2024 PARC Individual Event Recap

Sam Bredenbeck with his first international medal. Photo via Sam’s instagram

The 35th annual Pan American Racquetball Championships tournament is in the books. Here’s a recap of the knockout stage action, along with links for the results as entered into the Pro Racquetball Stats database.

Congratulations to the winners:

– Men’s Singles: @Rodrigo Montoya , Mexico

– Women’s Singles: Maria Jose Vargas , Argentina

– Men’s Doubles: Andres Acuna & @Gabriel Garcia , Costa Rica

– Women’s Doubles: Maria Jose Vargas & Natalia Mendez , Argentina

– Mixed Doubles: @Michelle key & @Sam Bredenbeck , USA

Executive Summary: Montoya wins his third major IRF Men’s Singles title. Vargas also wins her third IRF singles title, her last one coming in 2018. Costa Rica’s doubles title is just the second major IRF title for that country. Argentina’s women’s doubles title is their 3rd together. lastly USA’s mixed title is the second in a row for team USA, who also won last year’s World title.

Pro Racquetball Stats DB match results. Click on these links to see the match results in the DB:

– Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/wsd

– Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/b0m

– Men’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/vr8

– Women’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/n6z

– Mixed Doubles: https://rball.pro/vde

Team Points Results From Knockouts

PARC now includes a “Team competition” where the countries compete against each other, but for decades the “Team Standings” were determined by a standard algorithm that awarded points based on group stage and knockout performance. I’m unclear whether IRF continues to name “team winners” in this same way, but here’s the team results

(You can get these “team results” via queries available from the IRF singles page off of proracquetballstats.com historicall)

Combined Team (Overall)

1st – USA

2nd – Argentina

3rd – Canada

4th — Chile

The combined team title came down to the Mixed final between USA and Canada; if that result had gone the other way, then USA and Canada would have switched places at 1 & 3.

Men’s Team

1st – Canada

2nd – Costa Rica

t-2nd – USA

4th – Mexico

Canada’s two men’s finals power it to the Men’s team. CRC and USA tied for 2nd, but CRC pips them with better knockout results.

Women’s Team

1st – Argentina

2nd – USA

3rd – Chile

4th – Canada

Argentina win both singles and doubles in the Women’s competition and dominate.

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Let’s run through the individual draws and talk about notable results.

Men’s Singles:

There were a couple of “upset by seeds” results in the knockouts that probably weren’t really upsets on paper. In the quarters, Costa Rican #5 @Andres Acuna took out USA’s #4 Charlie Pratt Racquetball in three straight. In the semis, Mexican #1 Rodrigo Montoya cruised past Acuna in three easy games 9,2,3 despite having lost to Acuna on the IRT in the most recent event to get to his 6th international Men’s singles final since 2018. From the bottom half, Canada’s #3 @Samuel Murray destroyed USA’s #2 @Jake Bredenbeck 3,0,3 in a scoreline that can only indicate some sort of injury to Jake (I have no information and didn’t see the match live, so this is an assumption).

In the final, the pair of IRT regulars split the first two games, then Montoya won a very long 15-13 game three that seemed to take the air out of Big Canada. Montoya holds on 11-8 in the fourth for the title.

Women’s Singles:

#5 Chilean CArla Munoz scored two straight upset by seed (though not by current LPRT rankings), topping USA #4 Michelle Key in the quarters, then Argentinian #1 Natalia Mendez in the semis to earn the final. From the bottom, current LPRT #1 Argentinian @Maria Jose Vargas held serve against Canadian @Juliette Parent in the quarters and then Dominican Republic’s Merynanyelly Delgado in the semis to make the final.

In the final, Vargas crushed her south american rival Munoz 1,3,5. Thanks to rally scoring, the final was finished in less than 30 minutes, featured just 22 minutes of on-the-court time, and Munoz’s 9 total points included just two points on her actual serve (the rest being side-outs). One of the reasons I struggle with rally scoring is a result like this: rally scoring prevents players from “digging in” and grinding out sideouts to keep games close and try to gradually turn the tide of matches.

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Men’s Doubles.

A huge upset from the top-side, as the #1 Mexican team of Montoya and @Sebastian Hernandez was taken out in the semis by team Costa Rica (consisting of Acuna and Gabriel Garcia . Great win for team CRC. On the bottom side, team Canada (the 2022 PARC champs and runner’s up last fall at the Pan Am Games) held serve in a close 4-game match against team USA Jake and @Sam Bredenbeck to earn a return to the gold medal match for the 4th time internationally since 2019.

In the final, team CRC continued to impress and scored another upset, taking out the favored Canadian team in a long 5-game match.

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Women’s Doubles:

The overwhelming favorite #1 Argentines Mendez & Vargas cruised into the final from the top half, topping teams from Cuba and the DR along the way. Team USA #2 seeds @Naomi Ros and @Lexi York nearly squandered a 2-game lead in their semi against team Chile, but came alive in the fifth 11-1 to secure a gold medal appearance.

In the final, team USA played admirably against the two LPRT touring veterans and pushed the match to five games. It couldn’t really have been closer, with Argentina winning 11-9 in the fifth. Total points scored in the match for each team: 50 for Argentina, 49 for Team USA. Crazy.

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Mixed Doubles

The Mixed draw saw a huge upset in the semis, with #1 Argentina (@Gerson Miranda

and Vargas) going down in five games to Team Canada (Parent and Coby Iwaasa ) in five back and forth games, securing a third gold medal match for Canada here in Guatemala. From the bottom half, team USA got revenge from their group-stage loss to team Chile (Munoz and Jaime Mansilla ), winning in four to secure a second gold medal appearance for the Americans.

In the final, Team USA worked its way to three straight nail-biting games, winning 9,10,9 to claim the title.

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Congrats to the International Racquetball Federation for another successful event. Thanks to the IRT streaming crew, and thanks to @Gary Mazaroff and all his co-announcers for their hard work all week.

Next up on the Racquetball Calendar: https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2…/edit…

There’s an IRT satellite in Billings Montana next weekend, then an LPRT stop in San Antonio later in April.

Next up on the IRF calendar is the Bolivarian Youth Games in two weeks’ time, then nothing until 2024 Worlds, also in San Antonio.

International Racquetball Federation

International Racquetball Federation – IRF

35th Annual IRF Pan American Racquetball Tournament Knockout Preview

Montoya is #1 seed in both men’s singles and doubles; can he convert with a new partner? Photo Kevin Savory 2022 Portland IRT event

Welcome to the 35th iteration of the Pan American Racquetball Tournament, held every year since 1986 (with the exception of 2 Covid cancellations and a civil unrest cancellation in 2000). The tournament was first held in 1986 in San Jose, Costa Rica, and was initially called the Tournament of the Americas. It generally is a showcase for Central and South American countries, having been held just once in the USA (1990 in Jacksonville). This year is back in Guatemala City, same host as last year, when the original planned host of Tarja, Bolivia fell through at the last minute.

