2024 50th Annual Outdoor Nationals Recap

Florida’s Chris McDonald had a dominant weekend at Outdoor Nationals. Photo 2023 Outdoor Nats via Lara

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Men’s Pro Doubles: Rocky Carson & Kane Waselenchuk

– Women’s Pro Doubles: Carla Munoz & Brenda Laime

– Mixed Pro Doubles: Chris McDonald & Michelle Key

– Men’s Singles: Eduardo Portillo

– Women’s Singles: Carla Munoz

– CPRT: Chris McDonald & Kane Waselenchuk

A big weekend for the McDonald clan, who took home a slew of titles. Munoz got the double and missed out on a Triple Crown by one division. Two wins for King Kane, adding his name to the outdoor record books, and yet another title for Rocky.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42032

ProRacquetballStats.com Match Reports by Pro division (notification that the results have been loaded to the database):

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/s0x

– Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/km7

– Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/6zj

– Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/5tx

– Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/xyg

Triple Crown Reports: (these show the winners of all Pro divisions at all WOR outdoor majors across time)

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/j47

– Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/2vv

– Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/y43

– Men’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/86z

– Women’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/x8g


Lets do a quick recap of the pro draws.

Men’s Pro Doubles:

Thanks to very balanced seeding, there were really no surprises to the semis in the Men’s pro Doubles draw. All top 4 seeds advanced as expected, and only one tie-breaker blip in an earlier round forced one of the favorites to stress.

In the semis, the #1 seeds and defending champs @Josh Tucker and Brandon Davis struggled with the veteran/youth combination of Mexican #4 seeds @Alvaro Beltran and @Eduardo Portillo , losing the first game 13 before grinding out a three game win. In the bottom semi, two-time Outdoor Nats pro winners @Micah Rich and @Jason Geis faced off in a highly anticipated match against 5-time Outdoor Nats pro

winner @Rocky Carson and 14-time IRT tour champ Kane Waselenchuk . Kane first played outdoor just a few years ago, coming out to Las Vegas during the Covid year to make a huge run to the final before falling to the DLR/Beltran team. He came to Huntington Beach last year, but struggled to gel with Alvaro and lost early to the same team they played on Sunday (Jason and Micah). In 2024, with a more natural left-sided partner in Rocky, Kane was unbeatable. Unlike in years past, when Kane’s court coverage was a liability, he was deadly today, and any ball that ventured to the right side of the court that was below his shoulders was basically a roll out. Rich and Jason worked primarily to Rocky, but Rocky’s defensive game is top notch, and there was just only so many shoulder height overheads Micah could take in the middle of the court before one popped over to Kane for the kill. The final score line was 7,7, and the two legends of the sport were moving on.

In the final, Kane & Rocky white-washed the defending champs in game one before they made the adjustments needed to get back into the match. Like one would expect, Davis & Tucker ground their way to a game two win to force a breaker. There, Rocky & Kane took back over and won the title 11-7. Rocky claims his 6th Outdoor Nationals doubles title, tying him with Greg Solis and Clubber Lane for 2nd all time. Meanwhile, Like indoor legends Brumfield, Swain, Carson, Beltran, and De La Rosa before him, Kane got to put his signature on the champion’s surfboard for the first time.


Women’s Pro Doubles:

Carla Munoz won her 6th straight Women’s Pro doubles title at Outdoor Nationals, and her third in a row with a different partner, by teaming with Brenda Laime to down her former partner Michelle Key playing with @Katie Neils in a close 11,14 match Sunday morning.


Mixed Pro Doubles

Chris McDonald played his patented “pressure defense” game while teaming with the best and most decorated female doubles outdoor player of all time in Michelle Key to take the final in dominant fashion over the #1 seeds Rich & Munoz, denying Munoz the triple crown on the weekend. Final score: 9,5.


Men’s Singles

In his first ever foray into outdoor singles, @International Racquetball Tour veteran Eduardo “Lalo” Portillo made fast work of the competition to take the title. He downed Hall of Famer Greg Solis in the semis 4,6 and then toppled the defending champ and #1 seed Danny Lavely 3,5 in the final.

Portillo is now the 8th different man to win this title in the last 8 years it has been held. Before him was Lavely, Acuna, Diaz, Covid, Tucker, Avila, Beltran, and then Rocky … who won it 10 out of 11 years dating back to 2007 and beyond.


Women’s Singles

#1 seed Carla muñoz won her 3rd Women’s pro singles title at Outdoor Nationals in four years, topping fellow LPRT pro Brenda Laime 7,14 for the title.


Other Major Draws in California:

– CPRT: the future Vegas World Team Racquetball team KWM pair of McDonald and Waselenchuk used this draw to get acclimated as partners, and they ran through the draw learning each other as they went to end up with the title. After topping the NorCal based Torres/Ramos, they vanquished the top seeds Tucker & Solis 14,6. In the final, they faced 2-time pro champs Carson & Ustarroz, who have played together for many years. The two legend-led pairs split the first two games before the fire of McDonald caught ahold and they raced to an 11-3 tie-breaker win for the title.

– Men’s 75s: Chris McDonald made it three titles on the weekend, teaming with his younger brother Jack Mcdonald to take the 75+ division. They beat Florida’s Max Heymann and Sweet @Lou Orosco in the final.

– Men’s 100/Centurion: Heymann went one step further than he did in 75s, teaming with @Gabe Medina to win the 100s.

– Men’s Open: Jack McDonald and Lou Orosco both claimed a second title on the weekend, winning the Open Doubles crown.

– Men’s Paddleball “Upper” title: Danny Lavely & Jeremy McGlothin won an injury-riddled Paddleball Upper division title, getting a walk-over in the final when Brian pineda got hurt earlier in the weekend.

– Mixed Paddleball upper title: San Diego pair Aaron Hager & Roxanne Rehling surprised the draw by taking the title as the #5 seeds.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from various fans and players. Outdoor mavens did a great job of sharing the streams so we could follow along.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Geoff Osberg and Jesus Ustarroz for putting this event on, and congratulations on your induction into the WOR Hall of Fame for your decade-plus of service here.

Thanks once again to all the sponsors, especially 3Wall Ball , @kwKwm Gutterman , Keith Minor , Pro Kennex , @Melissa’s, Joe Splathead and GearBox .


Next up?

We’ll do all the accounting for the Outdoor Cup series and publish a status of updated standings post Outdoor Nats later this week.

Per our handy master racquetball calendar … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb

The last weekend of July features NMRA National Masters/IRF Senior Worlds plus Mexican Junior Nationals, then the first weekend of August we get an early start to the LPRT calendar with the Denver open.


3Wall Ball

@worWorld Outdoor Racquetball

USA Racquetball

Outdoor Nationals 2024 Preview

Carla Munoz is well positioned to take the triple crown this weekend, being the #1 seed in all three pro divisions entered. Photo Mike Augustin 2019

This coming weekend is the 50th annual Outdoor Nationals event, the longest running outdoor tournament in existence and one that has been the standard bearer in the genre for decades.

If you missed my preview and oral history of the event, which dates to 1974 and has included many of the sport’s pivotal contributors and players over its 50 year history, please see https://www.usaracquetball.com/…/outdoor-nationals-50th…

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=42032


Let’s preview the pro draws. We’ll run through them one by one.

Men’s Pro Doubles

A great seeding job will result in a slew of exciting matches throughout this draw. We have some new partnerships this year in pro, and it will be interesting to see how the draws shake out.

Last year’s champs (@Josh Tucker and Brandon Davis are back and the #1 seeds, while the 2022 and 2021 champs @Micah Rich and @Jason Geis are the #2 seeds. However, trouble awaits both top seeds if they want a grudge match for the title this year. Lurking in the top half is 3-time Outdoor Nats pro doubles champ #4 @Alvaro Beltran, teamed with @Eduardo Portillo , who has a 3WB title and has proved to be a very fast study, but the team i’m looking at for the semis is #5 @Danny Lavely and WOR hall of Famer and 6-time Outdoor Nationals pro champ Greg Solis , who I think can get to the semis and might push Tucker & Davis a bit.

Meanwhile, the bottom half features the all-star pairing of Rocky Carson with the king himself @Kane Waselenchuk as the #3 seeds; they’ll get a fun opener against another legend of the sport Cliff Swain (paired with the hard-hitting Mike orr ), and project into the #6 seeds Chris McDonald and Brian pineda , who outdoor legends themselves who have a history with Kane stemming from last year’s Vegas event. The bottom half semi could be epic, with two lefty-righty teams battling, pitting power and tactics head to head.

In the end, I think its #1 versus #2 reach the final, and I think Rich & Geis reclaim their crown. But I could also easily see any of the top 4-5 seeds winning this thing.

Women’s Pro Doubles

Just four teams are entered, with a final projected between the two top seeds. #1 @Carla muñoz and Brenda Laime should face the Arizona-based pair of Michelle Key and @Katie Neils for the title. Munoz/Laime will isolate on Neils and should take the title. Munoz has won this title five years in a row and will look to make it six by topping the sport’s most decorated player in Key.

Mixed Pro Doubles.

Eight solid teams are entered into Mixed, including the Legendary @Martha McDonald, playing with her son Jack as the #4 seeds. Then, her other son Chris is the #2 seed with Michelle Key . Both teams would have some serious work ahead of them to have an all McDonald final.

The #1 seeds @Micah Rich and Carla muñoz likely have to beat the very tough looking team of @Eduardo Portillo and @Brenda Laime to get to the final, but Rich’s experience on his home courts should push them through. I think it’ll be 1v2 in the final, and I like the emotion of Chris McDonald and Key’s legendary talent in outdoor doubles to win out over Rich/Munoz for the title.

Men’s Pro Singles

There’s 8 players in the Singles draw, highlighted by defending champ Lavely, tough touring pro Portillo, and Hall of Famer @Greg Solis , who’s made the singles final three times (99,01,19) across a 20+ year career but has never won it. The draw is not out as of this writing, but Lavely is a beast in singles and will be my favorite to repeat.

Women’s Pro Singles

Six ladies are entered, highlighted by the #1 seed Carla muñoz , who won this in 2021 and 2022 and was a finalist last year. She seems likely to face fellow LPRT touring pro #2 @Brenda Laime in the final. This is Laime’s debut at outdoor singles, but based on her outdoor doubles acumen she could push Munoz for the title, but I favor the experience of Munoz (who holds 4 career outdoor singles major titles).

Other Divisions of note:

Men’s Open Doubles is essentially a pro-quality draw, with Brandon Davis & Brian Pineda as the #1 seeds. They’ll be hard to beat, but there’s several other pro entrants scattered throughout the draw. Look for Davis to do the Pro & Open double this weekend.

CPRT has 10 teams, highlighted by the star-studded McDonald/Waselenchuk team. the draw isn’t available as of this writing, but they’re a team looking out for. Defending champs Solis & Tucker will be tough to beat as the #1 seeds. St. Clair & Burg made the CPRT final last year and are no slouches either. This draw also has 2-x Outdoor pro champs Rocky & Jesus and @Cliff Swain and @Mike Orr (who, if this was 1995, would be perhaps the hardest hitting doubles team in the history of the sport). Great draw, should be a fun one to watch.

Combined 75+ also has some solid teams, including Beltran & Chavez, Rich & Osberg, the McDonald brothers, and Gerhard & Allin.

Men’s combined 100+/Centurion features some really good teams. the #1 seeds are HB veterans Tony Burg & Scott St. Clair, and they’re #1 for a reason. The legendary @Rocky Carson is playing with NoCal’s Jerry hall and are favorites for the final. Don’t sleep on #7 @MMax Heyman and Gabe Medina , nor #3 Geoff Osberg and @Eric Fernandez , who are also playing on home courts and know their way around.

There’s also a healthy Paddleball competition at this year’s tourney, with some crossover from Racquetball to Paddleball in the divisions. The top-level paddle division features several excellent players in Danny Lavely , Jeremy Mcglothin , Beltran, Pineda, Riffel, and the like.


Look for Streaming online, both from players and from WOR/3WallBall pages.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Jesus Ustarroz and Geoff Osberg for putting this event on! The pair are being recognized this weekend with entry to the WOR hall of fame for their decade+ contribution of running this event.

Thanks to many gold-level sponsors of this event. KWM Gutterman Inc. and @Keith Minor, @Prokennex , @3wallba3Wall Ball and @Mike Coulter, Melissa’s produce, Gearbox Racquetball and @Rafael Filipini , @splathead and @Joe Hall, and @LPL Financial and Halsey Roscoe . It goes without saying that without you and your support, we don’t have a sport.


USA Racquetball

WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball

USA 2024 Junior Nationals Recap

Naomi Ros took home the triple crown at 2024 Junior Nationals. Photo Ken Fife

@USA Racquetball held its 51st annual Junior Nationals event last week in Pleasanton, California. The first Junior Nationals was held in 1974, in San Diego. The first junior national only featured boys competitions and was won by future touring pro Jerry Zuckerman. None other than the legendary @Marty Hogan won the second 18U national tournament in 1975, the same year he won his first NRC pro event (in Burlington, Vermont in the fall). Ever since, Junior National winners have fed into the pro tours and many of the game’s top American players cut their competitive teeth at Junior Nationals each year.

With this post, is official notification that the Junior Nationals results have been entered into the ProRacquetballStats.com database. For Juniors, we upload full bracket results for 21s,18s,16s, and 14s, but just load up winners and finalists for all age groups younger than 14U. For doubles, we load up just the finalists.

The best way to see Junior Singles winners is with the cross-year/cross-age group Matrix reports built into the site. They show all the winners for all age divisions going back to 1974. Here’s direct links for each Matrix report:

– Boys USA Junior National Singles Champion Matrix: https://rball.pro/mey

– Girls USA Junior National Singles Champion Matrix: https://rball.pro/cpf

Each full division draw can be accessed from the “event” pulldown after you enter either the Juniors or the Junior Doubles section. One Junior Nationals results in 18-20 singles draws plus another 15 doubles draws being entered into the database, so there’s a lot of new data here this week.

R2sports home page for the event, with all the full brackets: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41777

For 2024, congrats to your Boys Singles winners:

– Boys 21U: Vedant Chauhan

– Boys 18U: Nikhil Prasad

– Boys 16U: Nathan Rykhus

– Boys 14U: Vaishant Mangalampalli

– Boys 12U: Scott Haacke

– Boys 10U: Fernando Miguel Carpena

– Boys 10Udb: Jasur Pridatko

– Boys 8U: Jasur Pridatko

– Boys 8Umb: Zane Horner

– Boys 6Umb: Xavier De La Torre-Berrera

Congrats to your Girls singles winners:

– Girls 21U: Annie Roberts

– Girls 18U: Naomi Ros

– Girls 16U: Aanshi Thakur

– Girls 14U; Aarya Shetty

– Girls 12U: Addie Strobach

– Girls 10U: Yana Alegria

– Girls 10Udb: Sameera Rai

– Girls 8U: Sameera Rai

– Girls 8Umb: Nithya Mangalampalli

– Girls 6Umb: Sasha Rai

Congrats to your Boys Doubles winners:

– Boys 21U: Iain Dunn & Paul Saraceno

– Boys 18U: Cole Sendrey & DJ Mendoza

– Boys 16U: Nathan Rykhus & Eshan Ali

– Boys 14U: Vaishant Mangalampalli & Grant Williams

– Boys 12U: Scott Haacke & Noah Jackola

– Boys 10U: Dhruv Venalapalli & Reyansh Chandel

Congrats to your Girls Doubles winners:

– Girls 21U: Annie Roberts & Shane Diaz

– Girls 18U: Naomi Ros & Ava Kaiser

– Girls 16U; Victoria Rodriguez & Montserrat Torres

– Girls 14U: Aarya Shetty & Sarah Bawa

– Girls 12U: Lexie Sikorski & Anna Sikorski

– Girls 10U: Sameera Rai & Sloka Marivada

And Congrats to your Mixed Doubles winners:

– Mixed 21U: Iain Dunn & Shane Diaz

– Mixed 18U: Cole Sendrey & Naomi Ros

– Mixed 16U: Eshan Ali & Victoria Rodriguez

– Mixed 14U: Ayan Sharma & Aarya Shetty

– Mixed 12U: Noah Jackola & Anna Sikorski

– Mixed 10U: Dhruv Venalapalli & Sloka Marivada


Note: there are some combined divisions here. I determined the champions when age groups were combined by looking at head to head results to “name” an age group champion. In some cases there are uncontested winners for younger entrants who competed with the next higher age group.


