2021 Wintergreen Wrapup

Wintergreen 2021 Wrap-up
Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
• Pro Singles: Lalo Portillo
• Men’s Open Singles: Juan Pablo Rodriguez Castrillon
• Open Doubles: Eduardo Garay Rodriguez / Sebastian Franco
• Women’s Open: Micaela Meneses Cuellar
• Mixed Doubles: Juan Pablo Rodriguez/Micaela Meneses

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37546

A fun weekend tournament and a return for yours truly to the Severna Park Racquet club in Millersville. I was onsite saturday helping to broadcast and had a blast on the stream all day.

Lets review the IRT pro draw:
In the 16s:
• #1 Eduardo Portillo handled #16 Pennsylvanian Josh Pearl to move on.
• #8 Joe Kelley took out fellow lefty #9 David Austin
• #5 Maurice Miller handled Colombian junior Juan Pablo Rodriguez 5,4.
• #4 Eduardo Garay won in two straight over #13 Abraham Peña.
• #3 Mario Mercado cruised past #14 Brian Acuña in two.
• #6 MoMo Zelada had no problems moving past #11 Leland Rupp.
• #2 Sebastian Franco had to dig deep to move past the underseeded #15 North Carolinian lefty Jordan Walters 2,14.

But the match of the night was the social media grudge match between #7 Troy Warigon and #10 Dylan Pruitt. The IRT crew got setup early friday night and streamed the match live, and viewers/spectators were not disappointed. The younger Pruitt took the first game 12, then Warigon fought back to win 9 and force the breaker. In the tie-breaker, the two edged up towards 11 evenly, with the trash talk escalating on the court as the pressure rose. The two traded side-outs back and forth several times at 8-8, but Pruitt was able to edge his way upwards to 10. A time-out was called, with Warigon trying to get into Pruitt’s head … Pruitt reportedly said, “Don’t let me get back in the box.” Well, he did get back into the box, and served out the match with an Ace. It was quite a spirited match and well worth the rewatch on the IRT live stream feed.

In the Quarters

  • #1 Portillo handled #8 Joe Kelley in two quick games 4,4. This was the first broadcast match of the day, and Portillo put on a clinical display of shot placement and court control to advance past the New Jersey native.
  • #4 Garay advanced past #5 Miller 9,1. After a closer first game, Garay turned it on in a 15-1 second game domination. Garay’s power was evident and he overcame Miller’s court coverage.
  • #2 Franco came back from a huge game 2 deficit to beat local favorite #10 Pruit 7,13.
    The match of the quarters though was the match between #3 Mercado and #6 Zelada. These two close friends, business partners and doubles partners have met multiple times on tour in the past, with Mercado generally advancing with little trouble. But Zelada came out absolutely on fire, with a game plan to take it to Mercado and he executed without error. Mercado attempted to break his streaks and concentration, but this match was quickly over. Zelada gets one of the best wins of his career in shocking fashion, 15-1, 15-4.

In the Semis

  • #1 Portillo withstood an onslaught of power in game two and found a new gear in the tie-breaker to advance past #4 Garay 12,(3),2. Game one featured a back and forth battle between these two contrasting styles, with Portillo winning out. Garay came out firing in game two, getting points on his drive serve with ease, forcing the breaker. In the tie-breaker, Portillo shook off the game 2 struggles, played solid ball, took points where he could get them and quietly rattled off enough points to put the match on ice.
  • #2 Franco battled with #6 Zelada in game one, racing to a 9-0 lead. Zelada showed excellent mid-game adjustment and pulled all the way back to 9-9, and then the battle was on. Franco ended up on top in game one, but the hour-long battle was decided by just a couple of rallies. The efforts of the day seemed to weigh on Zelada in game 2, as he looked fatigued and couldn’t keep up with Franco’s power to stop him from advancing. Final score 15-13, 15-7

In the Finals

#1 Portillo survived a battle against fellow top-10 IRT touring pro #2 Franco to take the title in a close tie-breaker 9,(12),9.

Men’s Open, other draws

  • In the Men’s Open Singles: Juan Pablo Rodriguez, the 16yr old Colombian phenom, took out Dylan Pruitt in the semis then ended the cinderella run of #9 seed Josh Pearl in the final to take the Men’s open singles draw.
  • In Open Doubles: Eduardo Garay/Sebastian Franco teamed up to take a stacked draw, defeating Zelada/Mercado in a late-night Saturday brawl that didn’t end until nearly midnight, then topping the all-Mexican pairing of Portillo/Pena in a tie-breaker final.
  • In the 4-person Women’s Open draw: Bolivian junior Micaela Meneses (in her 17U season) topped the group for the title.
  • In the Mixed Doubles: Juan Pablo Rodriguez/Micaela Meneses combined to show some considerable junior fire-power to take the Mixed draw over several teams of veteran players.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean DeAngelo Baer, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew
hanks to the Tourney Directors Slemo Warigonnd his whole Maryland crew who shows up for every event (hello Bill Milbach!) 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.

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2021 Wintergreen Classic Preview

Wintergreen is an annual tradition, an east-coast classic tournament, dating back to at least 1988 and up until Covid always held at the Sportfit Laurel club in Laurel MD. The famous Laurel club was forced to close due to the pandemic, so the Peak Racquetball guys and @slemo warigon just moved it a bit east to the Severna Park racquet club, located in Millersville on I-97 about halfway between Baltimore and Annapolis. It’s being held a bit later than it normally is in 2021, but should return to its normal MLK weekend date in 2022.

