USA Junior Nationals Wrap-Up

Annie Roberts finishes off her Junior career with an 18U singles title. Photo Kevin Savory at 2019Jr Nationals.

Congrats to your Junior National Champion winners on the weekend! After a year away, where we saw an entire class of juniors matriculate without being able to defend titles or compete one last time, it was great to see the nation’s top juniors playing this weekend in Des Moines.

R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the draws and call out the finalists. Both Singles finalists qualify for Worlds. We’ll go singles then doubles, Boys then Girls, then Mixed. In each singles section, i’ll give the link to the Champions Matrix Report, which has all the champions of all junior divisions going back in history.

Boys Junior Singles Champions:
PRS Champions Matrix Report:

  • In 18U, #1 Timmy Hansen survived a strong push from the upset-minded #6 seed Julius Ellis, who had topped both the #2 and #3 seeds to get to the final. Hansen wins the battle of the sons of two former US National team members and captures his 2nd junior national title.
  • in 16U, #1 Nikhil Prasad captures his 6th junior national title over #3 Josh Shea in a tiebreaker.
  • in 14U, #2 Eshan Ali upset #1 seeded Joseph Marshall to win his 4th junior national title.
  • In 12U, #1 Nathan Rykhus dominated the field and took his 2nd junior national title over fellow NorCal #2 Vaishant Mangalampalli.
  • in 10U, #1 Alejandro Robles Picon won his 3rd junior national title in dominant fashion, winning all 5 RR matches and never giving up more than 5 points in a game. Nebraskan Lucas Frost-Biskup came in 2nd.
  • in 8U, Beckett Hansen took out his fellow 8U RR competitor Chris Nelson for the title, and beat several 10U players along the way.

10U Double bounce, 8U multi bounce and 6U multi bounce divisions were not competed this year.

Girls Junior Singles Champions:
PRS Champions Matrix Report:

  • In 18U, #1 Annie Roberts saved off match points to take the title over #2 Erin Slutzky. Roberts secures her 4th junior national title in her final year competing.
  • In 16U, a big upset as #5 Texan Naomi Ros took out 8-time junior national champ #1 seed Heather Mahoney with ease, then cruised to her first Junior national title in the final over Ava Kaiser. A dominant showing from Ros, who is a former Mexican and World Junior champ but has now moved to the US and is competing here.
  • in 14U, #1 Sonya Shetty wins her 3rd junior national title over #2 Andrea Perez-Picon, a 12U player playing up and who double qualified on the weekend.
  • in 12U, Perez-PIcon secured her 5th junior national title with ease, cruising to a win over #2 Aanshi Thakur in the final.
  • in 10U, Stockton’s Natalia Canchola was the sole entrant and wins the title by default; she competed against the 12U

10UDB, 8U, 8Umb and 6Umb divisions were not competed this year.

Boys Junior Doubles Champs
A reminder: just the doubles champs qualify to represent team USA.

  • 18U: Josh Shea repeats as champ (he also won 18U doubles in 2019 with Dylan Pruitt) with Vedant Chauhan; they topped the #1 seeded team of Gleason/Hansen. This is Shea’s 3rd junior double national title and Chauhan’s 2nd.
  • 16U: Gatlin Sutherland & Nikhil Prasad surprised the #1 seeded team of Shea & Chauhan and took the 16U title in the RR draw. This is Sutherland’s 3rd junior national title and Prasad’s 3rd as well.
  • 14U: Eshan Ali & Alexander Pappas took the RR title over 2nd place finishers Axel Lopez & Juan Herrera II. This is Ali’s 2nd junior national doubles title and Pappas’ first.
  • 12U: Vaishant Mangalampalli & Nathan_Rykhus took the small RR draw over fellow 12U competitors Alejandro Robles Picon & Aarush Sudamalla to take the title. This is Mangalampalli’s first title and Rykhus’ second.
  • 10U: The Texan brother team of Chris & Adrian Nelson were the sole 10U entrants; they competed against the 12U but take the title uncontested.

(we generally don’t compete younger than 10U doubles)

Girls Junior Doubles Champs

  • 18U #2 Heather Mahoney & Julia Stein topped #1 Estefania Perez & Erin Slutzky in an 11-9 thriller to take the title. This is Mahoney’s 9th junior national doubles title and Stein’s 9th as well (most of their titles have been together as they’ve grown up).
  • 16U: #1 Karina Mathew & Ava Kaiser cruised to a title over #2 sister team of Arya & Esha Cyril. This is their third junior national doubles title together.
  • 14U: The Shetty sisters Aarya & Sonya won the RR competition, with the Stockton duo of Jordan Ellis & Camila Canchola coming in 2nd. This is Sonya’s 5th doubles title and Aarya’s first.
  • 12U: Andrea Perez-Picon & Zara Ximena Barraza took the RR draw, with Aarya Shetty & Elizabeth Denler coming in 2nd place.

No 10U doubles competitors this year.

Mixed Junior Doubles Champs

  • 18U Mixed: Iain Dunn / Estefania Perez topped Hannah Werk / William Sherman in the final.
  • 16U: Esha Cyril & Nikhil Prasad were the top ranked 16U team in the combined 16/14 RR group.
  • 14U: Nathan Rykhus & Jordan Ellis were the top ranked 14U team in the combined group.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Leo Ray Vasquez and Dean DeAngelo Baer. And thanks to all the players and parents who hopped on the mike to help out, including the likes of Michelle De La Rosa, Tim Hansen and John Ellis. You all made the broadcasts fantastic.

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

Next up?

Your two singles finalists per division plus the doubles winners all qualify to represent the USA at the 2021 World Juniors championships, to be held the first weekend in December in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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US National Team Qualifying 2021 Wrap-Up

Carson had a great weekend at US Nationals. Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory

(Note: we’ll wrap up the Juniors in a separate post tomorrow).

Congrats to your National Team Qualifiers on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
  • Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich over Kelani Lawrence
  • Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt
  • Women’s Doubles: Rhonda Rajsich & Erika Manilla

The US National team is comprised of the two singles finalists plus the doubles winners, so all the names above are now on the team for 2021 and into 2022. They will represent the USA at the Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in early September and at the World Championships in Guatemala City at the end of October. They may very well also represent the USA a third time at PARC in the spring of 2022, assuming the world goes back to normal post Covid.

R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the draws.

Men’s Singles:

Match report in PRS:

12 men entered the draw. There was one consequential early match: Minnesotan John Goth faced off against #5 seed Charlie Pratt in a tough opener for both; Pratt advanced 8,8 to move into the quarters.

In the quarters

  • #1 Carson blitzed Blake Hansen 0,1 to move on.
  • #5 Pratt upset #4 Thomas Carter​ 11,9 in a sometimes choppy match, but the veteran Pratt did what he needed to move on.
  • #3 Jake Bredenbeck outlasted a fierce challenge from #6 Miller 2,(10),6
  • #2 Alex Landa ​had little trouble moving past Sam Bredenbeck 1,5.

In the semis, chalk:

  • #1 Carson downed his doubles partner Pratt in a close, tactical match 13,9
  • #2 Landa continued his career unbeaten streak against #3 Bredenbeck, winning 3,11 and guaranteeing his spot on the US National team for the 2nd year in a row since “defecting” from Mexico.

In the final, Carson reversed the course of their latest matchups and topped Landa 12,13 to take the title. This is his 8th national title; his first came in 2000, meaning he’s had titles 21 years apart. Amazing. See here: for a list of all Men’s US national amateur champions dating to 1968.

Women’s Singles

Match Report:

10 women entered the draw. In the play ins, two younger players advanced into the main draw, with 18U competitor Annie Roberts getting a nice win over Jessica Chen and Graci Wargo getting a walkover into the qtrs.

