One of the biggest tournaments for us to enter each year just wrapped up; Junior Worlds 2022, held this year for the second year running at the fabulous brand new facility in Guatemala City.
Champions were crowned in Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles in six age groups: 21U, 18U, 16U, 14U, 12U, and 10U, as well as a team competition, meaning that in essence this tournament actually held 30 separate competitions to enter into the database. Its the rough equivalent of doing 30 small pro tournaments all at once, with the added benefit of typing in brand new names never before seen for a good chunk of the participants. If you see any typos, or name corrections, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Reminder: as a practice, Pro Racquetball Stats does not capture full draws for any groups younger than 14yr olds; for the 12s, 10s, and younger we just capture the champions for historical reporting.
– Mixed 10U: Hermann Gracia / Michelle Gomez, Mexico
Mexico takes 4 of the 6 Mixed doubles titles.
Grand total of Titles won by Country:
– Mexico: 17 of 30
– Bolivia: 10 of 30
– Argentina, USA, and Costa Rica: 1 each
Team Mexico really dominates the 2022 event, especially on the Boys side where they took 10 of the 12 divisions. Bolivia won 7 of their 10 titles in Girls divisions, supporting what we’ve seen on the pro tour, where Bolivian players (or Bolivian born) comprise 3 of the top 10 and 6 of the top 20 players.
Bravo to these players, who took hold Triple Crowns of Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles:
– Angelica Barrios: 21U, Bolivia
– Sebastian Hernandez: 18U, Mexico
– Jorge Gutierrez, 16U, Mexico
– Hermann Gracia, 10U, Mexico
– Michelle Gomez, 10U, Mexico
These players earned double crowns:
– Yanna Salazar, 16U, Mexico
– Sebastian Ruelas, 14U, Mexico
– Pablo Ignacio Lagos, 12U, Bolivia
– Angelica Villaroel Garzon , 12U, Bolivia
Every draw has a match report in the database that you can run: instead of repeating dozens of links we’ll give some examples here. Surf to www.proracquetballstats.com, click on either Juniors or “Junior Doubles” database, then at the very top you can pull down a match report. You can also run a number of different reports for singles and doubles.
Now some quick commentary division by singles division, mostly to recognize winners who have earned multiple Junior World titles over the years, and to provide some commentary on the older divisions with players who have already competed on the pro tours…
I use these “Matrix Reports” constantly; they show all the Junior winners across every age group for all of time. These links are for the Junior Worlds and date to 1989, the first ever Junior Worlds event, but are also available for USA, Canada, and Mexico.
Clearly the two best players (Garcia and Erick Trujillo ) in this draw ended up in the same RR group, and then they fought their way to meet again in the final. Garcia (representing Argentina but who used to represent Bolivia) got two wins over his young Mexican to take Gold. The last time Garcia showed up on tour, he beat both Javier Mar and Rocky Carson; pretty heady company. We hope to see more of him. This is Garcia’s 7th Junior World title.
Notable here is Jose Carlos Ramos, aka “Pepe,” who beat Trujillo in the Mexican Junior nationals final and thus was the #1 seeded Mexican player here; he fell to Garcia in the semis. American #1 Micah Farmer got a great win over Bolivian @Adrian Jaldin but then fell to Garcia in the quarters.
Mexico’s Sebastian Hernandez came out of nowhere to win both his country 18U and World 18U titles, his first career Junior titles. He dominated in Guatemala, and the only player to even take a game off of him was an obviously hobbled @Timmy Hansen .
Hernandez joins a pretty illustrious list of 18U boys champs: here in reverse order are past winners: Trujillo, Miranda, Portillo, Marco Rojas, Christian Longoria, Montoya, Mercado, Moscoso, Marco Rojas, and Keller. That list includes 5 players currently ranked in the top 15, multiple IRT tournament winners, etc.
Mexico’s Jorge Gutierrez repeats as the 16U Junior worlds champ, the first time we’ve had a repeat 16U singles champ since Longoria in 2015. He’s another guy who has really blasted onto the scene, with no previous Mexican Junior titles prior to 2021. We went wire-to-wire as the #1 seed and defeated his countryman Eder Renteria in the final.
Hats off to Galindo for taking this title; he was inexplicably the #18 seed here, behind two other fellow Mexican players, despite being the 14U losing finalist in Mexican Junior Nationals and thus finishing ahead of multiple other Mexican entrants to this draw. I’ve complained about questionable IRF seedings before but this one is beyond me. He defeats Ruelas in the final after losing the Mexican final to him.
12U: An all-Bolivian Final which featured two Mexican semifinalists and a first time champion.
10U: Hermann Gracia (not Garcia as r2sports shows it) follows up his 10U Mexican title with a worlds title, taking out USA’s Alejandro Robles Picon in a huge come-from behind effort in the final.
Current LPRT regular Angelica Barrios skipped the pro stop in Maryland to compete and secured her third ever Junior Worlds title. She was pushed in the knockouts by Argentine lefty Martina Katz before topping tough Costa Rican Maricruz Ortiz in the semis (a match that many thought was the true final). Mexico’s @Maria Gutierrez (who went by Mafer in this event) upset USA’s Shane Diaz to make the final.
Bolivia’s LPRT touring pro Micaela Meneses repeated as 18U world champ and did not drop a game all event. She secures her 6th Career Junior World title. She topped both Mexican entrants en route to the title.
USA’s @Naomi Ros gave the US its sole gold medal at this event, beating both the Bolivian #1 and Mexican #1 to take the title. This is Ros’ second Junior world title; the first was in 12U when she was still competing for Mexico.
Girls 14U: Bolivia’s Adriana Noelia Blacutt wins her first junior world title.
Girls 12U: Another Bolivian first time girls winner in María Laura Villacreses took the title, defeating three of the top seeds along the way.
Girls 10U was taken by Mexico’s Michelle Gomez, who has now entered four junior events in her career and won four titles. She’s the two-time defending Mexico 10U champ, and now she’s the two-time defending World 10U champ.
Thanks to the International Racquetball Federation for hosting the event, thanks to the great hosts in Guatemala, thanks to all our the coaches and parents who sacrificed to get your kids down there, especially t his close to the holiday season, thanks to @Gary Mazaroff
for the streaming all tournament.
Tomorrow we’ll publish the LPRT summary, th en we’ll take a break until the end of the year when we’ll start posting some IRT season recap material.
Yours truly was at the event this year, and on the mike for a lot of the Men’s and Mixed pro events; check out the @inInternational Racquetball Tour feed on FB or on YouTube for rebroadcasts.
This is one of the longest recaps we do all year, with so many divisions and so many great matches to talk about. Get ready to dig in.
Men’s Pro 3-wall Doubles Recap
19 Teams entered the Men’s Pro doubles to compete for the biggest outdoor title of the event. And we got some fantastic teams and a great draw.
A few upsets in the round of 16:
– Floridian Chris McDonald , son of outdoor Hall of famers Greg and Martha, teamed up with another WOR Hall of famer in @Greg Solis to upset the #5 seeds Emmett Coe and @Thomas Gerhard to move into the quarters. McDonald is a force on the court, with incredible power and an intimidating playing style borne of short-court play in North Florida, where he stands almost with his toes on the short line to receive serve and then relies on some of the fastest hands in the sport to return drive serves.
– Colorado pair Adam Manilla and Nick Riffel upset the #3 seeded team of Soda Man and Brandon Davis in two closer games 10,13. Both players may not have a ton of access to outdoor courts in Colorado but have been making waves in the genre and got a great win against two very solid outdoor pros.
– IRT legend and outdoor newbie @Sudsy Monchik teamed up with a very talented outdoor player from Southern California in @Patrick Allin to upset the #6 seeded team of top Floridians Joe Young and Marcos J. Gravier in a tiebreaker 11-8. The two teams played back and forth racquetball, with all four players at various times taking over and attempting to impart their will on the match.