Here’s some quick commentary on the Singles champions by grouping.

Boys Singles;

Vedant Chauhan returns to the winner’s circle in 21U for the first time since he won 12U in 2017, and he did it as the #8 seed and by dominating the defending champ @Krish Thakur in the quarters. In 18U, @Nikhil Prasad repeated as 18U champ and won his 9th career Junior National title. This ties him for 2nd all time among all Boys, sitting only behind the legendary @Jack Huczek , who won 13 junior titles in his career (amazing b/c he didn’t even have 3 years in 21U to pad his totals back when he played, nor did he have 10Udb).

In 16U, @Nathan Rykhus, the 2-time defending 14U champ, moved up and beat last year’s champion @Eshan Ali in the final. This draw featured 23 players, the largest draw of the event. This is Rykhus’ 5th career junior title. In 14U, Vaishant Mangalampalli gets back on top for his 2nd junior title after winning 12U a couple years ago.

We got a first time junior national singles winners in Scott Haacke in 12U and with Fernando Miguel Carpena in 10U. Jasur Pridatko took home two titles: the Boys 8U and the boys 10U double bounce. Zane Horner followed in his older brother’s footsteps by taking the 8UMB: Benjamin Horner took the same division a decade ago in 2014. Lastly, the 5-man 6UMB draw, famously won by Jake Bredenbeck in 1998, was taken by Xavier De La Torre-Berrera.


Girls Singles quick recaps.

In 21U, Annie Roberts took her third straight Junior 21U title. It seems a little odd to refer to Roberts, a married woman and soon to be a college graduate, as having won the “Girls 21U” title, honestly. This will be her final time at Junior Nationals, but she still has one intercollegiate title to chase. In 18U, @Naomi Ros cruised to the title, her 4th straight since switching from her native Mexico to represent the USA back in 2020. Aanshi Thakur got her first jr title since 2017 by upsetting @Victoria Rodriguez in the 16U final. In the 14U, Aarya Shetty wins her 2nd career Junior title by blitzing the competition.

All six divisions from 12U to 6Umb were taken by first time winners. Congrats to Addie Strobach and Yana Alegria for taking 12U and 10u respectively. Sameera Rai took both the 8U and the 10U double bounce divisions. Lastly we had three competing for the 8U and 6U mb competitions, including one 6yr old with a rather famous name: that being Raelynn De la Rosa, playing in her first junior nationals competition, following in the footsteps of both her quite-accomplished parents.


Notable multi-title winners

The following players took home the coveted “Triple Crown,” winning singles, gender doubles, and mixed doubles this year:

– Naomi Ros (18U)

– Aarya Shetty (14U)

The following players took home the “double,” winning both Singles and gender Doubles in their age groups:

– Nathan Rykhus (Boys 16U)

– Vaishant Mangalampalli (Boys 14U)

– Scott Haacke (Boys 12U)

– Annie Roberts (Girls 21U)

These players took the “Double Double,” winning both Gender and Mixed doubles titles.

– Iain Dunn (21U)

– Cole Sendrey (18U)

– Eshan Ali (16U)

– Victoria Rodriguez (16U)

– Anna Sikorski (12U)

– Dhruv Venalapalli (10U

– Sloka Marivada (10U)

Phew. that’s it for Junior Nationals. Congrats to all the 2024 winners. The National team includes the two singles finalists and the doubles winners in each division; those players have first right of refusal to represent Team USA at Junior Worlds later this year in Guatemala. Hopefully the proximity of Junior Worlds this year (as in, its not in South America in a country that just underwent an attempted coup) means we field a stronger team and have a chance to take back some world team titles.

Next up on the racquetball calendar? 2024 Outdoor Nationals in Huntington Beach! We’ll preview and recap that event as we always do, plus it’s the second leg of the 2024 Outdoor Cup Series. There’s already some big names and fun partnerships committed to HB, so can’t wait to see the draws and the competitions.

LPRT 2023-24 Season in Review Part 3

Maria Renee Rodriguez took a big step back touring this year while completing school. Photo 2022 Outdoor Nats via Steve Fitzsimons

In this last part of the 2023-24 season recap, we will highlight notables outside the top 20 and then wrap up with a list of the notable news items from a historical perspective.

– #22 Sheryl Lotts missed most of the season’s events after moving to Florida, but was a regular training partner there with Sudsy Monchik and Veronica Sotomayor and is seemingly well positioned to return to the tour and regain her mid-teens expectations.

– #25 @Maria Renee Rodriguez, a mainstay on tour for years, took most of this season off while she finished off a master’s degree at Liberty University. She remains on the Guatemalan national team and earns their stipend, but sources tell me she’s career focused going forward and will continue to be stepped back from the tour.

– #26 Martina Katz, just recently matriculating from the U21 ranks, traveled up from Argentina for a couple pro events this year. She’s held her own against the best of her age groups in international competitions for years and would fare quite well if she could join the Vargas/Mendez travel train up and down the Americas.

– #28 Frederique Lambert made it to two events, not bad for a full-time practicing physician. She continues to own the #1 spot for Canada.

– #30 @Valeria Centellas has completely stepped back from touring after being an incredibly promising junior coming out of Bolivia/Argentina. My sources tell me there might be money issues to fund travel for Centellas. My other sources tell me she’s expected to be back for the beginning of the next season.

– #32 @Veronica Sotomayor recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, which would make it even tougher for her to commit to touring. Many believe her performance in limited appearances would warrant a return to the top 10 if she toured regularly; odds are we’ll never find out.

– #32 @Maricruz Ortiz has gotten great international wins, but has never really made that big of an impression on the pro tour.

– #32 @Adriana Riveros, a stalwart on tour for a decade, played in just one event this year.

– #32 @Victoria Rodriguez is one of the best US juniors to come up in years. The 16yr old just made the US Junior national team, has been a regular in outdoor events for a couple years now, and will be very interesting to see on tour if/when she can.

– #41 @Susana Acosta got one appearance in this year to extend her season streak to 26. She’s played in a pro event every season for 26 years in a row.

– #42 Annie Roberts , the reigning intercollegiate champ and three-time defending U21 champion, could only get to one pro event while going to college full time and getting married this year.

– #42 Lucia Gonzalez , who always seems to get wins against top 8 players at Mexican Nationals, made just one event t his year.

– #47 @Erica Williams , better known for her outdoor exploits and being one of the leading outdoor programming promotors in the sport in her home area of the Bay Area, entered one pro event.

Players who were unranked this season of note:

– Texan @Linda Tyler usually makes a couple events a year but missed this season.

– As noted above, top-ranked Bolivians @Jenny Daza, @Michele Meneses and @Yazmine Sabja missed this season entirely. All are top 15 quality players.

– @Adrienne Haynes failed to play an event this season for the first time in 23 years.