In the quarters, chalk:

  • #1 Erika Manilla cruised past the junior Roberts 7,2
  • #4 Kelani Lawrence got a walkover against Texan Linda Tyler
  • #3 Hollie Scott make quick work of Lexi York​ 1,7
  • #2 Rhonda Rajsich cruised past Wargo 5,1

In the semis, a couple of interesting results to me:

  • #4 Lawrence took out the #1 seed Manilla 13,6. Though an upset by seed, Lawrence is the defending US national champ and was a favorite to advance to the final again.
  • #2 Rajsich took out the winner of the most recently held US national qualifier in #3 Scott in a tie-breaker. This result surprised me, as Scott has been on fire lately in pro and outdoor events, while Rhonda has scuffled a bit.

In the final, another surprise to me as Rajsich avenged her 2019 loss to Lawrence at Nationals and claimed the title 7,14. This win is Rhonda’s 12th US National title, which is the most of any American women and breaks the record for most ever national titles held by Jen Saunders in Canada (thought I will say, our Mexican records are a little spotty and it is likely Paola Longoria​ has more for Mexico). See this link for all Women’s US National title holders, dating back to the first ever Women’s championship held in 1970.

Men’s Doubles

Match Report:

The Covid-forced withdrawal of Landa/ Sudsy Monchik forced a last minute re-drafting of the draw, and some pre-tournament complaints about seeding were resolved on the court. The #2 seeded brother team of Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck withstood a test from the #3 seeded team of Troy Warigon and Maurice Miller to advance to the final There, they met the 2019 champs and new #1 seeds of Rocky Carson and Charlie Pratt Racquetball​, who had advanced past John Goth​ and Blake Hansen​ in the semis.

In the final, Rocky/Pratt came back from a close game 1 defeat to cruise in game two, then outlast the Bredenbecks in the final to take the championship.

This win is Rocky’s 12th national doubles title and Pratt’s 2nd, and it returns Rocky to the National team for (I believe) the 16th time.

Women’s Doubles

Match Report:

An interesting draw and interesting results to this pundit.

1 seeds Rhonda Rajsich teamed up with a new partner in Erika Manilla for this event, and the partnership paid off. They advanced past #4 seed Lexi York and Linda Tyler in the top semi. The bottom semi featured a very tense match that featured what had to be dozens of appeals and the need for line judges before it was all over. The #3 seeded team of Michelle De La Rosa and Sheryl Lotts outlasted and upset the #2 seeded team of Kelani Lawrence​ and Hollie Scott​ 11-9 in the breaker. De La Rosa and Lotts made the interesting decision to travel to Des Moines and only play doubles, and it seemed like it paid off with their shot at the title.

However, it was not to be; the #1 seeds won the first game in the finals with comfort and then staved off an attempt to push through to the tiebreaker. Rajsich and Manilla win 8,14 to take the National doubles crown.

It is the 3rd National doubles title for Rajsich, and the 2nd in a row for Manilla. It returns Rajsich to the national team for (I believe) the 12th time.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Leo Ray Vasquez and Dean DeAngelo Baer and Pablo Fajre, who flew in the IRT crew to help with production.

Thanks to the Tourney Director Connor Shane putting this event on!

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

Next up?

The next major event on the schedule is Mid August’ World Singles & Doubles, put on by Jim Hiser in Denver, Colorado. There’s an IRT tier 5 scheduled in Atlanta the first weekend in august and MRF Nationals in the interim. We’re hearing rumors of Mexican national events being shoehorned in at some point this fall, but no word yet.

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2021 USAR National Team Qualifier Preview

Welcome to US Nationals! This weekend, the men and women will have US National team qualifiers to determine who represents the USA at the PARC and World tournaments later this year (in Bolivia and Guatemala respectively), and the Juniors will be competing to win Junior National titles and earn the honor to represent the USA at Junior Worlds in Guatemala later this year.

Lets preview the draws.

R2 Sports App link:

Men’s Singles.
12 players entered, highlighted by the top 2 seeds who made the finals of the last national qualifier we held, along with a number of IRT regulars.