In the quarters:
– #1 Daniel de la Rosa and @Alvaro Beltran rose to the challenge and topped the #8 seeds, Beach Bash pro doubles champs @Javier Mar and @Mario Mercado 12,12. This was perhaps the best match I saw all weekend in terms of talent and shot-making on the court, with all four players at the top of their game. DLR was (as he always is) the dominant player on the court and came to Las Vegas looking in-shape and laser focused. The ball sizzles off his racquet, and he remains as always one of the best players in the world at ending rallies with pinch kills. Beltran remains the shot-making crafty veteran, routinely pulled off the court but making running over-the-shoulder shots to keep the ball in play. Mar has come into his own, with a recent IRT pro finals appearance and hit shot for shot with DLR along the left side. Lastly Mercado displayed getting ability on a par with anyone in the world, with some of the fastest hands around (its no wonder they’re one-wall kings). But in the end, the talent of DLR took over and was the difference maker in this shot-maker’s paradise.
– #4 @Rocky Carson and his young teammate @Eduardo Portillo (aka “Team Dovetail”) ground out a win over the dangerous McDonald/Solis pairing 9,9 to move on. Future WOR Hall of Famer Carson put on a clinic of outdoor racquetball, and Lalo continues to show his mastery of the classification improves at every outdoor event.
– #14 Riffel/Manilla continued their run, upsetting fellow upstarts #11 Monchik/Allin with ease 10,5 to move into the semis. Riffel’s mustache game is as strong as his racquetball game this weekend, but the story of the team is Manilla’s growing dominance of outdoor racquetball this weekend.
– #2 seeds and reigning Outdoor Nationals champs Jason Geis and @Micah Rich dominated NorCal’s @Tom Durham and HoFamer Robert Sostre 11,4 to move into the semis. Sostre and Durham had no answers for the great lefty-righty pairing of Rich and Geis, nor for the power and outdoor finesse that Rich displays on the left hand side.
In the semis on Saturday afternoon, we started out with hopes of a great set of matches but ended up with a jarring injury that silenced the crowd.
– The #1 vs #4 semi final pro doubles match was shaping up to be a fantastic contest, featuring the red-hot De La Rosa on one side and the legendary outdoor Goat in Carson on the other. Game one did not disappoint, as Carson/Portillo fell behind DLR/Beltran 10-5 early, ground their way back to tie it at 11, then saved a couple of game points before getting the serve back and getting to 14-14. At game point, Carson hit a high Z to Beltran, and when Portillo went for a reverse pinch kill both DLR and Beltran dove for the ball at the same time in the front court, colliding as they retrieved the ball. Beltran immediately began writhing in pain as Rocky hit the game winning shot. Soon it was clear that Alvaro was badly injured: DLR dove into Alvi’s outstretched left arm and he suffered a dislocated elbow on the court. Unfortunately this knocked the DLR/Beltran team out of the event; Carson/Lalo advance 15-14, inj fft.
– The second semi was played under a somber tone; the crowd and the players seemed in shock after watching the injury in the first game. Nonetheless, a spot was on the line in the final. #2 Rich/Geis seemed to be the prohibitive favorites over the upstart #14 Manilla/Riffel team and jumped out to a first game lead. The Colorado duo ground their way back into the game and shocked the Outdoor National reigning champs by taking game one 15-14. Game two was a back and forth affair, close all the way to the death, when Nick and Adam got to match point and then took it on a scuffled service return error. Riffel played fantastic on the day, and the SoCal team seemed a bit off, missing a number of offensive opportunities that ended up costing them the game.
The final turned out to be a blowout: Carson and Portillo dominated from start to the end, and Riffel/Manilla couldn’t find the magic that led them to get there, losing 6,3. Carson wins his 6th pro doubles title in Vegas, first since 2015, while Portillo gets his first outdoor title.
Women’s Pro 3-wall Doubles Recap:
Lots of new teams this year in the Ladies pro, guaranteeing a new winner and some great action.
Just one upset in the quarters, as two relatively newcomers to outdoor in @Brenda Laime and @Alexandra Herrera took out #3 seeds, reigning US National doubles champions @Kelani Lawrence and @Hollie Scott 6,10. Laime has made a heck of an impression here despite little prior outdoor tourney experience, but its worth noting she lives with and plays frequently with Mercado in the DC Area where a strong outdoor community exists.
In the semis…
– The #1 seeds De La Rosa and Tisinger-Ledkins went down a game to the upstart Manilla/Roehler team, but raced back to take the tiebreaker 11-7 to move on.
– The upstart team of Laime and Herrera dominated the #2 seeds Parrilla and Carla Munoz 6,12 to become the surprise finalists.
In the final … the #1 seeds crushed the #6 upstarts in game one 15-2, then held on 15-11 for the title. Each player wins their 5th Vegas doubles title, but their first one playing together.
Mixed Pro 3-wall Doubles:
14 teams entered into the stacked Mixed Pro doubles division looking to take down three-time defending champs in the De La Rosa husband/wife team. And the early rounds did not disappoint, with two teams running multiple upsets to make the semis:
– #12 seeded Brother/Sister Manilla pairing of @Adam Manilla and @Erika Manilla advanced past the husband/wife team of @Alan Natera and @Carla Munoz in the 16s before taking it right at #4 Rich/Lawrence in the quarters, dominating the action and doing a masterful job of neutralizing Rich’s power to win the Friday nightcap quarter 11,8 to move into the semis.
– Meanwhile on the bottom side, #7 Mercado/Laime took out the hard-hitting Mexican team of @Rodrigo Montoya and Herrera in the 16s before shocking the #2 seeds Janel Tisinger-Ledkins and Solis 8,7 in the quarters. The two outdoor legends just had no answers for the shot-making exploits of Mercado and the power of Laime, who worked drive serves at Solis with great effect all match. Look out for this team.
In the Semis…
– #1 DLRx2 cruised past Manillax2 10,8 to move into the final. The Cinderella Brother/Sister team just had no answers for the dominant husband/wife team.
– Team FormulaFlow Laime/Mercado came from a game down to upset the #3 seeds Scott/Portillo in a tough 11-8 breaker.
In the final, Laime continued to show why she will be a force to reckon with in the outdoor game for some time to come, leading her team to a game one victory. In game two, Mercado thought he had rolled out the match winner at 14-14 … but it was overturned on appeal. Daniel got the game 2 winner and pushed the match to a breaker. Perhaps deflated from having thought they won at the end of game two, Laime and Mercado fell behind big early in the breaker and were steamrolled 11-3 to give the title to the DLRs. Daniel and Michelle win their 8th Vegas Mixed pro title in the last 9 years, and complete the 2022 “triple crown” of mixed pro titles (they also won Pro mixed in Florida and in Huntington Beach).
Men’s Pro 1-wall Doubles recap:
#1 Seeds @Robert Sostre (aka the Iceman) and @William Rolon (aka the Warrior) cruised into the final from the top half of the draw looking to win together for the third time.
Meanwhile the bottom half of the draw featured the two teams that competed in the Beach Bash finals earlier this year. Javier Mar & Mario Mercado topped Acuna/Portillo again (just as the did in March), then upset the Sostre/Rolon one-wall specialists for the title.
Mercado & Mar win the one-wall pro doubles “double” on the year, having won both Beach Bash and Vegas.
Women’s Pro 1-wall Doubles:
Michelle De La Rosa did the Women’s pro doubles “double” on the weekend, and won her third title out of the four events she entered, by teaming with her regular partner Carla Munoz to take a tightly contested Women’s one-wall doubles draw. They topped two LPRT top 10 players in Parrilla and Herrera in the final.
Mixed Pro 1-wall Doubles:
The #9 seeded Montoya/Herrera pairing upset three teams to make the final, but then ran into outdoor juggernaut Daniel De La Rosa , paired in one wall with Hollie Scott. The final went breaker, but the #1 ranked IRT pro outslugged his Mexican counterparts and led his team to the title.
Men’s 3-wall Singles:
10 brave souls entered the most grueling division of the tournament: 3-wall singles. And we got some unexpected results in the early rounds.
In the top half, top seeds Andres Acuña and Mar advanced to the semis as expected, but the bottom half featured #2 and #3 getting upset in the quarters. IRT #2 Conrrado Moscoso took out #3 @Brandon Davis 7,14, while the shock result was relative unknown Mexican lefty Mario Hildago taking out first #7 @Jeremy McGlothin and then #2 Gerhardt 8,14 to advance to the semis against Conrrado. Hildago hasn’t had a top-level tournament result since the 2017 Mexican Nationals and plays out of Juarez, but impressed with his diving and shot making to take out two really solid outdoor players.
In the semis, Outdoor Nationals singles champ Acuna took out Beach Bash singles finalist Mar in two close games, while Outdoor newcomer Moscoso (the #2 ranked IRT player on tour) cruised to a victory over Hildago to make the final.
In the final, two IRT regulars took to battle in the sun. Acuna mounted a huge comeback to force a tiebreaker, when Conrrado finally started to go to more of an “outdoor” style serve that threw the Costa Rican off balance and drove him to victory. Moscoso adds an outdoor singles title to his growing collection of pro titles in 2022.
Women’s 3-wall Singles:
In the end it was #1 vs #2, but not before #1 Carla Munoz escaped the semis by the skin of her teeth, edging Virginia’s Kelani Lawrence 11-10 in the breaker.
Fittingly, Munoz faced @Janel Tisinger-Ledkins in the final. Tisinger owns no less than 12 outdoor major singles titles, while Munoz has won three of the last four competed. It was the current belt holder versus the former belt holder … and Munoz came out on top in a 11-8 bruiser on the show court Sunday Morning.
A quick run through some of the other main divisions played here, which included some Squash57, Paddleball, and some combined men’s divisions that feature nearly as strong of draws as the pros:
CPRT Pro Doubles:
Beltran and Soda Man ran to the finals in CPRT as the #3 seed, but then had to default after Alvi’s arm injury. #1 seeds and dual Hall of Famers Sostre & Solis win the title by injury walkover.
Combined 75+ Men’s Doubles: The last show court/broadcast final of the weekend featured one of the best 75+ teams from Florida versus one of the best from SoCal. The McDonald brothers Chris and Greg teamed up to face Patrick Allin and “Sweet” Lou Orosco in the 75+ final. The McDonalds are famous for their short-court positioning, standing just a few feet behind the service line, while Allin /Orosco feature strong forehands and sharp shooting. A back and forth affair went almost to the full distance, with the Huntington Beach lefty/righty pair topping the McDonalds 11-9 in the breaker.
Men’s Open Doubles: Paddleball specialist Emmett Coe teamed with SoCal car enthusiast Cesar Chavez to win the Open doubles. They topped strong Florida pairing of @Yasmani Perez and Javier Trujillo.
A new sport for Vegas 2022: Squash 57. For those not familiar, its basically racquetball on a racquetball court with a squash tin and a deadened racquetball (I believe they took a Gearbox black racquetball and punched a hole in it). The result is a fun variant of our sport, featuring long, tactical rallies and lots of endurance requirements. The sport plays rally scoring due to its long rallies (just as squash does) and its players relied less on power and more on control to win.
The “upper” division was won by Manilla/Riffel, who outlasted Sostre and Vegas legend Brian Pineda in the final 5,4,4.
Paddleball Men’s Doubles: The San Diego paddleball experts @Sebastian Fernandez and @Jeremy McGlothin won the title in a walkover as Beltran had to drop after injuring his arm.
Paddleball Mixed Doubles: Paddleball hall of famer @Aaron Embry teamed with his regular partner @Roxanne Rehling to win the 3-team mixed paddleball open round robin.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, with both the IRT and LPRT crews in place. @Pablo Fajre and wife @Angelia Grisar worked tirelessly all weekend, as did @Alexis Iwaasa on the IRT side. I’d like to thank all my co-announcers on the weekend, which included the likes of Brian Pineda, Marcos Gravier, Joe Young, William Rolon, Mikey D, and Carla Munoz for the final match.
On the LPRT side, @JTRball was front and center all week, aided by @Leo Vazquez, Sudsy Monchik, Mikey-D, TJ Baumbaugh, and others on the LPRT feed from court 1.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors Mike Coulter, Peggine Tellez, and all the @3wallball staff for putting this event on!
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
The IRT is back in action starting this Thursday, coming to you live from Sarasota in the Dovetail Open.
Thanks to all the sponsors who make this event possible. A full list is here on the R2 tournament page, but here’s a list of them.
– @KWM Gutterman Inc. and its owner Keith Minor , the title sponsor of this event. Keith is a great benefactor to multiple orgs in our sport, is an avid player and was here all weekend playing and watching.
– @AGE Solutions and proprietor Andy Gomer ; a frequent sponsor of DC-area and East coast programming.
– Ahern Rentals , who provided lots of the “stuff” that makes this tournament possible.
– Pro Kennex as the presenting sponsor, with Mike Martinez on the grounds all weekend supporting his many PK players.
– @Soda man and @Coffee Girl vending services, with proprietor @Rick Koll active in multiple pro draws in addition to his constant support of outdoor events on the west coast.
– @LPL Financial and proprietor @Rosco Halsey , who I got to meet at dinner one night and who loves the sport.
Also thanks to the many silver sponsors on the weekend, which include @Team dovetail ad Mike Kinkin , @Melissa’s Produce for providing fruit and snacks, The Root Team and @RaRandy R , who supports so much for our sport, APcom /@MZ cCompita Mz and their venerable owner @Abel Perez , a great guy from San Antonio who loves one wall. Sean Love racquetball, Philip’s Plastics and @Progressive Cabinet Corporation fill out hte rest of the silver sponsors.
The pro draws are stacked on both sides this year, which will make the tournament a neutral viewer’s paradise. #1 Men’s pro double seeds Daniel de la Rosa and @Alvaro Beltran face a tall road ahead, with the top of their men’s pro doubles draw completely stacked with talent. The Women’s Pro doubles draw features at least 5 teams with reasonable expectations to win it all; one of these favorites is not even going to make the semis.
So, tune in all weekend. Follow both the @IntInternational Racquetball Tour and the LPRT to get live broadcast announcements: both teams are here and broadcasting both show courts.
One last thing: see this link for the 2022 event Media Guide, a huge program with a ton of biographical and WOR historical data.
Hello! I’m a few days late to this preview … but now that the knockout brackets have been set, i thought i’d set the stage for the rest of this week. The 2022 Worlds tournament is the 21st iteration of the tournament. The first one was in 1981, held at the inaugural World Games in Santa Clara, then the second held three years later in 1984 in Sacramento (it didn’t move far). From there, it has been regularly held every two years at increasingly distant spots in the world from Racquetball’s origin in the states. Places like Germany, Venezuela, Bolivia, South Korea, Colombia, Guatemala, and Ireland have held the event over the years. The USA has now hosted it four times .. but none since 1996. Canada has hosted it twice. But this year it is in San Luis Potosi, Mexico’s hotbed of racquetball, which now hosts this event for the third time. SLP was set to host in 2020 but Covid knocked the racquetball world for a loop, but here we are, back in SLP and at the amazingly beautiful La Loma Sports Center. This being racquetball … it wouldn’t be an international event without some interesting stories. In the lead-up to this event, we discovered that:
The FMR (Mexico’s federation) is badly in arrears in its payments and paperwork with CONADE (the Mexican equivalent nationals porting body to the US’s US Olympic Committee). This was discovered when the entire Mexican team went to gofundme/facebook to ask for funds to cover their travel with a week’s notice. The FMR and CONADE traded accusations in the media, each disputing the other’s story.