This year’s tournament and its participation portends some possibly dark times coming to the international component of the sport. Because its annually held and is lesser regarded than the every-two-years World championships (to be held later this year in San Antonio), the PARC event often fails to attract the best players from the major countries. This year in 2024 however, we’re seeing a huge gap in the player pool across the spectrum of the sport.

– Bolivia does not have a team represented here at all, despite being the defending team champs from the last int’l event.

– Colombia is not here, thanks to their confederation collapsing in corruption a couple of years ago

– Argentina only sent one male participant, a u21 player in Miranda who only recently converted.

– Despite the tournament being IN Guatemala, their top two ladies players (Gaby Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez) are not playing. MRR now lives in the states and has a job, but Gaby’s absence reportedly is due to a financial dispute with her home country.

– Mexico did not send a single female player, almost shocking in that Longoria clearly treasures these int’l titles.

– Honduras: also just sent two males, no females.

– Ecuador does not have a team here at all. Nor does Venezuela or Puerto Rico, two smaller countries who infrequently attend.

– Speaking of federation financial issues, @USA Racquetball chose not to fund this trip at all for its players, who resorted to private fundraising and gofundme pleas to finance the trip. Bravo to Team USA players who are there, but its clear we have a weaker team there with a number of our top qualified players absent for various reasons (injury, retirement, suspension, and pickleball).

It’s sad to see this happen in real time, but this is likely to be the story going forward as federation financing becomes harder to come by. That all being said, as of this writing we’re through the group stages and the knockouts are set, and there’s some very solid matches coming up featuring regular touring pros that should be great to watch.

Three reminders for this event:

– IRF plays rally scoring

– there’s a group stages that determines the seedings for the knockout stages.

– Group stage seeding is done by country, NOT by the player, and then group results turn into knockout staging.

Interestingly, for what i believe is the first time, the organizers have split the singles knockouts into two groups. Normally the group stage of 20 guys results in 20 players seeded 1-20 in the knockouts. Here, there’s now a “Gold Draw” of the best 10 knockout players and then an “Elite Draw” of the remaining 9 players who all finished 3rd or 4th in their groups. This is an interesting development, probably giving the lesser players more of an opportunity to win something here. (Doubles still goes into one big knockout).

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42151

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Let’s preview the Knockouts: We’ll go singles then doubles.

Men’s Singles: There were no real upsets in the group stages of the Men’s Singles. The sole upset by seed came when @Samuel Murray took out Mexican #2 @Sebastian Hernandez in the group stage to claim the #3 knockout seed. Miranda took Acuna to five games, but still came in 2nd in the group.

The quarters could have some good matches: @Andres Acuna probably “upsets” #4 Charlie Pratt Racquetball in the quarters to play into #1 @Rodrigo Montoya from the top-half, while both bottom-half quarters are solid: Murray versus @gerson Miranda and Jake Bredenbeck taking on Mexican u21 Hernandez.

Both semis could go either way, but I like Montoya over Acuna as he seems to be extra-tough internationally, and I like Bredenbeck to work his way past Murray despite the two having a relatively even h2h history.

I like Montoya over Bredenbeck in the final.

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Women’s Singles:

Group stage recap: Group 2 was gutted by missing top players and upsets, leading to the DR’s Merynanyelly Delgado to top the group and claim the #2 knockout seed and send USA’s @Lexi York to the “elite draw,” out of medal competition.

The knockouts will feature a very tough 4-5 matchup between CArla Munoz and Michelle Key , kind of a bummer but there’s basically 5 touring pros in the knockouts and two of them had to meet early. Maria Jose Vargas should cruise to the final from the bottom half, while #1 Natalia Mendez will have her hands full with whoever wins between Munoz and Key. I’m guessing Carla wins both those matches to face Vargas in the final, with Vargas winning.

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Men’s Doubles:

The only real “upset” in the group stage was the Bredenbecks taking out team Costa Rica (Acuna & @Gabriel Garcia) in five, coming from 2-0 games down to do so. This earned them the #3 seed and a slightly better pathway to the final in the knockouts.

Knockouts prediction: the quarters should be easy to call, then the semis will be fun. I think team Mexico will be led by Montoya to the final over Costa Rica, while from the bottom half team Canada (Murray and @Coby Iwaasa ) are going to be too tough for team USA (@jake bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck ) to handle. In the final, I like the experience of Canada to pick on the younger Hernandez and edge out a win.

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Women’s Doubles:

The #1 seeds Vargas & Mendez are the clear class of this competition, which only really has one other touring pro even playing in Munoz. @Naomi Ros and Lexi York played well to earn #2 seed in the knockouts, and the final should be Argentina cruising past team USA.

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Mixed Doubles:

In the group stage, Team Chile shocked team USA to claim the 2nd seed, but in terms of the knockouts they’ll be playing again in the semis. The odds-on favorite here is Argentina, who is powered by Mendez and the very-good Miranda. Look for them to top the winner of the Chile/USA semis rematch for the title.

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Check the IRF page for streaming notifications, which should have already started today for the knockouts.

Associations

International Racquetball Federation – IRF

2024 Warhawk Open Recap

Congrats to your Pro/Open winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Erick Trujillo

– Doubles: @Cole Sendrey & @Robert Collins

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41953

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

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In the 16s, we got some good first round matches for the neutrals.

– Georgia’s @Austin Cunningham got a solid win over U21 DJ Mendoza in a breaker in the 8/9 match.

– @Brennen Jennings got the win over Yacouba Keita 13,8.

Richard Eisemann stretched #2 seed @Erick Trujillo to a tie-breaker before falling; great showing against an irt top 10 player.

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In the Quarters, a couple big upsets:

– #1 Carter worked his way past Cunningham 10,9

– U18 Cole Sendry topped former IRT touring pro @Maurice Miller in two games 8,9. Solid win for Sendrey.

– Dylan Pruitt shocked lefty IRT touring veteran Robert Collins 9,12 for the biggest upset of the round.

– Trujillo was pushed a bit but moved past Jennings 11,11

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In the Semis

– #1 Carter held serve and downed the kid phenom Sendrey 9,7

– #2 Trujillo cruised past Maryland amateur Pruitt 6,4 to setup the expected 1-2 final

In the Finals, Trujillo topped Carter 10,7 to take the title.

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Doubles review

The top 2 seeds were upset late friday, sending a couple of unexpected teams into the final. #1 Pruitt/Cunningham were taken out by Carter & Flowers in one semi (probably not really an upset given how well Carter is playing these days), while Sendry & Collins took out Miller & Trujillo in an 11-10 thriller.

