Earlier this season, The Racquetball Blog introduced a new statistic for the International Racquetball Tour (IRT): qualifier wins, or QWs. Q Dubs to you cool kids. Q Dubs are the number of wins in the main draw (round of 16 and on) of an IRT event by a player who's come through the qualifying rounds.
Kane Waselenchuk leads the QW count this season with 12. He won the Denver, Kansas, Kentucky events from a qualifying position. Jose Rojas and Jason Thoerner are tied for second in QWs with two each. Thoerner's came in Denver and Kansas with two wins over Chris Crowther, while Rojas got both of his in California where he defeated Jason Mannino and Shane Vanderson.
Javier Moreno is the only other player to get a QW this season, when he defeated Vanderson in Juarez.
Two events had no QWs: Edmonton and New York City. It's three if you ignore Waselenchuk who was the only qualifying winner in Kentucky. (note: the US Open is not included in QW counts).
Last season, the mean number of QWs per IRT event was 0.92 (12 QWs in 13 events). This season the mean is 2.13 overall (17 in 8 events), and 0.63 excluding Waselenchuk's 12 QWs.
Q Dubs are one measure of competitiveness. If there are more Q Dubs, then the IRT is more competitive, as lower ranked players (qualifiers) are winning more matches. That would indicate more parity in the game.
The stats indicate there's been significantly more competitiveness if you count Waselenchuk as a qualifier, but his upsets of higher seeded players don't have the same significance in this context as those of other players. So, we think the lower mean of QWs obtained when Waselenchuk's wins are excluded from the mean is indicative of slightly less competitiveness this season.
That is, it's been more difficult to beat the big boys this season than last.
Follow the bouncing ball....