upsets and for the Medina/Young team to take the final over the Michigan long-wall specialists.
  • Three-Wall Men’s 75+: nearly as stacked as the 3-wall pros draw, I’m projecting Sostre/Goldenberg versus Lewerenz/Mijares in the final, with the long-wall specialist Lewerenz’s team winning.
  • Three-Wall Women’s Pro Doubles: three teams of locals to battle it out; I’m liking the two tourney directors Brewer/Hoeft to take the title.
  • Three-Wall Mixed Pro Doubles: Hernandez teams with Carrie Handfinger Hoeft as the #1 seed, but they’ll have their hands full to make the final. From the bottom half I like the #2 seeds Aime Brewer and Gerhardt to make a finals run and take the draw.

One-Wall doubles divisions:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro doubles: 13 teams entered, headlined by the all-world one-wall team at #1 from NYC, Hall of Famer Robert Sostre teamed with one of the best one-wall players out there in Benny Goldberg. If seeds hold and they can get past a tough possible quarter that could include Sebastian Franco, they project to face top Florida team Marcos Gravier/ Roy Hernandez in the top semis.
    The bottom half is stacked. #2 seeds Dylan Pruitt/ Thomas Gerhardt likely face a very tough quarter final against MoMo Zelada playing with Sergio Rivera . Meanwhile, the #3/#6 projected quarter features two of the best one-wall teams in William Rolon / Joe Young taking on Alejandro Barcelo teamed with Mario Mercado . I have no idea who’s coming out of this group, but I like the Barcelo/Mercado team.
    In the final i’ll go with Sostre/Goldberg over Barcelo/Mercado.
  • One-Wall Men’s Elite Doubles: the top two seeds are out-of-towners, the Michigan-based duo of Cyrus Chinoy/Luis Romero are top seeds and seem like a good bet to make the final. In the bottom half, #2 seeded Floridians Seran Ramkissoon/ Michael Medina may ahve t heir hands full with a pair of New Yorkers in the opener and possibly the sneaky solid #3 seeded team of Angel Rosa / Craig Powell . I like the Michigan duo over Rosa/Powell in the final, but upsets could abound here.
  • One-Wall Women’s Pro doubles: Eight teams competing with a great collection of NYC and DC area talent. It’s hard not to like the two top seeded teams ( Masiel Rivera Oporto and Ruiz from one bracket, and NYC’s Jasmine India Suarez and Delia Silva in the other) to advance out of the RR stage and meet in the final. I like Suarez/Silva as one-wall specialists to prevail.

– One-Wall Mixed Pro doubles: Eight teams here, with some fun teams that don’t normally play outdoor. The #1 team of Ruben Pagan and HoFamer Aimee Roehler Ruiz seems like a good bet, but they likely face two tough NYC one-wall specialists in Rolon and @kathy Guinan in the semis. In the bottom half i like Goldberg and Delia Silva to advance to the final and take the title.

Singles Draws:

– One-Wall Men’s Pro Singles: local Pruitt is the #1 seed, but this draw features multiple players who have taken one-wall majors in the past. I like Pruitt vs Barcelo in one semi, Rolon vs Gerhardt in the other, and Gerhardt taking out Barcelo in the final.

Streaming: no official streaming that I know of, but follow the Mid-Atlantic Outdoor racquetball group and i’m sure all individual streamers will share their feeds there.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Amie LeBrun Brewer, Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, Maddie Melendez and Thao Le for putting this event on!


Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.


Tags
Sponsor links
3WallBall Outdoor World Championships
Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
Formulaflow
Splathead Sportsgear
onewallball.com
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

PRS adds several Country-breakdown Reports

This past weekend, LPRT commissioner Tj Baumbaugh asked me about trends in the international flavor of the LPRT as it has evolved over the years from being primarily a US-based tour to being the international tour it has now become. I thought the idea of creating reports out of the data to depict this was a great idea, so i created a bunch of country-based reports over the weekend.

Here they are:

  • Player per-country breakdown Report per event: http://rball.pro/521321 : This lists the countries represented per event as a pulldown (this direct link uses the Dec Kansas City event as an example)
  • Player per-country breakdown Report per season: http://rball.pro/71EC6A : this is for the 2019-20 season as an example.
  • Player per-country breakdown of all players ever to appear: http://rball.pro/28BCA5
  • Player per-country report season by season (counts of players per country): http://rball.pro/1E0D49 (about 60 seconds to render)
  • Player per-country report season by season (percentages of players per country): http://rball.pro/84A282 (takes 60 seconds to render)
  • All Tournament Quarters/Semis/Finals listed by country of origin for history of tour: http://rball.pro/1F1181 (takes 1-2mins to render)

The first query appears in the per-Event section, the second in the per-season section, then the other 4 reports are in the generic section all together.

Enjoy, hope you have some fun looking at the data. You’ll note that the earlier years feature many players who do not have profiles in the database; they appear as “unknown” in the country list.

2021 Sweet Caroline LPRT Grand Slam Pro-Am Wrap-up

Longoria keeps on winning. Photo via US Open 2019, Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Pro Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Pro Doubles: Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas
    The 101st career tier-1 or higher singles win for Longoria (107 overall including satellites). And this is the 33rd pro doubles title for the Salas/Longoria pairing since we started tracking ladies pro doubles data in 2014. Amazing.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37154

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C41F20

In thee 64s: Just three matches in the early days, but an opening barn-burner as Texan Linda Tyler, who drove 13 hours the day before the match to get an 8am start time, downed Bolivian vet Jenny Daza Navia in an 11-10 back and forth match.

In the 32s, here were the notable and upset matches:

  • In the 16/17 match, Kelani Lawrence showed no signs of rust and came out blazing against her USA top rival Hollie Scott. Lawrence raced to a huge early lead in game one, held on to take that game, then chipped away at Scott in game two to advance 11,7.
  • #8 Valeria Centellas made a statement in topping dark-horse favorite Lucia Gonzalez in strong fashion 11,9. Centellas has added a power component to her game that should let her really challenge the players ranked above her, and did not let the dangerous Gonzalez get the upset here.
  • #5 Rhonda Rajsich made fast work of 19-yr old Shane Diaz, playing in just her 2nd pro tournament.
  • #12 Nancy Enriquez put on a serving clinic and blasted #21 Ana Laura Flores 4,3. Enriquez mixed up her serves, using deadly jam serves and devastating drive serves to blow past a dangerous 1st round opponent in Flores and advance.
  • #4 Angelica Barrios – Raquetbolista was pushed in her opener against Daniela Rico before advancing in a tie-breaker. 14,(12),3.
  • #19 Brenda Laime Jalil got the upset over her country-woman Adriana Riveros 11,11 in what might portend to be a changing of the guard in Colombian racquetball. Amaya and Riveros have long been 1-2 in Colombian racquetball heirarchy; Laime is looking to break into that grouping to represent the country at the next Int’l event.
  • In the 15/18 match, Sheryl Lotts saved match points against and came back from 0-6 in the breaker to beat Maria Renee Rodríguez in the best match of the round. Final score (12),14,8. Really very little between these two players on the day and a shame one had to lose.
  • – #2 Alexandra Herrera made fast work of #31 Erika Manilla, a match many thought would be closer.

In the 16s:

  • #1 Paola Longoria got a scare in game two, as Lawrence raced out to a huge early lead, but reeled her back in and advanced in two games over Kelani 5,13.
  • #8 Centellas got her second solid win in a row, downing touring veteran Chilean Carla Muñoz Montesinos10,9.
  • #12 Enriquez continues to look rejuvenated after easing past #5 Rajsich in two easy games 7,6.
  • #13 Montse Mejia took out the Kansas City finalist Barrios in two close games 12,14. The last time these two met was the semis of 2018 World 18U Juniors, and these two (along with Martinez) represent a golden generation for women’s racquetball.
  • #3 Samantha Salas Solis eased past a tough #19 Laime 14,9.
  • #6 Natalia Mendez continues to get statement wins, this time downing reigning World Champ Ana Gabriela Martínez 7,10. Mendez clearly has a new approach in the service box and has some added pace; her projected quarter will be telling.
  • #7 Jessica Parrilla] played the round’s only tiebreaker, advancing past veteran Colombian Amaya Cris 11-8.
  • – #2 Herrera downed her second American in a row, moving past #18 Lotts in two.

