Hot on the heels of the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships event in Vegas, some of the state (and country’s) best long-wall outdoor players gathered at the famous long-wall courts at Waterford Park in Davie, Florida for one of the biggest long-wall only outdoor events each year; the Florida State Long-Wall championships.
Waterford Park houses 8 long-wall courts, four of which are lit, and its tucked into a residential neighborhood in the suburbs north of Miami.
86 players entered and competed in both singles and doubles. Here’s some highlights from the top divisions.
In the Men’s Pro Doubles division, 7 teams entered, highlighted by the #1 seeded team of Roy Hernandez and @Marcos Gravier. They advanced to the final by topping the upset-minded team of @Tony Gonzalez and @Nicola Chafloque, who took out the #4 seeded team of @Yelandi Rivero and Robert Sostre in the quarters.
On the bottom half, #2 seeds and long-time top Florida indoor players Jonathan Burns and Mike Harmon showed they have some outdoor chops too, taking a 11-10 nail biter in the semis over the tough outdoor team of Joe Young and @Carlos Bravo to make the final.
In the final…The #1 seeds held serve and Hernandez/Gravier topped Burns/Harmon 10,12 to take the title.
In the Men’s CPRT 40+ pro division, 11 teams entered, highlighted by the #1 seeded team of Aaron Metcalf and Ross Greenberg. Metcalf is among the best long wall players in the country, a long-time indoor star and former IRT touring pro who turned to outdoor when the last of the indoor racquetball clubs closed in his native Jacksonville, and he’s been a force at long-wall ever since.
However, the #1 seeds were toppled in the semis by Burns and Gravier, who advanced 12,7 to make the final from the top half. In the bottom half, Rivera and Young took a tie-breaker win over #2 seeds @Thomas Gerhardt and Sostre to make the final.
In the final….Young used his pace to help drive his team to the title, with Young/Rivero topping Burns/Gravier 14,4.
In the Women’s Doubles Pro, the #1 seed was the traveling team from Virginia of @aime Brewer and Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, who earned their long-wall chops on the long-wall courts at Stratton Woods Outdoor Racquetball in Herndon VA. They were challenged by 3 all-florida teams in a RR for the title.
The Virginia team swept its three round robin games without dropping a game to take the title Saturday morning. The #2 seeds Teri Delgado and @claudia Andrade finished 2nd.
In the Mixed Pro Doubles, 6 teams challenged for the title.
The all-Florida team of Harmon and Luanne Pazos Bryant defeated the #2 and #1 teams en route to the title. In the semis they toppled Gerhardt and @Aime Brewer, and in the final toppled Roy Hernandez playing with Carrie Handfinger Hoeft.
Four brave souls entered the Men’s Pro singles division. Singles in long-wall is a test of racquetball shot-making and endurance, with players not only having to cover pinch shots up front but long bounding shots to the deep of the court.
In the semis, #1 Iceman Sostre took out long-time Florida outdoor player Mike Blackney, who grew up playing at the famous “Spanish Monestary” courts in North Miami. On the bottom side, Hernandez got a solid win over multi-state champion Harmon.
In the final…Hernandez dominated the New York Hall of Famer and took the title 8,7.
Thanks to tournament organizers Rob Mijares (who does so much for Florida outdoor racquetball) and Gravier.
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball