Monday, October 19, 2020

IRF postpones events & 2020 3 Wallball World Championships

Another day and another tournament delay. The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) announced Sunday the 2020 Pan American Championships and 2020 Junior World Championships that were scheduled for December in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia will be deferred to 2021. Santa Cruz will be the site for the Pan Am Championships from March 26 to April 4, while the World Junior Championships will be in November, 2021 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. 

They remain committed to having the XXX World Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico August 13-21, 2021. 

2020 3 Wallball World Championships

In a tournament that actually happened, over 340 players were in Las Vegas on the weekend for the 2020 3 Wallball World Championships in Las Vegas. Outdoor activities are safer in these pandemic times than indoor activities, so that was undoubtedly some of the appeal of going to Vegas.

In outdoor racquetball, doubles is often seen as more prestigious than singles, while indoors it’s the reverse. Thus, when Kane Waselenchuk - the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) - played his first outdoor tournament in Vegas this weekend, he focussed on doubles with partner Ben Croft.

Waselenchuk and Croft reached the Men’s Pro Doubles final by defeating Alejandro Barcelo and Brandon Davis in the semi-finals, 15-3, 15-7. In the final, they faced familiar foes in Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa, who had beat Emmett Coe and Rick Koll in the semis, 15-3, 15-5.

Indoors, Waselenchuk and Croft are 5-1 versus Beltran and De La Rosa, but in their first outdoor match, Beltran and De La Rosa carried the day, winning 12-15, 15-9, 11-8.

The Women’s Pro Doubles final also went to a tie-breaker, as Paola Longoria and Janel Tisinger-Ledkins won the title against Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz, 12-15, 15-9, 11-5. Longoria and Tisinger-Ledkins beat Rhonda Rajsich and Erica Williams in one semi-final, 15-7, 15-6, while De La Rosa and Muñoz defeated Jessica Parrilla and Adriana Riveros, 15-12, 15-6, in the other.

Andree Parrilla won Men’s Pro Singles by beating Marcelo Vargas Aguilar in the final, 15-5, 15-8. In the semis, Parrilla defeated Jose Diaz, 15-8, 15-14, and Vargas Aguilar beat Danny Lavely, 15-12, 15-11.

In Women’s Pro Singles, Longoria - the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) - defeated outdoor veteran Rajsich, 4-15, 15-4, 11-4, in the final. Longoria also needed a tie-breaker to win her semi-final match against Parrilla, 15-8, 9-15, 11-4, while Rajsich defeated Muñoz in two straight games, 15-13, 15-6, in the other semi.

Given that Beltran and Longoria won their respective doubles matches, and Longoria also won singles, you’d think that they would be a successful team in mixed doubles. But that wasn’t the case, as they lost in the 1st round of Mixed Pro Doubles to Katie Neils and Nicholas Riffel, 15-14, 15-11. If that’s not a big upset, we’re not sure what is.

Unfortunately for Neils and Riffel, they lost in the semi-finals to eventual winners Daniel and Michelle De La Rosa, 15-7, 15-7. The De La Rosas beat Mario Mercado and Adriana Riveros, 15-8, 15-0, in the final. Mercado and Riveros reached the final with a win over Carla Muñoz and Robert Sostre, 15-5, 15-8.

2020 3 Wallball World Championships - Las Vegas, Nevada - October 14-18, 2020

Men’s Pro Doubles - Final

Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk, 12-15, 15-9, 11-8

Semi-finals

Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. Emmett Coe & Rick Koll, 15-3, 15-5
Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. Alejandro Barcelo & Brandon Davis, 15-3, 15-7

Women’s Pro Doubles - Final

Paola Longoria & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins d. Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz, 12-15, 15-9, 11-5

Semi-finals

Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz d. Jessica Parrilla and Adriana Riveros, 15-12, 15-6
Paola Longoria & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins d. Rhonda Rajsich & Erica Williams, 15-7, 15-6

Men’s Pro Singles - Final

Andree Parrilla d. Marcelo Vargas Aguilar in the final, 15-5, 15-8

Semi-finals

Marcelo Vargas Aguilar d. Danny Lavely, 15-12, 15-11
Andree Parrilla d. Jose Diaz, 15-8, 15-14

Women’s Pro Singles - Final

Paola Longoria d. Rhonda Rajsich, 4-15, 15-4, 11-4

Semi-finals

Rhonda Rajsich d. Carla Muñoz, 15-13, 15-6
Paola Longoria d. Jessica Parrilla, 15-8, 9-15, 11-4

Mixed Pro Doubles - Final

Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros, 15-8, 15-0  

Semi-finals 

Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. Katie Neils and Nicholas Riffel, 15-7, 15-7 
Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros d. Carla Muñoz & Robert Sostre, 15-5, 15-8 

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

6 months later

Hey there. How’s it going? Long time no chat. Or write, as it were. 

