2024 50th Annual Outdoor Nationals Recap

Florida’s Chris McDonald had a dominant weekend at Outdoor Nationals. Photo 2023 Outdoor Nats via Lara

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Men’s Pro Doubles: Rocky Carson & Kane Waselenchuk

– Women’s Pro Doubles: Carla Munoz & Brenda Laime

– Mixed Pro Doubles: Chris McDonald & Michelle Key

– Men’s Singles: Eduardo Portillo

– Women’s Singles: Carla Munoz

– CPRT: Chris McDonald & Kane Waselenchuk

A big weekend for the McDonald clan, who took home a slew of titles. Munoz got the double and missed out on a Triple Crown by one division. Two wins for King Kane, adding his name to the outdoor record books, and yet another title for Rocky.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42032

ProRacquetballStats.com Match Reports by Pro division (notification that the results have been loaded to the database):

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/s0x

– Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/km7

– Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/6zj

– Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/5tx

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

Triple Crown Reports: (these show the winners of all Pro divisions at all WOR outdoor majors across time)

– Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/j47

– Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/2vv

– Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/y43

– Men’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/86z

– Women’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/x8g


Lets do a quick recap of the pro draws.

Men’s Pro Doubles:

Thanks to very balanced seeding, there were really no surprises to the semis in the Men’s pro Doubles draw. All top 4 seeds advanced as expected, and only one tie-breaker blip in an earlier round forced one of the favorites to stress.

In the semis, the #1 seeds and defending champs @Josh Tucker and Brandon Davis struggled with the veteran/youth combination of Mexican #4 seeds @Alvaro Beltran and @Eduardo Portillo , losing the first game 13 before grinding out a three game win. In the bottom semi, two-time Outdoor Nats pro winners @Micah Rich and @Jason Geis faced off in a highly anticipated match against 5-time Outdoor Nats pro

winner @Rocky Carson and 14-time IRT tour champ Kane Waselenchuk . Kane first played outdoor just a few years ago, coming out to Las Vegas during the Covid year to make a huge run to the final before falling to the DLR/Beltran team. He came to Huntington Beach last year, but struggled to gel with Alvaro and lost early to the same team they played on Sunday (Jason and Micah). In 2024, with a more natural left-sided partner in Rocky, Kane was unbeatable. Unlike in years past, when Kane’s court coverage was a liability, he was deadly today, and any ball that ventured to the right side of the court that was below his shoulders was basically a roll out. Rich and Jason worked primarily to Rocky, but Rocky’s defensive game is top notch, and there was just only so many shoulder height overheads Micah could take in the middle of the court before one popped over to Kane for the kill. The final score line was 7,7, and the two legends of the sport were moving on.

In the final, Kane & Rocky white-washed the defending champs in game one before they made the adjustments needed to get back into the match. Like one would expect, Davis & Tucker ground their way to a game two win to force a breaker. There, Rocky & Kane took back over and won the title 11-7. Rocky claims his 6th Outdoor Nationals doubles title, tying him with Greg Solis and Clubber Lane for 2nd all time. Meanwhile, Like indoor legends Brumfield, Swain, Carson, Beltran, and De La Rosa before him, Kane got to put his signature on the champion’s surfboard for the first time.


Women’s Pro Doubles:

Carla Munoz won her 6th straight Women’s Pro doubles title at Outdoor Nationals, and her third in a row with a different partner, by teaming with Brenda Laime to down her former partner Michelle Key playing with @Katie Neils in a close 11,14 match Sunday morning.


Mixed Pro Doubles

Chris McDonald played his patented “pressure defense” game while teaming with the best and most decorated female doubles outdoor player of all time in Michelle Key to take the final in dominant fashion over the #1 seeds Rich & Munoz, denying Munoz the triple crown on the weekend. Final score: 9,5.


Men’s Singles

In his first ever foray into outdoor singles, @International Racquetball Tour veteran Eduardo “Lalo” Portillo made fast work of the competition to take the title. He downed Hall of Famer Greg Solis in the semis 4,6 and then toppled the defending champ and #1 seed Danny Lavely 3,5 in the final.

Portillo is now the 8th different man to win this title in the last 8 years it has been held. Before him was Lavely, Acuna, Diaz, Covid, Tucker, Avila, Beltran, and then Rocky … who won it 10 out of 11 years dating back to 2007 and beyond.


Women’s Singles

#1 seed Carla muñoz won her 3rd Women’s pro singles title at Outdoor Nationals in four years, topping fellow LPRT pro Brenda Laime 7,14 for the title.


Other Major Draws in California:

– CPRT: the future Vegas World Team Racquetball team KWM pair of McDonald and Waselenchuk used this draw to get acclimated as partners, and they ran through the draw learning each other as they went to end up with the title. After topping the NorCal based Torres/Ramos, they vanquished the top seeds Tucker & Solis 14,6. In the final, they faced 2-time pro champs Carson & Ustarroz, who have played together for many years. The two legend-led pairs split the first two games before the fire of McDonald caught ahold and they raced to an 11-3 tie-breaker win for the title.

– Men’s 75s: Chris McDonald made it three titles on the weekend, teaming with his younger brother Jack Mcdonald to take the 75+ division. They beat Florida’s Max Heymann and Sweet @Lou Orosco in the final.

– Men’s 100/Centurion: Heymann went one step further than he did in 75s, teaming with @Gabe Medina to win the 100s.

– Men’s Open: Jack McDonald and Lou Orosco both claimed a second title on the weekend, winning the Open Doubles crown.

– Men’s Paddleball “Upper” title: Danny Lavely & Jeremy McGlothin won an injury-riddled Paddleball Upper division title, getting a walk-over in the final when Brian pineda got hurt earlier in the weekend.

– Mixed Paddleball upper title: San Diego pair Aaron Hager & Roxanne Rehling surprised the draw by taking the title as the #5 seeds.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from various fans and players. Outdoor mavens did a great job of sharing the streams so we could follow along.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Geoff Osberg and Jesus Ustarroz for putting this event on, and congratulations on your induction into the WOR Hall of Fame for your decade-plus of service here.

Thanks once again to all the sponsors, especially 3Wall Ball , @kwKwm Gutterman , Keith Minor , Pro Kennex , @Melissa’s, Joe Splathead and GearBox .


Next up?

We’ll do all the accounting for the Outdoor Cup series and publish a status of updated standings post Outdoor Nats later this week.

Per our handy master racquetball calendar … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb

The last weekend of July features NMRA National Masters/IRF Senior Worlds plus Mexican Junior Nationals, then the first weekend of August we get an early start to the LPRT calendar with the Denver open.


3Wall Ball

@worWorld Outdoor Racquetball

USA Racquetball

Outdoor Nationals 2024 Preview

Carla Munoz is well positioned to take the triple crown this weekend, being the #1 seed in all three pro divisions entered. Photo Mike Augustin 2019

This coming weekend is the 50th annual Outdoor Nationals event, the longest running outdoor tournament in existence and one that has been the standard bearer in the genre for decades.

