Monday, February 8, 2010

USA National Doubles Championships

The USA National Doubles Championship is the big event this coming weekend. It'll be held at the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The winners will be the qualifiers for the US National Team, and as it's a World Championships year that would mean a trip to Korea come August wearing the stars and stripes.

Men's US Team Qualifying

You could excuse Ben Croft and Mitch Williams if they want to forget what happened in Tempe last year, as they lost to Rocky Carson and Jack Huczek in the final, despite leading 10-2 in the tie-breaker. Losses like that gotta hurt.

It was Carson and Huczek's fifth title together. They won in 2008 and from 2004 to 2006. Croft and Williams won in 2007.

Thus, if they are betting on this in Las Vegas, they probably have the odds on a rematch for the finals come Sunday.

But there are other players who'll be looking to mess with the Vegas line, including several who'll be looking to turn back time.

For example, Jason Thoerner, who hasn't played any International Racquetball Tour (IRT) main events this season but is one of the current current World Champions in doubles (with Williams), will be there partnering with Shane Vanderson.

But going back further Eric Muller, USA Doubles Champion in 1991 and 1993 with John Ellis, is playing with Jason Mannino. From even further back, Doug Ganim a four time winner with Dan Obremski (1986, 1987, 1989 and 1998) will be in action with young Zach Apperson.

Finally, Cliff Swain will be trying to add a doubles title, which would be his first, to arguably the best career record in racquetball. Swain's partner will be Shawn Royster.

With 34 players entered, there will be 17 teams vying for the title and a chance to represent the USA at the World Championships.

Seventeen teams is a decent field, but not a huge one. Unless you compared it to the women's field.

Women's US Team Qualifying

There are a mere 5 teams - 10 players - in the Women's US Team Qualifying draw! Thus, the women's team representing the USA in Korea may do so on the basis of winning only two matches. Yikes!

The Racquetball Blog has gone on about how a US national team coach should be concerned about the lack of elite American women players, but if you needed more convincing this draw should do it. Further consider that 40% the field is over 30 and 20% over 40 (doesn't that sound so much better than 4 and 2, respectively?).

Of course, Vegas would have some of those older women winning on Sunday, so maybe the US coaches aren't concerned.

But frankly, this is sad.

2010 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Division Entries

Jansen Allen & Tony Carson
Ken Angelocci & Andy Lewis
Zach Apperson & Doug Ganim
Jeff Bell & Tom Fuhrman
Brian Berkelhamer & Jorge Ortiz
Rocky Carson & Jack Huczek
Ben Croft & Mitch Williams
Chris Crowther & Tim Doyle
Jonathan Dunn & Jason Geis
Todd Entrikin & Dale Valentine
Andy Howthorne & Jeff Stark
Anthony Herrera & Taylor Knoth
Craig Lane & Greg Solis
Dan Llacera & Mike Orr
Jason Mannino & Eric Muller
Shawn Royster & Cliff Swain
Jason Thoerner & Shane Vanderson

Lily Berry & Sharon Jackson
Krystal Csuk & Cheryl Gudinas
Sheryl Lotts & Aubrey O'Brien
Jackie Paraiso & Aimee Ruiz
Rhonda Rajsich & Janel Tisinger

Follow the bouncing ball....

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