This left the two lefty touring pros facing off in the final. There, Sendrey & Collins cruised to the title, beating Carter & Flowers 3,9.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from the usual streaming sources, like Iceman and Jennings and Mendoza. It’s always good to watch some live racquetball.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors and Sponsors for making this event happen.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2…/edit…

PARC is now underway with the group stages. I’ll put out a knockout round preview once the groups are done.

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tags

USA Racquetball

International Racquetball Tour

2024 USAR Intercollegiates Recap

In addition to the IRT event and Beach Bash and NMRA last weekend, we also had the 50th annual @USA Racquetball Intercollegiates championship, brought to you by @Team Dovetail and @Mike Kinkin , held in Tempe at Arizona State University (likely for the last time as they’re removing courts later this year).

Congratulations to your Gold #1 individual award winners:

– Men’s Singles: Benjamin Horner , from Des Moines Area CC.

– Women’s Singles: Stein Julia from Baldwin Wallace University.

– Men’s Doubles: Ariel Tito & Samuel Lazcano from Colorado State University – Pueblo

– Women’s Doubles: Julia Stein & Angie Case , Baldwin Wallace University

Horner and Stein are both first-time intercollegiate winners. Stein takes the double for Baldwin Wallace. Horner takes Des Moines CC’s first ever title, while Stein earns the 4th ladies title for BWU, following past winners @Sheryl Lott (2009), Krystal Csuk (2002), and Kristen Walsh (2001). Quite a solid pedigree of touring pros there.

For a history of all 50 individual and team winners, go here:

https://docs.google.com/…/1vDHJFTDyxlKXpaLKn7…/edit…

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Also, congratulations to the Team winners:

– Men’s Team: Oregon State

– Women’s Team: Brigham Young University

– Overall Team: Oregon State.

Men’s Team recap: This is OSU’s 5th Men’s team title, and 2nd in a row. They also won in 2023, 2019, 2015, and 2013. They still trail the two most dominant intercollegiate teams ever, Memphis State (who won 14 straight from 1977 to 1990) and CSU-Pueblo (who won 9 straight from 2004 to 2012).

Note: Memphis State has since been renamed to be the University of Memphis, but during its run it was known by its former moniker. Similarly, CSU-Pueblo used to be known as Southern Colorado; the records retain the original names as competed but aggregate properly for historical title counts.

Women’s Team Recap: BYU earns its 11th Women’s title, and first since 2018. They now hold 11 total, just one behind Memphis State for the lead all time.

Overall Team recap: With this title, Oregon State becomes the all-time leading Overall Team winner, previously held by Memphis State. This is their 13th overall title and their 2nd in a row.

Congrats to all participants, and we look forward to bringing the event to the east coast next year (details forthcoming).

2024 Apcon Beach Bash Recap

Sostre a double winner in Florida this weekend. Photo Steve Fitzsimons 3WB 2020

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Men’s Pro Doubles: Robert Sostre and Benny Goldenberg

– Women’s Pro Doubles: Michelle Key and Katie Neils

– Mixed Pro Doubles: Robert Sostre and Kelani Lawrence

– Men’s Pro Singles: DJ Mendoza

– Women’s Pro Singles: Veronica Sotomayor

Executive Summary: Sostre takes two titles and has a huge weekend. Goldenberg goes undefeated in Men’s and CPRT. Key wins her record extending 34th WOR major title. Lawrence and Neils return to the winner’s circle. Sotomayor repeats, and Mendoza is a first time winner in singles.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41755

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Reports on ProRacquetballStats.com:

Match reports for 2024 Beach Bash:

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/g69

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

– Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/s1n

– Men’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/9xz

– Women’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/672

Triple Crown Reports for all past WOR major champions:

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/3lj

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

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

– Men’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/9ey

– Women’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/h27

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Lets run through the draws, recapping the action.

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Men’s Pro Doubles:

One-wall NYC legends Sostre & Goldenberg held serve as the #1 seeds and took the pro draw without dropping a game. With Sostre manning the left-side, he demonstrated his hall of fame hand-speed and one-wall defense all weekend to grind out the win. They toppled two Floridians in Yasmani Perez & Javier Trujillo in the final, who really raised some eyebrows this weekend as pro division debutants.

The tenor of the match was set at the end of the first game, when a line call at game point was over-turned by Perez, giving their opponents the game. Great sportsmanship all around, and great play for the neutrals to watch.

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Women’s Pro Doubles:

The Arizona pair of Michelle Key and Katie Neils took the pro doubles title over surprise finalists from Miami Chanis Leon and Yurisleidis Allue. Leon and Allue showed why you can’t just assume touring pros will win in outdoor (especially one-wall), topping two teams of LPRT veterans to make the final.

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Mixed Pro Doubles:

Sostre padded his HoFame resume, earning his 17th WOR Major doubles title by teaming with Lawrence to hold serve as the #1 seed and win out. They survived the toughest quarter (against IRT legend Sudsy Monchik and his wife, 2-time Beach Bash singles champ Sotomayor), cruised past fellow NYers Blatt & Silva in the semis, then downed two top outdoor pros in future WOR HOFamer Rocky Carson and Jessica Parrilla in a back and forth 13,(13),8 final.

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Men’s Pro Singles:

The wide-open draw came down to two gun slingers from San Antonio, who also happen to be doubles partners on the weekend. USA u21 Mendoza took out my pre-tournament favorite David Blatt and then the hard hitting Norcal Lefty @Walter Ramos to earn the final. Jennings took out Florida’s @Michael White and then #1 seed @Javier Trujillo to make the final. There, Mendoza ground out a win against his partner for the title.

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Women’s Pro Singles:

#1 @Veronica Sotomayor defended her Beach Bash singles title by topping two veteran outdoor players in Jessica Parrilla and Michelle Key in the final for the win. Key vanquished #2 @Kelani Lawrence in a 21-19 semis bruiser to earn her first singles final since 2016. Sotomayor repeats as champ and puts herself in an early lead for the outdoor cup.

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Other Notable draws:

– CPRT 40+ Doubles: 6th seeds @Benny Goldenberg and Marcos Gravier survived three straight tie-breakers to come out on top of the CPRT 40+ Pro draw, defeating the #2, #3, and #4 teams along the way. In the final they topped Robert Sostre and Mike Harmon in a great 11-8 tie-breaker.

– Men’s 75+: Carson and Barcelo (partners in both Pro and 75+) held serve as the #1 seeds and conquered the 75+ division. They topped surprise finalists Floridians @Michael Boyle & @Travis Burnell , who surprised the bottom half as the #11 seeds and beat #6, #3, and #2 seeded teams to reach the final.