In the play-in, look out for #12 John Goth, a solid player who made the US National final in 2012 and the round of 16 in the last pro event he played, who faces #5 Charlie Pratt Racquetball, he himself a frequent US National team member and the current US Junior national team coach. Whoever Goth faced in the opener would face a tough challenge.
In the Quarters, whoever survives Goth/Pratt has a good chance against #4 Thomas Carter to make the semis. The projected #3/#6 match between Jake Bredenbeck and Maurice Miller could be interesting as well.

In the end, I expect the top two seeds #1 Rocky Carson and #2 Alex Landa to advance to the final and battle it out for the US title. That match would be a coin flip for me; in the last qualifier Rocky came out on top, but the last time they faced off professionally Landa squeaked by with an 11-10 win in the final of the Los Compadres open in Fullerton in Nov 2019.

Women’s Singles:

The top 4 women in the US keep running into each other in the back end of these tournaments, and I expect the top 4 seeds to advance to the semis again this year.
In the semis, I look for two upsets by seeding; look for #4 Kelani Lawrence to top #1 Erika Manilla in the top half, and for Hollie Scott (who won the last National team qualifier and thus i’m not quite sure how she’s only ranked #3) to top #2 Rhonda Rajsich in the other semi.

In the final…i’ll go with Kelani, who just faced (and beat) Scott in the LPRT Sweet Caroline open in May rather easily to beat her again and claim her second national title.

Men’s Doubles
The big news here was the last minute positive Covid test that defending US doubles champion Sudsy Monchik suffered, which has taken him out of traveling and thus out of the tournament. He’s really bummed, but also has been dealing with the illness, and we’re glad he’s recovering. With the news, USAR reworked the draw and four teams remain to compete.

In one semi, look for the new #1 seed Carson/Pratt (the 2019 champs) to take out the local favorites of Goth/Blake Hansen, while the 2/3 match should feature some fireworks between two good teams of the Bredenbeck brothers (Jake and Sam Bredenbeck) playing Miller and Troy Warigon.

In the final look for Carson/Pratt to prevail over the Bredenbecks to take the title and send Rocky back to an international competition for the 14th year.

Women’s Doubles
The defending champ from the last national qualifier ( Aimee Roehler Ruiz) is out while battling Breast Cancer, so the teams are relatively jumbled from the last time we saw them. There’s 5 teams playing, and I expect the top two seeds to advance to the final.

In the final, look for the team of Scott/Lawrence to take out the team of Rajsich/Manilla to take the title.

It has been two years since we had Junior Nationals and we’ve lost an entire class to matriculation, so its the first time we’ve seen some of these kids in quite a while. I won’t spend a ton of time previewing the draw or making predictions since, well, we just have no idea what will happen.

In the Boys 18U; the top two seeds of Timmy Hansen and Andrew Gleason are seasoned junior international vets and will be hard to beat. Gleason is playing on home soil and could be an upset favorite, but he’ll have to get by a tough #3 seed in Krish Thakur, who has 3 junior titles to his credit. Nonetheless, I like Hansen, who has looked just dominant in local Florida events as of late, to take the title.

In the Girls 18U, #1 Annie Roberts is a favorite to make the final, but she has no simple pathway there. On the bottom side, the 2/3 semi should be great between Erin Slutzky and Shane Diaz. All three have been regularly popping up in LPRT events and moving their careers forward. Look for Roberts to take the title.

In the Boys 16U, a stacked draw at the top, featuring two top seeds in Vedant Chauhan and Nikil Prasad, two Norcal kids who face off a lot. But look out for New Yorker Josh Shea, who has been hanging out at the Kelley court competing against pretty significant competition and might make a run here. The last time these three faced off, Chauhan topped Shea in the 2019 14U, and Prasad topped Chauhan in the final … we’ll get rematches of both this weekend.

In the Girls 16U: it is the Heather Mahoney show; she’s won 8 junior titles and is the defending World 14U champ. It will be difficult to top her in Iowa this weekend.

