Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Going back 30 years

There's no pro tournaments going on this weekend, so The Racquetball Blog is looking back 30 years to the Jack In The Box tournament in St. Louis, Missouri that was the first event on the '78-'79 Colgate Tour. It was a remarkable event, as both men's and women's professionals were there (so it could be called a Grand Slam event), yet neither the top men's or women's seed won the event.

The men's winner was Steve Strandemo, who was seeded 16th, as he'd been out of action most of the previous season with kidney problems. It was Strandemo's first win in almost four years with his previous win coming in Sunnyvale, California in January, 1975.

Strandemo had a shocking upset of #1 seed Marty Hogan in the Round of 16. Hogan's loss marked the first time he had not been to the finals in over two years. They split the first two games, and Strandemo was up 5-0 when Hogan was charged with a technical following a collision in center court, making the score 5 to -1. Hogan did come back, but Strandemo held on and won the tie-breaker and match, 17-21, 21-13, 11-8.

Strandemo said his next match against Craig McCoy was the toughest mentally, because it would have been easy to let down after beating Hogan. But Strandemo believed "in order for the win over Hogan to mean anything, I had to go all the way," so he worked hard and made it happen, winning 19-21, 21-18, 11-4.

Strandemo then defeated Richard Wagner in the semis, 21-14, 21-13, to set up a final against Jerry Hilecher. The final went to a tie-breaker, and Hilecher was up 8-6. However, Strandemo was able to come back with four straight points. Hilecher stalled him at 10, but was unable to score any points himself, so Strandemo won it, 21-7, 12-21, 11-8.

On the women's side, fourth seed Jennifer Harding was the winner, defeating Peggy Steding in the final, 21-6, 21-14. In the semis, Harding beat reigning US Champion Shannon Wright, 21-18, 21-16, avenging a lop-sided loss in the Nationals final a few months earlier.

1978 JACK IN THE BOX, St. Louis
Men's Pro

Quarter finals
Steve Strandemo d. Craig McCoy, 19-21, 21-18, 11-4
Richard Wagner d. Dennis McDowell, 21-8, 21-8
Jerry Hilecher d. Mike Yellen, 21-11, 21-14
Davey Bledsoe d. Charlie Brumfield, 21-19, 21-19

Semi finals
Steve Strandemo d. Richard Wagner, 21-14, 21-13
Jerry Hilecher d. Davey Bledsoe, 21-5, 21-8

Steve Strandemo d. Jerry Hilecher, 21-7, 12-21, 11-8

Women's Pro

Quarter finals
Shannon Wright d. Kathy Williams, 21-13, 21-13
Jennifer Harding d. Martha McDonald, 21-11, 21-7
Peggy Steding d. Sarah Green, 21-4, 20-21, 11-7
Karin Walton d. Janell Marriott, 18-21, 21-12, 11-6

Semi finals
Jennifer Harding d. Shannon Wright, 21-18, 21-16
Peggy Steding d. Karin Walton, 21-16, 21-9

Jennifer Harding d. Peggy Steding, 21-6, 21-14

Source: National Racquetball, Vol. 6, No. 12, December 1978, p. 68-77.

Follow the bouncing ball....

No comments: