LPRT Season Wrap-up: News summary for the season.

This post highlights some of the noteworthy news items for the LPRT this year. I periodically publish these items to this link:

So, if you want a trip down memory lane for the LPRT you can read that page from the top down. It isn’t comprehensive to the beginning of the tour in the detail captured recently … but it is built out pretty decently.

Here’s a quick summary of items of interest that happened on tour this year, to the tour itself or to its players. If you think I’m missing something, by all means let me know. This was a subjectively collected list of “news” items and I may have missed something worth capturing.

  • 7/11/21: LPRT #1 Paola Longoria is heading to the Tokyo Olympics as a Sports Commentator for TUDN. She ends up doing sports broadcasting for the whole of the Olympics and misses the season opening tournament in Denver as a result.
  • 8/23/21: Mattel Latin America included LPRT’s #1 Paola Longoria as one of three Latin American athletes to create Barbie doll likenesses for, in order to recognize Latin American athletes. Paola’s place in the landscape of sports media in Mexico continues to be strong.
  • 10/2/21: Argentinian Natalia Mendez signs an agreement with Nike. It isn’t often we hear about our athletes signing with such a major brand.
  • 10/11/21: Longoria takes her 11th US Open title, but not before an upset-laden tournament results in multiple top-8 seeds taken out in the 32s and 16s. Erika Manilla is the biggest shock, advancing out of qualifiers and into the semis despite never making a round of 16 previously.
  • 1/17/22: Rhonda Rajsich is named the Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year for 2022.
  • 3/6/22: Alexandra Herrera tops Longoria for the second final in a row, the first time Longoria has lost two finals in a row since Sept 2010. Is this the start of a new rivalry on tour?
  • 4/10/22: PARC 2022 kicks off without a slew of major pro names, not the least of which was #1 Paola Longoria, who misses a “major” IRF event for the first time since 2014. Her absences are referred to vaguely as being due to a “lack of support” by the Mexican federation, and led to a significantly weaker Mexican team. The women’s singles is eventually won by Bolivian #5 Angelica Barrios over #3 Vargas in the final.
  • 4/22/22: In the latest incident of Bolivian-born players lamenting the lack of support from their Ministry of sport, newly crowned PARC champion Angelica Barrios heavily criticizes the Bolivian organizations for promising and then reneging on financial support for Barrios, yet continuing to use photographs of her accomplishments with their logo attached. This comes hot on the heels of the Men’s PARC 2022 champion Conrrado Moscoso also criticizing the lack of support and possibly considering a switch to another country.
  • 5/15/22: Longoria holds off Herrera in the final of the Sweet Caroline Grand Slam to reverse the trend of the last two events, and to seal the 2021-22 year end title, her 13th.
  • 6/1/22: Herrera posts on social media herself in a walking boot: turns out she had a grade 2 ankle strain a couple weeks back but still traveled to Kansas City to compete in the Super Max. She forfeited out of singles early, but still managed to win the Doubles draw with Erika Manilla serving as a roving player. Herrera misses an opportunity to move up in the rankings ahead of the beginning of next season, but is still well positioned to challenge Longoria at the top in 2022-23.
  • 6/10/22: Sunshine Arterburn makes history, becoming the first known transgender woman to compete on the LPRT. Arterburn previously competed as Michael Arterburn on the IRT as recently as Sept 2019, then began the transition process. She lost in the first round in both the pro and Open draws in Kansas City, both times ostensibly withdrawing with an injury.
  • 6/11/22: Maria Jose Vargas plays the final event of the season 4.5 months pregnant. She takes an uncharacteristic loss early in the singles, but the bigger news will be her likely missing a good chunk of the 2022-23 season due to her expecting her 3rd child in the fall. This will have significant ramifications to the top of the tour, opening up some pathways for the current #3 ranked player.
  • 6/11/22: Thanks to some major upsets at the SuperMax, three American women advance to the quarter finals for the first time since 2016.
  • 6/12/22: Longoria wins the Kansas City Super Max 14,10 over Mejia, a rematch of last year’s final/upset win for Montse. It was a close match, with Mejia looking comfortable against the GOAT, but Paola ground out a win. This closes the book on the 2021-22 season.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 3: Select players ranked 21 and higher

Meneses finished just outside the top 20; how will she fare next season? Photo Severna park 2021 via Ken Fife

We recapped the top 10 LPRT finishers first, then the players ranked 11th-20th, now here’s some commentary on the players who finished 21st or higher. This will be a selection of the players; I’m not going to write up every player from 21-60+. We’ll focus on the notables, regular tour players, and the like.

  • #21: Michaela Meneses the 18U reigning world junior champ from Bolivia, came in ranked #21 after showing some impressive results early in the season. She had wins over Lotts, MRR, and Enriquez. But then she collapsed at season’s end, losing multiple matches by donut scores (or close to it). Apparently she’s going through some swing mechanical changes, and should recover for the beginning of the next pro season and in time for her to defend her 18U title. She’s got promise, can hang with seasoned players, and looks like a future top10 Bolivian star like Barrios and Centellas before her.
    Projected Rank next season: 15-16 range.
  • #23 Jenny Daza only played 3 events, but upset C.Munoz and got a walkover against Parrilla to get to the Vero Beach quarters. A couple of years ago she beat Vargas at the US Open. She can get solid wins … but lives 4,000 miles away and cannot travel to every stop. So, she’ll remain a player to watch out for when she plays.
    Projected Rank next season: mid 20s.

24 Veronica Sotomayor recently relocated to the US, living in Vero Beach, and made it to three events. She’s a former top 10 ranked player who just turned 30 and who trains every day with one of the best players who ever lived in husband @Sudsy Monchik , and can still play. She’s a threat whenever she plays, but cannot commit to playing full time. She’ll remain the wildcard “player nobody wants to have feed into them” in draws she enters, and she’ll hope to pick off wins here and there.

Projected Rank next season: low-to-mid 20s unless she decides to commit to the tour full time, then we’re talking top 10.

  • #27 @Annie Roberts is in college now, matriculated from juniors, and keeps running into Laime in pro draws (her last three round of 32 matches were all against the Colombian). She continues to show power improvements, and she’s eventually going to play someone besides Brenda to get a shot at a round of 16 matchup against a top 8 seed. Her college commitments will keep her from touring full time presumably, meaning her rank will remain in the 20s.
    Projected Rank next season: mid 20s.
  • #27 Susy Acosta played the tour about half-time, which is what she’s basically done since turning 40, but continues to compete. This was her 24th season with pro results and her lefty-ness will continue to get her partners in the doubles side for some time to come.
    Projected Rank next season: upper 20s.
  • #29 Naomi Ros is one to keep an eye on; she’s the reigning US 16U junior national champ, meaning she’s still got two years of junior racquetball remaining, but is already making half the LPRT events now that she’s relocated from Mexico to south Texas. She’s still looking for a signature pro win, but has hung with veterans and it’s just a matter of time before she starts getting wins.
    Projected rank next season: low to mid 20s.

36 @Daniela Rico is another 18u junior who can put some good results on the board; she only played a couple of LPRT events this year (going one-and done in Vero Beach and Boston) but made the semis of 18U world juniors and put a loss on a very under-rated Lucia Gonzalez at Mexican Nationals earlier this year. Another in a long line of Mexican junior women to watch going forward.

Projected rank: still mid 30s.

37 Ireland’s @Aisling Hickey made some noise in a couple of events she entered and has relocated to California, which could open up a pathway for her to play more events. We’ll see; we didn’t see her in any of the spring events, so perhaps moving to the US wasn’t the springboard for her to play m ore LPRT events.

Projected rank next season: low-to-mid 30s.

43 @martina Katz made her pro debut at the season’s final event; she’s an Argentine 18U champ who could start to feature for the Argentinian national team soon.

Projected rank next season: 30s-40s.

Phew, that’s it for recapping the season! One more post after this to point out some milestones I tracked on the “tour history page” as a look back at the season that was.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 2: the 11-20 ranked players

We recapped the top 10 LPRT finishers first in a post from last Friday. Now here’s some commentary on the players who finished 11-20.

11 @Carla Munoz finished 11th on season, pipped for the top 10 by just 30 points (by way of comparison; LPRT players get 25 points for making the round of 16 in a regular tier 1 event. Munoz had some unlucky early round matchups (a round of 32 meeting with Scott at the US Open and a tough loss in the 32s to Jenny Daza in Vero Beach), but also had some really solid wins on the season (defeats of Salas, Centellas, Vargas, and Manilla). She’s definitely poised to rocket into the top 10 if she can replace a US Open round of 32 loss with a better finish later this year.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #9/#10; i think she can gain a little ground on the players just ahead of her.

12: Kelani Lawrence comes in 12th, her career best. She’s incrementally improved her pro ranking each season she’s played the tour full time, moving from 22nd, to 15th, to 12th. She missed out on #11 by just 5 ranking points; just one more result puts her in the top 10. Lawrence made her first pro semi this season and had marquee wins over Mendez and Vargas.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #9/#10: I can see her competing with Munoz for that last top 10 spot.

13: Brenda Laime Jalil came in 13th, right in line where she’s been ranked for the past few seasons. She made 4 quarters and missed 2 events; those two events cost her a top 10 spot this season. What’s interesting about Laime this season is her results: she had a number of big wins: Mejia, Herrera, and Parrilla. She definitely has the capability of moving into the top 10.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: Just outside top 10; perhaps increasing a couple of slots until she shows she can play 100% of events.

14: Samantha Salas Solis saw her ranking slip to the lowest point of her career in an non-injury season. She missed a few events but had a massive showing in Kansas City, making her sole semi of the season and topping both Mendez and Gaby. So the talent is still there; she just needs to focus it at the right times to get back to her lofty ranking of yesteryear.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #10-#11: Her rank now has her running into top 4 players in the 16s, and that’s gonna make it tough for her to get back into the top 10.

15: Valeria Centellas has definitely taken a tumble from her top 10 ranking two seasons ago; she just cannot repeat her international success on the tour. Her best win on tour this year was over Rhonda … but Rhonda also beat her twice at the same tournament junctures (round of 16).

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #14-15: around the same as this year, unless she can make some major changes to her game.

16: @Hollie Scott improves her year end ranking for the 5th successive season and really her first playing the tour full time. She had some solid wins and didn’t take any “bad” losses, so I can see her moving up.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: Just outside the top 10, in the 10-12 range.

17: @MarMaria Renee Rodriguez finished in basically the same spot she has finished the last three years running. She’s consistently getting to the round of 16, but no further (which is in line with finishing 17th on tour). She needs some marquee wins over top10 players to get much further up the rankings.

Predicted Rank next season: same range, #16-#17.

18: @Sheryl Lotts’ season is a lot like MRRs: her results split between round of 16 and round of 32 losses. Perhaps her best win of the season was a h2h meeting with MRR in the most recent event (in the 16/17 round of 32 match), which inevitably led to a round of 16 loss to top-seeded Longoria. Lotts has been in this range for a bit now, and it is hard to get out of without a shock upset win.

Predicted Rank next season: #16-#17 range along with MRR.

19: @Nancy Enriquez has been seeing her ranking fall year after year for 5 years now. She seems to be stepping back a bit from touring, missing 3 events this season, which has contributed to her ranking fall. When she has played, she’s taking early round losses (3 round of 32 upsets). It looks like she may continue to step back.

Predicted Rank next season: Mid 20s.

20: Cristina Amaya Cris Amaya ‘s ranking has fallen to a career low 20th, thanks in part to her missing three events on the season. When she has played though, she has made the 16s (4 of her 6 tournaments saw her advance to the 16s), and she’s not terribly removed from a time when she was making the quarters on a regular basis. She needs to get healthy and commit to the tour full time to turn things around.

Predicted Rank next season: #13-15 range if she plays full time.

In part 3 we’ll cover the rest of the tour, those of note who finished ranked in the 20s or further down.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 1: the top 10

Longoria wraps up her 13th pro title. Photo via US Open 2019, Kevin Savory

The Kansas City SuperMax last week also marked the official end of the 2021-22 season. After a covid-ravaged season, the LPRT ended up this season with 9 events, including three majors.

The final season rankings have been updated to the website: see https://www.lprtour.com/lprt-singles-rankings for the year end standings.
We have captured the standings and uploaded them to the proracquetballstats.com website, where they will now be picked up in all year end rankings queries as appropriate. For example, click here http://rb.gy/x0t9jz for the year end singles standings in the database, and click here http://rb.gy/ysxyi8 to see how they flow into the Season Summary report.

Here’s some commentary on the LPRT finishers. We’ll break this post into four posts; in this post we’ll talk about the top 10, then talk about 11-20, then the rest, then list notable news items that happened this season to finish it off.

  1. Paola Longoria : finishes #1 for the 13th time (see here for a list of all LPRT year end title winners: https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_year_end… . She now has nearly double the next closest player, that being Michelle Gould with 7 year end titles.
    Longoria won 6 of the 8 events she entered, but showed a chink in the armor with two successive tourney final losses to #2 Herrera. She ends the season with a 600 point lead at the top; by way of comparison she ended last season leading the tour by nearly 1,000 ranking points.
    Still, her dominance this season should not be overlooked; finishing a season 31-2 is no mean feat. We have a tendency to focus on the losses for our two GOATS of the sport, not the wins. She’s still the #1 until someone takes it from her.
    Predicted Rank next season: #1 again.

2 Alexandra Herrera ; she finishes #2 for the second year in a row, but this #2 finish seems meaningful. For me, she has clearly taken over the title of “Best player not named Paola,” a title owned by Vargas for the past couple of years, and then Salas for a few years prior to that. Herrera found a way to beat Paola, and will be thinking she can continue the trend.

The beginning of next season should be rather interesting, as Herrera has a good chance of really narrowing that points gap and putting Longoria’s reign at #1 in jeopardy.
Predicted Rank next season’s end: #2 again.

3 Maria Jose Vargas finishes #3, having made three finals and three semis, but took some earlier-than-expected losses this season. She is also 4 months pregnant, which puts her childbirth right in the middle of the fall section of the LPRT schedule, meaning she’s likely to miss significant time next season. She missed an entire season earlier in her career after having one child and she missed half a season in 2017-18 around the birth of her second kid. So we’ll see how much she can factor in next year. Suffice it to say, there likely will be a new #3 next year.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: outside the top 20

4 Natalia Mendez improved to a year end ranking of #4, her career best, by playing consistently and generally playing up to her seeds. She made three semis, three quarters, and had three first round upset losses on the year. She’s a good ways behind Vargas for #3, and the players who finished 4-5-6 are relatively tightly packed and could see some shuffling into next season.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #5 or #6: i think she gets bumped down.

5 Gaby Martinez managed to finish ranked 5th on tour (and missed out on 4th by less than 30 points) this season despite missing 4 of the 9 events played, quite a feat. She did this by becoming the 31st player ever to win a LPRT tier 1 event back in August in Denver, when she took the World Singles & Doubles title as the #10 seed. This powered her to a huge jump in ranking (she finished last season ranked #11).

It wasn’t too long ago (March 2019) that Gaby announced she was “retiring.” Since then, she’s managed to play more than half the pro events. If she played 100%, one has to wonder if she’s be pushing Herrera for #2.
Predicted Rank next season’s end: #4/#5 if she plays enough events.