For the 14U and younger draws … as fans we’ll have to wait and see how the draws play out. I find it hard to even make predictions on kids who were 12 the last time we saw them.

Look for Streaming on USA Racquetball’s page, with Leo Ray Vasquez on the mike as always! Plus, this year USAR has brought in none other than the IRT’s main streaming guy Dean DeAngelo Baer to help out.

Thanks to the Tourney Director and USAR national events coordinator Connor Shane or putting this event on!

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

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2021 47th Outdoor Nationals Re-cap

Michelle De La Rosa completes another undefeated major tournament weekend. Photo Mike Augustin Vegas 2019

Congratulations to the Pro Champions on the weekend:

  • Men’s Pro Doubles: Jason Geis & Micah Rich
  • Women’s Pro Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Munoz
  • Mixed Pro Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa
  • Men’s Pro Singles: Jose Diaz
  • Women’s Pro Singles: Carla Munoz

To review the brackets and results, see here:

Men’s Pro Doubles Recap
PRS Match report:

In the 16s, just one upset by seed, with the #10 team of Hall of Famer Freddy Ramirez & former IRT touring pro Nick Riffel taking out the #7 team of tourney director Geoff Osberg playing with 2018 Men’s singles pro champ Luis Avila in a tiebreaker.
In the quarters, a star-studded affair ended up going pure chalk, with all four top seeds advancing.

  • #1 seeds Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran got their title defense started with a closer-than-they-probably-wanted win over the tough team of former IRT touring pro and doubles specialist Jose Diaz playing with HB native Patrick Allin. The top seeds advance 13,14.
  • #4 dark-horse team of Jason Newberg Geis and Micah Rich, who won the February Valentines Day shootout over a number of teams at this event, advanced with ease over #5 Rick Koll and Emmett Coe.
  • #3 Josh Tucker and HoFamer Greg Solis were stretched to a breaker but moved past #6 team of NYC one-wall specialists Robert Sostre and Benny Goldenberg.
  • #2 Rocky Carson and tourney co-director Jesus Ustarroz, themselves 3-time prior champs of this event, advanced with ease over the Ramirez/Riffel team.
    In the semis, two big upsets.
  • #4 Geis and Rich took out the defending champs DLR & Beltran with a great win. The #1 seeds fought off multiple game points to take game one 15-14, then Rich and Geis cruised to a game 2 win to push it to breaker. There, the Lefty/Righty team pulled away at the death and DLR/Beltran just could not get enough shots to go down to force the issue. Geis/Rich take the breaker 11-8.
  • #3 Tucker and Solis played nearly a “perfect Match,” going the absolute distance with two-time champions #2 Carson & Ustarroz. Final score: 13,(14),10.
    In the finals … veteran outdoor players Tucker/Solis took the first game, but Rich and Geis did not panic, dominating the second game to force the breaker. There, they continued to play smart outdoor racquetball and went on a run at the end to take the breaker 11-5 and take the title. Rich gets his first major outdoor title, while Geis returns to the podium at a major for the first time in a decade (he and Alvaro won the 2010 3WallBall pro doubles title).

Kudos to Rich and Geis, who may not be household names to the larger indoor community but who dominated a star-studded field this weekend.

Women’s Pro Doubles Recap
PRS Match report:

The defending champs and #1 seeds Michelle De La Rosa and @Carla Carla Muñoz Montesinos cruised through a 5-team RR draw that featured a slew of draws as the other four teams battled it out for 2nd place. In the end Erica Williams and Katie Neils captured 2nd place on total overall points.

Mixed Pro Doubles Recap
PRS Match report:
The top two mixed pro teams, who also met for the title in 2019, each cruised through the 5-team RR draw unscathed for their inevitable Sunday morning meeting for the title. There, the husband-wife defending champ #1 seeds Daniel De La Rosa and Michelle De La Rosa squared off against Robert Sostre and Carla Munoz.

In the final, the DLRs defended their title with a close 7,12 win over Sostre and Munoz.

Men’s Pro Singles Recap
PRS Match report:
The Pro Singles featured 8 brave souls attempting to play singles on the cavernous Huntington Beach courts. The top 4 seeds advanced into the semis. There, Jose Diaz upset #1 seed hall of famer Greg Solis, thwarting his quest for an elusive singles crown, while 2018 singles champ Avila downed the left “Sweet” Lou Orosco in the other.

In the final…Jose Diaz added his name to the board of legends who have won Outdoor Nationals pro singles, topping Avila 12,11 for the crown.

Women’s Pro Singles Recap
PRS Match report:

LPRT touring pro Munoz cruised through the 5-player RR draw to capture the 2021 Women’s singles Outdoor National championship. Arizonian Katie Neils came the closest to taking out Munoz, stretching her to 14 in one game and finishing in 2nd place in the group.

Other Notable Draws:

  • Men’s 100/Centurion Doubles, the largest draw of the event, featured a ton of outdoor racquetball legends competing. In the final #2 outdoor legends Scott St. Clair & Tony Burg topped Rocky playing with @jerry Hall in an 11-10 bruiser.
  • Men’s 75+ Doubles: De La Rosa, playing with HoFamer Mike Peters, cruised to the finals of 75+ doubles, where they got a walkover against #8 Thomas Gerhardt and Benny Goldenberg in the final.
  • CPRT 40+: Tucker & Solis avenged their loss in the pro doubles by taking the stacked 40+ draw, topping Carson & Ustarroz in the final.
  • Mixed Centurion Doubles featured the legends Greg & Martha McDonald competing in their 46th outdoor Nationals event; that’s right; they were at the very first one in 1974 and have missed just one in their careers (missed in the early 1980s for the birth of one of their sons). However, they ended up coming in 2nd place in the mixed 100+ doubles, getting edged by Butch Fish playing with Laura Morin.

Congrats on a successful return to Huntington each to tournament directors Geoff Osberg & Jesus Ustarroz, who have been running the event for years together and did a fantastic job getting sponsors, promoting the event and running the tournament all weekend.

Thanks to all those who streamed on the weekend. Racquetball social media promoter JT R Ball first and foremost, for setting up early, getting great drone/aerial shots, and streaming/commentating all weekend. Thanks also to personal feeds from people like Erica Williams, Ranulfo Alvarez, Frank Biehl, Ruben Antilla, and many others.

Thanks to all 2021 Outdoor National sponsors, listed here….
A big thanks to the title sponsor Randy Root and his enterprise; Randy continues to be the biggest sponsor of the sport. Major thanks to presenting sponsor Pro Kennex and Mike Martinez, who continue to be a leading voice in the sport and in outdoor.
Thanks to the gold sponsors, including Melissa’s restaurant, Gearbox (the official ball of the tournament), Coca-Cola, RH enterprises, 3WallBall, Splathead, Roundabout Entertainment, KWM Gutterman and Keith Minor. Thanks to all silver sponsors including Dale (Valentine) & Todd (Entrikin)’s WTF Racquetball series, Rogue Gallery, (Mark) Bloom Injury Law, the (Rocky) Carson Real Estate Team, and Ustarroz Construction. Thanks to all bronze sponsors including the IRT, the LPRT, the Comfort Inn and Suites, the Springhill Suites of Huntington Beach, Dogz Bar & Grill, Los Compadres Auto Sales (and thanks for all you guys do for the sport yourselves), RYDF, and Alberto’s.

Thanks for all the sponsors and all you do; without you, we would not have racquetball events.

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

Next up?
Next week, in Des Moines Iowa is National Team Qualifying and Junior Nationals. The draws are up here and play starts on Wednesday..

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2021 47th Annual Outdoor Nationals Preview

DLR will look to defend both his 2019 titles. Photo 2019 outdoor Nationals by Mike Augustin

Welcome back Huntington Beach! After a year off thanks to Covid-19, outdoor National is back at Marina Park to host the 2021 Team Root Outdoor Nationals Racquetball Championships presented by Pro Kennex.