In the Quarters

  • Longoria dominated Centellas 2,6. Longoria played bottom board over and over and the young Argentine could do little to stop her.
  • Mejia outlasted her countrywoman Enriquez, splitting the first two games then running away in the breaker. 14,(13),1. Enriquez has made a big statement in this event.
  • Speaking of statements, Mendez ran past Salas 7,6 to advance to just her 5th career semi final. Whatever she’s been doing during the pandemic, its working.
  • Herrera dodged a bullet and took out her countrywoman Parrilla in a tiebreaker. Score 7,(14),3. Herrera continues her steady-eddie pace and advances to another semi.

In the Semis, both promising match-ups turned out to be two game blowouts.

  • Longoria downed her erstwhile rival Mejia for the Mexican #1 crown 4,7. It has now been more than two years since Mejia’s famous win over Longoria in the 2019 Mexico National finals, and Longoria has been dominating their matchups of late. Mejia needs to regain her mojo from that final and figure out a pathway forward if she wants to break through.
  • Herrera cruised past Mendez 6,8. Mendez’ fantastic tourney run ends, and Herrera proves the doubters wrong by living up to her seed and advancing to her 5th career final.

In the Finals, Longoria and Herrera played a back and forth first game, but then Paola ran way in the second to take the title 12,3.

Points Implications of results
Thanks to the lack of pro events, when this tournament posts we’re set to have some pretty wholesale changes at the top unless the LPRT decides to persist some tournament points or go to a longer term before retiring points. But, assuming we’re staying with a 12-month rolling calendar, here’s what the rankings will look like after these results:

  • Herrera moves to #2
  • Barrios will move up to #3
  • Mendez will jump to #4, all three career highs
  • Mejia jumps from 14 to 6, much more in line with her true talent level.
  • Gaby Martinez jumps from 11 to 7.
  • Salas drops from 4 to 8, which may not be in line with her true talent level but is indicative of her performance lately in pro events.
  • Rhonda drops from 6 to 12, which would be the lowest she’s been ranked professionally since 1999.
  • Vargas drops from 2 all the way to 13 thanks to missing this event.

Which would make the top 8 seeds in the next event go like this: Longoria, Herrera, Barrios, Mendez, Parrilla, Mejia, Martinez, Salas. Which puts Mejia and Longoria on opposite sides of the draw.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C0E57E
A healthy doubles draw featured 15 teams and some great match-ups. The 16s had several tie-breakers, including an 11-10 win for the American duo of Rajsich/Lotts over Laime/Gonzalez.
The quarters featured the all-American team of Rajsich/Scott taking a game off the #1 team but losing. The Guatemalan national team cruised into the semis. The #2 Mexicans were dominant in games 1 and 3 but took game two off in advancing, and the USA #1 team of Scott/Lawrence took out the Argentine national team in an upset.
In the semis, it was Mexico over Guatemala in one side (though the improving Guatemalan team stretched the #1 seeds to 11-9 before falling) and Mexico over USA in the other to setup another all Mexican final.

In that final, a final seen more and more on tour, we saw Longoria/Salas taking out Mejia/Herrera in two quick games.

Other Major Draws:

  • Women’s Open featured a 12-person draw with some interesting results between touring pros outside the top 10. In the final, we saw Micaela Meneses Cuellar take out Manilla in the final. Meneses turned 17 just a couple of months ago and took out three solid pros en route to the title.

– Men’s Open was very entertaining; 25 players from everywhere from Mexico to Maryland duked it out. In the final IRT top8 player Lalo Portillo took out the #2 seed from Maryland MoMo Zelada in two games. Portillo blew through this draw, never giving up more than 8 points in a game all weekend.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh, along with JT R Ball who flew in from California to help out with streaming and broadcasting. Great job all; it was a grueling broadcast schedule.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors Josey and Jacob Vargueuse for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB.

Next up?