If you missed my preview and oral history of the event, which dates to 1974 and has included many of the sport’s pivotal contributors and players over its 50 year history, please see https://www.usaracquetball.com/…/outdoor-nationals-50th…

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=42032


Let’s preview the pro draws. We’ll run through them one by one.

Men’s Pro Doubles

A great seeding job will result in a slew of exciting matches throughout this draw. We have some new partnerships this year in pro, and it will be interesting to see how the draws shake out.

Last year’s champs (@Josh Tucker and Brandon Davis are back and the #1 seeds, while the 2022 and 2021 champs @Micah Rich and @Jason Geis are the #2 seeds. However, trouble awaits both top seeds if they want a grudge match for the title this year. Lurking in the top half is 3-time Outdoor Nats pro doubles champ #4 @Alvaro Beltran, teamed with @Eduardo Portillo , who has a 3WB title and has proved to be a very fast study, but the team i’m looking at for the semis is #5 @Danny Lavely and WOR hall of Famer and 6-time Outdoor Nationals pro champ Greg Solis , who I think can get to the semis and might push Tucker & Davis a bit.

Meanwhile, the bottom half features the all-star pairing of Rocky Carson with the king himself @Kane Waselenchuk as the #3 seeds; they’ll get a fun opener against another legend of the sport Cliff Swain (paired with the hard-hitting Mike orr ), and project into the #6 seeds Chris McDonald and Brian pineda , who outdoor legends themselves who have a history with Kane stemming from last year’s Vegas event. The bottom half semi could be epic, with two lefty-righty teams battling, pitting power and tactics head to head.

In the end, I think its #1 versus #2 reach the final, and I think Rich & Geis reclaim their crown. But I could also easily see any of the top 4-5 seeds winning this thing.

Women’s Pro Doubles

Just four teams are entered, with a final projected between the two top seeds. #1 @Carla muñoz and Brenda Laime should face the Arizona-based pair of Michelle Key and @Katie Neils for the title. Munoz/Laime will isolate on Neils and should take the title. Munoz has won this title five years in a row and will look to make it six by topping the sport’s most decorated player in Key.

Mixed Pro Doubles.

Eight solid teams are entered into Mixed, including the Legendary @Martha McDonald, playing with her son Jack as the #4 seeds. Then, her other son Chris is the #2 seed with Michelle Key . Both teams would have some serious work ahead of them to have an all McDonald final.

The #1 seeds @Micah Rich and Carla muñoz likely have to beat the very tough looking team of @Eduardo Portillo and @Brenda Laime to get to the final, but Rich’s experience on his home courts should push them through. I think it’ll be 1v2 in the final, and I like the emotion of Chris McDonald and Key’s legendary talent in outdoor doubles to win out over Rich/Munoz for the title.

Men’s Pro Singles

There’s 8 players in the Singles draw, highlighted by defending champ Lavely, tough touring pro Portillo, and Hall of Famer @Greg Solis , who’s made the singles final three times (99,01,19) across a 20+ year career but has never won it. The draw is not out as of this writing, but Lavely is a beast in singles and will be my favorite to repeat.

Women’s Pro Singles

Six ladies are entered, highlighted by the #1 seed Carla muñoz , who won this in 2021 and 2022 and was a finalist last year. She seems likely to face fellow LPRT touring pro #2 @Brenda Laime in the final. This is Laime’s debut at outdoor singles, but based on her outdoor doubles acumen she could push Munoz for the title, but I favor the experience of Munoz (who holds 4 career outdoor singles major titles).

Other Divisions of note:

Men’s Open Doubles is essentially a pro-quality draw, with Brandon Davis & Brian Pineda as the #1 seeds. They’ll be hard to beat, but there’s several other pro entrants scattered throughout the draw. Look for Davis to do the Pro & Open double this weekend.

CPRT has 10 teams, highlighted by the star-studded McDonald/Waselenchuk team. the draw isn’t available as of this writing, but they’re a team looking out for. Defending champs Solis & Tucker will be tough to beat as the #1 seeds. St. Clair & Burg made the CPRT final last year and are no slouches either. This draw also has 2-x Outdoor pro champs Rocky & Jesus and @Cliff Swain and @Mike Orr (who, if this was 1995, would be perhaps the hardest hitting doubles team in the history of the sport). Great draw, should be a fun one to watch.

Combined 75+ also has some solid teams, including Beltran & Chavez, Rich & Osberg, the McDonald brothers, and Gerhard & Allin.

Men’s combined 100+/Centurion features some really good teams. the #1 seeds are HB veterans Tony Burg & Scott St. Clair, and they’re #1 for a reason. The legendary @Rocky Carson is playing with NoCal’s Jerry hall and are favorites for the final. Don’t sleep on #7 @MMax Heyman and Gabe Medina , nor #3 Geoff Osberg and @Eric Fernandez , who are also playing on home courts and know their way around.

There’s also a healthy Paddleball competition at this year’s tourney, with some crossover from Racquetball to Paddleball in the divisions. The top-level paddle division features several excellent players in Danny Lavely , Jeremy Mcglothin , Beltran, Pineda, Riffel, and the like.


Look for Streaming online, both from players and from WOR/3WallBall pages.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Jesus Ustarroz and Geoff Osberg for putting this event on! The pair are being recognized this weekend with entry to the WOR hall of fame for their decade+ contribution of running this event.

Thanks to many gold-level sponsors of this event. KWM Gutterman Inc. and @Keith Minor, @Prokennex , @3wallba3Wall Ball and @Mike Coulter, Melissa’s produce, Gearbox Racquetball and @Rafael Filipini , @splathead and @Joe Hall, and @LPL Financial and Halsey Roscoe . It goes without saying that without you and your support, we don’t have a sport.


USA Racquetball

WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball

USA 2024 Junior Nationals Recap

Naomi Ros took home the triple crown at 2024 Junior Nationals. Photo Ken Fife

@USA Racquetball held its 51st annual Junior Nationals event last week in Pleasanton, California. The first Junior Nationals was held in 1974, in San Diego. The first junior national only featured boys competitions and was won by future touring pro Jerry Zuckerman. None other than the legendary @Marty Hogan won the second 18U national tournament in 1975, the same year he won his first NRC pro event (in Burlington, Vermont in the fall). Ever since, Junior National winners have fed into the pro tours and many of the game’s top American players cut their competitive teeth at Junior Nationals each year.

With this post, is official notification that the Junior Nationals results have been entered into the ProRacquetballStats.com database. For Juniors, we upload full bracket results for 21s,18s,16s, and 14s, but just load up winners and finalists for all age groups younger than 14U. For doubles, we load up just the finalists.

The best way to see Junior Singles winners is with the cross-year/cross-age group Matrix reports built into the site. They show all the winners for all age divisions going back to 1974. Here’s direct links for each Matrix report:

– Boys USA Junior National Singles Champion Matrix: https://rball.pro/mey

– Girls USA Junior National Singles Champion Matrix: https://rball.pro/cpf

Each full division draw can be accessed from the “event” pulldown after you enter either the Juniors or the Junior Doubles section. One Junior Nationals results in 18-20 singles draws plus another 15 doubles draws being entered into the database, so there’s a lot of new data here this week.