Six months since the last post on The Racquetball Blog, and where are we at? Much has been cancelled, and not much has been scheduled, as COVID-19 is still holding sway over much of the world, so sport, especially indoor sport, has been diminished. 

Locally, we’re not playing, but they are playing some places. Is that frustrating? Sure. But it’s understandable. Conditions vary across the world, and facilities have different priorities and their protocols for reopening also vary. 

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) has two events on its schedule for December, although that may be ambitious. The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) doesn’t have any Tier 1 events scheduled. 

Internationally, the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) has the Pan American Championships and the Junior World Championships on the schedule for December in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Whether either of those events happen is uncertain, of course. The IRF does have the proviso that the events may be moved to January, which still seems ambitious. Also, the IRF World Senior Championships are set for December - after those previous events - in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as usual. 

In lieu of matches, the LPRT and IRT have been posting interviews with various players, which is a nice feature. You can watch them via their respective YouTube channels: LPRT on YT - IRT on YT.  

2020 3 Wallball World Championships 

All that said, many of the best players are going to be competing this weekend at the 2020 3 Wallball World Championships in Las Vegas. Hopefully, everyone will stay safe, and no outbreaks will stem from that competition. It’s outdoors, so the likelihood of transmission should be reduced. 

Will we be going to Vegas this weekend? No, because local authorities advise not travelling unless necessary, and while racquetball seems necessary, it’s not actually actually necessary. And then there would be a two week self isolation on returning home. Not fun. 

We look forward to the days when we can travel care free to racquetball events or for any other reason. But those days aren’t here yet, even after six months. 

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, April 13, 2020

IRF cancels World Championships, Rajsich & Waselenchuk speak

The Internatinoal Racquetball Federation (IRF) announced today that they have suspended the 2020 World Championships that were to be held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in August. The IRF’s Executive Committee will meet in two months to evaluate how to arrange their tournament schedule moving forward.

As we reported previously, racquetball is part of the World Games program, and the 2021 World Games were scheduled for July 15-25, 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama. But those game have been pushed back to July 7-17, 2022, because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pushed back the 2020 Olympic Games to summer of 2021.

Previously, the field of players for the World Games has been based on results from the IRF World Championships held in the year prior to the World Games. Thus, the IRF will probably want to hold a World Championships in 2021, rather than wait until 2022 to get back on their two year schedule.

After that the IRF would likely want to keep their World Championships on even years, so as not to interfere with either the World Games or the Pan American Games, which both happen on four year cycles in odd numbered years.

Racquetball Talk

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) has begun to do weekly chats via their Facebook and YouTube channels. Called “The Service Box” there have been two so far. The first was with the LPRT staff: T. J. Baumbaugh, Tim Baghurst, and J Josey, and the second was an interview with Rhonda Rajsich.

Rajsich talked about her enduring love for basketball, how it feels weird to be home for so long as she’s usually gone off somewhere every week or two for over 20 years of competitive racquetball. She hopes that home time will help her heal up some nagging injuries.

The Service Box chats happen live on Thursday nights, and run for about an hour. This week they’ll be talking to Jessica Parrilla.

Kane Waselenchuk also held a Q&A session last week, which is available via the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) YouTube Channel. Waselenchuk’s session has him answering questions submitted via his Intagram channel.

This session is unmoderated, so there’s some dead time as Waselenchuk reads the questions coming in, or there’s a lag in people submitting questions.

But you do hear Waselenchuk talk about his most memorable matches, why he doesn’t play internationally now, and how the tour has changed over the span of his career. Waselenchuk’s chat was to be the 1st of two sessions, but we’re not sure when the 2nd will be.

The LPRT Service Box and Waselenchuk’s Q&A are both nice ways to try and quench the thirst that we all have for racquetball, which is hard to satisfy otherwise.

We hope that you are doing well, and that we'll all be able to get back on court somewhere sometime soon.

Follow the bouncing ball….