6 @Erika Manilla is the clear Player of the Year on tour. After playing just 9 pro events in her career, she played all 9 this season and vaulted herself from a ranking in the upper 30s to the #6 spot on tour. She had wins this year over Gaby, Mejia, Barrios, and Parrilla, and earned her first US National singles title. Quite the season. She’s within striking distance of #3 on tour (as are several players in this range), so the fall of 2022 could be super interesting.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #3. I think Manilla will continue to rise up and take Vargas’ place at #3.

7 Angelica Barrios finishes the season ranked 7th, a one-spot improvement from last year. She made 3 semis and was upset in the 16s three times (by Manilla, Gaby, and Rhonda), so kind of an up and down pro season. Of course, Barrios’ major accomplishment this year was taking the PARC title on home soil, beating four top players in a row (Lawrence, Herrera, Gaby, and Vargas) to do so.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #5 or #6; incremental update, but not enough to press the top 4.

8 Jessica Parrilla may have dropped back a spot from last season’s finish, but she accomplished something this season that she hadn’t since Jan 2018: she advanced to a Pro semi final. Since badly injuring her knee in June of 2018, Leoni has endeavored to get back to her rankings peak (she finished 2017-18 at #3 on tour), and this was a big first step. She needs to get out of the 8-9 spot though, which plays into #1 every quarter, in order to have a chance to really move up.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #7 /#8: i think she’s right in the same range again next season.

9 @Rhonda Rajsich finishes #9 on the year, missing out on #8 by a scant 5.5 points, and finishes in the LPRT top 10 for an amazing 22nd consecutive season. She made four quarters out of nine events and got some really solid wins along the way. Additionally, Rhonda had solid results at both international events this year, and qualified for the US Team for the 20th time.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: just outside top 10: I think father time is catching up.

10: Montse Mejía finishes 10th despite going into the season’s final event as the #6 seed and reaching the final. Three missed tournaments and a couple of shaky early round losses conspired against Montse this season, and even a grand slam final couldn’t make up the difference. Mejia is one of the more talented players on tour, with a classical style and athleticism to beat any player she faces, and the new season setups better for her to make an impact.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #4, assuming she continues to miss events and not play full time.

Players 7-10 were very tightly bunched; Less than 30 points separated them at season’s end. To put that in context, players get 25 ranking points for making just the round of 16 in a normal tour stop. So, suffice it to say, the 7-10th players will quickly switch places next season as play picks back up.

Check back in for Part 2, where we cover the players who finished 11-20.

LPRT TeamRoot.com SuperMax Wrap-Up

Longoria wraps up her 12th pro titile. Photo via US Open 2019, Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles: Alexandra Herrera/Erika Manilla
    Longoria secures her 107th career Tier1 title and sews up her 12th year end #1 title. Manilla wins her first ever pro doubles title, teaming with the hobbled Herrera.
  • R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39192

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/466E25

In the 32s, a couple of notable results:

  • In the 16/17, Lotts got a solid win over MRR in a breaker.
  • In the 15/18, Scott held serve and downed Centellas in a breaker.
  • Munoz absolutely destroyed Meneses 0,4 to move on. Meneses has gone from one promising result after another to getting blown away in the last two pro stops.

In the 16s, a slew of upsets and surprising results.

  • #1 Longoria was pushed to a breaker by Lotts before advancing. These two played in the South Carolina event a month ago and it was a 3,1 beat-down. Bravo to Lotts for playing really well here.
  • #8 Manilla got a really solid win over #9 Parrilla to continue her excellent run of form.
  • #5 Gaby was pushed to a breaker by #12 Laime (now representing Colombia)
  • #13 Salas got an upset win over #4 Mendez in a breaker.
  • #3 Vargas was upset by #14 Munoz in a breaker. (note: Vargas is roughly 4months pregnant, a likely factor in the upset loss, not taking away anything from Carla’s solid win of course).
  • #6 Mejia looked quite dominant over #11 Lawrence, and the bottom side of this draw has opened up widely for the defending champ (as we’ll see in a moment)
  • #10 Rajsich turned back the clock on #7 Barrios, a player half her age, to advance to the quarters.
  • In the biggest upset, #2 Herrera, who reportedly was in a walking boot last week, defaulted her match to American Hollie Scott after just a few points.

    So, that’s #2, #3, #4, #7, and #8 out at this juncture, a ton of upsets.

Also, 3 American’s into the quarter finals for the first time in a pro event since 2016.

In the Quarters:

  • #1 Longoria was pressed in game two by Manilla, but held on for a 4,13 win.
  • #13 Salas turned back the clock and got her second top -5 win in a row, dominating Gaby 5,12 to return to the semis for the first time since this event last year.
  • #6 Mejia made fast work of Munoz 1,7
  • – #18 Scott dominated her fellow team USA teammate Rajsich to make her first ever pro Semi final.

In the Semis, no real shocks. #1 Longoria trounced Salas to beat her for the 55th time in 58 pro meetings, while #6 Mejia handled Scott efficiently to setup a rematch of last year’s final in this same event.

In the Finals, Mejia bent Paola but did not break her, getting close but losing 14,10.