This coming weekend is an RKT event in Chihuahua that should be interesting. The NMRA has its Nationals in St Louis. The next LPRT event is Teamroot super max is June 20th.

tags
LPRT
USA Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora- Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile, Chile
ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Reaching Your Dream Foundation
Formulaflow
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

2021 Sweet Caroline LPRT Grand Slam Pro-Am Preview

Welcome back pro racquetball fans! We have not had a full tier pro event since early January, and the ladies have not had a full pro event since early December 2020, so we’re more than due.

r2sports link for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37154

There’s a huge draw of pro ladies in South Carolina this weekend; 35 players signed up, the largest ladies pro draw since the 2019 US Open. #1 Paola Longoria is the defending champ here, having won the Jan 2020 event over #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada. We won’t have a rematch this year, since Vargas recently gave birth to her second child and is on a playing hiatus.

The top 8 features one relatively new name: Angelica Barrios is currently ranked 5th, seeded 4th, thanks to her break-through performance in December’s Kansas City grand slam. The pandemic has really wreaked havoc on the tour rankings, making single event results even more magnified in importance.

The rest of the draw is stacked, missing just 2 players out of the world’s top 20 (Vargas and #19 Masiel Rivera Oporto).

Lets preview the draw, which was released late Wednesday night in an online reaction event, a great idea from the LPRT and commissioner Tj Baumbaugh.

Play starts with a few round of 64 matches.

  • Bolivian veteran #32 Jenny Daza Navia makes a rare pro appearance, and faces Texas amateur #33 Linda Tyler.
  • Former Mexican junior national champ #35 Montserrat Pérez takes on another former Mexican Jr National champ in #30 Naomi Ros. Ros was the 2018 Junior world champ in 12U, putting her in her age 15 season, while Perez won the Mexican 18Us in 2015.
  • #34 Costa Rican Maricruz Ortiz, the reigning world 16U world junior champ, takes on a drastically under-seeded #31 Erika Manilla, who made the US Team qualifying event final in Feb 2020 in her last competitive event.

Projecting the 32s: Here’s some of the round of 32 matches that I think may be interesting and/or competitive:

  • #16/#17: I frequently note that these 16/17 and 15/18 matches are always tough, and this one will be the same. #16 Hollie Scott takes on #17 Kelani Lawrence, who have met in the last three major US Team qualifying/Nationals events. Kelani took out Scott in the 2018 Nationals en route to a finals loss, then they played an amazing 2019 final with Lawrence edging Scott 11-10 to take the title, then met up in the 2020 qualifier in the semis, where Scott took out Kelani on the way to the title her self. Lawrence is now seemingly recovered from the eye injury she suffered in Las Vegas in September, but I’m predicting Scott to take this one.
  • #9 Carla Muñoz Montesinos vs #24 Graci Wargo; the newly matriculated Junior Floridian Wargo faces a tough early test from the newlywed Munoz, who now has a pretty solid regular training partner in husband Alan Natera Chavez.
  • #25 Lucia Gonzalez v #8 Valeria Centellas; Wow, what a first round match up this is. Centellas raced into prominence partly thanks to her results at this event last January and has maintained her top10 presence since. But Gonzalez might be the best player in the world outside of Frederique Lambert who does not tour regularly and routinely takes out LPRT top 10 players when she does compete. I like picking upsets and I’ll go with Lucia here.
  • #12 Nancy Enriquez vs #21 Ana Laura Flores; long-time top10 player Enriquez faces a tricky opener against the youngster Flores, who beat Scott and barely lost to Rajsich in her last pro appearance in March 2020.
  • #20 Susy Acosta makes an appearance in her 23rd straight season, but likely falls to her countrywoman #13 Montse Mejia.
  • Its Colombia v Colombia in #14 Adriana Riveros vs #19 Brenda Laime Jalil. Last time they played, it was Sept 2019 and Laime advanced, and I’ll go with the upset again here.
  • #11 Ana Gabriela Martínez takes on 17yr old Bolivian Micaela Meneses Cuellar in what could be a close opener.
  • The always competitive 15/18 match should be interesting; #15 Maria Renee Rodríguez takes on #18 Sheryl Lotts. These two met in this same tourney last year, a come-from behind win for Lotts. In fact, they’ve met 5 times at pro or international events and it has always gone tiebreaker. Lotts owns the career 4-1 advantage and i’ll predict she advances.
  • #2 Alexandra Herrera, who gets a career high seeding here, likely faces one heck of a challenge in #31 Manilla. These two have never met, but Manilla has proven herself to be able to hang with top players. Herrera is normally a model of consistency, rarely taking early round upsets and playing to her seeding … but she’s going to have to work for this win.