– Men’s 100+: Outdoor legend Richie Miller and Marty Hogan survived a huge 100+ draw and topped Cheven Kimbrough & Guillemo Castellon in the final.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from the LPRT video crew.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Peggine Tellez , Jen O’Meara , @Mike Coulter and the entire 3Wall Ball crew for putting this event on and ensuring the legacy of outdoor majors.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9SZd0MssH_nPGU/edit?usp=sharing

I’ll recap Intercollegiates tomorrow.

Next up is the International Racquetball Federation ‘s Pan American Racquetball Championships event (PARC). This will be the 35th annual PARC event, and will be heading Bolivia for the 6th time.

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tags

USA Racquetball

WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball

IRT 2024 Shamrock Shootout Wrap-Up

Kane takes the title and looks like he’s 100% “back.” Photo Md19 by Ken Fife

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Kane Waselenchuk

– Doubles: Andree Parrilla & Adam Manilla.

Kane wins his 126th tier1 event and looks like he’s 100% back. Adam and Andree win their 2nd doubles title of the new season together and solidify their spot as the #1 doubles team on tour.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41791

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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/pyk

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In the 64, there weren’t any real upsets, but we did see a couple closer matches. Jaime Mansilla , the latest in the Chilean Mansilla playing family, took out Canadian @Christian Pocsai in a tie-breaker/tune up for PARC next week. Bolivian @luLuis Antonio Aguilar had a come-from-behind victory over Ohio-an Victor Migliore in a solid match. Most of the rest of the round was one-way traffic for the favorites.

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In the 32s: We got some surprise results.

– Alan Natera advanced in the expected dog-fight over veteran Mexican WRT champ Alejandro Cardona 13,8.

– John Goth upset a mid-teen touring pro for the second straight event, this time topping Bolivian @Kadim Carrasco in a breaker to get to the round of 16 for the second event running.

– Jordy Alonso became just the second man to even take a game off a top-8 seed in the round of 32, stretching #4 @Andree Parrilla to a breaker. Being honest, if Alonso toured regularly, he’d probably be ranked in the 10-12 range, so this wasn’t that surprising a result.

– @Robert Collins had to go 11-9 in the breaker to advance past young Mexican Neito Oscar .

– Jaime Martell put down his own young Mexican up-and-comer in @Diego Gastelum .

However, the result of the event, and of the last season and a half, was #30 @Jhonatan Flores upsetting #3 @jaJake Bredenbeck in two games, 15-5, 15-7. Flores is the reigning 18U world Junior champ from Bolivia, and there’s a pretty good history of World 18U champs going on to big and better things in the sport. Here’s a quick list of the last 10 junior world 18U champs: Flores, Sebastian Hernandez, Trujillo, Miranda, Portillo, Mauro Rojas, Christian Longoria, Montoya, Mercado, and Moscoso. That list includes your current #1, #2, #10, and #12 players, along with a guy in Mercado who was a mainstay in the top 10 before stepping back this year. These two played in Minnesota a couple weeks ago with Jake winning 5,10, so a reverse score-line of 5,7 is shocking. I didn’t see the match and can’t find a stream, so it’s hard to comment on the “why” of this loss for Jake (but I heard someone say he was injured). I thought in my preview this might be closer than the Minnesota result, but not a heavy loss. Flores as the #30 seed becomes the highest seed to get into the 16s since the World Singles& Doubles event, and frankly has a good shot of getting to the quarters.

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In the 16s, we got a couple of interesting results:

– The players expecting to see the back end of the draw cruised in two easy games, including Moscoso, Kane, Montoya.

– Natera got a great win, stopping the Trujillo train in its tracks 7,7. He earns his 3rd career QF.

– Flores, as expected advanced with relative ease over Collins 7,4 to secure a quarter final matchup with King Kane. If he could beat Jake 5,7 (even if Jake was hobbled), then he can beat a lot of the regulars on tour by similar score lines. He reaches the quarters as a #30 seed, and that’s the 6th highest seed on record to EVER reach a pro quarter (see https://rball.pro/swo for report).

– #10 @Thomas Carter really pushed #7 Andres Acuna for a couple of games, then the Costa Rican pulled away 11-2 in the breaker.

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In the Quarters

– #1 Conrrado Moscoso handled Natera 6,11 to move on. Being #1 on tour has its privileges; he has more or less cruised through the first three rounds.

– #4 Parrilla took out his doubles partner #5 Adam Manilla in a topsy turvy tiebreaker

– #6 Waselenchuk ended the Cinderella run of Flores, but not without him making it interesting. Final score: 3,(13),7. The first game seemed to be butterflies of an 18yr old kid playing the best player the sport has ever seen. Game 2 saw Flores calm down and really shock Kane to jump ahead 6-1, a score-line that included three straight aces that Kane barely moved for. Flores’ serving game was on, going to Kane’s forehand with success. I thought Kane was a little “off” this match, leaving balls up uncharacteristically, which contributed to the closeness of the match, but all credit due to Flores for his play. The tiebreaker was back and forth, and he got to about 7-8 when Kane blasted a backhand return of serve and ran the table to win 11-7. Great match, great showing from Flores for sure.

– #7 Andres Acuna shocked the #2 seed Rodrigo Montoya in a breaker to earn just his second ever career pro semi-final, 11-9 in the third.

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In the Semis, two anti climactic results as the two expected finalists each advanced without much fan fare. Moscoso over Parrilla 12,5, Kane over Acuna 4,11.

In the Finals, whatever rustiness that Kane showed earlier in the event seemed to have been fine-tuned out of existence on the hard courts of Lombard. Kane’s serve was crisp and his shot selection was spot on, and he dominated the final. Final scores, 9,6 though the actual match wasn’t nearly as close.

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Points Implications of results

(standard caveat: I don’t work for the IRT, so this is an educated guess. Sometimes they do weird things with the rankings, sometimes I’m not privy to the actual point values of events).

Assuming Lombard was a standard Tier 1 (which may not be right; they had $31k of prize money, so it could be a tier1 plus), we’re going to see some movement in the top 10 for sure. Nothing changes in the top5, but Kane should move to #6 in the rolling 365 rankings. With DLR’s likely absence in the next event, that means Kane could be in the top-half of the draw, pushing the inevitable Moscoso-Kane meeting earlier. Murray’s absence drops him to #9. This allows Acuna to move up to a career high #8 on tour. Portillo’s ranking continues to drop; he’ll fall to #13 as it seems he may be officially moving on from the tour unfortunately.

The “season to date” point race is much more interesting. Kane now has a 300 point lead on Conrrado in season to date (that’s the equivalent of a tier 1 final). Acuna is now #5 in the 2024 race and Trujillo #8. Meanwhile, Jake is #11, DLR is #23, and Lalo is #24 in the 2024 race, showing how much work there is for these guys to make up to stay relevant. With DLR and Lalo stepping back, Landa done, Beltran & Carson hanging it up last year, and Mercado seemingly done as well, that’s a huge chunk of your top 10 from just a few years ago now done. It’s definitely a generational year on tour.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/hud

The doubles draw came down to the two top seeds. Trujillo is serving as an able replacement for Javier Mar, but the #2 seeds Montoya/Trujillo fell to #1 Parrilla/Manilla. The lefty-righty pair wins its second title of the season, while Parrilla has now captured all three pro doubles titles this season.

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Open Singles, other notable draws

– A huge 30-man open draw was taken by Gastelum, who topped IRT darling Flores in the final. Flores got h2h wins over Ulliman, Alonso, and Ramirez in the open draw to cap his weekend.

– Team Ohio (Ulliman and Migliore) took the Men’s Open draw.

– @Victoria Rodriguez took the Women’s Open draw

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

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

We’ll recap Beach Bash and Intercollegiates later this week, then its IRF PARC time.

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tags

@International Racquetball Tour

2024 APCON 3WallBall Beach Bash Preview

Michelle Key in a solid position for some one-wall doubles titles. Photo 2022 Outdoor Nats via Fitzsimons

Welcome to the 17th annual Beach Bash one-wall outdoor event, the first of the three “majors” on the WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball annual calendar. This is the 17th iteration of this event, which started in 2004 as one of the first ever events run by the newly formed WOR organization. It was renamed to Beach Bash for Cash starting in 2007, and has run in mid-March every year (save for Covid) since. Eventually the “Cash” moniker was dropped, so now we just call it Beach Bash.

This year’s event is shaping up to be an outdoor-specialist’s paradise, as a schedule conflict has taken away the top IRT touring pros who have regularly been playing outdoor events over the past few years. This also means that titles are up for grabs that have been dominated by johnny come lately IRT guys for the past few years.

This is also the first event of the 2024 Outdoor Cup series, a year-long program awarding cash and prizes to the best performing outdoor players in the three majors. We’ll report on the standings after the event finishes.

Here’s a quick preview of the pro draws. We’ll do Singles, Doubles, Mixed in that order:

Men’s Pro Singles:

Nine players entered into one-wall singles, which is a tough test of racquetball skills and endurance. The last 8 titles here have been won by either DLR or Sostre, so we’ll have a new winner for the first time in a decade. Javier Trujillo is the 1-seed, but for me the two favorites might be in the lower half of the draw in @David Blatt and @Yasmani Perez . I’m looking for Blatt (aka “The Hulk” or “The Hulkster”) to take the title. I love outdoor nicknames.

Women’s Pro Singles:

There’s 6 players in women’s one-wall pro, all six of which who are well-known LPRT touring pros or outdoor champions. Veronica Sotomayor is the 1-seed and the defending champ, having blown through the draw last year and topped the 3-time defending champ Scott. From the bottom half, look for Florida outdoor specialist lefty @Chanis Leon to battle with future outdoor Hall of Famer Michelle Key early. I like Kelani Lawrence to make the final but for Vero to repeat.

Men’s Pro Doubles:

With defending champs DLR and Mar missing, last year’s finalists Robert Sostre and @Benny Goldenberg get the #1 seed. However, the draw makers did them zero favors, with a top-heavy bracket that features a slew of dangerous teams. #4 isEric Faro and Dave Blatt, two very accomplished one-wallers. The top-half also has future WOR HoFamer Rocky Carson and Alejandro Barcelo as the #5 seed, and honestly i’d take either the #8 (San Antonio one-wallers @Dj Mendoz and Brennen Jennings or #9 seeds @Dylan Pruitt and @Mark Harmon over half the teams in the bottom half of the draw head to head. Whoever comes out of the top will have earnover half the teams in the bottom half of the draw head to head. Whoever comes out of the top will have earned the final .

The bottom half features two solid Florida-based one-wallers in Trujillo & Perez as the #2 seed; they’ll have to contend with a couple of one-wall legends in their half of the draw in Bobby Morales & Richie Miller. Miller is an 8-time finalist in pro doubles here, and is playing with experienced outdoor vet Thomas Gerhardt . Lastly, the #3 seed features two bruisers with enough girth to completely fill the court in @JYoung Joe and @Rick Koll, who feature a combined bench press north of 800 lbs and enough power to go through a bucket of balls in their matches.

Prediction? I think Benny & Iceman prevail over Gerhardt & Miller.

Women’s Pro Doubles:

A wide-open division of 5 tough teams. Lawrence (last year’s winner with Scott) is teamed with Parrilla as the #1 seed but (if they can beat Florida’s Leon/Allue) will have to contend with Sotomayor and excellent doubles player @Maria Renee Rodriguez to repeat. In the bottom half it will be Arizona vs New York (well, NY/NJ) with Key teaming with @Katie Neil taking on last year’s finalist @Aimee Roehler teamed with the very tough Delia Silva .

I like Lawrence & Parrilla to take out Roehler/Silva in the final.

Mixed Pro Doubles:

This year’s Mixed competition will look completely different from last years, in that seven of the eight semi-finalists from 2023 are missing this year. The sole-returner is Sostre, and he’s teamed with Lawrence as the #1 seeds and favorites. They’re going to be tested early though, as husband-wife team of @Sudsy Monchik and Sotomayor are late entrants and seeded dead last, set to play into the #1 seeds for what will make for a juicy quarter final. The 4/5 match features two of the better one-wall NYC ladies in Silva and Kathy Guinan , teamed with Blatt and Mighty Joe Young respectively. The top half is loaded.

The bottom half features three-time Mixed pro Beach Bash champ Key along side multi-winner Koll to form a formidable #2 seed. They project to face a very solid #3 seeded team of Carson & Parrilla, two veteran pros who can certainly get results in one-wall.

Prediction? Whoever wins the 1/8 quarter will top Carson & Parrilla in the final.

In CPRT 40+, which counts towards the Outdoor Cup standings, 13 teams are battling it out in a division that includes a slew of famous names. @Marty Hogan is in this draw, teamed with Iggy @IIgnacio Espina as a very dangerous #6 seed. Semi finalsits last year Max Heymann and @Seran Ramkissoon are the #3 seeds. Last year’s finalist Joe Young is with his pro partner Koll as the #2 seeds. But The team to beat is #1 Richie Miller with last year’s finalist Gerhardt.

I like Miller/Gerhardt to take the draw over Young/Koll in a chalky 1-2 final.

there’s also big 75+ and 100+ divisions, and Paddle ball features a slew of top NYC teams. It should be a fun weekend.