The Colombian Federation apparently has dissolved, meaning that the two frequent ladies representatives Cristina Amaya and @Maria Paz Riquelme not only had to fund their own trip … but they had to cover their own and their association’s fees to the IRF which together are thousands of dollars). Not surprisingly, there are no Male Colombian competitors, robbing the worlds of the typical presence of @Mario Mercado , @Sebastian Franco , @Eduardo Garay (if he still even represents Colombia) , or lately Gerson Miranda , who just switched from Bolivia last year. Not good.
The European Federation announced that they were not sending any teams this year … but that didn’t stop @Fabian Balmori from coming to represent Spain. Balmori represented Venezuela at various international events from 1993 until 2008, and has two IRF Men’s singles titles to his credit (in the 1993 and 1998 Central American & Caribbean Games events).
The IRF has come to its senses and now uses R2; here’s the link https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39914
Quick recap of the interesting machinations of the RR groups before we get to knockout predictions. Note: the top 2 competitors from each group advance to the knockouts, while the non-qualifying players/teams move to the consolation knockout brackets. In Men’s Singles:
#2 seed and defending World champ @Andres Acuna was upset in the RRs by Ecuadorian @Jose Daniel Ugalde in five games. Big-time upset and this will shake up the bottom-side of the draw.
Argentina’s Diego Garcia was surprisingly eliminated inthe group stage.
Japan’s @Michimue Kono upset the #1 seed @Ssergio.acun in his group, and then Canadian @Kurtis Cullen had an amazing down-two-games come-back to win the group and the top seed; final score against Acuna was (7),(7),9,0,0. Sounds like a possible injury here; we’ll see what the knockouts bring.
Most of the rest of the groups went chalk, with #1 overall seed @RRocky Cars and IRT #1 ranked pro @DanielDaniel de la Rosa giving up the fewest points (36 and 37 respectively) in the group stage. In Women’s Singles, only a couple of notable results in a very chalk-y RR stage:
I was surprised @VValeria Centellas got a win over Steffany Barrios (formerly Angelica) ; big win that hopefully propels her to success in the knockouts.
A solid win byAna Gabriela Martinez in the group stage to topple current #2 LPRT player @AleAlexandra Herrera , a 5-game see-saw affair.
Both Cuban entrants played their first couple of matches , then no showed. Turns out, they used this opportunity to defect. Bravo to them, and I hope they find success. In Men’s Doubles:
Kind of surprised the Ecuadorian Men’s team didn’t fare better, after their excellent runs in past events.
The Canada-USA match was the highlight of the opening round, with both teams really powering the ball. Hope to see this matchup again. In Women’s Doubles:
Two of the groups went chalk/predictably, but Group 2 featured three teams to go 2-1, beating each other up and forcing the places to go down to points differential. In Mixed Doubles:
– Slightly surprised that the Bolivian team of Moscoso/Daza outlasted the Canadian team of Murray/Lambert.
Predictions/Knockout Preview Lets run through the knockout draws and make some predictions. Men’s Singles: The quarters look to be great.
#1 @Rocky Carson , who owns 8 IRF singles titles, likely faces Keller, a 2-time PARC champ. Carson has never lost to Keller, and should advance here.
#5 @DanieDaniel de la Rosa , who owns 3 IRF titles, likely faces defending champ Acuna,, who should advance as the #13 seed in the 16s over Canada’s @Kurtis Cullen . I don’t see DLR losing here.
#3 @Alejandro Landa faces a very stiff challenge against #6 Conrrado Moscoso in what should be the best match of the round. Landa has downed Moscoso two straight events, but neither has been in the race-to-11 rally scoring method. I think the altitude and pace of Moscoso works to his favor and he gets the upset here.
For his excellent RR finish earning him the #2 seed, Ecuador’s @Jose Daniel Ugalde is set to face 2-time IRF champ Rodrigo Montoya , who always elevates his game in IRF events. Montoya to advance. In the semis:
DLR should advance past Carson, though Rocky skipped out on Doubles specifically to focus on singles here while Daniel is still pulling double duty. On paper this is a DLR win .. but Rocky got a win over DLR back in Chicago in March. Could go either way.
Montoya has shown a propensity to control Moscoso … but Conrrado has turned the tide. These two met in the semis of PARC in April, a close 3-game win for the Bolivian, and I predict the same here.
In the final: DLR vs Moscoso is a fitting final, a contrast in styles. I think DLR’s patience and maturity on the courts will earn him a close win, similar to the way he ground out a win the last time they played, which was in Denver, at altitude, in Aug 2021.
In Women’s singles, as with the Men’s, the quarters are going to be great:
#1 Erika Manilla will have her hands full with the likely play-in winner Barrios (who has to top Chilean vet @Carla Munoz first). Manilla topped Barrios in Vero Beach … but Barrios just won the PARC event (albeit on home soil). A coin flip, but Manilla is slightly favored.
The #1 LPRT player @Paola LPaola Longoria is seeded 5th in the knockouts but should have little trouble topping #4 Centellas.
#3 Rhonda Rajsich faces a tall task in #6 Gaby Martinez; this should be an upset by seed.
Despite the seeds, #7 Herrera should make quick work of #2 Mendez. In the semis:
Longoria over Manilla; Erika has exploded onto the women’s scene, but isn’t ready to beat Paola, especially on home soil.
Martinez over Herrera: this would be an upset by seed, and by LPRT ranking … but Martinez has had consistent success over Alexandra and is an excellent international player.
Final: a rematch of the famous 2018 worlds title for Gaby, her sole career win over Longoria. Not this time: Longoria will not be stopped in her home town.
Men’s Doubles prediction: I think seeds will hold to the semis. There we get some awesome matches.
#1 Mexico should advance to the final over #4 USA. @Alvaro Beltran is seeking to go out on top in his final World tournament.
#3 Canada is looking really strong and should topple #2 Bolivia.
In the final, I like DLR/Beltran
Women’s Doubles prediction: its hard not to predict a Mexico-USA final, but these teams will have to beat some solid teams to get there. Longoria/Salas are pretty unbeatable right now, unless their opponents are Herrera/Mejia, so i’ll predict them to top Lawrence/Scott in the final.
Mixed Doubles prediction: I think Mexico is a shoe-in for the final from the top, but any of three teams (USA, Canada, or Bolivia) could win from the bottom. Whoever advances though will be hard pressed to beat Montoya and Salas.
Streaming is being done by the IRT team for this event (thanks to Pablo Favre ) and the lead broadcasters are the excellent @Gary Mazaroff and @AlIAlexis Iwaasa . Follow @internaInternational Racquetball Federation on Facebook and sign up for live notifications. 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. Associations International Racquetball Federation – IRF USA Racquetball Racquetball Canada Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #irt #lprt
Welcome to the 2022 Outdoor Nationals! The 48th annual event runs from July 14th – July 17th 2022 at the Marina Park outdoor courts in Huntington Beach, California. This tournament was first held in 1974, on the grounds of Orange Coast College in nearby Costa Mesa, California. It was the brainchild of two kinesiology professors by the names of Bob Wetzel and Barry Wallace, who had converted from playing handball to outdoor 3-wall racquetball in the early 1970s and were so enamored of the sport that they began teaching it at the college.