R2sports home page for the event, with all the full brackets: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41777

For 2024, congrats to your Boys Singles winners:

– Boys 21U: Vedant Chauhan

– Boys 18U: Nikhil Prasad

– Boys 16U: Nathan Rykhus

– Boys 14U: Vaishant Mangalampalli

– Boys 12U: Scott Haacke

– Boys 10U: Fernando Miguel Carpena

– Boys 10Udb: Jasur Pridatko

– Boys 8U: Jasur Pridatko

– Boys 8Umb: Zane Horner

– Boys 6Umb: Xavier De La Torre-Berrera

Congrats to your Girls singles winners:

– Girls 21U: Annie Roberts

– Girls 18U: Naomi Ros

– Girls 16U: Aanshi Thakur

– Girls 14U; Aarya Shetty

– Girls 12U: Addie Strobach

– Girls 10U: Yana Alegria

– Girls 10Udb: Sameera Rai

– Girls 8U: Sameera Rai

– Girls 8Umb: Nithya Mangalampalli

– Girls 6Umb: Sasha Rai

Congrats to your Boys Doubles winners:

– Boys 21U: Iain Dunn & Paul Saraceno

– Boys 18U: Cole Sendrey & DJ Mendoza

– Boys 16U: Nathan Rykhus & Eshan Ali

– Boys 14U: Vaishant Mangalampalli & Grant Williams

– Boys 12U: Scott Haacke & Noah Jackola

– Boys 10U: Dhruv Venalapalli & Reyansh Chandel

Congrats to your Girls Doubles winners:

– Girls 21U: Annie Roberts & Shane Diaz

– Girls 18U: Naomi Ros & Ava Kaiser

– Girls 16U; Victoria Rodriguez & Montserrat Torres

– Girls 14U: Aarya Shetty & Sarah Bawa

– Girls 12U: Lexie Sikorski & Anna Sikorski

– Girls 10U: Sameera Rai & Sloka Marivada

And Congrats to your Mixed Doubles winners:

– Mixed 21U: Iain Dunn & Shane Diaz

– Mixed 18U: Cole Sendrey & Naomi Ros

– Mixed 16U: Eshan Ali & Victoria Rodriguez

– Mixed 14U: Ayan Sharma & Aarya Shetty

– Mixed 12U: Noah Jackola & Anna Sikorski

– Mixed 10U: Dhruv Venalapalli & Sloka Marivada


Note: there are some combined divisions here. I determined the champions when age groups were combined by looking at head to head results to “name” an age group champion. In some cases there are uncontested winners for younger entrants who competed with the next higher age group.


Here’s some quick commentary on the Singles champions by grouping.

Boys Singles;

Vedant Chauhan returns to the winner’s circle in 21U for the first time since he won 12U in 2017, and he did it as the #8 seed and by dominating the defending champ @Krish Thakur in the quarters. In 18U, @Nikhil Prasad repeated as 18U champ and won his 9th career Junior National title. This ties him for 2nd all time among all Boys, sitting only behind the legendary @Jack Huczek , who won 13 junior titles in his career (amazing b/c he didn’t even have 3 years in 21U to pad his totals back when he played, nor did he have 10Udb).

In 16U, @Nathan Rykhus, the 2-time defending 14U champ, moved up and beat last year’s champion @Eshan Ali in the final. This draw featured 23 players, the largest draw of the event. This is Rykhus’ 5th career junior title. In 14U, Vaishant Mangalampalli gets back on top for his 2nd junior title after winning 12U a couple years ago.

We got a first time junior national singles winners in Scott Haacke in 12U and with Fernando Miguel Carpena in 10U. Jasur Pridatko took home two titles: the Boys 8U and the boys 10U double bounce. Zane Horner followed in his older brother’s footsteps by taking the 8UMB: Benjamin Horner took the same division a decade ago in 2014. Lastly, the 5-man 6UMB draw, famously won by Jake Bredenbeck in 1998, was taken by Xavier De La Torre-Berrera.


Girls Singles quick recaps.

In 21U, Annie Roberts took her third straight Junior 21U title. It seems a little odd to refer to Roberts, a married woman and soon to be a college graduate, as having won the “Girls 21U” title, honestly. This will be her final time at Junior Nationals, but she still has one intercollegiate title to chase. In 18U, @Naomi Ros cruised to the title, her 4th straight since switching from her native Mexico to represent the USA back in 2020. Aanshi Thakur got her first jr title since 2017 by upsetting @Victoria Rodriguez in the 16U final. In the 14U, Aarya Shetty wins her 2nd career Junior title by blitzing the competition.

All six divisions from 12U to 6Umb were taken by first time winners. Congrats to Addie Strobach and Yana Alegria for taking 12U and 10u respectively. Sameera Rai took both the 8U and the 10U double bounce divisions. Lastly we had three competing for the 8U and 6U mb competitions, including one 6yr old with a rather famous name: that being Raelynn De la Rosa, playing in her first junior nationals competition, following in the footsteps of both her quite-accomplished parents.


Notable multi-title winners

The following players took home the coveted “Triple Crown,” winning singles, gender doubles, and mixed doubles this year:

– Naomi Ros (18U)

– Aarya Shetty (14U)

The following players took home the “double,” winning both Singles and gender Doubles in their age groups:

– Nathan Rykhus (Boys 16U)

– Vaishant Mangalampalli (Boys 14U)

– Scott Haacke (Boys 12U)

– Annie Roberts (Girls 21U)

These players took the “Double Double,” winning both Gender and Mixed doubles titles.

– Iain Dunn (21U)

– Cole Sendrey (18U)

– Eshan Ali (16U)

– Victoria Rodriguez (16U)

– Anna Sikorski (12U)

– Dhruv Venalapalli (10U

– Sloka Marivada (10U)

Phew. that’s it for Junior Nationals. Congrats to all the 2024 winners. The National team includes the two singles finalists and the doubles winners in each division; those players have first right of refusal to represent Team USA at Junior Worlds later this year in Guatemala. Hopefully the proximity of Junior Worlds this year (as in, its not in South America in a country that just underwent an attempted coup) means we field a stronger team and have a chance to take back some world team titles.

Next up on the racquetball calendar? 2024 Outdoor Nationals in Huntington Beach! We’ll preview and recap that event as we always do, plus it’s the second leg of the 2024 Outdoor Cup Series. There’s already some big names and fun partnerships committed to HB, so can’t wait to see the draws and the competitions.

LPRT 2024 Battle at the Beach Recap

Longoria won the battle, but Vargas won the war. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: @Paola Longoria

– Doubles: Montse Mejia and Alexandra Herrera

Singles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/zup

Doubles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/p2m

Longoria wins her 113th career LPRT tier1 title, but it isn’t enough to keep Maria Jose Vargas from winning her first career pro title. Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42244

Editor note: my apologies for not publishing a preview of this event; I had to fly out for a two day conference Wednesday afternoon, at which time the draws had not been released, and I couldn’t even look at my computer until Sunday afternoon, by which point the tourney was over.


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


In the 32s, just one match with a 17-person draw. Newly crowned Liberty University graduate Maria Renee Rodríguez , who has missed most of the season after being a tour regular for years, entered and fell to #16 @Sheryl Lots, who herself was also a regular on tour for years but who missed most of this season. Hope to have both back full time touring next season.


In the 16s, there was just one upset by seed but a couple other notable matches;

– In the 8/9, #9 Carla Munoz took out #8 @CAma Cris 8,4 but it wasn’t quite enough for Munoz to finish the year ahead of the Colombian (see later on for points analysis).

– #5 @Kelani Lawrence , a career high ranking, topped her doubles partner #12 Hollie Scott playing on home turf in Chesapeake.

– The most shocking result was probably #7 @NaNatalia Mena beatinSamantha Sala’s by the dominant scoreline of 3,4.


In the Quarters

– #1 @MarMaria José Vargas , who entered the event with a 278 point lead on Longoria for the year end title, realistically only had to just show up and advance a round to seal the year end title, left no doubt about it by moving into the semis with a solid win over fellow South American Munoz here. We’ll talk more about Vargas’ accomplishment in a bit.

– In the always fun 4/5 match, Lawrence (who always plays tough on her home courts), took #4 Herrera to a breaker before falling.

– #3 Longoria, who needed a win here plus a lot of help to secure her 14th career LPRT tour title, made fast work of #6 Brenda Laime 8,1 to move on. Laime shocked Longoria last season but the GOAT left no doubt here.

– #2 Mejia had to work for it, but moved past the resurgent Mendez 9,8.


In the Semis, two upsets.

– #1 Vargas fell to the left Herrera in three close games 14,(9),9.

– #3 Longoria cruised past Mejia 9,8 to secure 2nd place this season for certain.

In the Finals, Longoria dominated for stretches and took the title 5,10 over Herrera.


Points Implications of results

Caveat: this analysis is based on my calculations; the final tour rankings have yet to be published and there might be some changes based on information unavailable at the time of this writing.

As noted above, once Vargas advanced a round she essentially sealed the 2023-24 title. We’ll cover the season in depth and discuss Vargas’ place in history in a future post. Longoria secured 2nd place for the season. Mejia will slump to 3rd after winning the title last year.

There will be little change elsewhere in the top 10 at season’s end. The injured Erika Manilla retains enough points to hang onto #10 and will be a force to reckon with next season as she defends zero points all season. Missing regulars Gaby and Parrilla fall into the Teens. We’ll do a fuller story later.


Doubles review

There were only 7 doubles teams, but the competition was fierce. An 11-10 breaker in the quarters, and both semis going tiebreaker as well, but the final was as expected: the two top Mexican teams. Once it was Mejia/Herrera versus Longoria/Salas, the battle was on. But the final ended up being anticlimactic, as the #1 pair won 5,9.

Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).


Open Singles, other notable draws

– Mendez took Women’s Open over Lotts

– Dylan Pruitt won the Men’s open over chesapeake’s Justin Carpenter

– Maurice Miller teamed with MRR to win the Mixed Pro doubles exhibition, an event that featured a slew of the LPRT pros playing with the top men who had travelled to play this event.


That’s it for the 2023-24 LPRT season! As mentioned, we’ll let the final rankings get calculated and posted, load them into the database, then do our typical end of season recap.


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


This past weekend also featured a Junior Olympics event in Mexico that isn’t “Mexican Junior Nationals” but was a good competition. We may do a review of that. Next big event though is US Junior Nationals in Pleasanton the last weekend of June.



IRT SoCal Open 2024 Recap

He didn’t win, but Alonso certainly raised some eyebrows this weekend. Photo via Alonso’s twitter account.

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Conrrado Moscoso

– Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya and @Erick Trujillo

– Singles PRS Match report: https://rball.pro/yxv

– Doubles PRS Match report: https://rball.pro/q3p

This was a crazy tournament for a few reasons we’ll go into below. Lots of really amazing results to talk about.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42331


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


In the qualifying round/64s, nothing too notable other than a player named “Wer” played a player named “Wolfe” and I didn’t see it; h/t to the reddit user who pointed it out. Wolfe topped Wer with an injury retirement. The #14 qualifying seed and #30 seed overall @Jordy Alonso topped his fellow Mexican Alejandro Bear, looking to make the main draw in just his 12th career pro event.


In the 32s:

– Former #1 Rocky Carson dusted off the sticks and topped Chilean @Rafael Gatica

to move into the 16s and setup a match with #1 Moscoso.

– #9 Carter Thomas got a very solid win over @Alejandro Cardona , who continues to be a dangerous opponent when he shows up.

– US Junior Cole Sendry got a TB win over #13 @Carlos Ramirez to make the round of 16 for the first time in his pro career

– #11 Jaime Martell took out the up and coming Elias Nieto in a breaker, in a match that I thought might go the other way.

– #23 Diego Gastelum , strong Mexican junior, took out countryman #10 Erick Cuevas to make his first round of 16 in a pro event.

– However, the match of the event, and perhaps the season, was the shock upset of #3 Kane Waselenchuk at the hands of #30 Jordy Alonso. I’ll be honest; I tuned in mid-match and saw that Kane had won game one 15-7 and was up 7-2 in the second and thought the match was over. Only when I started seeing random social media questions did I realize an upset had occurred, so I pulled up the video and watched it from the mid-way point. From the point where I left off … Alonso ground back into the match to take game two 15-12 then blitzed the 14-time tour champ 11-1 in the tie-breaker. I don’t think the analysis was difficult: Alonso’s drive serve was 100% “on,” and he was putting pressure on Kane for the entire second half of the match that Kane doesn’t normally see from most players on tour. Alonso didn’t screw around with his serve; he pounded drives to Kane’s backhand, got aces, forced weak returns, and he hit really unbeatable pinch shots once his feet were set. Kane really couldn’t do anything to stop the train of points in the tiebreaker and essentially threw in the towel at about 1-9 down.

Alonso, as i’ve commented elsewhere, is not a nobody; he’s got a slew of solid wins on his resume, but he rarely tours. This is just his 12th pro event and he turns 27 in early June. But clearly this is a shocking result. This is the first time Kane’s EVER lost on the court prior to the round of 16 in his 20-something year career (He has one round of 64 forfeit loss from last August). The interesting thing about Alonso what happens next is this; the draw kind of opens up, and there’s no reason to think at this juncture that he can’t move on. His career best finish is a round of 16 loss, but he’ll easily beat that as we’re about to see.


In the 16s:

– Moscoso was forced to mount a massive comeback in game one to top Carson 15-14, and the effort seemed to exhaust the 40-something Rocky, who lost the second game in just a few minutes 15-1.

– In the 8/9 matchup, Alan Natera crushed Carter 8,6 to move on. He achieves his second quarter final of the season, having only ever made the quarters twice in nearly 30 previous pro events.

– Alonso made fast work of #14 Robbie Collins 2,7, facing his second straight lefty and using the same strategy to move on. He makes his first ever pro quarter.