round of 16: Lots of tough openers, but if my predictions hold here’s your projected 16s:

  • #1 Paola Longoria v #16 Scott: Mexico’s #1 versus USA’s #1; Longoria advances but Scott gets some more experience against the best.
  • #25 Gonzalez over #8 Munoz: if Lucia can beat Centellas, she can beat Munoz.
  • #12 Enriquez over #5 Rhonda Rajsich; last time they met was a 3-game win for Nancy and I’m guessing it’ll be the same here.
  • #13 Mejia over #4 Barrios: despite the rankings, I think Mejia is perhaps the 3rd or 4th best player in the world. These two met in the finals of World 18U two years running in 2017 and 2018, both times a two-game win for the Mexican. Barrios had a heck of a run in Kansas City but falls here.
  • #3 Samantha Salas Solis overpowers #19 Laime
  • #6 Natalia Mendez over #11 Martinez: last time these two met was in the 2019 PARC, a Mendez career win. Mendez seems to have added some depth to her game and may be playing more than Martinez. When both are training full time the edge goes to Gaby, but right now i give the Argentinian the edge.
  • #7 Jessica Parrilla takes out #10 Cristina Amaya Cassino in a battle of two long-time pros.
  • #2 Herrera takes out her second straight top American player by advancing past #18 Lotts.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Longoria over #25 Gonzalez: the run of Lucia ends here.
  • #13 Mejia over #12 Enriquez; Mejia has won their last few meetings.
  • #3 Salas over #6 Mendez: Salas has never lost to Mendez, but they also have not played in years. This could be close based on recent form of both players.
  • #7 Parrilla over #2 Herrera: they have not played since Dec 2019, when Jessica was still coming back from her knee injury, but they were always close. I think this could be the big breakthrough for Parrilla.
    Interestingly, I’ve predicted 7 of the 8 quarterfinalists to be Mexican. A great depiction of just how dominant that country has become on the ladies circuit.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over Mejia; One day Montse will break through with another win over Paola, but for now Paola rules.
  • Parrilla over Salas: if Jessica can beat Herrera, she can beat Salas in a power-for-power match

Finals: Longoria over Parrilla.


Doubles Preview:

15 teams in the doubles (odd since there’s 35 singles players entered), but it definitely features several international flavor teams as IRF countries start to think about the Worlds and PARC event coming up later this year.

The world’s best ladies pro doubles team is back together in Longoria/Salas; they’re the #1 seeds. They seem likely to face the Guatemalan #1 team of Gonzalez/Rodriguez in the top semis.

On the bottom, the #2 seeds are the new Argentine national team of Mendez/Centellas. They’ll face a tough quarter against the USA #1 team of Lawrence/Scott but look like underdogs against the strong Mexican team of Meija/Herrera.

I’ll predict a frequently seen final between the two top Mexican teams of Longoria/Salas v Mejia/Herrera. The veterans have taken the last 4 meetings against their countrymates, and i’ll go with Longoria getting the double here.


Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Jerry J Josey Jr. & Jacob.k.varughese for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB.

Tags
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora- Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile Chile
ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Warhawk Open Wrap-up

Collins takes the IRT Singles title in Monroe on the weekend. Photo from US Open by Kevin SAvory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:
– Singles: Robert Collins
– Doubles; David Diaz & Brennen Jennings

Both #1 seeds hold on and take the titles over strong fields. A great tournament for a non-resident of the Texas/Louisiana corridor to see some of these players play for the first time live.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37104

——————

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

In the 32s, there were a few upsets by seeds and some notable winners advancing on.
– #9 seed Michael Magana / Realtor advanced over Bryan Satawa to setup a great 8/9 matchup in the 16s.
– #12 Cole Sendrey, playing in (I think) his age 16 season, topped Steve Semones to move on.
– #22 Paul Julbes upset #11 Ray Flowers.
– #20 Ted Alvendia upset #13 Kenneth Fletcher.
– Long-time top Texas amateur Lance Hale, the 2019 Texas Male Player of the Year, advanced in two tight games over Bradnado Turnquest 13,12.
– #23 Michael Perez upset #10 Kipp Atwell in two.