They organized the first ever “National Championship” to be held on the July 4th weekend in 1974, and convinced all the top indoor pros of the day to compete in it as well. After much cajoling, Bob Kendler (head of the NRC, which was the main “pro tour” of the day) signed off on the event and encouraged his players to attend. The first Outdoor Nationals included a who’s who of the top “indoor” pros of the day, including historic names like Charlie Brumfield, Bill Schmidtke, Steve Keeley, Steve Serot, Craig McCoy, Dr. Bud Muehleisen, and a precocious 16-yr old named Marty Hogan, who was just about to take over the pro tour and forever transform the sport. These top NRC pros competed with the best outdoor players of the day, a list that included Wallace and Wetzel, Jim Carson (who would later become the director of this tournament for a number of years), R.O. Carson (father of Rocky Carson), Rich Carson (R.O.’s brother and Rocky’s uncle), and Mark Susson. In the end, Brumfield topped Serot to take the first ever Outdoor Nationals singles title. Brumfield also teamed with his long-time doubles parter Dr. Bud to win the first pro doubles title. After some time, the tournament moved from the Orange Coast college to nearby Golden West College, and then in 2006 moved to its current location in Marina Park. This will be the 16th iteration of this event that has been held at Marina Park, and the pink and green courts are now the de-facto home of outdoor racquetball in Southern California. The courts are big, very big: the front wall is nearly 23’ tall, the courts are 22 1/2 ‘ wide, and the back line is an inch short of 46 feet, making these courts the largest regularly-played courts in the country. The size of the court (and the height of the front wall) makes for some very specialized strategies, and you’ll see these strategies in play all weekend. The 2022 event is shaping up to be a very strong field, thanks in no part to the two Outdoor Cup Series going on. Outdoor Nationals is the second leg of the LPL Financial LPRT Outdoor Cup, and is also the second leg of the KWM Gutterman Men’s Pro Outdoor Cup. With thousands of dollars on the line going to the best finisher amongst the three Outdoor “Majors,” interest in competing is high. R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38652 Here’s a quick preview of the Men’s and Women’s pro draws (doubles, mixed, and singles). Play starts 9am PST Friday 7/15/22.
The Brackets are not yet available as of this writing so we’ll talk about the leading teams in each draw.
Men’s Pro Doubles Last year, the talented team of Micah Rich/Jason Geis topped the presumed “best doubles team in the world” in Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Ros en route to taking the title. However, Alvi and Daniel got some revenge a few months later, beating Rich & Geis in the Vegas final. Both teams are back for 2022 (presumably as the #1 and #2 seeds), and they’ll be joined by a dozen other top pro teams competing for the title. Some of the teams to watch for this year include:
Andres Acuna/Lalo Portillo : Acuna has proven to be a quick study on the outdoor courts, and Lalo is recovered from a knee injury and should be in full form. These two made the final of the 2022 Beach Bash and are a formidable team.
Rocky Carson/Jesus Ustarroz are a long-time pairing and are 2-time winners here. They continue to play together in the regularly held shootouts on the court and are usually found in the back end of the draws. But they’ve been bedeviled in the latter stages of this event the last few years, losing in the final of 2018 and the semis in both 2019 and 2021. They’ll still be a top seed and will look to get an upset on Saturday of the event.
Brandon Davis/Josh Tucker won this event together in 2018, and Tucker is a constant presence in the semis of this event. He’s been a semi-finalist or better ten times since 2007, with three titles. Davis is no slouch either; he’s been in the semis or better five times since 2011. This is the team nobody wants to see in the quarters, or perhaps at all in this tournament. They’re both frequent players on the Marina Park courts and are cerebral tacticians when it comes to the outdoor genre.
Greg Solis/Scott Davis: Solis has 6 Men’s titles dating to 1995, and made the final last year with Tucker. This year he’s entered with Brandon’s brother Scott, himself also a mainstay in the quarters and semis of this event and a finalist in 2014.
Andree Parrilla/Robert Sostre: Parrilla doesn’t have much outdoor pedigree, but Sostre certainly does. He’s won no less than 11 Men’s Major outdoor titles in his career, and is now teamed up with one of the most skilled indoor pros out there.
Don’t forget about solid pairings such as Natera/Fernandez, Coe/Koll, and Lavely/Gerhardt, all of whom are solid teams.
From the round of 16 onwards, there are no easy matches at Outdoor Nationals. This will be a neutral’s paradise to watch from afar.
Women’s Pro Doubles Last year, Michelle De La Rosa/Carla Munoz cruised to the Women’s doubles title, dominating the 5-team round robin. This year the draw will be significantly deeper, with a number of LPRT players pouring into the draw. Here’s some teams to watch for:
Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott: the newly crowned USA National indoor champs are teaming up to give it a go in outdoor, and Scott’s one-wall pedigree should help power this team.
Jessica Parrilla/Maria Renee Rodriguez are teaming up for the first time to compete here this weekend. Parrilla has competed in outdoor before, while this is a first for MRR.
– Heather Mahoney/Jazmine Trevino bring some California presence to this draw. Mahoney is fresh off Junior Nationals, where she captured the 18U title with ease.
Mixed Doubles The mixed draw is of course headlined by the husband-wife pair of Daniel & Michelle De La Rosa; they’ve now won 14 major outdoor titles together since 2014, and they have not lost a match together since the final of the 2018 3WB event in Las Vegas. Who can challenge them? Here’s the teams shooting for an upset this weekend:
Rick “Soda Man” Koll/Maria Renee Rodriguez: Koll always competes well in Mixed and has a number of titles to his credit. MRR is newer to outdoor but may prove to be a quick study.
Micah Rich/Kelani Lawrence: this could be my pick to make some noise this weekend. Rich of course is one of the best outdoor players out there, while Kelani can hold her own against any female player on the right side.
Alan Natera/Carla Munoz: for years Munoz has played with Sostre in mixed and was a regular finalist. Now she’s trading the hall of famer for her husband in Natera (understandable), and will look to make it an all husband-wife affair in the finals against the DLRs.
Andree & Jessica Parrilla: perhaps the best brother-sister combination in the history of the sport teams up to play mixed in California; these are two top 10 touring pros who both can play.
Eduardo Portillo/Hollie Scott: Scott is quickly becoming an outdoor force, and Portillo can hang with most any player.
Robert Sostre and …. A game day decision to see who pairs with Sostre. As of this writing, the hall of famer and multi-mixed titlist was seeking a partner. Sostre can carry a player to the final; can he find a partner to break through and win it? Men’s Singles features 8 brave players battling it out on the massive Marina Park courts. And there’s some big-time names in this draw. World Games champ Acuna, IRT #2 Parrilla, Hall of Famer Sostre, and fellow Hall of Famer Greg Solis are the favorites here. Solis is searching for that elusive singles title; he’s been a runner-up several times.
Women’s Singles: Carla Munoz is back to defend her 2021 singles title, and she’s got a slew of regular touring pros challenging her for the 2022 title. Lawrence, Parrilla, Rodriguez, and Scott are in the draw, along with outdoor specialists Victoria Rodriguez and Mexican Junior Angela Ortega. Scott has won the last three Beach Bash singles titles, but 3-wall is a different beast in singles than one-wall. This should be a competitive draw.
Look for Streaming on 3Wall Ball , led by the invaluable @jt rball. Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Jesus Ustarroz and @geoff Osberg for putting this event on! They’ve been running Outdoor Nationals for 10 years now and continue to do a fantastic job. Thanks to @3WBall and Mike Coulter and Peggine Tellez for your help as well. 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. Associations @WOR – World Outdoor RacqueWoR @USA Racquetball onewallball / Ruben Pagan 3wallball / Mike Coulter / mc vegas AGE Solutions / Andy Gomer team root / Randy Root KWM Gutterman / Keith Minor APCON/MZ Companies / Abel Perez Team Dovetail / Mike Kinkin Daily Racquetball Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor
r2sports home page for all the brackets: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39341
Congrats to your @USA Racquetball Junior National winners on the weekend. Champions were crowned in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles for six age groups on the weekend, so lots of champions to recognize.