Points Implications of results
Not much changes in the top 10: Longoria already had #1 sewn up and the top 5 spots shouldn’t change. Manilla should jump to #6 on tour, her highest ever ranking. Despite making the final here, Mejia will take a tumble in the rankings due to expiring points but should remain in the top 10. Rajsich should keep her top 10 ranking to secure her 22nd straight season in the top 10.

However, this is all speculation until we see the final LPRT season-ending rankings, at which point we’ll do a recap and talk about movements in the rankings.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/19DB35
The big storyline in the doubles draw was the upset of the #1 team Salas/Longoria in the semis; they were dethroned by the Guatemalan veteran doubles team of Martinez/MRR. They met the new Herrera/Manilla team in the final, who survived Alexandra basically playing on one leg to get a tiebreaker win over Parrilla/Mejia.

In the final…Herrera may have been hobbled but when the ball came to her she executed, and she/Manilla took the doubles title.

Women’s Open:

The only other draw here was the Women’s Open, which went mostly chalk and featured #1 Barrios taking out #2 Lawrence in the final.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst and special guests Sudsy Monchik and Leo Vazquez.
Once again, thanks to Randy Root for your generosity in sponsoring the biggest prize purse in the sport.

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 Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

There’s a lower tier IRT event in Costa Rica next weekend, then the next big event is US Junior Nationals in Des Moines.


LPRT Teamroot.com Super Max Preview

Herrera the big story here; is she hurt? Photo Denver 2021 KenFife

Welcome to the final event of the 2021-22 season for the Ladies Pros, and its the biggest purse in the sport. Thanks to @Randy Root, its time for the Teamroot.com Super Max tournament in Overland Park, outside of Kansas City, MO.
R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39192

28 players are here this weekend competing, including 18 of the top 20 (just #16 Enriquez and #18 Amaya are missing from the top 20).

Lets preview the Singles draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 32:

  • #16/#17 Lotts vs MRR is compelling. Lotts is coming off a good showing at USA Nationals.
  • #14/#19 Munoz vs Meneses: Micaela is coming off a disappointing showing in South Carolina, while Munoz is coming off one of her better showings: can both players keep it going?
  • #6 Mejia vs #27 @Martina Katz: the Argentinian junior makes her LPRT debut. I don’t suspect she’ll trouble Mejia, but she’s had great international showings thus far.
  • – #15/#18 Centellas vs Scott; another compelling match between two players who both can win this match.

Projecting the round of 16s. Here’s some matches to watch for, assuming no major upsets in the 1st round.

  • #8 Parrilla vs #9 Manilla. Manilla coming off a run to the US nationals, but a win over a solid veteran pro like Parrilla will be important to Erika to maintain forward momentum into the next season.
  • #4 Mendez vs #13 Salas: this was a quarter final matchup last year at this event, now Salas has plunged in the rankings all the way to #13. They have not met in nearly a year, and Mendez has stayed the course in the top 4, but this has “upset by seed” potential.
  • – #6 Mejia vs #11 Lawrence; a first time meeting for these two, and an interesting test. Mejia won this event famously last year, beating four top 10 players in the process. On paper a win for the Mexican … but Kelani has been getting top10 wins all season.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Longoria over #9 Manilla, a rematch of a couple of more “famous” matches from earlier in the season.
  • #5 Gaby over #4 Mendez: Martinez leads 6-3 career, and beat Mendez last fall at Worlds. Gaby plays a limited schedule and will make the most of it here.
  • #3 Vargas over #6 Mejia: these two both play “speed racquetball” but Vargas holds the slight edge.
  • #2 Herrera over #7 Barrios: Barrios is solid but won’t top Herrera right now on form, despite her 21 World’s shock win (which included a win over Herrera in the quarters). Herrera was reportedly in a walking cast last week with an unspecified injury; if she’s hobbled, this is the kind of player who will exploit it. We should watch Herrera’s mobility.
    Semis: Longoria over Gaby, Herrera over Vargas (assuming Herrera is healthy). There’s just such a gulf between the top 2 players and the rest of the field right now.

Finals; I think Longoria has righted the ship and will take this final over Herrera to end the season with a big check.

Doubles review
The reigning #1 team of Longoria/Salas is here and together, but there’s some interesting jumbling of regular partners elsewhere in the draw that should make for an interesting tourney.
Typically the #2 seeds, long-time partners Herrera and Mejia are split up this weekend, with Herrera playing with US singles champ Manilla and Mejia playing with fellow Mexican Parrilla. They’re the new #2 and #3 seeds and may face each other in the semis.
Other teams in the draw including the newly named US champs Lawrence/Scott as the #6 seeds, the long-time Guatemalan national team of Martinez/Rodriguez as the #5 seeds, and the new Argentine national team Mendez/Centellas as the #4 seeds.

In the end though, Look for Longoria/Salas to claim their 37th pro doubles title together.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

LPRT Sweet Caroline Open Recap

Jessica Parrilla returns to the pro semis for the first time in years. Photo US Open 2019 via Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles; Alexandra Herrera/Jessica Parrilla
    Longoria reverses the script from the last two finals against Herrera and wins her 106th career LPRT tier1 event.
    See http://rball.pro/6CB839 for a list of all LPRT singles tour winners
    Both Herrera and Parrilla get their second pro doubles title of the season, each done with different partners.
  • R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=38854

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9FD2AF

In the 32s:

  • I was shocked by Lotts’ 2,2 win over Meneses, considering that the Bolivian junior had bested Lotts handily the last two times they played. Lotts played lights out and took it to the up and coming Micha.
  • – Naomi Ros continues to look for a breakthrough win, playing Scott tough before losing 9,10

In the 16s:

  • Salas trounced Centellas in the 8/9 game 4,6. Centellas seems to be lost on the court lately.
  • Mendez forced to a breaker by Scott before advancing in a match that looked like an upset for a while.
  • MRR took Vargas to a breaker before falling.
  • Lawrence handed Rhonda a donut in the first before moving on.
  • – Biggest shock of the round: Munoz absolutely dominated Manilla 7,4 to move into the quarters. Manilla had been riding high all season but came out flat today.

In the Quarters

  • Longoria took out Salas in what is now the 2nd most frequent rivalry in tour history.
  • Mendez’ luck ran out as she was taken out by Parrilla, who amazingly returns to a Pro semifinal for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
  • Lawrence advanced to her first ever pro semi with a career win over Vargas in a close tie-breaker 11-9
  • – Herrera cruised past Munoz 7,2 to slide into the semis for the 7th time in her last 8 pro events.

In the Semis, the #1 and #2 players showed their dominance on tour, each winning their semi finals in dominant fashion; Longoria 2,6 over Parrilla, and Herrera 8,3 over Lawrence.

In the Finals, we got the third straight meeting of 1v2, and the fans got another compelling back and forth close match. This time though the GOAT Longoria prevailed in the breaker and ended Herrera’s 2-tourney win streak.

Points Implications of results
So, the 2022 SC event should expire off the 2020 KC and 2021 SC events (if they’re continuing to do a 12-month rolling calendar of points), which will mean a significant tightening at the top of the race for the top of the tour. But, with just one more LPRT event on the books, Longoria’s lead is insurmountable for the 2021-22 season, meaning irrespective of the KC events she will capture the year end title, which will be her 12th.
See this link for a list of all LPRT tour winners. https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_year_end…
Herrera trails Longoria by a bit more than 500 points, which is a lot, but which represents her cutting that lead in half just since the last LPRT event thanks to the way the points work. A couple more good results for Alexandra and we’ll have a real good race for the 2022-23 title.

Elsewhere notable, Mendez should return to #4 by virtue of Gaby’s missing this event, and Barrios will drop a couple slots with her absence. Despite an early loss, Manilla will move up to #9 (her career best), and Lawrence’s big semis should propel her up to #11 (also her career best). It is good to have a couple of American’s returning to the top 10 just as the long-standing stalwart of American racquetball (Rajsich) begins her gradual falling out of the top 10.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/EE4945
Herrera and Parrilla gave the Longoria/Salas team a rare pro doubles loss in the final, and game two wasn’t that close.
Four of the top US women’s doubles teams heading into US nationals all played with each other as practice for the event in Texas in two weeks:

  • Diaz/Ros took the veteran Roehler/Manilla team to a breaker
  • Roehler/Manilla lost to the #1 pro team Longoria/Salas 6,9
  • Scott/Lawrence took out the #4 seeds and took the #1 seeds to a breaker before losing
  • Rajsich/Lotts were unlucky to lose against the #2 seeds, going down 11-10.

Based on these results, Scott/Lawrence look like the team to beat.

Women’s Open, other draws
Centellas rebounded from a disappointing pro event to take the Women’s open title, downing Munoz and Amaya along the way. #1 Seed Meneses lost to Amaya 7,2, another shocking result that indicates to this observer that something was amiss with Micha this weekend.

Maurice Miller cruised to the Men’s Open title as the #1 seed, topping Alabama #1 Destry Everhart in the final. However Miller couldn’t convert the Men’s open double, losing the doubles final with his twin brother Marquis to Everhart playing with Shane Karmelin.

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

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 Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
We have a rare break in the calendar next weekend… then the final weekend of the month is Nationals! US in Texas, Canada in Brossard.

LPRT Sweet Caroline Grand Slam preview

Meneses gets a winnable round of 32; can she capitalize? Photo Severna park 2021 via Ken Fife

The LPRT is back in South Carolina, and at the club that houses their Hall of Fame. Legendary 70s player Shannon Wright is set to be inducted this weekend, and the ladies pros will compete for one of the largest purses of the season.
There’s a relatively small draw this weekend, but the absences will give us a compressed draw with new and exciting matchups.

Top20 players missing include #4 Gaby Martinez, #5 Angelica Barrios, #7 Montse Mejia, #11 Laime (weird b/c she can drive to SC). So the top 8 seeds all get bumped up a ton.

Lets preview the draw.

Round of 32: we have 5 play-in matches, with a couple of compelling ones:

  • #16/17 @Michaela Meneses vs @Sheryl Lotts: the Bolivian youngster gets a great test against a long-time touring USA pro.
  • #12/#21 @Nancy Enriquez vs @Naomi Ros. I like Ros to really push her veteran countrywoman in this one. Upset alert.

– #14/#19 MRR vs Riveros: an international flavor match between two long-time touring Vets. Riveros has not played a ton lately; can MRR get the win and hold serve?