Streaming will be handled by the LPRT team this weekend onsite. Please be patient with the streaming: the Garfield Street courts are in a notoriously bad wifi area, and sometimes streaming can be spotty. They can take certain precautions, but shared hotspots can get overwhelmed quickly.

Thanks as always to Tourney Directors and sponsors who make this event happen. Specifically, Peggine Tellez , Mike Coulter , @33Wall Ball, Abel Perez , Kwm Gutterman , @Dovetail and Mike Kinkin , @Age Solutions and Andy Gomer , LPL Financial , @Rick Koll and his Sodaman franchise, all the racquet companies that support the sport, and others who I may have missed.

39th Annual Papa Nicholas39th Annual Papa Nicholas IRT Shamrock Shootout Preview

Can Parrilla make some noise on tour? Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory

The IRT returns to Chicagoland for its annual visit to the Glass Court facility in Lombard. This is the 39th annual iteration of this event, for years hosted by the legendary Goeff Peters, now hosted by Dan Jaskier and the regular Chicago crew. This is the 9th year in a row that this event holds an IRT component, but the IRT’s history in Chicago is rather rich.

Chicago has held more than 40 top-level Men’s Pro events since the mid 1970s, including the 1978 DP/Leach Nationals, where @Marty Hogan won his first ever pro title. It also hosted the DP Nationals in 1982 and Catalina Nationals in 83 when “Nationals” meant massive prize money, huge crowds, and TV broadcasts. Former IRT commissioner David Negrete was (is) a Chicago native, and for years the famous Halloween Classic was a staple on the IRT tour. Then, from 2005-2009 it was the host of the Motorola Pro Nationals, a massive money tournament that took over the moniker “Pro Nationals” from Mike Coulter and Las Vegas when the host club closed.

Since 2015 though, its been Shamrock, and the event has seen some great results. It is the site of @Andree Parrilla ‘s first ever tour win in 2018, and Parrilla always seems to play well here. Lastly, this event was the last event of the covid-ended 2019-20 season, with the tour just barely squeaking out the tournament before the country shut down for the virus.

This event looked for a while like it would be really badly impacted by the fixture congestion of this month, but a slew of players entered at the last minute, so there’s more than 40 IRT pros in the draws competing for more than $31k of prizemoney.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41791

The draws are up at r2sports; go to the above link to see them and read along.

Top-20 players missing: 3-time defending pro champ Daniel De la Rosa is not here; he has a competing PPA tour event in Austin. Also missing are #7 Murray, #10 Portillo, #18 Landa (retired), and #20 Sam Bredenbeck. The loss of DLR and Murray has a huge impact on the draw, as it elevates #8 ranked Waselenchuk to the #6 seed, meaning he’s on the opposite side of the draw from #1 Moscoso.

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Let’s preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:

In the Qualifying, we get a ton of internationals who rarely play the tour, but who had the opportunity to fly to the US a week before PARC starts to get some top-level matches. Look for the likes of Bolivians Luis Aguilar, Jhonatan Flores, and Hector Barrios to make some noise this weekend. Each of them may not be household names, but they’re all accomplished Junior worlds players.

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Projecting the 32s, here’s some fun matches to watch:

– Alejandro Cardona versus Alan Natera . Two solid Mexican veterans face off; its Juarez vs Chihuahua.

– Erick Trujillo versus @Mauricio Zelada : MoMo usually hangs with top 10 talent for at least a game or two, but expect the young Mexican to advance.

– #5 @Adam Manilla faces off against U21 Bolivian @Luis Antonio Aguilar . He’s the losing finalist of 2023 U21 and 2022 U18 and has some wins internationally. Adam should move on, but this is a tough round of 32.

– @JJohn gotti versus @Kadim Carrasco . Barn burner; Goth still gets wins, as we saw in Sioux Falls. Upset watch here.

– #4 @Andree Parrilla versus @Jordy Alonso . Brutal draw for Parrilla, who gets the very under-rated Alonso. Jordy can get wins: he beat Jake in Chicago two years ago, and beat Andree the last time they played. But, that was in 2017, and Andree shouldn’t slip up here.

– #3 @Jake Bredenbeck takes on, for the 2nd straight event, reigning 18U world junior champ Jhonatan Flores . Jake advanced 5,10 in Minnesota, so should be able to repeat the feat here.

– #22 Diego Gastelum versus #11 Jaime Martell . Oof, tough opener for Martell, drawing the reigning U21 world junior champ, a guy who’s got h2h wins over Trujillo and the whole crew of up-and-coming young Mexicans. Upset watch here.

I also think there will be several upsets by seed that aren’t really upsets by talent; look for the likes of Nieto and Sendrey to move on as well.

Remember: a top 8 seed on the IRT has yet to lose in the round of 32 since the format change, and only one has even gone tie-breaker. Will that trend continue this week? I count at least three top 8 seeds who I wouldn’t be shocked if they lose. In any case, a ton of really compelling 32 matchups.

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round of 16:

– #9 Trujillo over the winner of Natera/Cardona: another all-Mexican battle, and a great way for Trujillo to test where he is. I think he’s improved leaps and bounds this season, and this will be another solid test.

– Parrilla vs #20 Cole Sendrey: Cole isn’t favored in his opener but is the better player by talent levels. Can he do much with Parrilla?

– The winner of the Martell/Gastelum match feeds into #6 @Kane Waselenchuk for what should be a spirited blow-out loss.

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Projected Qtrs:

– #1 @Conrrado Moscoso over Trujillo. This should be a shooter’s paradise to watch.

– #4 Parrilla over #5 Manilla. If this meeting comes to pass, it’ll be a rematch of two weeks ago at this same juncture, a three game win for Parrilla that was one-way traffic after game one.

– #3 @Jake Bredenbeck versus Kane: I predicted Jake would come out on top in Minnesota over Kane. That was before seeing the current state of Kane’s game, which looks fantastic. It was still a 13,8 loss, close, but not really that close. Can Jake rebound and make it closer? Maybe. Still a kane win.

– #2 Rodrigo Montoya versus #7 Andres Acuna . Montoya’s first two rounds won’t trouble him much, and I don’t think Acuna will either.

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I’m projecting the exact same semis we got in Minnesota, and (spoiler) the same eventual outcome.

Semis:

– Moscoso over Parrilla; this is a rematch of Minnesota’s semis. Parrilla has a couple of career wins over Conrrado, so it can be done. For me, I don’t think Moscoso loses this match unless Kane wins ahead of time and he looks past the scrappy Andree.

