Thursday, November 13, 2008

IRT : Juarez Open qualifying draw

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) has posted the draws for this weekend's Juarez Open in Juarez, Mexico, just across the US-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas.

The draws are listed below, and the first thing you might notice is that Kane Waselenchuk is not there. He was listed on the Juarez Open website as having registered, as was Hiroshi Shimizu, but neither is in the draw.

This is the second tournament that Waselenchuk has passed on in his return to the IRT after his two year ban. He's won all the tournaments he has entered, so it's surprising that he's not playing some.

Waselenchuk has stated that he wants to be ranked #1 at the end of the season (he's currently #9), and that the way to ensure that he is would be to win all the tournaments, something that's never been done. However, he's already failed to win all the tournaments, as Waselenchuk was not at the Canadian Classic (ironically, held in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta).

There was much speculation as to why Waselenchuk passed on the Edmonton event. Some of that focussing on the fact that Edmonton was the site of his positive drug test in 2006 at the Canadian National Championships, which led to his 2 year ban from the sport.

However, with Waselenchuk missing this weekend's event one wonders if there's something about out of USA events that is a problem for him. Distance shouldn't have been a concern this weekend, as Waselenchuk resides in Texas.

It's puzzling.

Wrong before it begins

Moreover, it's thrown our prediction of Waselenchuk winning this weekend out the window! That's what we're really concerned about! Ah well, it will make for an interesting tournament, as the door is thrown open to the field to take the title.

So, will Alvaro Beltran win his first IRT Tier I event? Will Mitch Williams - or Shane Vanderson or Ben Croft - get the breakthrough wins that would show they are taking their level of play up a notch? Will Jason Mannino work his magic once again? Will Rocky Carson have recovered from the pasting he received from Waselenchuk at the US Open? Will Jack Huczek come through and win the title in Waselenchuk's absence as he did in Edmonton?

Yes, there are many questions arising from Waselenchuk's absence. But perhaps no question is greater than why is he absent?

Qualifying Draw

Q1: Chris Crowther v. winner of Alejandro Cardona v. Brian Zachery
Q2: Andy Hawthorne v. winner of Eric Sandavol v. Jesus Jasso
Q3: Juan Herrera v. winner of Miguel Ladera v. Gil De Los Rios
Q4: Javier Moreno v. winner of Eduardo Avila v. Pedro Gonzalez
Q5: Travis Woodbury v. winner of Alberto De La Rosa v. Armando Landa
Q6: Andreas Herrera v. winner of Felipe Camacho v. Rey Gutierrez
Q7: Anthony Herrera v. winner of Ruben Estrada v. Oliver Moreno
Q8: Polo Gutierrez v. winner of Gil Mejia v. Manuel Villareal

Main Draw - Round of 16 (IRT Ranking)

(1) Rocky Carson v. Q8
(8) Jason Thoerner v. Q1

(5) Shane Vanderson v. Q4
(4) Jason Mannino v. Q5

(3) Alvaro Beltran v. Q6
(6) Ben Croft v. Q3

(7) Mitch Williams v. Q2
(2) Jack Huczek v. Q7

Follow the bouncing ball....

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