– Top Mexican Ana Laura Flores is reportedly going to Law School and has curtailed training.

– The #1 in Ireland @Aisling Hickey, who got a couple of solid wins last season while working in the US, did not play any pro events this year.

– It was an off year in general for the whole new generation of top Mexican junior girls coming up: where were the likes of Daniela Rico, Angela Veronica Ortega, Cynthia Gutierrez, Maria Gutierrez, Ximena Gonzalez, or the Aguilara clan?

– Quick follow-up from a previous post: Barrios struggled to make events this year because she’s going to medical school. So, that’s awesome for her personal career, but probably a Lambert-like dagger for her racquetball career.


Lastly, notable LPRT news items for the season,

– 6/21/23: Just ahead of the 2023 Central American & Caribbean championships, an article comes out that seems to indicate that Paola Longoria’s long-simmering conflict with Conade has reached a conclusion in her favor. She implies that the lawsuit that conade filed against the athletes for back payments has been dismissed.

– 10/18/23: Cristina Amaya releases a video ahead of the Pan Am games that details her struggles with the Colombian olympic committee, revealing that she was cut off

of her government salary in November 2022 and that furthermore even though Amaya and Riquelme had qualified for the Pan Am games that their spots were given away. Amaya still traveled to Chile to referee, but her dreams of competing in the Pan am games were shattered. This situation still infuriates me; clearly someone at the IRF allowed these two players, who do a ton for the game, to miss deadlines to enter the Pan Am games, and gave away their slots to other players from other countries. Someone at the IRF could have dropped a dime here to let Amaya/Riquelme know they had to file paperwork, but didn’t. It’s shameful.

– >12/11/23: With her semi-finals loss at the 2023 Xmas Classic, Paola Longoria will drop to #3 on tour. It is believed to be the first time since roughly October 2008 that

Longoria was not ranked #1 or #2 on tour. Vargas takes the event and moves to #2 ahead of Longoria and is now within strikign distance of #1 Mejia, who she’s beaten twice in the last three LPRT events.

– 1/14/24: Maria Jose Vargas wins her third straight tournament in a row, taking a commanding lead in the season to date points ranking.

– 2/11/24: LPRT #4 and USA #1 Erika Manilla is forced to retire the US National singles final due to what was thought to be a back injury at the time. Subsequent test and MRIs show that Erika suffered a hip labrum tear. She goes in for surgery to correct the issue mid March, but the injury costs her several LPRT stops, and she’ll be laid up for 6 months.

– 3/3/24: Despite losing in the semis, Vargas ascends to #1 on tour for the first time in her career. She now leads both the rolling 365 calendar and the season to date points rank and is the odds-on favorite to take the title. Defending tour champ Mejia drops to 2nd on tour, and now sits a distant 3rd in the season to date points race, having failed to win an event this season after her dominant 2022-23.

– 3/3/24: Paola Longoria announces her candidacy for the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (the US Equivalent of the House of Representatives) from District 5/Nuevo Leon. Elections are in June. Salas apparently is also running in teh same election.

– 3/24/24: Erika Manilla is featured in a full-page story in the <a href=”https://www.denverpost.com/2024/03/24/erika-manilla-pro-racquetball-player/”>Denver Post</a>.

– 4/28/24: Maria Jose Vargas wins her 5th event of the season at the Sweet Caroline grand slam, essentially wrapping up the 2023-24 title. It’s her first title, and

she dominated the tour this year. She topped Paola in the final 11-10.

– 4/28/24: After the 11-10 loss, Longoria’s new husband posted accusations on social media in the aftermath, claiming biased refereeing (one of the line judges was Argentine for the final) as the main reason that Paola lost this event. The issue does highlight the difficulties the tour has in finding “unbiased” refs for a group of women who all travel together to the same events. The IRF solves this by spending thousands of dollars flying in referees from a wide variety of countries, but nearly the entire LPRT tour comes from just a few countries, making it difficult sometimes to find neutral refs.

– 6/5/24: Neither Longoria nor Salas, both of whom were running for the Mexican chamber of Deputies, were directly elected in the National elections. They

can still be selected/appointed by the party.

– 6/9/24: Vargas officially wins her first ever pro title by entering the season’s final event in Chesapeake and advancing past the opening rounds. She had a large enough lead on Longoria to essentially have the title wrapped up after Greenville, so this was a formality to complete her dominant season. She becomes the third

different pro to win the last three LPRT seasons.

LPRT 2023-24 Season in Review Part 2: Players ranked 11-20.

Salas missed out on another top 10 finish. Photo US Open 2019 by Kevin Savory

This is Part 2 of my 2023-24 LPRT season in review. In part 1, we did a deep dive into the top 10 players with commentary on each of their seasons. In this part 2, we’ll cover the players who finished ranked 11th-20th, which will for the most part cover the “touring regulars” plus some interesting names.

Part 3 will cover other notable players plus do a news review for the season.

(note: there was a tie for 10th on tour this year, so we start with the 12th ranked player).

12. Samantha Salas Solis , age 37, 6-7 for the season, 3 quarter finals, 322.50 points.

This is as good of a time to mention this fact as any, but the gap between the 7th ranked player (Mendez, with 393.50 points), to Salas at #12 with 322.50 is just 71 points. 71 points across an entire season is about the amount of points one would get for reaching the quarterfinals of a grand slam event. In other words, there’s not a whole lot separating all the ladies ranked 7th-12th this year on tour.

Salas missed the Sweet Caroline grand slam this year; had she played that event and made the quarters, she’d have finished 7th instead of 12th. Had she entered and lost in the 16s, she would have finished the season ranked 8th. It was a bad event to miss, and ends up costing Salas her first top 10 finish since 2020-21. As it was this season, Salas had relatively the same performance she’s had for several seasons now, making a few quarters when she wins that 7/10 round of 16 match.

Prediction next year: probably around the same #12-14 range.

#13 Jessica Parrilla , age 33, 5-7 for the season, 1 quarterfinal. 256 points.

There is a gap from Salas to Parrilla in the ranking points, defining kind of a thin line between the 7-12 ranked players and the 13th ranked player. Parrilla made one quarter final this year (when she got a solid win over Laime in the Chesapeake opener last fall), but otherwise was out in the 16s. After three seasons hanging in the 7-8 range, Parrilla’s season represents a big step backwards, one that may be her new norm. It’s hard to identify players ranked in the set of 5-6 above her that you’d argue she can regularly beat now, especially now that she’s entering that magic age where so many pro pickleball players hang ’em up.

Prediction next season: Same 12-14 range.

#14 Hollie Scott , age 25, 3-7 on the season, six round of 16s, 214.25.

Hollie’s big success this season was her USA nationals triple crown in February. On tour, she consistently ran into top ranked players in the 16s and mostly hung with them, but had no break through wins. She had losses in the 16s this year to Herrera, Laime, Gaby, Vargas, and Mejia. She had a couple of winnable matches that would have jumped up her ranking not go her way, but still improved on her ranking the last couple of seasons.

prediction next season: #13-14 again.

#15: Lexi York , age 27, 2-8 on the season, three round of 16s, 199.25 points.

York and Scott had similar seasons, always running into top players in the 16s. Scott just had a couple more of them. York’s three round of 16s this season were her career first three, and #15 is a big step up from the last couple of seasons. Her training with Bredenbeck brothers is paying off.

Prediction next season: #13/14 range again.

#16: @Maria Paz Riquelme , age 36, 3-8 on the season, 4 round of 16s, 183.75 points

Riquelme, who used to play in the same club as I in Arlington Virginia back in the early 2000s, made it to all 8 events and made a handful of round of 16s. The Chilean turned Colombian frequently ran into the #1 or #2 seed in the 16s by virtue of her ranking most of the season, which makes it hard to move on.

Prediction next season: same general area, in the 16-18 range.

