Friday, February 6, 2009

Lewis Pro-Am

Two of the longest running racquetball tournaments happen the next two weekends. Next weekend, it'll be the 35th annual Keystone Classic in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a Tier 4 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event and a satellite Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) event.

But this week it's the Lewis Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In its 31st year, this tournament is blessed with the generous sponsorship of Lewis Drug President and CEO, Mark Griffin. It's one of only three Tier 2 IRT events this season.

As such, six of the top 10 IRT players will be in Sioux Falls, including the top three players: Rocky Carson, Jack Huczek and Alvaro Beltran. Joining them are Shane Vanderson, Mitch Williams and Jason Thoerner, as well as Andy Hawthorne, Alejandro Herrera and the legend Ruben Gonzalez.

However, at 100 players this year, Lewis Drug Pro-Am participation is down considerably from last year, when there were 161 players. That large decrease may reflect an influence of USA Racquetball's shift of the timing of the US Doubles Championship, which will occur next weekend rather than in the fall as in seasons past. Alternatively, the tough economic times could be the explanation for the lower turnout this year.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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