Kris Odegard and Brandi Jacobson Prentice came out on top in Regina at the season's first Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event on the weekend. Canada has three selection events that determine who represents Canada at international events. There are two selection events during the season and the the Canadian National Championships in May.
Odegard, the current Canadian champion, defeated Mike Green in a dramatic final match, 9-15, 15-7, 15-13. Odegard also beat Green to win the national championship in May, so he will go ahead of Green in Racquetball Canada's rankings and become the #1 player in Canada for the first time in his career.
Odegard started strong in game one with a 3-0 lead, but Green then scored 9 straight points and went on to a 12-4 lead. Odegard did get some momentum back before losing the first game 15-9, and he used that momentum in game two to gain another early lead at 6-1. Green closed it to 8-6, that's as close as it got as Odegard won 15-7.
In the tie-breaker, Green started out strong taking a 5-0 and then 7-1 lead. However, Odegard worked back into the game, and tied it at 7-7. They tied again at 9-9, and then things got interesting.
Ten rallies went by before someone broke the tie, as Odegard made it 10-9. But he failed on his first match ball, as immediately Green got a side out and tied it again. Odegard got the serve back and again went ahead 11-10.
But again he failed to convert the match point. Green then got two points and had his first chance to serve for the match at 12-11. It was Odegard's turn to grab the serve back and tie the score, now at 12-12.
Green broke that tie, and served at 13-12 three times. He even took a time out to gather himself prior to the third time. But he couldn't get it done.
Odegard got the serve back, and scored three straight points, winning the match on his third match serve opportunity.
Both players used several different serves in the match, but down the stretch Odegard primarily relied on a nick lob serve to Green's backhand, while Green was doing half lob z serves to Odegard's forehand.
Jacobson Prentice defeated Jennifer Saunders, 15-12, 15-13, which was her first career win over Saunders - the current and three time Canadian Champion. Saunders had leads in both games: 6-2 and 12-9 in game one, and 9-4 and 13-10 in game two, but didn't convert them into wins.
Also of note on the men's side was former Canadian Champion Corey Osborne making a return to competitive racquetball after a two year absence. He finished third in the event ahead of Lee Connell.
Jason Mannino won the Sunset Turkey Shoot Pro Am in Portland, Oregon. He defeated Shane Vanderson in the final, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5. To get there Mannino beat Charles Pratt, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, in the semi-finals and Vanderson took out Jose Rojas, 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5.
The Sunset Turkey Shoot Pro Am was a Tier 3 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT).
Rhonda Rajsich remains the #1 player in the latest Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) rankings, but her lead over #2 Paola Longoria is narrow - a mere 61.70 points, as Longoria defeated Rajsich in the last WPRO tournament.
The only change in the top 10 is that Jennifer Saunders is now 9th, moving ahead of Jo Shattuck, who's 10th.
In the next 10, T.J. Baumbaugh moved up to 11th and Diane Moore has fallen to 13th. Doreen Fowler is up to 15th with Vivian Gomez next at 16. Also, Sheryl Lotts is in the top 20 for the first time coming in at #20.
WPRO Rankings - November 12, 2009
Rank - Name - Residence - Points
1 Rhonda Rajsich - Phoenix, AZ 1283.70
2 Paola Longoria - Tijuana, Mexico 1222.00
3 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes - Naperville, IL 631.04
4 Kerri Wachtel - Cincinnati, OH 616.70
5 Kristen Bellows - Pleasant Grove, UT 570.00
6 Adrienne Fisher - Centerville, OH 363.70
7 Veronica Sotomayor - Cuena, Ecuador 276.40
8 Angela Grisar - Santiago, Chile 245.00
9 Jennifer Saunders - Winnipeg, MB, Canada 233.45
10 Jo Shattuck - Denver, CO 224.41
11 T.J. Baumbaugh - Reston, VA 212.80
12 Krystal Csuk - Chicago, IL 201.68
13 Diane Moore - Griffith, IN 186.25
14 Keely Franks - Euless, TX 178.25
15 Doreen Fowler - Silver Spring, MD 121.39
16 Vivian Gomez - Miami, FL 120.50
17 Samantha Salas - Leon, Mexico 120.25
18 Jackie Paraiso - California 120.00
19 Susy Acosta Mendoza - Chihuahua, Mexico 103.50
20 Sheryl Lotts - Bedford, OH 86.91
Follow the bouncing ball....