Round of 16: notables i’m looking forward to:

  • #8/#9 Centellas vs Salas: two players who have both not gotten recent results they want. I suspect Salas’ power is the favorite here; what can Centellas do to reverse her recent slide?
  • #5/#12 Parrilla/Enriquez: they’ve traded blows and wins against each other over the last year. who wins here?
  • #4 Mendez vs #13 Scott: this is the perfect kind of match for Scott to try to make a statement; can she press the Argentinian?
  • #6/#11: Rajsich vs Lawrence; a rematch of multiple US nationals matches over the past few years; Lawrence is the favorite irrespective of seed.

– #7/#10 Manilla vs Munoz; they’ve never played in a top-level match. Manilla is the favorite based on form and recent results.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Longoria over #8 Salas for the 57th time on tour.
  • #4 Mendez over #5 Parrilla
  • #3 Vargas over #10 Lawrence; they’ve played some close games but there’s still a bit of a gulf between them.
  • #2 Herrera over #7 Manilla; they met in the 32s twice last year … this time should be different. Upset watch.
    Semis: chalk: #1 Longoria over #4 Mendez, #2 Herrera over #3 Vargas.

Finals; Can Herrera make it three in a row? I think so.

Doubles review

All kinds of weird teams in the pro doubles this time around, as missing players change the regulars. #1 Longoria/Salas are still there, but I like #3 Herrera/Parrilla to make the final and push them.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

Weekend Event Wrap-up

Acuna got two solid wins against top 10 opponents to take the Minnesota Hall of Fame event. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory

In addition to the LPRT Boston Open, there were a slew of other events this past weekend worthy of mention. Here’s a quick run through of what was a very busy weekend globally for racquetball.

US High School Nationals.

r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38151
One of the biggest tournaments of the year (by pure attendance) was held last weekend: the 2022 @USA Racquetball High School Nationals event, held at the Vetta Sports clubs in St. Louis.

Nearly 350 High School players from around the country were in St. Louis to compete for singles, doubles, and team competitions. Here’s a recap of the #1/Gold competitions on the weekend…

  • Boys #1 Gold Singles: #1 @Josh Shea from New York topped #2 @AnAndrew Gleason from Iowa. In a likely precursor to the 18U Junior Nationals final later this year, Shea won the first HS title for a New Yorker since … @sSudsy Monchik won in 1991.
  • Girls #1 Gold Singles: #2 @Naomi Ros from San Antonio upset #1 seed @Heather Mahoney. Ros recently relocated from Mexico and topped Mahoney in the 2021 Junior Nationals, setting up a rivalry that is set to run for a couple more years on the US junior national scene. She becomes the first ever titlist from a Texas HS on the girl’s side.
  • Boys #1 Doubles: Jacob Schmidt / Gabe Collins from Christian Brothers College High School in St Louis cruised to the title as the #1 seed.
  • Girls #1 Doubles: Heather Mahoney / Ava Naworski from Casa Grande High School outside of Santa Rosa HS took the title as the #3 seeds.
  • Mixed #1 Doubles: Ros teamed with DJ Mendoza (the #4 seed in Boys #1 gold) to cruise to the Mixed doubles title.
    The team competition was dominated by Missouri/St Louis area high schools:
  • Boys’ Team: St. Louis University HS
  • Girl’s Team: Lafayette HS
  • Overall Team: Kirkwood HS

Congrats to everyone who played, organized and participated. Thanks to @LLeo Vasque ‘s tireless work on the stream all weekend.

LPRT Boston Open Draws
r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38579

Connecticut’s top player @Jose Flores upset the #1 seeded @John Behm to take the 24-man Open draw from Boston this weekend.

Women’s Open: as noted in the LPRT wrap-up, Micaela Meneses had a great women’s Open tournament, topping LPRT regulars Lotts, Lawrence and Munoz to take the title.

PAC Pueblo Athletic Shootout IRT recap
r2sports: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38852
Several IRT touring regulars traveled to Colorado to compete in the PAC shootout.
The four IRT regulars all advanced to the singles semis as expected. From there, #1 Andree Parrilla topped #4 @NNick Riff while @David Horn took out his colleague @Adam Manilla in the other semi to setup an All-WRT alumni final.
In that final, Parrilla cruised to the title, topping Horn 2,5.

In doubles, Horn and Manilla were unstoppable, cruising to the pro doubles title over #2 seeds Riffel and @Mike O’Brien in the final.

Minnesota Hall of Fame IRT Tier 3
r2sports: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38807
A solid mid-western flair draw of top players descended to Fridley over the weekend for the Hall of Fame tournament. This included the IRT broadcast team of @DeDDean Baer and @PFPablo Fajre , who made friends with a local kangaroo and called some matches.
r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38807
Congrats to local open amateurs @John Goth , Blake Hansen , and Lee Meinerz , who joined the 5 touring pros in the pro quarters.
From there, Canadian #1 @Samuel Murray topped #5 Jordy Alonso in one semi, while #3 @Andres Acuña upset home-town favorite @Jake Bredenbeck in the other semi.
In the singles final…Acuna played solid ball to top Murray 10,7 to take the singles title.

In the Doubles draw, the Bredenbeck brothers took out Murray playing with Canadian Ledu Michael in the final.