A solid draw of 140+ players is in Southern California to compete, and the draw includes a slew of the best outdoor players in the land.

R2 Sports App link:

Lets do some quick draw previews.

In the Men’s Pro Doubles… the big daddy draw, with Defending champs Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa seeded 1st and favored to win again. But there’s a ton of talented teams here.

In the opening round, i’m looking at close matches in the 5/12 match-up (Emmitt Coe/Rick Koll versus NorCal top pairing of Walter Ramos and Israel Torres) and in the 6/11 match-up (New York one-wall specialists Freddy Ramirez and Benny Goldenberg versus Thomas Gerhardt and Daniel Lavely), but otherwise expect chalk.

In the quarters, I’m projecting a couple of really solid matches but for the top four seeds to advance. I like the #4 Micah Rich/ Jason Newberg team to top the Coe/Koll team in a close one, and i do think #3 Greg Solis and Josh Tucker will outlast the challenge from Ramirez/Goldenberg.

In the semis, i’m predicting Beltran/DLR to outlast Rich/Geis, while i’m predicting an upset in the bottom-half, with Solis/Tucker taking out #2 seeds Rocky Carson and Jesus Ustarroz.

In the final: Beltran/DLR defend their title over fellow so-cal outdoor top players Solis/Tucker.

In the Women’s Pro Doubles … Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz Montesinos are the #1 seeds and defending champs, and should defend their title on the weekend. there are 5 teams entered, and they’ll play round robin matchups all weekend to determine the winner. Their toughest competition will come from #2 seeds Amie LeBrun Brewer and Jessica Chen, two traveling players from Washington (DC) and Washington (State) respectively.

In the Mixed Pro Doubles, defending champs/husband wife De La Rosa team will face off against last year’s finalists once again in the Munoz/ Robert Sostre team, but a 5-team round-robin competition that features some NorCal flavor in Erica Williams, Walter Ramos, Israel Torres and Jazmin Trevino will spice the mixed draw up all weekend.

In the Men’s Singles … the search continues for the successor to the domination of Brian Hawkes and Rocky Carson on the big Huntington Beach courts. Four different players have won the last four Men’s pro singles title, and this year i’m predicting a 5th straight winner.
8 players are entered, and I think we get chalk to the semis. There, former IRT touring pro Jose Diaz will give Hall of Famer Greg Solis a run for his money, but I think Solis advances. On the bottom, #2 seed and 2018 singles champ Luis Avila projects to face “Sweet” Lou Orosco for a spot in the final.

I’m predicting Solis, who has never won a singles title, will finally add this title to his resume and take the Men’s pro singles title.

In the Women’s pro singles, after not having a top-level singles draw for several years there are 5 women entered into the Pro/Open singles draw. They are headlined by LPRT touring pro and heavy favorite here Carla Munoz, who will play RR competition against several competitors for the title. I’m predicting Munoz finishes the weekend unvanquished and adds an Outdoor Singles title to her collection of trophies.

Other Notable draws: the biggest draw on the weekend is the Men’s Centurion (100+) division, with 19 teams competing. A slew of hall of famers and former touring pros are entered into this event, and it should be fun. Look for HoFer Mike Peters to make some noise, get a chance to watch former IRT touring pro Todd O’Neil, and especially watch for the McDonald crew (@greg mcdonald and his son Jack), who are here (along with Martha McDonald) to support the tournament from Florida as they’ve done nearly every year since 1974.

Look for Streaming this weekend from JT R Ball and in the various outdoor racquetball groups. If you’re not a member, consider following pages/groups like the main WOR page or groups like Underground Racquetball, which covers SoCal outdoor.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Geoff Osberg and Jesus Ustarroz for putting this event on! This is the culmination of months of hard work for Geoff and Jay and I wanted to commend them for making the return to HB a success.

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