This post is official notification that we’ve added the data to the database at www.proracquetballstats.com . This is the first time we’ve had a 21U junior division, so we’ve also made a bunch of coding changes to the behavior of the site. Please let us know if you see any issues or cannot see data as expected.
A reminder on our data entry policies for juniors: we put in full brackets for 14+ and older divisions, just the finalists for younger divisions, and just the finalists for doubles. The finalists of each Singles division and the Champions of each Doubles division qualify for the US Junior National team, and have first right of refusal to compete at Worlds in November. Singles
Boys 21U: Micah Farmer
Boys 18U: Josh Shea
Boys 16U: Nikhil Prasad
Boys 14U: Nathan Rykus
Boys 12U: Vaishant Mangalampalli
Boys 10U: Noah Jakola
Girls 21U: Annie Roberts
Girls 18U: Heather Mahoney
Girls 16U: Naomi Ros
Girls 14U: Andrea Perez-Picon
Girls 12U: Aarya Shetty Boys/Girls Doubles
Boys 21U: Assuan Castaneda & Micah Farmer
Boys 18U: Josh Shea & Paul Saraceno
Boys 16U: Gatlin Sutherland & Nikhil Prasad
Boys 14U: Eshan Ali & Nathan Rykhus
Boys 12U: Lucas Frost-Biskup & Vaishant Mangalampalli
Girls 21U: Graci Wargo & Shane Diaz
Girls 18U: Heather Mahoney & Julia Stein
Girls 16U: Ava Kaiser & Naomi Ros
Girls 14U: Aarya Shetty & Sarah Bawa Mixed Doubles
Mixed 21U: Shane Diaz & Micah Farmer
Mixed 18U: Heather Mahoney & Timmy Hansen
Mixed 16U: Naomi Ros & Cole Sendrey
Mixed 14U: Montserrat Torres & Axel Lopez
Mixed 12U: Aarya Shetty & Vaishant Mangalampalli
The best ways to see all the winners in one place are via the Junior Matrix Reports at the website. Click here: https://rball.pro/mey for the Boys Junior winner’s matrix for all USA junior titles, dating back to 1974. Click here: https://rball.pro/cpf for the same report for the Girls.
However, for each of the singles draws you can see all the match results by pulling down the event at the main Junior home page. Go here, then hit the event pulldown: http://rb.gy/rnps1f
Here’s some commentary on the Boys singles divisions one by one. Boys 21U: Micah Farmer held serve as the #1 seed and held off #4 Castenada in a 5-gamer in the semis and then Elkins in the final for the win. Boys 18U came down to #1 vs #2 as predicted, and they played a barn burner. NY’s Josh Shea cruised to the first two games to make it look like it’d be laugher, but defending champ @Timmy Hansen took the next two to force the 5th. There, Shea ground out an 11-7 win for his first Junior National title. Boys 16U came down to 1v2 in the final, and #1 Nikhil Prasad had to come back from 2-1 games down to secure the title over #2 @Gatlin Sunderland. Prasad repeats as 16U champ and secures his 7th career junior national singles title. Boys 14U has a new titlist, as #2 Nathan Rykhus moved up from 12U and defeated the defending champion #1 Eshan Ali in a 5-game barn burner. This is Rykhus’ third junior singles title, and interestingly his 3rd in a row in new age groups. Boys 12U was 1v2 in the final, with Fremont’s Vaishant Mangalampalli taking his first junior national title over #2 seed Alejandro Robles Pico.
Boys 10Udb’s RR group was taken by Texan Noah Jakola. Fellow Texan Fernando Miguel Carpena finished 2nd.
Here’s some thoughts on the Girls Singles draws: Girls 21U: @Annie Roberts took the solid RR group, with wins over fellow LPRT part timers like Diaz, Wargo, and Perez-Picon. Solid win. Girls 18U Heather Mahoney returned to the winner’s circle, topping #2 Julia Stein in the final to secure her 9th Junior National title and her first since 2019. She can’t reach the all-time record for junior titles by a US Female (@Adrienne Haynes with 11) but she can get close with one more 18U title. Girls 16U was taken by #1 @Naomi Ros to repeat as 16U titlist. She topped #2 Ava Kaiser in the final. Ros now holds 2 US junior national titles and at least 2 Mexican Junior National titles in younger ages (our records are incomplete). Girls 14U was taken by #1 Andrea Perez-Picon in dominant fashion, without dropping a game. She secures her 6th US Junior National title and has a chance at the all-time record if she can run the table here on out. Girls 12U was taken by Arya Shetty, who won the 4-person RR. Girls 10U was won by Anum Mitha, who topped Anna Sikorski h2h for the title.
We also capture Junior Doubles data, but only the winners of the draws going back in time. https://rball.pro/o0y
Click on the PRS home page for Junior Doubles results and you can pull up winners by division.
Congrats to all the new members of the Junior National team. They qualify to represent the US at World Juniors in November, which apparently will be at the new facility in Guatemala City (though the IRF has not officially announced the site).
Thanks to @Connor Shane for running the event, thanks to Leo Vazquez for streaming and broadcasting all weekend.
Next up? Per our handy master racquetball calendar … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/ Next up on the Racquetball calendar is a break for the 4th of July weekend, then the World Games happen in Birmingham from 7/10 to 7/13, then the big Outdoor Nationals happens in Huntington Beach!
Mixed Doubles:David Serra/Disney Linares The Canadian Nationals also had Junior nationals, awarding the following Junior titlists:
Girls 21U: Cassie Prentice
Girls 16U: Ofelia Wilscam
Girls 14U: Lahni Buller
Boys 18U: Nathan Jauvin
Boys 16U: Asher Pocsai
Trackie home page for event: https://www.trackie.com/…/racquetball-canada…/476421/…
Lets do some quick commentary on each draw.
Men’s Singles: PRS event report: http://rball.pro/CF063C No real surprises here; #1 @Samuel Murray topped #2 @Coby Iwaasa for the fourth straight time. The Men’s draw was missing some regulars (Castro, the Landeryou brothers, Bousquets), but featured the expected names at the back end.
Men’s Doubles; PRS report: http://rball.pro/5F5739 The Murray brothers secure their third straight Canadian men’s doubles title together, and Sam gets his 6th for his career, by topping Iwaasa and Kurtis Cullen in the final.
Women’s Singles: PRS report: http://rball.pro/EEB08C Former LPRT #2 Dr. @Frederique Lambert won her fourth national singles title, defeating her doubles partner Michele Morissette in the final.
Women’s Doubles: PRS Report: http://rball.pro/7B7355 Lambert gets the double on the weekend, winning both Singles and Doubles. Frederique wins her 3rd career national doubles title, Morissette her 3rd as well, but their first together.
Congrats to your winners and US National team qualifiers on the weekend:
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla over Rhonda Rajsich
Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson/Charlie Pratt
Women’s Doubles: Holly Scott/Kelani Lawrence
Mixed Doubles: Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa
These players qualify to represent the USA at the upcoming 2022 World Games in August in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and at the 2023 Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC) to be held in April 2023 at a site yet to be announced. (Note: the 2022 World Games participants were determined from the finishes of last year’s Worlds).
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38797
Lets review the draws and give out the direct links into the database for the full draws of results. Men’s Singles Recap: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/F7A26D Seeds held to the quarters (though #6 seed Thomas Carter was a no-show), with only one close match in the 16s, that being #7 Sam Bredenbeck going the distance to take out #10 Danny Lavely in five. In the quarters, no real surprises as the top 3 seeds advanced. #5 Manilla got a mid-game injury retirement after #4 Horn pulled something in his leg. In the semis; chalk. Manilla kept it close but #1 Carson won in three, while #2 Landa dominated #3 Bredenbeck to return to the US National team.
In the final, Carson secured his 9th ever US National title, most ever for American Men, by topping Landa in 4. Click here http://rball.pro/455001 for a list of all National title winners across all countries.
Women’s Singles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/173522 7 of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarters without dropping a game; the sole upset by seed was #10 @Shane Diaz, who took out #7 seed @Graci Wargo in three. In the quarters, chalk, as only one top four seed was extended by a game. Up and coming junior @Annie Roberts took a game off of Manilla, otherwise the top US women cruised into the semis as expected. In the semis, Manilla was taken to 4 games but advanced past Scott, who continues to look for her first US title. On the bottom side, a big upset as #2 Lawrence (who had made the final of the last three nationals) was taken out by #3 Rajsich. These two had met as recently as the last LPRT stop, where Kelani dominated Rhonda, but the tables were turned today. In the final, Manilla finished her official ascension to the top of US racquetball with her first National title, a dominant 7,8,1 win over Rhonda. See here http://rball.pro/8C6DC2 for a list of all US national titles.
Rajsich made her 13th national singles final, and guaranteed making the team yet again.
Men’s Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/92C865 The top 4 seeds advanced to the semis without dropping a game. In the semis….chalk, but not without some excitement. #1 Carson/Pratt advanced in four over Manilla/Horn at the top, while #2 Bredenbecks’ staved off three match points in games 4 and 5 to shock the 2020 National titlists and tournament favorites Landa/Monchik 13-11 in the fifth. In the final, the veterans dropped the first game but took the next three to repeat as champions, take their 3rd title together, and for Rocky secure his 13th US doubles title.
Click here for a list of all USA Men’s Doubles champs, dating to 1968: http://rball.pro/589110
Women’s Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/B31897 Seeded teams 1,2,3, and 5 advanced into the semis; the sole upset in the opening round was #5 @Lexi York/@Michelle De la Rosa taking out the #4 seeded U21 team of @Annie Roberts/@Alondra Canchola in four games. In the semis, the #3 seeds scored a mini upset when the 2020 champions @Aimee roehler and @Erika Manilla upset the #2 seeds @Rhonda Rajsich/@Sheryl Lotts. The #1 seeded team of Scott/Lawrence, who eneted the event ranked #1 and #2 in USA Women’s doubles, dropped a game but advanced over York and De La Rosa. In the final, #1 took out #3 in four games, giving Scott her first ever National doubles title.
Click here http://rball.pro/8F8065 for a list of all USA Women’s Doubles champs dating to 1972.
Mixed Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/04FD8B Seeded teams 1,2 and 4 advanced to the semis with relative ease, but a big upset in the 3/6 quarter final, as my pre-tournament favorites #3 @Sudsy Monchik and @Kelani Lawrence were upset 11-9 in the fifth by #6 @Sam Bredenbeck and @Lexi York.
In the semis and finals, seeds held to form as #1 Landa/De La Rosa took out the Manilla siblings to claim the first ever Mixed doubles USA crown.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters @Tony Prater and newly elected USAR Board President @Stuart Soloman , plus Team Dovetail’s @Kyle Artzman, who streamed the secondary court for us at home all weekend, plus a shoutout to everyone else who broadcast live off their phones. Thanks to the Tourney Director and USAR National events coordinator Connor Shane for putting this event on!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on 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 … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/ Next weekend is the big Capital City WOR championships in Stratton Woods outside of DC, and then the week after is the big Supermax LPRT Grand Slam in Kansas City, the final event of the 2021-22 LPRT season.
Welcome to the 53rd Annual USA Racquetball National Singles championships! 2019 was the 52nd, then Covid knocked this event out for the last two years. Prior to that, it had been held every year since the first one in 1968 in Milwaukee. But we’re back, and so are the players. 246 participants are entered in Texas, which is the highest National Singles turnout since 2016. That’s great news and a nice sign that perhaps tournament players are ready to come back. The qualifying team draws are stacked, and the event should be a ton of fun with the inclusion of Mixed doubles and the return of some big names. Reminders:
the national team qualifiers will play IRF rally scoring rules, including the “immediately stop on appeal” rule, as much as we may not like them. 3 out of 5 games to 11, win by 2.
the rest of the tournament still plays classical USAR rules.
Seedings were done in singles purely by rank, while Men’s/Women’s doubles gives priority to last year’s finalists if they have returned as a team. There’s no “last year” for Mixed, so its seeded entirely by rankings.
Lets preview the draws. I talked through the draws with @Sudsy Monchik on Monday 5/23/22 (see here for that link: https://www.facebook.com/RacquetballGuy/videos/1451019748650331 )
So, I’ll do some quick predictions here instead of re-hashing an hour long conversation.
Men’s Singles 19 entered, headlined by last year’s finalists #1 @Rocky Carson and #2 Alex Landa . There’s some intriguing round of 16 matches to watch for: look for close matches in the 8/9 Robbie Collins / Nick Riffel match, and in the 7/10 match between Sam Bredenbeck and Danny Lavely , an accomplished player who hasn’t played US Nationals in more than a decade. In the quarters, a potential 4/5 match between @Bobby Horn and @Adam Manilla looks really tough; the two are doubles partners here and are also business partners in their new online training/coaching venture. I think Manilla gets the upset.
Semis and Finals: I’m going chalk, with a repeat of last year’s final between Carson and Landa. I can’t quite see either Manilla or Horn topping Rocky, nor can I see @Jake Bredenbeck beating Landa. Rocky to repeat, since getting onto the team is seemingly more important than winning the title.
Women’s Singles: The US Women’s game has four top competitors in Manilla, Scott, Lawrence, and Rajsich … then a gap to the rest of the field. While there’s some compelling early rounders (Ros vs Roberts and Diaz vs Wargo in matches of rising juniors), the semis were always going to be the “big four” here. Matchups matter: in the 1/4 Scott and Manilla will battle it out in a match that could go either way; the two have split their only two adult meetings, and despite Manilla’s run into the LPRT top 10 she lost badly in the last pro event. Meanwhile in the 2/3 matchup Lawrence has the upper hand against long-time rival Rajsich. Rhonda beat Kelani in 8 of their first 9 meetings, but Kelani has won the last three, including an 0,9 beating at the SC pro stop a few weeks ago.
Look for Manilla vs Lawrence in the final and a first ever national title for Manilla.
Men’s Doubles review Last year’s finalists (Carson/Pratt and the Bredenbeck brothers) are back as the #1 and #2 seeds, with 2020’s champions (Monchik/Landa) pushed to #3. The Bredenbecks may be pushed a bit in the quarters against Diaz/Hansen; Diaz and Jake were long-time playing partners and know each other’s game well, but the seeds should hold to the semis. In one semi, Manilla/Horn have a great shot at upsetting Carson/Pratt; all four players are accomplished veterans, cerebral on the court. In the other semi, we should see a return to the final for Monchik/Landa.
Finals prediction; a repeat of the 2020 semis, with Monchik/Landa topping Carson/Pratt in a tight one.
Women’s Doubles Preview: This draw is all about who’s coming in second, because the #1 seed are the top two female doubles players in the land right now in Scott & Lawrence, and they’re going to win this draw.
The 2/3 semi to determine who makes the final will be intriguing, with Manilla and hall-of-famer Roehler (she the owner of 13 national doubles titles) taking on the veteran Rajsich and Lotts. I like Manilla/Roehler here to make the final, but not to realistically push Scott/Lawrence once t hey get there.
Mixed Doubles Preview Perhaps the most fun draw to preview in a while, since there’s almost no history of these players playing mixed doubles at a high level. We just do not know how the teams will gel, who is better at Mixed than their ranking may indicate, and who isn’t. The quarters will be interesting from the top down, with #1 Landa/De La Rosa getting challenged by Jake and Roehler and #2 Manilla Siblings projected to face veterans Diaz/Rajsich. While we could see some breakers here, i’d expect the top four seeds to the semis. From there, we could see some upsets. I can see #4 Horn/Scott taking out Landa/mDLR, and I can see #3 Monchik/Lawrence topping the Manillas. But I can also see the reverse; we could see 1 v 2 in the final, or 3 v 4 in the final.