#17: Stephanie Synhorst , age 31, 1-8 on the season, 2 round of 16s, 165.50 points

Synhorst got her first career LPRT win this season, topping Riquelme in San Antonio in April. The 31yr old only started playing pro a few years ago, but made every event and got a ton of open draw experience on top of the LPRT experience.

Prediction next season: 18-20 range.

#18: @Naomi Ros , age 18, 4-6 on the season, 4 round of 16s. 162.25 points.

Ros, the Texan junior who converted from Mexico to USA in 2021, won Junior Worlds 16U two years ago and is the current reigning USA 18U national champ. As we speak she’s in Pleasanton defending her national 18U title. She had some success on tour this year, getting a couple of wins over York and playing to players tough (she took a game off of Mejia in Greenville). Assuming she plays the tour full time and doesn’t miss events, she’s primed to be ranked higher.

Prediction next season: #13-14 range

#19: Angela Barrios , age 24, 4-3 in three events this season, 151 points

Barrios, after three years in the top eight, missed most of this season and fell all the way to #19. Her talent level hasn’t changed: she just won the Bolivian National triple crown, but she had little impact this season one year after making 2 semis and a pro final. She remains a dangerous opponent when she does appear. We can only assume that the financial issues that many Bolivian players encounter are behind her sudden drop in touring appearances. There were practically no appearances from any of the Bolivians this year (Barrios, Meneses, Daza, etc).

It’s unclear if t his is just what we’re to expect from Barrios going forward: a source tells me that she’s not even training regularly anymore. So, unfortunately the pro tour looks like its losing one of its better players.

Prediction for next season: out of the sport.

#20 Michelle Key , age 35, 3-4 on the season, 3 round of 16s, 112.50 points.

After years of only sporadically entering tour events (it had been since 2015-16 since she toured regularly), Key played half the tour’s events this season and qualified for the US National team in February. She represented the US in an international event for the first time in nearly a decade. On the LPRT she got a couple of good wins (Mendez, York) and seems primed to move up the rankings now that it seems like she’s touring more regularly.

Prediction for next season: #16

That’s it for part 2; next episode we’ll talk about notables outside the top 20 and wrap it up with a review of the season’s news events.

LPRT 2023-24 Season in Review Part 1: The top 10

Vargas is the 2023-24 champ. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory

Hello fans! We’ve finished another Ladies pro season, the 2023-24 season. This post is to give you some links to rankings data as it flows through the Pro Racquetball Stats system and to be the first of a 3-part wrap-up series.

– Part 1 (this post): Year end links at the site and the The top 10

– Part 2: The 11-20th ranked players

– Part 3: 20+ ranked players plus notables, plus a recap of news items from season

For each of the individual players reviewed, we’ll talk about their season and then give a prediction as to where they end up next year.


Year End standings links:

– LPRT official rankings: https://www.lprtour.com/lprt-singles-rankings

– Season Ending rankings for 2023-24 captured to PRS: http://rb.gy/cqvct2

– Season Summary Report for 2023-24 season (this is one of my favorite reports, bringing a bunch of data together: rank, season W/L, number of wins/finals/semis, etc). http://rb.gy/7ywv9m

– Season Seed Report; this shows how players’ seeds changed over the course of the season: http://rb.gy/apd1jz


Some overall LPRT tour observations.

– Obviously the story of the season is Vargas’ first title. However, we certainly saw a “consolidation” of the top players on tour this year. All 8 events were won by either Vargas or Longoria; last year’s champ Mejia was shut out. Just 5 distinct players even made a final this year. There was a massive gap between the top 4 players to even the 5th ranked player, and just 70 points separated the 7th ranked player from the 12th ranked player.

– The total “depth” of players on the tour has dropped for the third season in a row. the LPRT has gone from 61 to 54 to 47 distinct players for the season over the past three years. The tour continues to have about the same number of “regulars,” defined as players who played in 75% of the events (16 this year). 12 players made every event.

See https://rball.pro/2vd for a Tour Depth report.

– The tour had 8 events this year, down from 10 last year. The tour lost the season opening Paola Longoria championship, the US Open, and the Sept Chesapeake event from the previous season, picking up the every other year World Singles & Doubles. This trend likely will continue, as the IRT is struggling to find pro events as well. It’s an indication of the state of our sport.


Lets review the top 10.

#1 Maria Jose Vargas ; Age 31, 25-3 on the season, 5 titles, 1,502 points.

Vargas captures her first career pro title in her 11th season of playing professionally. And she did it one season after having a kid, one year after missing half of the 2022-23 season, which meant she had to claw her way back as an under seeded player getting crummy draws for months. Most importantly, she completely got over her mental block against her primary rival this season in Longoria. Prior to the 2022-23 season, Vargas was a career 1-31 against Longoria, often losing by heavy score lines. Since February 2023 (when she returned to the maternity leave): Vargas is 5-2 against Paola. Vargas essentially had the title sewn up before the final event, capping off a dominant season.

Prediction for next season: Well positioned to repeat as #1, based on what we’re about to talk about with the next two ladies


#2 @Paola Longoria, age 34. 24-5 on the season, 3 titles, 1,409.50 points.

Longoria finishes 2nd for the 2nd season in a row after dominating the LPRT for the better part of the last two decades. She eliminated the shocking early round losses she exhibited last season and made the semis or better in all eight of her events this year. Unfortunately, she suffered four semi-final defeats, which ended up costing her the ability to out-point Vargas in the season’s final grand slam in Chesapeake. Her 3 event wins this year bring her career Tier1/Grand Slam total to 113 titles, which when added to her 7 satellite wins give her 120 total pro titles for her career.

Prediction for Next year: either #2 again or retired. Longoria ran for the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and didn’t win outright but could still be selected, which would make it awfully difficult to tour. She also got married last year, and could be thinking of starting a family. Lots up in the air for Longoria going forward. I’ve heard rumors of a possible retirement, but nothing official yet.

#3 Monserrat Mejia , Age 24. 20-8 on the season, 4 finals and 3 semis. 1,093 points.

One year after completely dominating the tour (she won 5 of the 10 events last season), Mejia took a major step back and failed to even get a tourney win this year. It’s not like she took bad losses: her 8 losses were: 4 to Longoria, 3 to Vargas, and one to Herrera in the quarters in Arizona. She just didn’t have it this year. Perhaps it was a loss of focus after getting to the top, or perhaps it was more about Longoria re-focusing after 2022-23 and Vargas’ big step forward. Either way, Mejia needs to reset and get back her mojo from last season.

Prediction for next season: #3 again

#4 @Alexandra Herrera , age 29. 18-8 on the season, 2 finals, 4 semis. 896 points.

Herrera has definitely taken a back seat to the top three players on tour since finishing 2nd on tour with her first two tournament wins back in 2021-22. We’re a long ways from February of 2022, when she won two straight events (beating Longoria in the finals of both) and had the racquetball world wondering if we were about to see a changing of the guard. She struggled so much this season that she fell in the rankings all the way to #8 at one point (as the #8 seed she beat Mejia in Arizona), but finished strong to return to the top 4. She’s still clearly in a small group of players separated from the rest of the tour by talent, but has she lost out on her chance to win a title given Vargas’ dominance?

Prediction for next season: #4

#5 Brenda Laime , age 24. 7-8 for the season, one semi. 467.50 points.

The gulf between #4 and #5 is astounding: Herrera had nearly 440 points more than Laime. 440 points is the equivalent of two full tier1 wins and then some. It will be months before Laime or anyone else lower than the top 4 could even think about moving up that far. Laime’s season was up and down, as evidenced by her 7-8 record. She started out strong, with a win over Manilla to make the semis of World Singles. But from there it was inconsistency; she had three round of 16 losses (to Amaya, Parrilla and Mendez) and never got back to the semis. That’s a far cry from her season last year, where she also finished #5 but made three finals and kind of planted her flag as a top player. For next season she has to get back that fighting spirit that gave her big time wins over the top 4 players.

