Congrats to your National Team winners on the weekend:
– Men’s Singles: Daniel De La Rosa over Jake Bredenbeck
– Women’s Singles: Hollie Scott over Erika Manilla
– Men’s Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa & Sebastian Fernandez
– Women’s Doubles:Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Rae Scott
– Mixed Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa & Hollie Rae Scott
Congrats to both DLR and Scott, who take triple crowns and secure their right to play all three divisions on next year’s US National team.
The 2024-25 US National team is now set. The winners above along with the singles finalists have first right of refusal for the next set of international events: Worlds in August in San Antonio and then PARC in March or April of 2025 in a city TBD (the upcoming PARC event in two months will still be manned by the previous team, as their national team contracts run from July 1 to June 30th),
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41469
Let’s review the notable matches in the draws.
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/dwf
The Men’s singles draw went mostly chalk, with the top 8 seeds (all of them current or former IRT touring pros) advanced into the quarters with relative ease. The only top 8 seed to even be stretched to a fourth game was in (of course) the 8/9 seed game, as US Junior national team member Cole Sendrey took a game off of veteran lefty Robert Collins but fell in four.
Charlie Pratt got a slight upset in the 4/5 seed quarter, topping Thomas Carter in an upset by seed but probably not on talent. Former top 10 player Anthony Carson took a game off of Manilla, but otherwise the top seeds advanced smoothly. After that, the top wo seeds advanced into the final as expected, with Adam taking a game off of DLR but no real surprises. The only big surprise was in the final, where Daniel really took it to Jake, dominating the final and winning 8,5,5 to claim his second straight USA National title (and his 6th such title after winning Mexican Nationals four times).
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/kwc
The women’s team qualifying was always going to come down to the top four players, as there’s been a bit of a gulf between the echelons comprised of the touring pros to the rising juniors in our sport. And that played out for sure in Arizona, with several top juniors advancing to the quarters but no further.
In the semis, defending champ Manilla was stretched to five games against #4 Michelle Key , who doesn’t always play singles but who certainly pushed Erika on this day, losing 11-8 in the fifth. In the other semi, #3 Hollie Scott upset her doubles partner @Kelani Lawrence in four to secure a return to the national team. In the final, Scott looked dominant in a game one win 11-5, but then a tweaked back forced Manilla to retire. It’s Scotts first ever national title and part of a triple crown weekend for her after being shut out of last year’s national team.
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/89q
The Men’s doubles draw went pretty much as expected, without any real surprises. #4 Pratt & Carson won a close three games over #5 Carter & Sendrey, while the dual-lefty team of Manilla & Carter dropped a game to the San Antonio pair of DJ Mendoza and Brennan Jennings before moving on. The two top seeds #1 Jake & Sam Bredenbeck and #2 DLR & Fernandez each dropped a game in the semis but weren’t seriously challenged.
In the final, the #2 seeded DLR & Fernandez team (which should have been #1 if the seeding had been done on pure points) dominated the Bredenbeck brothers 7,3,5 to take the title with relative ease. DLR dominated for huge stretches, Fernandez manned the right side and out-hit Sam Bredenbeck on the forehand, and Jake couldn’t do enough to impact the outcome. DLR wins his second straight Men’s doubles title, while Sebastian qualifies for an Adult national team for the first time in his career, Mexico or USA. Jake finishes as national doubles runner up for the 5th time in the last 6 years.
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/xmg
The Women’s doubles draw was always set up to be a rematch of last year’s title match between defending champs Manilla & Key and the 2022 champs Lawrence & Scott. In a back and forth final that featured a ton of shot making and athleticism. Scott & Lawrence outlasted Manilla & Key to win in four, with the last game going 15-13 before a winning return of serve kill shot sealed the title. Scott returns to the national team after a year’s absence, while Key is shut out of the national team for this cycle.
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/3wa
The Mixed Team qualifier was the first to get kicked off, and was done by Thursday night. It also featured some of the biggest upsets all weekend. Here’s a quick run-through.
In the quarters, only the 4/5 match featured any drama, and it went the distance. #4 Thomas Carter and @Kelani Lawrence took a back and forth match 11-8 in the fifth over #5 Sam Bredenbeck and Lexi York to move on. This setup what appeared to be a mismatch in the semis against the defending champs and #1 seeds Adam Manilla and @EErika Manila … but, as they say, “that’s why they play the games.” Carter and Lawrence, frankly, thumped the Manillas 6,6,(9),4 to move into the final.
From the bottom side, the expected grudge match between #2 @Daniel De La Rosa and @Hollie Rae Scott and #3 @Jake Bredenbeck & Michelle Key also went the distance, with DLR/Scott surviving 11-8 in the fifth amidst some questionable calls.
In the final … DLR & Scott (who lost last year’s Mixed finals in a close one) made fast work of Carter & Lawrence 4,11,5 to claim the title. Scott returns to the National team after a year away, and we have our third straight different set of Mixed US National winners in as many years.
Other notable draws:
– Men’s Open: Texan Brennan Jennings took out defending National open champ @Ty Hedalen in the semis and then US Junior national team member and fellow Texan @Dj Mendoz to take the title.
– Women’s Open: @Carlee Jansz took the title in an injury walkover against #1 seed Cheyenne Hayes .
– Men’s Open Doubles: Utah-based @Kyle Taylor & Scott Burr shocked the field by taking out the #1, #2 and #4 seeds en route to winning the title. In the final they topped a very tough Jeff Stark and @Timmy Hansen team.
– Women’s Open Doubles: Jazmin Trevino &Jessica Chen topped Arizona-based Neils and Jansz for the Open doubles title.
– Mixed Open Doubles: Will Reynolds & Shane Diaz took the title over #2 seeded Rebecca Bowman & Lee Meinerz.
– Congrats to all the legends to came to play in the various doubles divisions; the tournament was blessed by a slew of past pro champs like @Kane Waselenchuk , Cliff Swain , Sudsy Monchik , Rocky Carson and Ruben Gonzalez . These players all took various titles along the way in age group divisions. However, most of them came together to compete in the Centurion+ Open division, and the bragging rights goes to Kane, who paired with Arizona’s Daniel Parker to top Rocky and his partner @Charles George in the final.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Jonathan Greenberg , Mike Grisz and @Karen Grisz for organizing and running this event.
Thanks to the Tourney Sponsor @Keith Minor and @Kwm Gutterman . Without you, we do not have a sport.
Thanks for all the streaming from the @International Racquetball Tour crew, with Pablo Fajre doing the setup and the behind-the-scenes, with a great crew of commentators that included Rocky Carson , Mike Kinkin , Richard Eisemann , Sandy Rios , Carrie Wegener Reitmeier , DJ Mendoza, Cole Sendrey, and others that I missed.
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
We get a couple weeks off from any major racquetball event, then we kick into March, which is as busy a month as i can remember.