Tuesday, March 31, 2009

22nd Pan American Championships - Preview

The 22nd Pan American Racquetball Championships begin this weekend in Cali, Columbia. It'll feature several of the world's top racquetball players. This year's event does not conflict with any pro tournament, which has sometimes been the case in previous years.

The Americans and Mexicans look to have the strongest teams. Mexicans won three of the four divisions at last year's Pan American Championships in Costa Rica. Alvaro Beltran and Paola Longoria, respectively, won men's and women's singles, while Mexicans Javier Moreno and Gilberto Mejia won men's doubles. Americans Aimee Ruiz and Jackie Paraiso won the women's doubles preventing a Mexico sweep.

All those players will be in Cali to defend their titles. Polo Gutierrez is the other Mexican player in men's singles, while Samantha Salas will play women's singles with Jessica Parrilla and Mayra Cardona playing women's doubles.

The other US women in Cali will be current World Champion Rhonda Rajsich and Cheryl Gudinas Holmes. The US men will be Chris Crowther and Andy Hawthorne in singles with Ben Croft and Mitch Williams playing doubles.

There will be several other strong players. The Canadian team includes Mike Green and Kris Odegard, as well as Jennifer Saunders. Saunders will play singles along with teen Frédérique T. Lambert. The Canadian men's team isn't set regarding singles and doubles, as Michael Burgess suffered an injury late last week and was forced to drop out. Lee Connell will take his place, but whether he'll play singles or doubles is unknown.

Andreas Herrera and Juan Herrera, top 20 players on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) are playing for Columbia, as is Cristina Amaya. Jenny Daza of Bolivia and Maria Paz Munoz of Ecuador are two players who did well at last year's World Junior Championships, and they'll try to duplicate that success at the senior level in Cali.

Play begins Saturday with three days of round robin competition the results of which will be used to seed players for a playoff round ending April 11 with the finals to determine who will be the 2009 Pan American Champions.

Follow the bouncing ball...


Jose said...

Is there a webpage where we can follow this tournament?

The Racquetball Blog said...

Yes there, Jose. You can check out on R2 Sports.


The Racquetball Blog