I’m picking Monchik/Lawrence to take it over Horn/Scott in the final.
Look for Streaming on USA Racquetball’s page, with a rotating crew of broadcasters for this event to include current USAR board member @Stuart Solomon at the lead.
We’ll preview the other big National event in Canada later this week, once they get through their RRs and have a knockout bracket set.
Associations International Racquetball Tour LPRT Countries USA Racquetball
Men’s Doubles; Samuel Murray & Coby Iwaasa, Canada
Women’s Doubles: Maria Jose Vargas & Natalia Mendez, Argentina
Mixed Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya & Samantha Salas, Mexico
Links to “Category Reports,” which show a history of all current and past PARC finalists, so you can see all 33 such tournaments that have happened since inception in 1986.
Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/F5F5D2
Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/9BC953
Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/68D315
Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/6F9E9F
Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/BA46DA
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092
Men’s Singles: Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/486271 The quarters gave us some unexpected results for sure.
#1 @Conrrado Moscoso took out the upstart Argentinian Diego Garcia in 3.
#5 @Rodrigo Montoya got a very solid win over USA’s @Jake Bredenbeck in three straight. Montoya always seems to play well in these structured international competitions. This sets up a juicy Moscoso-Montoya match that has some interesting history.
Huge upset: #3 @Carlos Keller , 2-time defending champ and playing on home soil, was taken out by Costa Rican @Andres Acuna , and it wasn’t particularly close (11,6,12). I thought Keller was a great bet to three-peat.
– #2 Alejandro Landa held serve against his tough doubles partner, Canadian @SSamuel Murry to setup a rematch of the 2021 World’s final with Acuna.
In the Semis
#1 Moscoso outlasted fellow hard hitting IRT regular #5 Montoya in three close games.
#11 Acuna took the latest salvo in his rivalry against #2 Landa, beating him in four games to move into his second successive major international final. In the Finals… the two players traded 15-14 games to start, then Conrrado turned on the heat in game three, racing to a 15-6 win before finishing off another close game four to take the title. This is his first “major” IRF title in his career.
Fun side note: the two Men’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.
Women’s Singles: Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9C2A60 The knockout quarters featured some HUGE upsets, with both the #2 and #3 seeds going down early.
#1 Maria Jose Vargas cruised past the Bolivian junior @Micaela Meneses to move into the semis.
#4 @Carla Munoz took out the veteran #5 Rhonda Rajsich in four games. Great solid win by Munoz to take out a competitor in Rajsich who always plays tough in these IRF competitions.
#6 @Ana Gabriela Martinez upset #3 Natalia Mendez in a 5-game thriller. Even though these two are very close talent wise, this was a surprising result for me for Mendez to lose on home soil.
The biggest upset of the round on either side though was #2 @Alexandra Herrera , winner of the last two LPRT events and the odds-on favorite here, losing to Bolivian @Angelica Barrios in four. Never underestimate the Bolivian, who made a run to the semis of the Bolivian Iris event as an unknown and typically flies under the radar at these events. In the semis
#1 Vargas continued her quest to win the title in her home town, overcoming a game 1 loss to down Chilean #4 Carla Munoz .
#10 Barrios continued her upset ways, getting her third straight upset-by-seed win, this time against former World champion #6 Guatemalan Martinez. Barrios makes a major international final on home soil to setup an intriguing all-native Bolivian final. In the final…a fantastic back and forth affair that wasn’t settled until 12-10 in the fifth. Barrios gritted out a comeback win in game 4 to push it to a 5th, then kept the ball in play and took advantage of a slightly tight Vargas to win 12-10 and claim her first ever IRF title.
Fun side note: As with the Men, the two Women’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.
Men’s Doubles review Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/E4307D A shocking result in the quarters, with the home-town Bolivian team of @Carlos Keller and @Kadim Carrasco both top doubles players, both of whom are regular IRT touring pros, falling in 3 straight (albeit close) games to the Ecuadorian pair of @Juan Francisco and Jose Daniel Ugalde. Cuevas and Ugalde have been representing Ecuador for a long, long time; Ugalde first played in the 2006 Worlds, Cuevas in juniors since 2011 and this is a great win for them. Otherwise, the #1, #2 and #4 seeds advanced as expected. In the semis …
Team Canada took out #1 USA in three games; despite their seeding they’re the pre-tourney favorites and make it to the ifnal.
Team Ecuador upset #2 Costa Rica to move into the finals. its the first Men’s doubles final in an IRF event since 2016 for Ecuador.
In the final … I thought for sure this was a cake-walk for Canada, but Ecuador won the first and pushed it to a 5th game before falling 11-5 to team Canada. Great showing by Ecuador, making a major IRF final for the first time in years, and congrats to team Canada for returning to the throne.
Women’s Doubles: Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/B73598 No surprises in the quarters, as the top 4 teams (Mex, USA, Bol, Arg) advanced as expected, each in three games. In the semis, two very close matches between the four top Women’s doubles teams resulted in the top two seeds advancing to the final. #1 Mexico dropped the 2nd game but beat Bolivia in four, while the experienced Argentina team squeaked out a win against team USA with two games going 15-14 their way.
In the final … the four LPRT top 10 players, who are quite familiar with each other from years of touring together, battled it out to the very end. Team Argentina made the clutch shots in the 5th to win 11-9 and take the title.
Mixed Doubles: Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/78C637 No surprises in the 16s or quarters really, even though the #3 and #4 seeds lost to lower seeded competition. We knew going in that one of the groups was weaker than the other two, and no Group 3 mixed teams advanced into the semis here. In the semis, some fireworks:
#1 Bolivia blasted #5 Argentina 5,4,5. Just a complete dominant win.
#6 Mexico took got revenge for a RR loss to #2 team USA and advanced to the final by virtue of a technical forfeit for accumulated technical fouls. The IRF referees are very pedantic, and team USA was penalized once too often. The final play that led to the disqualification was arguable, as most hinder calls end up being, and its a shame the match was decided on what I thought was a referee error, but passions must be held in check and referee arguing isn’t as tolerated on the IRF as it is on the pro tours. Landa (per the US Team handbook) may face a lengthy suspension after this incident.
In the final … team Mexico (my pre-tourney favorite) eked out a win over the hard hitting Bolivian team to take the first ever Mixed IRF title.
Despite my publishing this wrap-up … the event continues. After these brackets are done, the “Team Event” commences, returning to IRF competitions for the first time in years. This can be confusing for those who query the Pro Racquetball Stats site: we keep “Team stats” but that’s not the same as a “Team Competition.” Team stats are driven by the accumulated individual accomplishments. We do not track the team event results in the database. Speaking of Team results, here’s the unofficial team winners (based on my working xls):
Men’s Team: Bolivia, Costa Rica, USA. This is by far Costa Rica’s best ever team finish; the only other time they placed was in 1990’s regional competition. Amazingly, Mexico did not place. Costa Rica eked out a 4-point win over USA to claim 2nd.
Women’s Team: Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico. Argentina gets 1st in doubles, 2nd in singles and easily wins. No USA on the podium.
Combined/Overall Team: Bolivia, Argentina, USA. Bolivia runs away with the combined title, with a singles win and a finals mixed appearance. Mexico finishes 4th despite taking the Mixed title and one has to wonder how these results would have gone had Mexico #1 Longoria played.
I’ll load up the full Team Results once they’re blessed by the IRF.
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Next up? After this weekends team competition in Bolivia … Per our handy master racquetball calendar … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
IRT returns to action in two weeks time in Canoga park.