– #11 Martell shocked #6 Andres Acuna 11-10 to make his first quarter of the year and throw the refereeing schedule completely off for the tournament (Martell generally does the back end reffing of the events as an international qualified referee).

– Trujillo crushed Gastelum, who had several h2h wins over Erick in Mexican nationals of late, to move into the quarters.


In the Quarters

– #1 Moscoso cruised past #8 Natera 3,9, probably looking ahead knowing that his leading nemesis Kane was out of the draw.

– #4 Jake Bredenbeck got revenge from a shock US Nationals qualifying loss last year against #5 Adam Manilla , crushing the lefty 4,9 to move into the semis.

– #30 Alonso came from a game down to drop #11 Martell in a battle of Mexican Cinderellas.

-#2 @Rodrigo Montoy , who saw his side of the draw open up nicely with Kane’s loss, ground out a win against his double partner Trujillo to move on.


In the Semis

– Jake pushed Conrrado but couldn’t break him, losing 12,8.

– Alonso continued his amazing weekend with perhaps his biggest achievement yet, coming down from 5-10 in the tie-breaker to shock #2 Montoya 11-10 to move into the final.

As the #30 seed, Alonso becomes the 2nd highest seeded player to EVER make a pro tour final. The highest ever seed? #39 Waselenchuk, who was seeded dead last at the 2008 Motorola Championships when he came off his 2-year break.

In the Finals, Alonso’s run came to a relatively unheralded end, as Moscoso destroyed the Mexican 3,5 to take the title. It’s Moscoso’s 9th career IRT win.


Points Implications of results

This round of 32 loss does a ton of damage to Kane’s 2024 title aspirations, but he remains in the lead for 2024 season to date points by a hair right now over Moscoso.

As for the rolling 365-calendar, it’s hard to say what the rankings will be come tuesday when they re-run, because I’m not aware of how the tour is handling satellite points right now. There’s not enough Tier 1 events to exclude them/go into the points replacement system, and when just counting tier 1s in the rankings I can’t make my current XLS match the r2sports-generated rankings. So, I *think* with this win Moscoso opens up a sizeable 400-point lead on #2 Montoya, Kane remain sat #3, and most of the rest of the top 10 remains the same. The big news might be that Trujillo moves ahead of Natera, and (given that DLR is seemingly retired) might now get “stuck” in that 8/9 slot that feeds into Moscoso. That’s a typical tripping point for players moving their way up the rankings, and it can be tough to move past it.


Doubles review

#1 ranked IRT doubles Montoya made his fourth pro doubles final out of four held this season and took it with Trujillo. They top the Bolivian team of Moscoso/Carrasco in a breaker.


Open Singles, other notable draws

The 32man Men’s Open Singles draw opened up nicely when #2 seed Alonso withdrew to focus on the pro side; this opened up the bottom half for #6 Ecuadorian Juan Francisco Cueva to make the final with wins over a slew of international opponents. Gastelum made his way to the final from the top half as the #1 seed, but Cueva took the title.

Jose Caceres / Carlos Ramirez took the Men’s Open doubles title over

Alejandro Bear / Elias Nieto.


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


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


We’ll cover the Canadian National event next in this space, which also happened last weekend. Then we have a week break until the LPRT finishes up its 2023-24 season in Chesapeake, Virginia, just a couple hours drive from me.



@internaInternational Racquetball Tour

IRT 2024 JMB Produce SoCal Open Preview

Can Trujillo make some noise in SoCal? Photo US Open 2021 via Kevin Savory

Welcome back to the IRT 2024 season. This coming weekend is the 4th event of the season, with the tour returning to Southern California at one of the biggest clubs in the LA area in Canoga Park. Thanks to tourney director Cindy Tillbury for making this event happen, and thanks to JMB produce and its owner Craig Rolandelli for being the title sponsor.

R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42331

This week we have a nice contingent of Mexican players who have been able to drive over the border to play. There’s 37 pros in the singles draw. There’s also a slew of regular touring pros/top 10 players missing: #4 Parrilla, #5 DLR, #9 Murray, and #13 Portillo all miss this event for various reasons (It’s Canada nationals this weekend for Murray, for example). These absences have given some career high seedings to a couple of players, including Erick Trujillo getting a 7 seed and @Erick Cuevas being seeded 10th.


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

In the round of 64/qualifying, there’s only 5 qualifiers this weekend:

– Wer/Wolfe could be interesting: Wer a long-time international player and Wolfe briefly a touring pro a few years back.

– Alonso-Bear is a tough draw for the youngster Bear.


Projecting the 32s: here’s some great matches to watch for in the 32s.

– 9/24: @thomas Carter vs @Alejandro Cardona is a fun first round. Cardona doesn’t tour full time but he’s tough. Carter has been playing well, but this could be close.

– #5 Adam Manilla projects to play @DJ Mendoza, USA adult team member versus USA junior team member.

– Fellow USA junior team member Cole Sendrey gets a winnable match against Carlos Ramirez.

– Alonso feeds into #3 @Kane Waselenchuk , and will get some points off of him.

– #11 Jaime Martell gets Elias Nieto , a tough matchup.

– Trujillo takes on veteran international Juan Francisco Cueva .

– with his career best seeding, Erick Cuevas gets tough junior Diego Gastelum. Upset watch here.


round of 16:

– Current #1 Conrrado Moscoso projects to play former #1 @Rocky Carson , who’s entering his home town event and comes in as a #17 seed.

– #8/#9 Alan Natera projects against the Carter/Cardona winner, either of which will make for a solid match here.

– In the 6/11, Andres Acuna projects to play Martell/Nieto winner, which will be a solid match.

– In the 7/10, I could see Trujillo v Gastelum, two guys who are both competing in Mexico U21 right now, and which we could see Gastelum getting a win. The last time they played was at 2023 Mexican Nationals, and Gastelum beat him easily.

– #2 @Rodrigo Montoya gets a resurgent #15 @Sam Bredenbeck .


Projected Qtrs:

– #1 Moscoso over #8 Natera. There’s really only one or two guys who can top Moscoso right now, and they’re both on the opposite side of the draw this weekend.

– #5 Manilla over #4 @Jake Bredenbeck . Manilla got Jake at US Nationals last year, and Jake’s been on a season-long slide, so I’m playing the trends here.

– #3 Waselenchuk over #6 Acuna. Acuna took a game off Kane earlier this season by sticking to a simple game plan: get drive serves in and go for 3 shot rally wins. Is he consistent enough to do this for three games? No, but if Kane’s having an off day this could be close.

– #2 Rodrigo Montoya over Gastelum Montoya is #2 for a reason and won’t be falling here.


– Moscoso over Manilla

– Waselenchuk over Montoya. Now, this is no gimme; they played in Minnesota and it was a 14,(7),2 win for Kane … first game could have gone either way and Montoya blitzed Kane for the game two win before a bad call derailed Rodrigo mentally in the breaker. The thing is, Kane doesn’t have mental breakdowns on the court; he’s relentless, and you can’t have any slip ups. Can Rodrigo put it together and get a first career win?


