Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Longoria Should Be #1

We're awaiting the release of the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization's (WPRO's) season ending rankings, but via Twitter it has been announced that Rhonda Rajsich finished the season as #1 ahead of Paola Longoria.

Here at The Racquetball Blog offices that announcement was met with a collective "what? Seriously?"

We're in disbelief here because it seems clear to us that Longoria had the better season. She won 5 WPRO events to Rajsich's 4, and Longoria was in the final of every event she entered. Rajsich had a very good year, but she did lose in the quarters of the Texas Open and the semis of the Puget Sound Challenge. Thus, Longoria made the finals 100% of the time while Rajsich did it 80% of the time.

The key seems to be that Longoria missed one event - that Puget Sound Challenge, which without Longoria there you'd have thought would be Rajsich's to win, but she didn't. Longoria's absence from the Puget Sound Challenge was for a good reason, as she was receiving a national sport award from the President of Mexico.

We can understand having your ranking system reward players for being at the tournaments, but to not finish #1 because you missed one event, when it seems clear you've got the best record, makes the system seem too harsh on player's who do miss events.

Alternative System

The Racquetball Blog tracks player's performances over the season and across seasons, and our internal ranking system gives players points according to the round that they lost in. For example, a quarter final loss mean 8 points, as there were 8 players alive in that round; a loss in the 32s means 32 points; a loss in the finals means 2 points; the winner gets 1 point.

Fewer points are better in this system, and you sum up the points across events and divide by the number of events to get a mean point total for each player.

Using this system, Longoria is #1 as she has 1.44 points, and Rajsich #2 with 2.40 points. Samantha Salas is 3rd with 4.70 points, and then Christie Huczek is 4th with 5.00 points.

Huczek being 4th highlights that this system doesn't favor people who play more tournaments, as Huczek played only four events, finishing in the semis three times and quarters once. Again, we understand that you want to have an incentive for players doing so. It wouldn't be good for an organization to have its year end #1 be a player who only came out to one event even if the player won that event. That would be case in this system.

So you have to be wary of small numbers of events in this system. Aimee Ruiz is 6th with this ranking system, but she was only in two events (making the quarter finals in each). (Note: four players were in all 10 WPRO events this season: Rajsich, Salas, Susana Acosta and Jennifer Saunders)

Understand that Rajsich and Longoria have been the dominant WPRO players over the last three seasons. Collectively, they have won 24 of 27 WPRO events with Longoria winning 14 and Rajsich 10, and the other three events going to Samantha Salas, Cheryl Gudinas, and Kristen Bellows.

Thus, Rajsich and Longoria are the class of the WPRO right now, but from The Racquetball Blog's perspective Longoria has the better record, including this season.

She should be #1.

Alternative WPRO Rankings by The Racquetball Blog
Rank | Name | Mean Points | Events | Total Points

1. Paola Longoria - 1.44 pts, 9 events, 13 total pts
2. Rhonda Rajsich - 2.40, 10, 24
3. Samantha Salas - 4.70, 10, 47
4. Christie Huczek - 5.00, 4, 20
5. Cheryl Gudinas - 7.50, 8, 60

6. Aimee Ruiz - 8.00, 2, 16
7. Kerri Wachtel - 8.67, 9, 78
8. Adrienne Fisher - 11.11, 9, 100
9. Susana Acosta - 11.20, 10, 112
10. Angela Grisar - 12.00, 8, 96

11. Jennifer Saunders - 12.40, 10, 124
12. Cristina Amaya - 13.33, 9, 120
13. Nancy Enriquez - 14.29, 7, 100
14. Krystal Csuk - 16.00, 9, 144
14. Aubrey O'Brien - 16.00, 3, 48
14. Claudina Garcia - 16.00, 3, 48
14. Jackie Paraiso - 16.00, 2, 32

Follow the bouncing ball....


Marilou said...

I absolutely agree. There is no doubt, Longoria is #1, no matter what the numbers are, or what system has skewed her obvious winning totals. If I had 1/8 of Paola's technique, I would die a happy racquetball player. Thank you, Paola, for your huge contribution to racquetball. We will hopefully see more of your spectacular game in the years to come.

Brandon said...

Point system obviously has a major flaw in it, if Paola is not ranked Number 1. Paola also should have won the Stockton event. There are no court hinders in WPRO events. Court hinder was called on match point that would have given Paola the match. Love Rhonda and she had an awesome year, but she was #2. :}

Denny said...

Brandon you're wrong. There are court hinders in the WPRO when they are delineated prior to the beginning of the match, which they were in Stockton. The cages around the sprinklers and the microphone for the streaming were all designated as court hinders. Nothing else on the court (including the lights and the door frame) were court hinders.

Paola was up 2 games to none, and had a lead in the third .. .. even if the call was wrong, she contributed just a little to her own demise.

Additionally, the WPRO has been using the current ranking system for several years, including the years when Paola was ranked #1. There's no hidden formula and it wasn't changed this year to accomodate Rhonda or anyone else.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that Paola has made incredible contributions to the womens' tour, and is a phenomenal player. She totally, absolutely dominated Rhonda in New Orleans, and she legitimately finished the season ranked #2.

Just my opinion, and worth what ya paid for it!