Prediction for next season: #5 or #6

#6 @Kelani Lawrence : age 30, 9-8 on the season, 6 quarters. 460.00 points.

Lawrence gets a career high finish at #6, and finished the season with a career high seeding of #5 in her home-town Chesapeake event. She missed out on #5 by just 7 points. She showed pretty good consistency all season, making the quarters in 6 of the 8 events, but never further. This has turned into somewhat of a career tripping point for Kelani; in 43 career pro events she’s made the semis just once. However, 2023-24 is a massive step forward for her; her previous career high was #12 and she finished ranked 14th last year. She’s clearly put herself into top 8 territory and should stay here going forward.

Prediction next season: anywhere in the 6-8 range.

#7 Natalia Mendez , age 27. 7-8 for the season, four quarters. 393.50 points.

After finishing 4th in 2021-22, Mendez slipped badly in 2023-24, falling to 10th as she had a slew of round of 16 one-and-done losses. It looked like perhaps the tour had passed her by, but she rebounded in the latter half of the season, got a couple of solid wins over fellow top-10 pros Laime and Salas, and finished back in the top 8. Mendez’s challenge is that the top tier of players are now her regular quarter final opponents, and she’s a step behind them. I think she’ll struggle to stay in the top 10.

Prediction next season: #10

#8: Cristina Amaya , age 35. Season record 6-8, 1 semi and 1 qtr. 353.50 points.

Amaya had a fantastic run in the 2nd half of the season to rise from the mid teens back into the top 8 for the first time in five seasons. She never once advanced past the round of 16 last year, but got a quarter and a semi this year with great wins over the likes of Laime, Gaby, Salas, and Lambert. Is this sustainable? She’s seemingly going to continue touring and is one of the tour’s regular refs.

Prediction next season: #14-15

#9 Carla Munoz , age 32. 5-8 on the season, 2 quarters. 342.50 points.

Munoz spent almost the entire season in the dreaded #8/#9 seed slot. This is a frequent spot of trouble for pro players, who are faced with a very tough round of 16 match against a player ranked right next to you in the rankings and thus presumably someone who’s quite equally matched with you talent wise, and then if you get past that opponent you’re playing the #1 seed, who you have little chance of beating. Munoz ended up having 6 round of 16 losses this season in that tough 8/9 or 7/10 spot (Mendez twice, Salas, Manilla, and Lawrence twice), none of which are “bad” losses.

Prediction for next season: Probably in the same #8-10 range.

#10-T: @Erika Manilla, age 26, 7-3 on the season. One final and one semi. 333 points.

Manilla, of course, missed almost the entire 2024 slate of events with a torn hip labrum suffered just ahead of US Nationals in February, which required surgery and is set to sideline her for almost the entirety of 2024. It was a tough blow for the team USA representative, who had to forfeit out of US Nationals early and who was on a solid run of form on tour before getting hurt. She was ranked in the 4-5 range prior to the injury and had gotten to a final in Lombard with her first career win over Longoria. She has career h2h wins over all the elite on tour (Vargas, Mejia, Longoria, Herrera), and one has to think a healthy Erika is pushing for a top 4 spot at least. She should have no lingering effects from the soft tissue injury, but may miss events at the beginning of the 2024-25 season, which will make it tough for her to get back into the top 4.

Prediction next season: #10 due to missing events.

#10T: Gaby Martinez , age 24, 7-5 this season, 5 quarters, 333 points.

Gaby made it to 5 of the 8 events this season, and lost in the quarters all five times. this is a bit of a step back from her last two seasons, both of which she had Tier 1 wins. Her five QF losses were to Herrera, Amaya, Longoria, Mejia, and Herrera again, so really just one “bad” loss. Most of those losses were with Gaby in the #5 seed spot, so she’s playing #4 in the quarters, always a tough match. Martinez continues to tour part-time, regularly missing big chunks of the season, which will always make it challenging for her to push for the top spot.

Prediction next season: Same #9-#10 spot


That’s it for the top 10. Next post we’ll cover the 11-20 ranked players.

13th Annual Costa Rica Open IRT Tier 2 Recap

Montoya wins the double in Costa Rica. Photo Kevin Savory 2022 Portland IRT event

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– IRT Men’s Singles: Rodrigo Montoya

– Open Doubles: Montoya & Javier Mar

– Open Singles: Diego Garcia

IRT Satellite events have specific rules about entry (only half the top 8 players are allowed to enter), which is primarily why i do not enter them into the database. I don’t want to “give credit” for tournament wins where half the top 10 was banned from entering.

Satellites do play an important part in the IRT tour though. Depending on the number of tier one events in the current 365 day rolling calendar, points earned at satellite events may or may not “count” towards a player’s ranking. As I write this article, the IRT has only 8 Tier 1s in its current 365-day window, which means that the points calculation takes a player’s 8 best results (Tier1 or otherwise) to total up their current point total. If a player has played in all 8 tier1s plus some satellite events, then the running point total will have the lowest X number of events subtracted from their overall total until they get down to the top 8 scores.

For example: Andree Parrilla plays a lot of events; he has played in all four satellite events in the last 365 days before the Costa Rica Open, and as a result, his IRT points total is all his tier 1 points minus three lowest point totals (satellite or not). This is where satellite events come in handy; you can win a Tier 2 event (worth 120 points) and have it “replace” a poor showing in a tier1 Event (say, a round of 16 loss, which is only worth 90) and actually come out ahead. And of course whatever prize money you make is yours, irrespective of the points impact on your IRT ranking.

All that being said, a slew of IRT touring regulars were in San Jose competing for the Tier 2 points and prize money, and we also got a big draw of international players, so here’s a review of the draw.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=42435


In the 32s: we got some fun match-ups.

– CRC #2 @Jaime Mansilla got a solid win over Ecuadorian vet @Jose Daniel Ugalde to open.

– Bolivian turned Argentine @Gerson Miranda , who won World Juniors 18U back in 2019 before switching countries, got a solid win over #9 Rafael Gatica .

– #5 Carter Thomas survived a serious challenge from up-and-coming Mexican Junior @Jorge Gutierrez to move on in a breaker, and a heck of a round of 32 match.

– #23 @Sebastian Hernandez , Mexican world u18 champ a couple years ago, cruised past Guatemala’s #1 Juan Salvatierra 12,4

– #26 @Rodrigo Salgado upset touring veteran #7 @Carlos Ramirz in the opener.


In the 16s:

– #9 Diego Gastelum and Miranda had a barn-burner, with Gastelum coming out on top in an 11-8 breaker.

– Carter was pressed by international vet Guatemalan Edwin Galicia but moved on.

– #3 Erick Trujillo made a statement against fellow Mexican 20-something Elias Nieto , beating him 0,7

– #6 Eduardo Portillo dodged a bullet and advanced past the dangerous Bolivian turned Argentine @DDiego García 13,7. Thought this would be closer, given Lalo’s time away.


In the Quarters

– #1 Rodrigo Montoya crushed his young Mexican rival Gastelum 2,4 to move on.

– #4 Alan Natera took out Carter by the heavy scoreline of 5,2

– #3 Trujillo got a solid career win over #6 Portillo to kind of re-settle where these two players rank right now in the world order of men’s pro racquetball.

– #2 and home town favorite Andres Acuna was stretched to a breaker by Sebastian Hernandez before advancing.


In the Semis

– #1 Montoya cruised past Natera 7,6

– #2 Acuna had to dig deep, getting taken to a breaker by Trujillo before advancing.

In the Finals, Montoya went breaker but topped the home-town favorite Acuna to repeat as champion.