—————-

In the 16s, we got the top 8 seeds starting up and immediately some upsets.
– #1 Robert Collins got his tourney started with a two-game win over #16 David Anastasio 2,2
– #8/#9 matches are always fun and this was too, one of just a couple of round of 16 match to go tiebreaker. #8 Daniel Diaz, a commercial airline pilot based in Monterrey, flew into town and advanced past #9 Magana but not without getting stretched. Magana came from way down in game two to take it 15-14 and force a breaker. Diaz cruised in the 3rd to win 3,(14),3.
– #5 Long-time tourney player Bob Jackson] was upset in the first match of the 16s by junior Texan Sendrey 11,2.
– #4 Zach Williams advanced in two over #20 Alvendia.
– #3 Destry Everhart ran into a frequent southwestern local rival in Hale and advanced in two games 2,5.
– #6 Brennen Jennings survived a strong push from #22 Julbes, who saved match point against in game two to force the breaker. Jennings got hot and ran off 6 unanswered points to take the 3rd 11-6. Final score 12,(14),6
– #23 Perez provided the biggest upset of the round, recovering from a 15-3 first game defeat to take out #7 Sam Hojat in the breaker. Two wins in an IRT pro event for Perez, who seems like he just moved up to open.
-#2 Maurice Miller got his title defense started with a straightforward win over #15 Craig Clement Jr. 4,1.

—————-

In the Quarters:
– #1 Collins overcame some really spirited play and some amazing diving gets to advance past #8 Diaz 9,14. The pandemic has been great for Collins’ facial hair game; he’s rocking a look that can only be described as, “extra in a saloon shootout scene.”
– #4 Williams topped the junior Cinderella Sendrey 5,8 to make the semis.
– #6 Jennings and #3 Everhart played about as close as you can play, going toe-to-toe with shot after shot. The Texan came out on top of the Alabama #1 in the end, with Brennen advancing (14),14,7.
– #2 Miller stopped the upset run of #23 Perez in the quarters, advancing in two straight 9.6. Great showing by Perez on the weekend.

—————

In the Semis
– #1 Collins cruised past #4 Williams 6,8 to make the final. Collins pushed the tempo all game and kept the pressure on Williams.
– #2 Miller had his hands full with #6 Jennings, who seemed to improve round after round in this event and nearly took out the semi-regular touring pro. Miller won a back and forth tiebreaker match 12,(12),7.

In the Finals, Collins took two close games from Miller and surprised this pundit, winning the draw 13,13. Good solid win for Collins, who really was hitting the ball well all weekend.

—————-

Doubles review

Three of the four top seeds held to the semis, but three of the four quarters went breaker. Quarter final results:
– #1 Diaz/Jennings took out the all-Texas Perez/Hale team
– the #4 Miller Father/son team took out the #5 Sendrey Father/Son team
– #3 Richard Eisemann/Jubles went 11-9 to take out IRT touring pro Collins playing with Tom Provan.
– #2 Magana/Williams lost to the the travelling North Carolina pair of Chris Thomas and Eric New for the round’s only upset.

In the semis:
– #1 Diaz/Jennings played two solid games to advance over the Atlanta-based Miller team, a match that was delayed for quite a bit due to participants playing their singles semis.
– #3 Eisemann/Jubles continued to show why they’re a heck of an age-group team, advancing to the final with lethal power and a great lefty/righty combo. Eisemann is a long-time top age-group player and certainly did not play like a man turning 60 in a few weeks.

In the final, the two younger players outlasted their rivals 7,9 to take the title. Diaz/Jennings d Eisemann/Jubles for the title.

—————-

Men’s Open, other draws
– Men’s Open was a pro consolation drop down, won by Sam Hojat, who took four straight 2-game victories and topped Parker Ewing in the final.
– The 19-person Men’s A draw was taken by DAVID Anastasia].