The 2021 Wintergreen event is the 33rd annual instance of the tournament, and this year features a tier-5 IRT draw of 17 pros that has attracted a decent amount of east-coast talent and should be pretty entertaining. Additionally, the full Colombian national team is on site with coach @francisco Fajardo to get some work in ahead of international dates later this year, which should make for an excellent draw.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37546

Lets preview the IRT pro draw first. There’s one play-in match, so lets start with the round of 16:

  • #1 @eduardo Portillo, currently ranked 9th on tour, is your headliner. He’ll start off friday night against the play-in winner between @roger subieta and @josh pearl.
  • The #8/#9 will match-up two long-time friends from the upper PA/lower NJ area in @david austin and @joe kelley. I favor the lefty here to advance.
  • #5 @maurice miller gets an intriguing match against junior Colombian phenom #12 @juan pablo rodriguez. Rodriguez has been playing out of Bradenton, FL and has made some noise in local tournaments, taking out some talented players despite playing in his age 17 season. Miller is an experienced touring pro at this point and should advance, but this is no cakewalk.
  • #4 @eduardo garay takes on former Mexican national team member @abraham pena in what should be a fun match to watch. Pena can still bring it, but Garay should advance. Garay is making his claim to the Colombian national team right now, having switched from Mexico, and the more success he has in front of the coach the better.
  • #3 @mario mercado, back in the DC area after living there for many years, gets his start against WashDC’s @brian acuna.
  • #6 @mauricio zelada, also playing on basically home turf, gets his start against Virginia amateur @leland rupp.
  • #7 @troy warigon versus #10 @dylan pruitt; well, the long-promised “grudge match” finally occurs. Are we cynical and believe the tournament staff made this match-up happen, or was it just happen chance that these two players get to play and compete after months of dancing around each other for a “money match” on facebook earlier this year? Either way, Friday night 7pm should be interesting. I’m sure there will be some streaming by someone. I’m going with Warigon to advance.
  • #2 @sebastian franco, playing out of his home club. starts off with a solid NC player in lefty #15 @jordan walters.

I think i’m predicting chalk to advance, which I never do. But, there definitely seems to be a top tier of players here and I don’t see much room for upsets. Lets move to the quarters


Projected Qtrs: Here’s how I see the quarters playing out:

  • #1 Portillo over #8 Kelly: Portillo has been really dominant on the court lately, and it’ll take a solid performance to beat him.
  • #4 Garay over #5 Miller: I’ve always been a Garay fan, and I expect him to advance over Miller here. Both players cover the court well, but Garay has more power and should wear down Miller in the end.
  • #3 Mercado over #6 Zelada; these two know each other quite well from their time in the DC area, so I’d expect a closer match. Mercado is 4-0 lifetime over MoMo in Tier1 events, and they played in January’s Tier 1 in Atlanta. I’d expect a two-game win for Mario.
  • #2 Franco over #7 Warigon; another matchup between two guys who know each other’s game quite well. I show just two tier1 meetings between the two, both occurring several years ago and resulting in straight-game wins for Franco. I expect the same here. Franco has slipped to #11 on tour after 5 straight season in the top 10 (mostly due to scheduling, not losses) and will look to build back this weekend.

Again, i’m predicting chalk to the semis.


  • #1 Portillo over #4 Garay; I show zero meetings in tier1 events between these two, which means this should be an interesting one to watch. Portillo plays a methodical; in fact if you were uninitiated you might almost think he wasn’t trying on the court at times. But when he has an offensive opportunity he can accelerate his mechanics and really generate unexpected power. Garay is a power player, with the pace to get easy points on his serve if he can stay in control. Portillo has plenty of experience handling significant power at this point and should move on.
  • #2 Franco over #3 Mercado: amazingly, despite these two both being top10 players together for years, both representing the same country internationally and both living in the DC area … i have zero meetings between these players in tier1 events. On my global power rankings I have Franco well ahead of Mercado, but we’ve seen Mercado get surprise wins over and over on tour over the past decade. Mercado beat both Portillo and Landa en route to the Lou Bradley final in 2020, for example. So nothing is out of the realm of expected here. I’ll go with gut and give Franco the win


In the finals though, irrespective of who advances I favor Portillo for the win. I think Mercado has more recent success against Lalo, but both Franco and Mercado are trending the wrong way in terms of power rankings, while Portillo seems like he’s at the precipice of breaking into the very top tier of the sport.

Doubles review

Eight solid teams are competing in the Men’s open doubles draw, headlined by the #1 Colombian doubles team of Franco/Garay. They should advance to the final over Mercado/Zelada from the top.

In the bottom half, I like the Pena/Portillo team, but i’m not sure they can get past the Warigon/Miller team. I’ll go with #2 seeds to advance to the final, but for the #1 seeds to win.

There’s a small but fun Women’s open draw, with four solid women’s players competing in Micaela Meneses, Masiel Rivera, Graci Wargo, and Megan Shelton. An interesting combination of international and domestic, junior and veteran competing together.

The IRT streaming crew is coming into town to broadcast all weekend, so ; follow the IRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.Look for Dean Baer, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots! I also hear LPRT’s Jerry Josey is coming into town to help out as well.

Thanks to the Tourney Director Slemo Warigon 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.

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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.

USA Racquetball
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Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile, Chile
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