Points Implications of results

Interestingly, this tournament actually will impact the top of the rankings, if I have my XLS synced up right. Parrilla played this event last year and came in 2nd (worth 90 points). He misses it this year, so those 90 points expire off, but they’re not replaced with anything, so he’ll slightly fall in the rankings, enough to allow Kane Waselenchuk to move above him to #3. I also believe Trujillo and Natera may switch spots in the rankings, though both of these guys play a slew of events so it’s a little tough to figure out which results drop.


Other notable draws

– Open Doubles: They didn’t play “IRT Pro Doubles” but they did have an Open Doubles draw that featured all the pros. #1 seeds Montoya and his regular partner Javier Mar took the title, but played a knifes edge close game in the final over Carter & Natera to do so, winning 15-14, 15-14.

– Open Singles: Diego Garcia took the Open Singles draw, getting a walk-over against #1 seed Portillo when Lalo was injured.


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


We have a week break, then its the 2024 USA Junior Nationals in Pleasanton. The LPRT season has completed so we’ll do a 2023-24 recap soon. Then, in July we have the 2nd leg of the Outdoor Major season in Outdoor Nationals.



International Racquetball Tour

USA Racquetball

LPRT 2024 Battle at the Beach Recap

Longoria won the battle, but Vargas won the war. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: @Paola Longoria

– Doubles: Montse Mejia and Alexandra Herrera

Singles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/zup

Doubles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/p2m

Longoria wins her 113th career LPRT tier1 title, but it isn’t enough to keep Maria Jose Vargas from winning her first career pro title. Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42244

Editor note: my apologies for not publishing a preview of this event; I had to fly out for a two day conference Wednesday afternoon, at which time the draws had not been released, and I couldn’t even look at my computer until Sunday afternoon, by which point the tourney was over.


Let’s review the notable matches in the Singles draw.


In the 32s, just one match with a 17-person draw. Newly crowned Liberty University graduate Maria Renee Rodríguez , who has missed most of the season after being a tour regular for years, entered and fell to #16 @Sheryl Lots, who herself was also a regular on tour for years but who missed most of this season. Hope to have both back full time touring next season.


In the 16s, there was just one upset by seed but a couple other notable matches;

– In the 8/9, #9 Carla Munoz took out #8 @CAma Cris 8,4 but it wasn’t quite enough for Munoz to finish the year ahead of the Colombian (see later on for points analysis).

– #5 @Kelani Lawrence , a career high ranking, topped her doubles partner #12 Hollie Scott playing on home turf in Chesapeake.

– The most shocking result was probably #7 @NaNatalia Mena beatinSamantha Sala’s by the dominant scoreline of 3,4.


In the Quarters

– #1 @MarMaria José Vargas , who entered the event with a 278 point lead on Longoria for the year end title, realistically only had to just show up and advance a round to seal the year end title, left no doubt about it by moving into the semis with a solid win over fellow South American Munoz here. We’ll talk more about Vargas’ accomplishment in a bit.

– In the always fun 4/5 match, Lawrence (who always plays tough on her home courts), took #4 Herrera to a breaker before falling.

– #3 Longoria, who needed a win here plus a lot of help to secure her 14th career LPRT tour title, made fast work of #6 Brenda Laime 8,1 to move on. Laime shocked Longoria last season but the GOAT left no doubt here.

– #2 Mejia had to work for it, but moved past the resurgent Mendez 9,8.


In the Semis, two upsets.

– #1 Vargas fell to the left Herrera in three close games 14,(9),9.

– #3 Longoria cruised past Mejia 9,8 to secure 2nd place this season for certain.

In the Finals, Longoria dominated for stretches and took the title 5,10 over Herrera.


Points Implications of results

Caveat: this analysis is based on my calculations; the final tour rankings have yet to be published and there might be some changes based on information unavailable at the time of this writing.

As noted above, once Vargas advanced a round she essentially sealed the 2023-24 title. We’ll cover the season in depth and discuss Vargas’ place in history in a future post. Longoria secured 2nd place for the season. Mejia will slump to 3rd after winning the title last year.

There will be little change elsewhere in the top 10 at season’s end. The injured Erika Manilla retains enough points to hang onto #10 and will be a force to reckon with next season as she defends zero points all season. Missing regulars Gaby and Parrilla fall into the Teens. We’ll do a fuller story later.


Doubles review

There were only 7 doubles teams, but the competition was fierce. An 11-10 breaker in the quarters, and both semis going tiebreaker as well, but the final was as expected: the two top Mexican teams. Once it was Mejia/Herrera versus Longoria/Salas, the battle was on. But the final ended up being anticlimactic, as the #1 pair won 5,9.

Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).


Open Singles, other notable draws

– Mendez took Women’s Open over Lotts

– Dylan Pruitt won the Men’s open over chesapeake’s Justin Carpenter

– Maurice Miller teamed with MRR to win the Mixed Pro doubles exhibition, an event that featured a slew of the LPRT pros playing with the top men who had travelled to play this event.


That’s it for the 2023-24 LPRT season! As mentioned, we’ll let the final rankings get calculated and posted, load them into the database, then do our typical end of season recap.


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


This past weekend also featured a Junior Olympics event in Mexico that isn’t “Mexican Junior Nationals” but was a good competition. We may do a review of that. Next big event though is US Junior Nationals in Pleasanton the last weekend of June.



Canadian Nationals 2024 Recap

Murray continues his reign atop Canadian Men’s Racquetball. Photo 2019 US Open Kevin Savory

This past weekend, @Racquetball Canada held its all-encompassing National championships in Calgary. Unlike other countries where singles, doubles, and Juniors are held separately, Canada now has them all on the same weekend. So we have a ton of titlists to cover.

Congrats to your 2024 Canada National Open Singles winners on the weekend:

– Men’s Singles: Samuel Murray

– Women’s Singles: @Frederique Lambert

Congrats to your 2024 Canada National Open Doubles winners on the weekend:

– Men’s Doubles: @Christian Pocsai and @Trevor Ward

– Women’s Doubles: Frederique Lambert & Michele Morissette

(Canada doesn’t separately compete Mixed Doubles, instead selecting the international Mixed partners from the qualified pool)

And, Congrats to your 2024 Canadian Junior National Singles Champions:

– Boys 21U: Christian Pocsai

– Boys 18U: Leyton Gouldie

– Boys 16U: Raphael Guillemette

– Boys 14U: Oren Gouldie

– Girls 18U: Ofelia Wilscam

– Girls 16U: Kaitlyn Couckuyt

– Girls 14U: Ariana Buller

We’ll do some commentary for each of the groups down below.

Trackie Sports App home page for event: https://secure.racquetballcanada.ca/entry-list/matches/1000485/4657/0/F/


Men’s Open Singles

PRS report: https://rball.pro/d6m

Murray wins his 6th straight Canadian Nationals title and his 18th Canadian National-level singles event in a walk-over win against his frequent finals rival #2 seed Coby Iwaasa , who couldn’t reschedule some work-related exams and forfeited the final. This event featured the fun return of former Canadian great Roger Harripersad, two-time Canadian champ in 1985 and 1989.


Women’s Open Singles

PRS report: https://rball.pro/kke

Lambert won her 4th straight Canadian national title, and her 6th overall, with a straightforward tournament where she did not lose a game. #2 seed and finalist Juliette Parent made her 2nd straight national final and seems to have taken the reigns as “next best” female Canadian right now from the likes of Morisste, Key, and Ramsay in the Canadian pecking order.


Men’s Doubles:

PRS Report: https://rball.pro/fyc

Sam & @Tommy Murray were upset in the finals of Canadian doubles for the 2nd year running, this time by @Trevor Webb and @Christian Pocsai. Webb wins his 2nd ever title while long-time junior champion Pocsai takes his first ever Canadian adult title.


Women’s Doubles:

Lambert wins her 5th Canadian National title, the first of which came way back in 2010. Morissette also wins her 5th, and the pair have won the last three straight. The Parent sisters return to the final for the first time since 2021 but are still waiting for their big breakthrough.


Boys Junior Results.