—————–

Thanks for all who streamed on the weekend: Steve Semones, David Anastasio, Brennan Jennings, Destry Everhart, Lance Hale, Sean Duffy, Tom Provan and others who I may have missed. It’s great to see live racquetbal!Thanks to the Tourney Directors Mark Thompson and Raj Bajari for putting this event on!

——————

Next up? The next scheduled Pro event will be the Sweet Caroline LPRT event the first weekend of May in South Carolina. World Singles & Doubles just got pushed back to perhaps August, which puts the next IRT event perhaps not happening until then. USAR National festival is the first two weekends of June, and in the interim we’ll cover some major WOR events as they happen.

——————-

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB.

——————-
Sponsor linksInternational Racquetball TourUSA RacquetballHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#outdoorracquetball#irt#lprt#wor

2021 Warhawk Open Preview

Maurice Miller is the defending champ and #2 seed; can he repeat? Photo USOpen 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Hello Racquetball fans! There’s an IRT Tier-5 event happening this weekend; the 2021 Warhawk Open, so named because Warhawks are the mascot of the host facility, the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Nearly 70 players have entered this event, the lions share from Louisiana and Texas, and represent a good chunk of the top players from the South West. The Pro Singles draw includes no less than 24 players and play gets started first thing friday morning.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37104

Draws are up and online now.

PRS note/reminder: we do not enter non-Tier1s into the database. This review is as a fan of the sport craving live racquetball action

🙂

——————————

Notable round of 32 and 16 matches: honestly I don’t know the local players well enough to make predictions. I do see some familiar names though in the play ins and look forward to seeing if they can advance. Good luck to frequent and vocal racquetball fans like Parker Ewing, Bryan Satawa, Steve Semones, Lance Hale, Ray Flowers, and the like.

The 8/9 and especially the 7/10 round of 16s look tough, with #7 Sam Hojat projected to take on #10 Kipp Atwell if seeds hold early.

——————————

Projected Qtrs:

If the top seeds hold, here’s what your quarters would look like:
– #1 Robert Collins v #8 Daniel Diaz; Collins is a long-time touring vet from Hawaii/NorCal who has been touring full time since 2013. Diaz is a wildcard; he played the Atlanta Tier1 earlier this year and lost two close matches to a couple of touring vets. He was the 2019 Texas state singles champ and could give Collins some grief, but I think Collins advances.
– #5 Bob Jackson has been playing top-level Racquetball for 25+ years: he was qualifying into main draws in the mid 1990s. He is projected to play Texan #4 Zach Williams, who ran to the final of this event last year and should be favored to move on here.
– #3 Destry Everhart is Alabama’s #1 player and has a ton of solid wins on his resume; he might face a tough round of 16 against top veteran Texan Lance Hale. In the quarter’s he’s set to face #6 Brennen Jennings, who has won the last few Texas shootouts he’s entered. This could be an upset pick by seed.
– #2 Maurice Miller, this event’s defending champ, projects to take on the Hojat/Atwell winner here for a spot in the semis.

Projected Semis:
– #1 Collins v #4 Williams: I think i like the veteran lefty to move on here.
– #2 Miller v #6 Jennings: I don’t think Miller is losing at this juncture.

Finals; #2 Miller defends his title over #1 Collins.

——————————-

Doubles review

14 teams entered, including a ton of players who aren’t in the singles pro draw. I like the #1 seeded team of Diaz/Jennings to advance to the semis. There they are set to face #4 seeds but defending champs Miller & Miller for a barn burner.

At the bottom, #2 seed Magana/Williams made the final last year and are favorites to get there again, though doubles teams with tough players like Collins and Richard Eisemann are in their side of the draw.

Look for the Millers to repeat and give Maurice the double.

———————————

I’m sure there will be streaming this weekend; Plenty of the participants are regular/frequent participants of the Racquetball facebook groups.

———————————T

agsSponsor linksInternational Racquetball TourUSA RacquetballHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#irt

WOR Historical Singles Data updated

Hawkes had 20 career Outdoor Nationals singles titles. Photo IRB cover shot

In Jan 2019, after years of research, WOR Hall of Fame chair Brett Elkins revealed a the initial results of his attempts to find all the past winners and semi-finalists of the Outdoor national championships singles events. PRS helped a little bit, finding old WOR nationals review articles in the magazines … but there’s not a ton of coverage even in the publications of the time, so kudos to Elkins for reaching out to the players from each era to test their memories on each event.