Kane over Moscoso. The last couple of times we’ve seen this anticipated matchup, its been disappointing. Moscoso is a front runner; when he’s ahead, he dominates. When he loses the first game, he struggles to come back. Conrrado has a h2h win over kane so its possible, but I don’t think the court conditions (playing at sea-level with the slower gearbox ball) will play into Conrrado’s favor.

If Kane wins, he will have an almost unbeatable lead for the year end title … he’s already 300 points ahead in season to date and has basically no points to defend for 2023.


Doubles review

No Javier Mar this weekend, so the top doubles player Montoya picks up Trujillo as the #1 seed. They have to play two tough SoCal players in Allin/Shahin right out of the box. Alvi and Rocky take time away from Centurion to play pro doubles together as the #8 seed; they’re good at doubles but won’t get past #1. I like the Bredenbeck brothers at #5 to make the semis but fall.

From the bottom half, two kids in Gastelum & Sendry should push #2 Moscoso/Carrasco but fall in the Quarters. I like Natera/Acuna as a team and I thi nk they can get past the reigning Bolivian champs in the semis if they pick on Carrasco, who sometimes struggles to put balls away when he needs to.

Finals though, Montoya/Trujillo should win.


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


International Racquetball Tour

LPRT 2024 Sweet Caroline Wrap-up

Vargas wins her 5th title of the season, and moves closer to the year end title. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Maria José Vargas

– Doubles: Alexandra Herrera and Montse Mejia

Both #1 seeds take the pro draws, but both also had to endure 11-10 wins to do so along the way.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42306


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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/v9b


In the 32s:

– #17 Michelle Key continues to build points after being away from touring for years by topping #16 Stephanie Synhorst

– #21 Sheryl Lotts, who’s also been away from the tour for months after being a regular fixture, returned with a great win over #12 Hollie Scott .


In the 16s:

– #9 Carla Munoz took out #8 Cris Amaya 7,6 to try to stay in the tour’s top 10.

– #11 Natalia Mendez got her best win in months, taking out the mercurial #6 Brenda Laime to move into the quarters for the third time this season.

– – #7 @Kelani Lawrence survived a 15-14 game one to advance past the the resurgent #10 @Jessica Parrilla .


In the Quarters

– the top 4 seeds advanced as expected, with a couple of the matches being close.

– #4 @Alexandra Herrera ground out a close 13,14 win against #5 Ana Gabriela Martinez to get back to the semis.

– #1 Vargas was pressed by long-time South American rival #8 Munoz 11.10.


In the Semis

– #1 Vargas cruised past #4 Herrera 8,5 to earn her 5th final out of the 7 tournaments played this season.

– #3 Paola Longoria reminded everyone where she belongs in the pecking order right now, taking out last year’s tour champ #2 Mejia in a hard fought 11-8 breaker.

In the Finals, Vargas took game one 12, then fell in game two 7 to setup another finals tiebreaker against the long time tour champion. In the tie-breaker, Vargas was fully in control and cruised to a 10-5 lead, but Longoria fought back. Vargas served for the match another 6 times without winning the final point as Longoria amazingly got it it back to 10-10 and had some opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize. Unfortunately, the match ended on a disputed serve that Longoria was adamant was a screen serve or foot fault. The lines judges didn’t agree, and that was that.


Points Implications of results

With the win, Vargas now has 5 titles on the year, out of 7 events. Longoria has the other two. In the two tourneys Vargas missed, she had a semis loss and, going all the way back to Denver 2023, a loss in the 16s to Martinez. So, even though Vargas has far more titles, the points race for the title remains within Longoria’s reach. Assuming that SC was a “regular” grand slam, and that the last tournament next month in Chesapeake is also a “regular” grand slam … Vargas can still be caught for the 2023-24 title. It’ll take a miracle though: she leads Longoria by around 282 points, and you get 300 for winning a GS. So if Longoria wins Chesapeake (300) and Vargas misses the event, or loses in the round of 32 (worth 18.75), there’s a chance. However, if Vargas advances to the 16s in Chesapeake that’ll enough to seal the deal.

Mejia still sits #2 in rolling rankings, but will fall to #3 as soon as last year’s Chesapeake event (which she won) falls off. There’s a massive gap from the top 3 to #4 Herrera, then another huge gap to the ladies ranked 5th-13th, who are all within 100-120 points of each other. Based on her results in this event, Lawrence should move up to #5 on tour, a career high. Manilla is holding on at #7 despite being out for months. Despite making the quarters, Munoz will fall to #11 and the missing Salas will lose 4 spots and fall to #13. Most of the rest of the tour stays relatively the same.


Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/t0c

The top ranked team survived an 11-10 thriller in the semis against the hodge-podge team of Martinez & Parrilla, then destroyed #2 Vargas/Mendez in the final for yet another title. Herrera & Mejia have now won 5 of the season’s 6 titles, and lost in the final of the one event they didn’t win.


Open Singles, other notable draws

– Mendez topped San Antonio USA junior Naomi Ros in the final of Women’s Open. Ros got there by beating #1 seed Munoz, which has to be a career best win.

– the Commish @TJTj Baumbaugh teamed with Kanesha Madison to take the 3-team Women’s Open Doubles draw.

– Former IRT touring pro @Maurice Miller topped #1 seed @Dylan Pruitt for the Men’s Open singles title.

– Pruitt teamed with Georgia’s @Austin Cunningham to take the Men’s Open Doubles title.

– Pruitt made it a “double double” (also my favorite order at In-and-Out Burger) by taking the Mixed Pro/Open title with Lotts.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., JTRball, and Tj Baumbaugh. Miller sat in on the singles final.

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 …


The IRT is in Canoga Park next weekend for the 2024 SoCal Open. Great to see the men and women playing back to back!


tags @LPRT

LPRT 2024 Sweet Caroline Preview

Vargas closes in on the Season Ending title. Photo via usaracquetballevents.com

Welcome to the penultimate event of the 2023-24 @LPRT season, and its a big one. The 8th annual Sweet Caroline Classic in Greenville is perhaps the most important stop on tour. Greenville is the home of the LPRT Hall of Fame and it has supported the tour like none other.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42306

We have a solid draw of 23 players. We’re missing #7 Manilla (injury) and #9 Solis from the draw, but have most of the rest of the top 20 along with the likes of @Sheryl Lotts who has been an infrequent player this season. Play starts friday 5/17 and continues through the weekend.


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


In the 32s:

– #21 Lotts takes on #12 Hollie Scott in a fun opener.

– #13 @Maria Paz Riquelme takes on fellow South American lefty Martina Katz .

– #14 @Lexi York takes on junior ##19 @khKhyathi Velpuri to start.


round of 16: Here’s some good ones to look for:

– 8/9 Munoz v Amaya. Cris Amaya has had a great season and now has overtaken Carla Munoz to get back into the top 8. It’s been more than a few years since Amaya was in the top 8 on tour and she’ll need this win to stay there.

– 5/12 Gaby Martinez likely gets Scott in a tough opener for the Guatemalan.