– Also a rematch of MN semis, Kane takes on Montoya. Montoya can take games off kane; he’s got the serving prowess and the ability to extend rallies like few others, forcing that one extra shot that often makes the difference. Montoya’s loss in Minnesota was heaily due to a loss of focus in the breaker; if he can stay focused and stay on his game, he has a chance to win. Kane will have to be a bit “off” to do so, which doesn’t happen often. Still thinking Kane advances.

Finals; Kane vs Moscoso. Which Conrrado shows up? The one who beat Kane in Pleasanton/pushed him to 15-13 in Minnesota? Or the one who capitulates to a 15-2 game two loss in the final two weeks ago? It’s anyone’s guess. Moscoso may be #1 on tour, but international titles are more important to him, so is he looking ahead to PARC? One add’l wrinkle: Moscoso won’t be jet lagged all to hell here, since he stayed in the US after the Hall of Fame event, so he’ll be fresher in Chicago.

All that said, it’s Kanes to lose right now. He looked too good two weeks ago.

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Doubles review

Defending pro doubles champs Manilla & Parrilla get the #1 seed, since tour doubles #1 Montoya is missing his regular partner. Instead, Montoya picks up Trujillo to form a very formidable #2 team. The rest of the draw is filled with internationals getting a tune-up ahead of PARC. The likely Bolivian PARC team of Moscoso & Carrasco is the #3 seed, but I still like Montoya/Trujillo in the final against Parrilla/Manilla. From there, hard to root against the lefty-righty pair.

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Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!

Associations

International Racquetball Tour

LPRT Boston Open Recap

Longoria with her first win in a while. Photo via Fran Davis Racquetball

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: @Paola Longoria

– Doubles: @Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez

Longoria claims her 112th career LPRT tier 1 title after months of upsets. She also drastically tightens the points race at the top of the tour, even if we have a brand new #1 (see later on for more).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41926

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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/b4m

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In the 32s, all four matches were interesting

– US Junior national champ @naomi ros showed fellow junior @Kyathi Velpuri of the current gulf between them.

– Michelle Key got a very n ice win over Lexi York during a rare singles appearance.

– Former #2 @Frederique Lambert cruised past tour regular @Maria Paz Riquelme

– Current Canadian #2 Juliette Parent got a TB win over LPRT regular Stephanie Synhorst .

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In the 16s:

– In the always close 8/9 match, @Kelani Lawrence came from a game down to top Carla Munoz and regain the upper hand in their frequently-seen h2h competition.

– #5 Alexandra Herrera wasn’t too troubled by #12 Jessica Parrilla

– #4 @Brenda Laime crushed Lambert 1,1 … its amazing how far you fall off when you’re not playing top-level competition week in and week out.

– #11 Cris Amaya moved into the quarters for the 2nd event in a row, getting an inj fft after winning the first game against #6 @Samantha Salas Solis

– #7 Angelica Barrios got a nice win over #10 @Natalia Mendez in two closer games.

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In the Quarters

– #1 @Montse Mejia held on after a dominant first game to advance over Lawrence in two.

– #5 @Alexandra Herrera got a solid win over #4 Laime 14,6

– #3 @Paola Longoria was not troubled by Amaya and moved into the semis.

– #2 @Maria Jose Vargas topped a player in Barrios who has vexed her in the past, winning in two games 7.11.

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The Semis neatly featured basically the four best players in the sport, the four who have dominated the game over the past few years (with all apologies to #4 Laime). And we got some interesting results the rest of the way.

In the top semi, Mejia cruised past friend and doubles partner Herrera 7,7. As i’ve mentioned before, these types of games are hard to predict since the two players know each other’s game so well. From the bottom semi, a surprise. Longoria, who has lost the last few meetings to Vargas, turned the tide and topped her in a relatively dominant fashion all things considered 13,5.

In the Finals, Mejia controlled game one, but Longoria used the conditions and Mejia’s lack of put-away accuracy to grind out the three game win.

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Points Implications of results.

As you’ve probably seen on social media by the time you read this, Maria Jose Vargas has ascended to #1 in the world for the first time in her long career. Despite losing to Paola in the semis, she takes over the top spot in the rolling 365-day calendar. She also maintains the #1 spot in the season to date rankings, which come June will be the only rankings that matter, as more and more it looks like Mejia will not be defending her title.

Mejia drops to #3 in the current rankings, and remains a somewhat distant 3rd in season to date. She’s going to need to basically finish out the season by winning every event to have a chance at repeating. There’s not much movement otherwise in the top 8: Manilla drops to #7 and may be out for a while unfortunately due to her hip injury.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/2rl

The doubles draw saw a surprise finalist, breaking through the stranglehold that the two top Mexican teams have had at the top of the tour for some time. Argentinians Vargas & Mendez beat Longoria & Salas by the “can’t get any closer” score line of 14 & 14 to get to the final. There they played #1 Mejia & Herrera, who cruised past the Bolivian native team of Barrios & Laime to get there.

In the final, Vargas & Mendez put a shot across the international bow of reigning IRF doubles champs Mejia & Herrera, taking them out in the doubles final.

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Open Singles, other notable draws

– Parrilla defeated Munoz in the Women’s Open draw

– Sam Kelley beat Jose Flores Jr in a 1v2 Men’s Open final.

– Rhys Andersen and Michelle Key took the Mixed open

– Men’s Open Doubles: Carla Munoz teamed with Joe Kelley to take the Men’s Open doubles title.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh and guest stars.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

We’ll recap HS Nationals and then have a week off before the big 3/17 weekend.

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tags LPRT

IRT Minnesota HoF Event Wrap-Up

Kane is back. Photo credit: unknown

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Kane Waselenchuk

– Doubles: Andree Parrilla and Adam Manilla

Kane returns to the winner’s circle, winning his 125th career title. It has been nearly two years since Kane stood in the winner’s circle of the IRT, as he’s gone through quite a journey of injury recovery. He also, at the age of 42 years and 114 days becomes the oldest player ever to win a tier 1, besting Ruben Gonzalez’ former record by a year and a half.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41775

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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/8de

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In the 32s: we got a couple of compelling matches and one real upset.

– #21 John Goth got the biggest upset of the round, taking out #12 @Robert Collins in a breaker. I thought this result might be in play, but it’s been more than 10 years since Goth made his surprise run to the USA Nationals final. But clearly, he’s still got it. He makes the main draw of an event at age 42, not quite a record but still impressive (see here for list of “oldest players to…” do stuff, something that will come up again later in this event: https://rball.pro/cr4 )

– #13 Jaime Martell was taken to a breaker by veteran Guatemalan @Juan Salvatierra , though the scores seem to indicate that Martell “turned it up” after losing game one. Final score: (13),1,2.