This note is to tell you that we’ve updated the PRS database to put in all the results of Elkin’s singles research so that All Finals and All Quarter/Semis/Finals reports work and display as much data as we have available. Furthermore I’ve added in some category queries so you can quickly run just the finals for Outdoor 3-wall and isolate that long-running event from the other major outdoor championships in Vegas and Florida.

Here’s some example queries for you, now live with “better” data than we had before:

All Men’s Outdoor Nats singles finals: http://rball.pro/946EC1
Current Record Holders for Outdoor Nats singles titles:
– Brian Hawkes with 20
– Rocky Carson with 12
– Several players with 2: Alvaro Beltran, Dan Southern, and Charlie Brumfield
– 8 players with 1 title each.

All Men’s Outdoor Nats Quarters/Semis/Finals: http://rball.pro/A8AE3F

Once you run the Quarters/Semis/Finals report, you can see the dilemma we face; prior to the R2 era starting in 2006, there’s almost no documented history of the event other than the stellar memory of the likes of Greg Solis, Mike Peters and others.

—-

The Women’s singles data isn’t as well populated: that’s one of Elkins’ todo items. We have the winners going back to 2006, nothing for most of the 1990s and 2000s, then some early history documenting the great rivalry between Lynn Adams and Martha McDonald.

All Women’s Outdoor Nats singles finals: http://rball.pro/54B622

Of course, there’s also a separate WOR Doubles database, with Men’s, Women’s and Mixed pro doubles reports for all three major WOR events; we published a major update for the Doubles Outdoor Nationals data last week.

Lastly a quick note that i’ve changed the “seasons” in WOR to be just the year in which the tourneys occurred, instead of assigning a “season” that crossed the Dec/Jan time-frame (which is what the pro tours do). This was an anachronism that I just never fixed, until now.

Enjoy!USA Racquetball

Outdoor Nationals Doubles data load update

As with all other Outdoor lists, Brian Hawkes reigns supreme here too. Photo IR cover shot Aug 1984

Hello Outdoor Racquetball Fans.

I’ve recently worked with Brett Elkins, who coordinates the WOR Hall of Fame, to help populate better the Men’s historical Outdoor Nationals doubles data in the database. Brett has been working with some of the older pros to try to fill in gaps/holes in the early data to get a complete picture of past winners from the early years.

Meanwhile, I’ve gone through all available R2sports based tournaments and filled in complete draws from 2007-current. Plus, I transcribed the 2006 draw from a picture someone took of the draw-sheet (John Ellis maybe? I cannot remember where I got it from but thank you to whoever had it). This has resulted in 325 Pro doubles matches newly entered into the database.

Here’s some reports that show the newly entered data:

http://rball.pro/3FCE81 This report shows the Quarters/Semis/Finals for all Men’s Pro Outdoor Nationals tournaments dating to 1974. It shows how we had full draw-sheets from 2019-2006, plus the 1980 tournament (courtesy of Steve Belmonte).

http://rball.pro/B02D9AThis just shows the final and is a bit easier to read, especially on a cell phone. As you can see, there’s still a few holes: we don’t know who won at all in 1981, and we don’t know who Hawkes’ partner was for his early titles.

Based on known data, who holds the most Outdoor Nationals doubles titles?
– Brian Hawkes: 8
– Greg Solis: 6
– Craig “Clubber” Lane: 6
– Rocky Carson: 5
– Robert Hoff: 5
Kevin Booth: 5
– Paul Olson: 4
– Mark Harding: 4
– Mike Peters: 3
– Josh Tucker: 3
– Dave Genevay: 3
– Dan Southern: 3

Fitting that the king of Outdoor holds this record to go along with his 20 Outdoor Nationals singles titles. The rest of this list is dotted with Hall of Fame outdoor players from the sport’s long history playing in Huntington Beach & Costa Mesa.

As always, if you have old drawsheets or information, please reach out so we can input it.

USA Racquetball

Hashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#outdoorracquetball#wor