Lastly, several countries have been holding Nationals events or National team selection events ahead of next month’s Pan American Racquetball Championships. Results are a little hard to come by since no international countries use r2sports outside of the “big 3” … but here’s what we’ve been able to glean from various Facebook Posts:

  • Costa Rica held their men’s championships last weekend; in the men’s final: Andres Acuna d Gabriel Garcia 6,7,5. This is somewhat of a changing of the guard, as @FelipFelipe Camacho has represented the country for many, many years.
  • Colombia held a Men’s Selection event in Pereia, COL over the weekend.
  • Guatemala held their Men’s Selection event this past week and weekend (Women’s will be next weekend). The 4 semi finalists competed (presumably) in a RR draw; here was the results:
  1. @EdwEdwin Galicia
  2. @Juan Jose Salvatierra
  3. Christian Wer
  4. Geovani Mendoza

The top 3 will represent Guatemala, with Mendoza as the alternate.

LPRT Boston Open Recap

Herrera makes it two for two over Longoria. Photo LPRT official

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Alexandra Herrera
  • Doubles: Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38579

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/F91610

In the 32s:

  • @Hollie Scott and Maria Renee Rodriguez split two close games in their 16/17 match-up before Scott pulled away with a dominant 11-1 tiebreaker win.
  • The ever improving junior Micaela Meneses took a game off of #13 @Erika Manila before falling in a breaker.
  • @Crist’ Amaya got a solid win over fellow veteran tour player @Nancy Enriquez 11-5 in the breaker.
  • – #11 @Carla Munoz reversed the script against @Jenny Daza , topping her 9,9 to move on. Daza had gotten the big upset over Munuz in this round just last tournament.

In the 16s:

  • Scott made #1 @Paola Longoria work for her round of 16 win, pushing the top player 12,11 in their round of 16 matchup.
  • #5 @Natalia Mendez was challenged by her younger Argentinian rival @Valeria Centellas before advancing 11-7 in the breaker.
  • #13 Manilla got her fifth win over a top-5 seed on tour since October, downing #4 @Gaby Martinez in a hard-fought close match. She took the first game 15-13, then Gaby raced to a huge lead in game two before Erika pulled it all the way back. They traded blows at match point before Gaby’s athletic exploits pushed a tiebreaker. There, Manilla looked to run away with the breaker before Gaby scored 7 unanswered to push for an amazing comeback … but Manilla got the 11-8 win.
  • #3Maria Jose Vargas battled through some illness and outlasted the veteran Amaya in a tiebreaker.
  • – #7 @Montse Mejia put a statement down , crushing #10 @Brenda Laime 8,1 to move into the quarters.

In the Quarters, a couple of surprising results.

  • #1 Longoria made fast work of her doubles partner Salas 5,7
  • #5 Mendez avenged herself in a rematch against Manilla, winning in a tie-breaker to avoid two upsets in two tournaments.
  • #3 Vargas could not overcome both illness and #6 Barrios, losing in a tie-breaker.
  • – #2 Herrera outlasted her doubles partner Mejia, dropping the middle game but running away with it in the tiebreaker.

In the Semis

  • Longoria made quick work of Mendez 7,5 and was in cruise control for most of the match.
  • Herrera was not troubled by the young Bolivian Barrios 6,5 and setup the anticipated rematch of last week’s final in Vero Beach.
    In the Finals…. another shocker. Herrera dominated in game one 15-8, then for a while it looked like Longoria had found another gear, racing to a 12-1 game two win. Instead of packing it in, Herrera fought back and saved game points against to take game two 15-14 in a pretty amazing comeback win.

Herrera’s second career win moves her into the top 20 all time of tour wins. Longoria loses in the final for the second tourney in a row … something that hadn’t happened since the fall of 2010, when she lost two successive finals to Rajsich (also the last time she lost to the same person in two straight events). Is this a changing of the guard? Or a blip on Longoria’s resume?

Points Implications of results: I don’t see a ton of movement in the top 10 after this tourney. Herrera solidifies her grip on #2 and closes the gap a bit on #1. Gaby maintains a slight lead on Mendez for #4.

Further down, some more significant movement. Manilla should move up to #12 and Lawrence should move to #15, edging slowly to the top 10. Meneses continues to rise; she’s nearly in the top 20 now. Lastly two more appearances for Daza and Rico have them both inside the top 30.

Doubles review.
Hollie Scott had the tournament of her career, driving the all-American duo of Scott & Lawrence to the pro doubles final. They took out Vargas & Mendez in the quarters, then Herrera/Mejia in the semis. In the final though, they couldn’t overtake the #1 duo of Longoria/Salas, falling in a breaker.
Longoria & Salas win their 35th pro doubles title together since August 2014. Amazing.

Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/F5E7DA

Women’s Open

Meneses may have lost in the first round of pros to Manilla, but she took out several pros en route to the Women’s Open title. She took out local player @Jolene Sullivan in the round of 16, then beat Lotts, Lawrence, and Munoz for the title. Great wins.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst , Jerry J Josey Jr. , @JT R Ball , and Tj Baumbaugh

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

Nothing domestically, but a couple of countries are having National selection events to pick their teams to go to PARC. We’ll try to decipher Facebook postings to figure out who has won.