Tuesday, November 15, 2011

IRT: Ending the Season #1

When Kane Waselenchuk finishes at #1 at the end of the current International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season, which everyone in The Racquetball Blog office is fully expecting, he alone will have the most year end #1s ever. Currently, he's tied for the most with Cliff Swain at 6.

But Waselenchuk will need to finish #1 this season and the next two seasons to set the record for most consecutive #1s. Mike Yellen was #1 five seasons in a row from 1982-83 to 1986-87. Waselenchuk's #1 run is currently at three.

In fact, only Waselenchuk (with 6), Swain (6), Yellen (5) and Sudsy Monchik (5) have finished ranked #1 more than once. (note: Marty Hogan was 'tour champion' four times but that was based on winning the season ending tournament rather than overall season rankings).

Yet despite that record of domination (22 of 28 seasons won by one of four players), there was a six year period when the #1 player was someone different each year. 1986-87 was Yellen's last title. Ruben Gonzalez was #1 the next year followed by Marty Hogan.

Cliff Swain with his first title in 1989-90, but Mike Ray and Drew Katchtik won in 1990-91 and '91-92, respectively, before Swain won his second in '92-93.

Swain or Monchik was #1 until 2002-03, when Jason Mannino got his year end #1 title.

Since then it's been Waselenchuk, aside from the two year interruption that allowed Jack Huczek and Rocky Carson to get on the year end #1 list.

The big question is who'll be #1 next, although we don't expect answer to that for a few year still.

Take Heart

For those who are looking to take the mantel from Waselenchuk they might be heartened to know that Swain was in the top 10 for five years before he became #1. Similarly, Mannino didn't get to #1 until his 8th season in the top 10.

Only Monchik got to #1 in only his second year in the top 10. It took Waselenchuk three years to do that.

(Note: article written with stats from the IRT Historical Data Archive.)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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