– whoever wins the play-in will give #4 @Alexandra Herrera a lefty opponent in the 16s

– #7 @Kelani Lawrence seems likely to face off against #10 Jessica Parrilla . Believe it or not, these two have never played in a top-level indoor match.


Projected Qtrs:

– #1 @Maria José Vargas shouldn’t struggle with either potential opponent Amaya or Munoz

– #4 Herrera projects into #5 Gaby, a tough match up of two former Tier1 winners. I like the way Herrera is playing and project the seeds to hold.

– #3 Paola Longoria projects into #6 Brenda Laime , who does have a H2H win over the long-time #1. Laime has been struggling lately though so I’ll project Longoria to move on here.

– #2 Montse Mejia gets the winner of Lawrence/parrilla in a match she should move on from.


I continue to predict chalk; the cream has definitely risen to the top of the tour right now, and its hard to see anyone moving forward right now from outside the top 4-5.

– #1 Vargas over #4 Herrera: they’ve met four times this season and Vargas is 4-0, but it was an 11-10 win in San Antonio in their most recent meeting that has this being closer to a coinflip than many might think.

– #2 Mejia over #3 Longoria; a rematch of the San Antonio semis, which featured a come-from-behind win for Mejia over her long-time rival. That broke a streak of 4- straight losses against Paola for Montse; can she repeat the feat? She needs to “remember” what she did to turn around that match in Texas to move forward.

Finals; #1 Vargas over #2 Mejia. They’ve met three times this year, all three Vargas wins. Their last meeting was the final of San Antonio, an 11-7 grinding win for the #1 player.

Fun fact: if Vargas wins this event, and it gives the Grand Slam points I believe it will, then Vargas will have an insurmountable lead heading into Chesapeake. However, the points assignment may change slightly if either event becomes a “Grand Slam plus” so don’t quote me on that.


Doubles review

No Salas means Longoria is completely out of the doubles draw, which is pretty crazy considering that she’s played in 66 Pro doubles finals since 2013. There’s some very solid, long-standing pairings in the Doubles draw all looking to un-seat the #1 dominant pair of Mejia & Herrera, and the semis onward will be great. Look for Munoz/Key to push the #1 in the top semi but fall, and look for the Argentines Vargas & Mendez to push past the American duo of Lawrence & Scott. Mejia & Herrera remain too good to lose at the top.


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!

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!

LPRT 2024 Battle at the Alamo Recap

Vargas wins again. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Maria Jose Vargas

– Doubles: @Alexandra Herrera & Montse Mejia

Vargas wins her 4th event of the season and extends her lead in both the current rolling standings and the season-to-date standings. Read on for details and points implications for the @LPRT season.

Match reports on proracquetballstats.com:

– Singles: http://rb.gy/o9dqp2

– Doubles: http://rb.gy/12de8l

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=42123


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


In the 32s:

– US Junior national team member and San Antonio resident @Naomi Ros got a solid win over USA veteran Lexi York 14,10.

– Michelle Key got a very impressive win over Argentine @Natalia Mendez to move into the round of 16. Key continues to improve her singles profile at the expense of Mendex.

– Cris Amaya took out former top touring pro Frederique Lambert in a tie-breaker to continue her strong 2023-24 season.


In the 16s:

– In the 8/9 match, Kelani Lawrence got the better of her close rival Munoz Carla in a tiebreaker.

– #5 Herrera was pressed by Angelica Barrios , losing the first game badly before turning on the jets and cruising to the win.

– #13 Jessica Parrilla shocked #4 Brenda Laime in a breaker for the biggest upset of the tournament.

– Amaya almost took another high-seed scalp, toping #7 @SamaSamantha Salas 15-2 in the first game before the Mexican veteran woke up and cruised 3,3 the rest of the way to move into the quarters.


In the Quarters

– #1 Vargas had little trouble with #8 Kelani wining 5,4

– #5 Herrera topped her Mexican rival Parrilla with ease 2,2

– #3 Mejia had to go breaker to top Ana Gabriela Martinez but avoided the upset to move on.

– #2 Paola Longoria took time away from her political campaign to renew her long-time singles rivalry with Salas, winning two close games 14,11 to move into the semis.


In the Semis

– #1 Vargas survived a scare, and had to save match points against, to top #5 Herrera by the score line of (3),10,10. Herrera turned back the clock this weekend but couldn’t close out the win. She returns to the final for the 4th time this season.

– #3 Mejia turned around her match completely against #2 Longoria after losing the first game, winning (12),6,6 to make her 4th final of the year.

In the Finals, Vargas took a back and forth slug fest in the tie-breaker to win her fourth tournament of the year.


Points Implications of results

Vargas replaces a semis loss in this event a year ago with winner points, and extends her lead at the top of the tour with just two events remaining. Per our calculations (which, caveat, may not have the tiers/points right for the events if something unexpected has been done), Vargas now leads in rolling 365 rankings by about 90 points (a semi final in a regular event) and more than 180 points in the season to date rankings (which is more points than you get for making a final). With two events remaining, both of which (I believe) are grand slams, there’s still a lot that could happen …. but unless Vargas starts getting upset early, the title seems more and more likely to be going to the Argentine come the end of June.


Doubles review

Munoz & Key were the big surprise in this draw, competing as the #7 seeds and getting two great wins. In the quarters they topped consensus #2 seeds Longoria & Salas in a breaker, then didn’t let down in the semis versus #3 Vargas & Mendez to secure a final. Alas, Herrera & Mejia were too much for the team, as the clear #1 doubles team in the world took the final 7,10 to extend their lead atop the LPRT’s rankings.


Open Singles, other notable draws

The LPRT pro events were done Saturday evening, which led to the rest of the very solid amateur draws competing most of Saturday into Sunday. There were a slew of IRT touring pros playing in the Open events… here’s a quick recap:

– Men’s Open Singles: 18 players headlined by 14-time pro champ @Kane Waselenchuk competed in a solid Men’s Open draw. The event went mostly according to seeds/expectations, with Kane beating up and coming Mexican #5 Elias Nieto in one semi while IRT touring pro #2 seed Alan Natera beat fellow IRT touring pro and near top 10 player Erick Trujillo in the other. The final was one-way traffic for the San Antonio-based Waselenchuk, winning 5 & 9 for the title.

– Men’s Open Doubles: curiously, 3-time defending IRT champ Daniel De la Rosa was here (instead of at the competing PPA pickleball event in Utah), and also curiously he chose not to play singles. Instead he paired up with fellow San Antonio native David Mendoza in doubles. They were topped in the semis by the all-Junior national team of DJ Mendoza & Cole Sendrey. From the top, #1 Natera & Trujillo powered past Waselenchuk & @Matthew Barron in the semis to take on the kids in the final. There, the veterans overtook the juniors, winning 9,6 for the title.

– Women’s Open Singles: The women’s open draw unsurprisingly came down to the two non-top8 ranked ladies who entered and were seeded 1 & 2. In the final, Mendez took it to Munoz to win 5,3.