– Reigning 18U world champ @jhonatan Flores held his own against #3 @Jake Bredenbeck , losing by the relatively respectable score-line of 5,10.

– #26 @Mauricio Zelada pressed #7 @Alan Natera in game one but then the Mexican cruised. Final score 11,3

– #10 @Erick Trujillo perhaps was looking past his first round opponent and was shocked in game one against Guatemalan Edwin Galicia 15-4. He rebounded to take the next two 13 and 2 to move on and avoid the upset.

In a recurring theme, the top 8 players all won in two straight games, and as a reminder there has been just one tiebreaker and zero upsets of a top 8 player since the tour went back to a full 32 draw. Scores of your top 8 seeds in order: 3&4, 6&5, 5&10, 10&3, 8&4, 7&4, 11&3, and wbf-ns. A little better than the last event for the lowest ranked players, but I attribute that to the unusually large presence of internationals in this draw who are a bit better than their seeds.

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In the 16s, two upsets by seed, though neither was surprising:

– #11 @Kane Waselenchuk topped #6 @Andres Acuna with ease 2,6. Kane enters this event looking like he’s lost a little weight and is moving around pretty darn well, especially for someone north of 42.

– #10 @Erick Trujillo beat #7 @Alan Natera 7,9 and makes a statement about the current pecking order of Mexican racquetball. Trujillo, who burst onto the scene a couple years ago and then kind of scuffled against his like-aged competitors, has really stepped it up this year on tour.

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In the Quarters

– #1 Conrrado Moscoso made fast work of #8 Thomas Carter.

– #4 @Andree Parrilla held on to east past his doubles partner this weekend #5 @Adam Manilla in a breaker. After losing the first game 13, Parrilla found another gear and won going away 3,2.

– #3 @Jake Bredenbeck was not able to find his mojo against Kane, and lost 13,8. The match was close at times, but there was no letup from the King this time around. I predicted that Jake would have a good shot to win here, based on his results against Kane earlier this season, but it wasn’t to be. After a great run all last season of making the back end of events, Jake’s 2024 so far is a Loss in the qtrs, a Loss in the 16s, and now another loss in the quarters. After being in the mix for the title all the way till the death last season, Jake’s chances are now mostly kaput of winning #1.

– #2 @Rodrigo Montoya was pressed by the young Trujillo but held on 4,14.

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In the Semis

– #1 Moscoso returned to the final and guaranteed that he’ll greatly extend his lead at the top of the tour by topping #4 Parrilla 10,11.

– #11 Waselenchuk played a fascinating match against #2 Montoya. The first game was back and forth, a great contest between two of the better power servers the game has seen. Kane’s method of operations is to use his pinpoint accuracy to end rallies on balls where he can set his feet, but Montoya time and again made fantastic anticipating or diving gets to extend rallies. Kane held on to win game one 15-14 but Montoya countered with a relatively dominant game two win 15-7 to push it to the breaker. Early in game 3, a call went against Montoya that he didn’t like and he seemed to drift focus-wise for a few points. Suddenly it was 7-2 down before he called time out and the damage was done. Kane put his foot on Rodrigo’s throat and closed it out 11-2. You can’t lose focus for one second against Waselenchuk and you have to play perfect ball to beat him. To this observer, Kane looks as good as he has in several years.

In the Finals, we got another fantastic matchup against the former King and the likely future King of the sport. Moscoso, who has returned to his foot-faulting ways, was forced to deal with a line judge in the final (at Kane’s request) and had multiple calls go against him. Kane went up huge early, but Moscoso fought back. A very entertaining and competitive game came down to just a few moments; I noted in the comments of the video during game one how similar the two players really were: both have huge serves and drive a ton of pressure from them, and both really penalize weak service returns to do 3-shot rallies. The real difference between them right now to me is this: Kane plays smart, while Moscoso plays risky. When Moscoso makes his low-percentage shots (on top of everything else in his game) you see him run to 15-4 game wins. But when he misses … it’s just enough to give the game to the steady Kane 15-13. Also as noted … Moscoso is a notorious front runner, and often capitulates in heavy game two losses after close game one wins … and that’s exactly what happened here. Game 2 was a waste, one way traffic that was just the two players playing out the string at the end. Kane wins 13,2

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Points Implications of results

I’ll caveat this points analysis as I probably always should: sometimes I’m not privy to oddities that go on in the IRT rankings system, since it runs through R2 and includes little offities that even the tour owners aren’t always aware of. What I believe will happen, if I have my xls right, is this: because there’s fewer than ten tier1s in the last 365 days, all satellite points are dropped and the tour is just adding together the results from the tier1s.

Moscoso has opened up a sizeable lead at the top of the tour; he now leads #2 Montoya by nearly 500 points. Meanwhile, Daniel remains in 4th but now trails the top by nearly 900 points … it happened just that fast. DLR missed Chicago last year so he won’t drop too much further for a while, but the writing is on the wall. By mid-summer he may be entirely out of the top 10. He won’t be in Chicago either.

Kane should move up to #8, a spot he secured once he made the final. Portillo is just barely hanging onto the top 10, Natera gets dumped down to #12, and Trujillo now pushes for the top 10. Landa loses a ton of points from this event last year and now is barely clinging to a top 20 spot. With the win, Kane is in the lead for “season to date” points, which by the end of the year will be the only thing that matters.

However curiously, as of this writing Kane is not entered into the next IRT event (Shamrock Shootout in Chicago in two week’s time). He’s also not entered into the competing Beach Bash, which he likely would have played if it wasn’t a competing event. My guess is that he’ll go to chicago and we may get another couple of showdowns like we saw this weekend. (update: he entered Chicago earlier today). Thanks to DLR’s absense, we won’t be forced with Moscoso-Kane in the quarters … so we have a good shot of getting another Kane-Moscoso final in two weeks.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/vti

The doubles draw saw top ranked Montoya carry Cullen into the final by beating #2 Moscoso/Carrasco, but they played just a handful of points before the final was called off due to injury. #1 Manilla & Parrilla cruise to the title.

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Open Singles, other notable draws

– Alan Natera, seeded 7th but ranked just outside the top 8 so by contract he can play Open, took the Open draw, topping Bolivian junior Flores in the final. Barth and Galicia semi finalists.

– Home town team of Jordan Barth / Mike Klocker took Open doubles, taking out Pando & Meinerz in the final.

– Ava_Kaiser & Barb Hoffner took women’s doubles.

– Sponsor extraordinaire Keith Minor and Rebecca Bowman took Mixed Open.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre, guest commentators and the IRTLive crew.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9SZd0MssH_nPGU/

We’ll recap the LPRT and USAR HS Nationals in the next couple of days. After that, we get a break until the next uber-busy 3/17 weekend.

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tags

International Racquetball Tour