Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coast to Coast California Open - Preview

The draw for this weekend's Coast to Coast California Open, which kicks off the second part of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season, hasn't been released yet. But we've heard from IRT Commissioner Jason Mannino that 25 players are in the draw.

You might be hard pressed to recall what happened in the IRT events in the fall, as it seems so long ago now. In fact, there hasn't been a big IRT event since the US Open in October eleven (yes, 11!) weeks ago. So, perhaps a bit of a review is in order.

There were four main IRT events in the fall: two Tier 1 and two Grand Slam events. Kane Waselenchuk won both the Grand Slam events in Denver and Memphis, and the Tier 1 event in Terre Haute, Indiana. The other event was won by Mannino in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Jack Huczek has been the runner-up in all four IRT events this season.

There have been 184 matches in those four events. Five of those matches have produced over 90 points between the players with the highest total being 95, which has happened twice.

Jack Huczek defeated Rocky Carson in the semi-finals of the Bowling Green event, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, and Polo Gutierrez defeated Anthony Carson, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 10-12, 11-4 in the final round of qualifying in Denver.

In two matches, the winner has had fewer points than the loser, and Mannino has been involved in both of them. He defeated Jack Huczek in the final of the Kentucky Open, 11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 0-11, 11-7, despite winning 5 fewer points in the match. Mannino lost to Shane Vanderson, 3-11, 11-6, 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, although he scored one more point than Vanderson.

Those are a few of the remarkable things from the first half of the 2009-2010 IRT season.

This week's Tier 1 event in California event is followed up with another Tier 1 event in New York City next week. Then there will be another break until the end of February, when action switches back to California for the San Diego Open.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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