– Women’s Open Doubles: @Sandy Rios and Disney Linares took the small Open/A round robin competition.

– Mixed Open doubles: Alan Natera teamed up with fellow Chihuahua resident Yanna Salazar to take the Mixed Open doubles title.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst and Sandy Rios


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …


Next weekend there’s a long-running DC area event called Wintergreen, that used to be IRT related but which has downsized considerably since its old days being held in Laurel. the US Open of Paddleball is also next weekend, which features some crossover names who play a ton of Rball. The LPRT returns to action mid-May in South Carolina, and the IRT has its SoCal Open later in May.



LPRT 2024 Battle at the Alamo preview

Gaby makes a rare LPRT appearance. Photo via Gaby

It’s been a minute since we posted, thanks to an incredibly busy March on the world racquetball calendar and a subsequently light April. But here we are, back in San Antonio for the 2024 Battle at the Alamo event. This tournament has been going on for years, with tournament director @Mike Cantu at the helm, and has been hosting an LPRT component since 2012. After a covid-break for a few years, the event returned last year and it’s great to see it back for 2024.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=42123

There’s a healthy draw of 27 players in Texas this weekend. The only top 10 player missing is Erika Manilla , who’s likely to be out until October recovering from hip labrum surgery. The only other top 20 player missing is Valeria Centellas, who has played just one LPRT event since last June and who may be stepping back, either for personal or financial reasons.

The only curious situation here is that, normally with a Texas-based pro event we’d get an influx of Mexican players who can drive to the tournament … and we didn’t really get that here. I was hoping to see some of the up-and-coming Mexican junior females, like Maria Gutierrez (2-time reigning Mexican U21 champ), or Cynthia Gutierrez (reigning Mexican 18U champ) or Leonela Osorio (who made the semis at Worlds U21) or Angela Ortega (2022 Mexican 18U champ and world semifinalist last fall), etc.


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


Round of 32: Thanks to some surprise entrants, there’s a couple of first round match-ups that should be juicy:

– Texan @naomi ros faces off against Lexi York in the 16/17 seed match (they’re also playing doubles together, it’s always kind of a bummer to play your doubles partner in singles). These two played last December at the Xmas classic, a TB win for the junior, so expect another close match here.

– #11 @Natalia Mendez is the unlucky draw of #22 Michelle Key , who is coming off a qtr final loss in PARC and who is playing singles regularly for the first time in years. Mendez’s results have been spotty lately, with her ranking continuing to slip, and this could be a one-and-done.

– #23 @Frederique Lambert makes a surprise appearance, and the unlucky 1st round opponent is #10 Amaya Cris . Amaya’s had some great results lately, making the quarters and even a semi this season, something she hadn’t done since the 2013-14 season. But she gets a tough 1st rounder in Lambert, a Tier 1 winner and former top 2 player who now just plays sporadically.


round of 16: Here’s some projected fun matchups in the 16s

– 8/9 is always tough, and here’s no different. #8 @Kelani Lawrence is set to battle #9 @Munoz Carla yet again. They just played in Boston (Kelani win), they played at this event last year (Carla win), and they’ve now played 8 times in their careers in top-level matches. They’re tied 4-4 head to head. This is a coin flip.

– #5 @Alexandra Herrera gets the always-tricky to play #12 Angelica Barrios in the 16s here. Barrios leads career h2h 3-2 and won their last matchup in Feb 2023. But Barrios hasn’t been making all the tour stops, so she may be dealing with a bit of rust in her game.

– Mendez/Key winner versus #6 @Gaby Martinez. Martinez and Mendez both used to be top 4 ranked players simultaneously, but despite not really touring full-time it’s Gaby who has kept her ranking up. She’ll be favored to go through here.

– Salas vs Lambert/Amaya winner: whoever advances, it’ll be a matchup of two of the longest-touring players in the world. Salas has been touring full time since 2004, Amaya since 2009, and Lambert toured regularly from 2008 until 2018 when she headed off to her medical residency.


Projected Qtrs:

– #1 Maria Jose Vargas over the Lawrence/Munoz winner. There’s only a couple of names who i think can top Vargas right now, even in the best conditions.

– #5 Herrera over #4 Brenda Laime : these two just met in the qtrs of Boston, a 14,6 Herrera win. Will we see the same thing here? Alexandra seems to be steadying the ship after slipping a bit from her streak of nearly ascending to #1 on tour.

– #6 Martinez over #3 Montse Mejia . These two know each other’s game pretty well. They’re in the same “class” and played at junior worlds year after year for the better part of a decade between 2010 and 2018. In the Adult/Pro world though, they’ve rarely played; Montse beat Gaby in the 2021 SuperMax semis on the way to winning her first ever pro title, Montse beat her again in 2023’s PARC on Gaby’s home soil, and Gaby beat Montse in the 2023 Central American/Carribean regional games before losing to Paola in the final. So, what to make of this match here? Mejia has struggled since winning the title last June, with a ton of early-exits and upsets, and I think that can happen again here.

– #2 Erika Delgado will cruise past whoever comes out of the Salas section of the draw. If it is indeed Salas, it’ll be yet another in a series of the most prolific head to head rivalry in the sport’s history. Longoria & Salas have played 60 times professionally and probably a dozen more times in National competitions over the years.



– #1 Vargas over #5 Herrera; they’ve already played 3 times this season, each a two game dominant performance from Vargas with game scores like 15-3 and 15-5. No reason to expect anything different this weekend.

– #2 Longoria over #6 Martinez: Gaby had the famous Worlds win in 2018, but for their careers Paola is dominant: 24-2 in all competitions (the other loss was at last year’s 2023 Sweet Caroline, during the tail end of Paola’s season-long slip). Paola has righted the ship and will be looking for a final’s rematch.

Finals; Vargas over Longoria.

This rivalry is interesting. The two have played more than 50 times now in top-level pro and international competitions. Longoria won the first 26 times they played, with Vargas finally breaking the duck in 2018’s group stage of the PARC event. However, since the beginning of 2023 it’s an even rivalry: Vargas has won 5 of the 8 meetings since then. These two met in the semis in Boston though, and Longoria won rather handily. In San Antonio, i’ll expect a rebound from the Argentinian as she looks to seal off the season title.

The season points race cannot be won or lost in San Antonio, not with two more stops remaining, but it is highly unlikely Mejia can stay in the race unless she wins out. So, every match counts for Longoria and Vargas.


Doubles review

The LPRT has definitely settled into very regular doubles teams, and the seeds and matchups often look the same. Mejia & Herrera are solidly #1 on tour now, and Longoria & Salas are solidly #2. Vargas & Mendez are the relatively clear-cut #3 team. From there the rankings scatter. Lawrence & Scott have formed a longer-term partnership. Gaby’s regular partner for years MRR has stepped back from touring, so she just picks up randoms. the rest of the teams are cobbled together with players who don’t have regular partners anymore.

These regular partnerships are all top seeds for a reason; they play together often, and it’ll be an upset if this draw doesn’t go chalk. #1 over #2 in the final.


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, Sandy Rios, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike as normal, along with special guests.

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!