Matrix report of all Canadian Junior boys champs: https://rball.pro/ny4

Christian Pocsai graduates out of 18U and dethrone’s last year’s 21U champ Gauri, and wins his family’s 10th career junior title. Meanwhile, the Gouldie brothers Leyton and Oren take 18U and 14U respectively. Rafael Guillemette repeats as 16U champ, almost 20 years after Francis Guillemette took the 16U title in Canada in 1995.


Girls Junior Results.

Matrix report of all Canadian Junior boys champs: https://rball.pro/5zu

Ofelia Wilscam wins the Wilscam clan’s 7th junior title in 18U, after a couple of down years on the Canada junior circuilt. Kaitlyn Couckuyt moves up one division after taking last year’s 14U division and wins again. Lastly a debut jr title for Ariana Buller, two years after her older sister won 14U.


That’s a wrap for Racquetball Canada Nationals for 2024. We’ll be back next fall with their qualifier.


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


In two weeks time the season ending LPRT event!

IRT SoCal Open 2024 Recap

He didn’t win, but Alonso certainly raised some eyebrows this weekend. Photo via Alonso’s twitter account.

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Conrrado Moscoso

– Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya and @Erick Trujillo

– Singles PRS Match report: https://rball.pro/yxv

– Doubles PRS Match report: https://rball.pro/q3p

This was a crazy tournament for a few reasons we’ll go into below. Lots of really amazing results to talk about.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42331


Let’s review the notable matches in the Singles draw.


In the qualifying round/64s, nothing too notable other than a player named “Wer” played a player named “Wolfe” and I didn’t see it; h/t to the reddit user who pointed it out. Wolfe topped Wer with an injury retirement. The #14 qualifying seed and #30 seed overall @Jordy Alonso topped his fellow Mexican Alejandro Bear, looking to make the main draw in just his 12th career pro event.


In the 32s:

– Former #1 Rocky Carson dusted off the sticks and topped Chilean @Rafael Gatica

to move into the 16s and setup a match with #1 Moscoso.

– #9 Carter Thomas got a very solid win over @Alejandro Cardona , who continues to be a dangerous opponent when he shows up.

– US Junior Cole Sendry got a TB win over #13 @Carlos Ramirez to make the round of 16 for the first time in his pro career

– #11 Jaime Martell took out the up and coming Elias Nieto in a breaker, in a match that I thought might go the other way.

– #23 Diego Gastelum , strong Mexican junior, took out countryman #10 Erick Cuevas to make his first round of 16 in a pro event.

– However, the match of the event, and perhaps the season, was the shock upset of #3 Kane Waselenchuk at the hands of #30 Jordy Alonso. I’ll be honest; I tuned in mid-match and saw that Kane had won game one 15-7 and was up 7-2 in the second and thought the match was over. Only when I started seeing random social media questions did I realize an upset had occurred, so I pulled up the video and watched it from the mid-way point. From the point where I left off … Alonso ground back into the match to take game two 15-12 then blitzed the 14-time tour champ 11-1 in the tie-breaker. I don’t think the analysis was difficult: Alonso’s drive serve was 100% “on,” and he was putting pressure on Kane for the entire second half of the match that Kane doesn’t normally see from most players on tour. Alonso didn’t screw around with his serve; he pounded drives to Kane’s backhand, got aces, forced weak returns, and he hit really unbeatable pinch shots once his feet were set. Kane really couldn’t do anything to stop the train of points in the tiebreaker and essentially threw in the towel at about 1-9 down.

Alonso, as i’ve commented elsewhere, is not a nobody; he’s got a slew of solid wins on his resume, but he rarely tours. This is just his 12th pro event and he turns 27 in early June. But clearly this is a shocking result. This is the first time Kane’s EVER lost on the court prior to the round of 16 in his 20-something year career (He has one round of 64 forfeit loss from last August). The interesting thing about Alonso what happens next is this; the draw kind of opens up, and there’s no reason to think at this juncture that he can’t move on. His career best finish is a round of 16 loss, but he’ll easily beat that as we’re about to see.


In the 16s:

– Moscoso was forced to mount a massive comeback in game one to top Carson 15-14, and the effort seemed to exhaust the 40-something Rocky, who lost the second game in just a few minutes 15-1.

– In the 8/9 matchup, Alan Natera crushed Carter 8,6 to move on. He achieves his second quarter final of the season, having only ever made the quarters twice in nearly 30 previous pro events.

– Alonso made fast work of #14 Robbie Collins 2,7, facing his second straight lefty and using the same strategy to move on. He makes his first ever pro quarter.

– #11 Martell shocked #6 Andres Acuna 11-10 to make his first quarter of the year and throw the refereeing schedule completely off for the tournament (Martell generally does the back end reffing of the events as an international qualified referee).

– Trujillo crushed Gastelum, who had several h2h wins over Erick in Mexican nationals of late, to move into the quarters.


In the Quarters

– #1 Moscoso cruised past #8 Natera 3,9, probably looking ahead knowing that his leading nemesis Kane was out of the draw.

– #4 Jake Bredenbeck got revenge from a shock US Nationals qualifying loss last year against #5 Adam Manilla , crushing the lefty 4,9 to move into the semis.

– #30 Alonso came from a game down to drop #11 Martell in a battle of Mexican Cinderellas.

-#2 @Rodrigo Montoy , who saw his side of the draw open up nicely with Kane’s loss, ground out a win against his double partner Trujillo to move on.


In the Semis

– Jake pushed Conrrado but couldn’t break him, losing 12,8.

– Alonso continued his amazing weekend with perhaps his biggest achievement yet, coming down from 5-10 in the tie-breaker to shock #2 Montoya 11-10 to move into the final.

As the #30 seed, Alonso becomes the 2nd highest seeded player to EVER make a pro tour final. The highest ever seed? #39 Waselenchuk, who was seeded dead last at the 2008 Motorola Championships when he came off his 2-year break.

In the Finals, Alonso’s run came to a relatively unheralded end, as Moscoso destroyed the Mexican 3,5 to take the title. It’s Moscoso’s 9th career IRT win.


Points Implications of results

This round of 32 loss does a ton of damage to Kane’s 2024 title aspirations, but he remains in the lead for 2024 season to date points by a hair right now over Moscoso.

As for the rolling 365-calendar, it’s hard to say what the rankings will be come tuesday when they re-run, because I’m not aware of how the tour is handling satellite points right now. There’s not enough Tier 1 events to exclude them/go into the points replacement system, and when just counting tier 1s in the rankings I can’t make my current XLS match the r2sports-generated rankings. So, I *think* with this win Moscoso opens up a sizeable 400-point lead on #2 Montoya, Kane remain sat #3, and most of the rest of the top 10 remains the same. The big news might be that Trujillo moves ahead of Natera, and (given that DLR is seemingly retired) might now get “stuck” in that 8/9 slot that feeds into Moscoso. That’s a typical tripping point for players moving their way up the rankings, and it can be tough to move past it.


Doubles review

#1 ranked IRT doubles Montoya made his fourth pro doubles final out of four held this season and took it with Trujillo. They top the Bolivian team of Moscoso/Carrasco in a breaker.


Open Singles, other notable draws

The 32man Men’s Open Singles draw opened up nicely when #2 seed Alonso withdrew to focus on the pro side; this opened up the bottom half for #6 Ecuadorian Juan Francisco Cueva to make the final with wins over a slew of international opponents. Gastelum made his way to the final from the top half as the #1 seed, but Cueva took the title.

Jose Caceres / Carlos Ramirez took the Men’s Open doubles title over

Alejandro Bear / Elias Nieto.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Steve Schulze, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


We’ll cover the Canadian National event next in this space, which also happened last weekend. Then we have a week break until the LPRT finishes up its 2023-24 season in Chesapeake, Virginia, just a couple hours drive from me.



@internaInternational Racquetball Tour