Monday, June 25, 2012

USA Racquetball 2012 Junior Olympic Doubles Champions

Here's a rundown of the doubles winners from the 2012 USA Racquetball Junior Olympics in Fullerton, California. We did mention some of these results on Saturday, as many of the divisions finished up then. But below we've got a complete summary including the third place matches.

All three Boys singles champions in U14, U16 and U18 as well as the Girls U18 champion in singles won their respective doubles division also.

Jose Diaz and Marco Rojas won the Boys U18 doubles title against Rick Charbonneau and Ryan Charbonneau, 15-4, 15-10. In Boys U16, Adam Manilla and Sawyer Lloyd defeated Connor Laffey and Alex Winter, 15-11, 15-6. Finally, in Boys U14 Jordan Barth and Justus Benson defeated Mauro Rojas and Jake Birnel, 11-15, 15-7, 11-3.

The girls doubles U16 and U18 divisions were combined to make a six team round robin, and Kelani Bailey and Samantha Simmons came out on top. Only two teams were entered in the U16 division with Kaitlyn Simmons and Lexi York defeating Hollee Hungerford and Rebecca Nielsen, 15-6, 15-5.

Where are the girls? (Reprised)

The girls doubles divisions were combined, because there weren't many girls entered. Compared to two years ago there were a few more girls in the Junior Olympics (33 this year compared to 30 in 2010), and with a slightly lower participation overall the percentage of girls in the tournament was higher (23.2% this year compared to 19.5% in 2010). So, girls participation is up ever so slightly.

Nevertheless, as we wrote in 2010, these numbers are shockingly low. There are only 12 girls in the entire USA playing elite level racquetball? Really? That number's way too low.

The Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) has begun a GoGirlGo! racquetball program, which will hopefully lead to more girls' participation. USA Racquetball has a women's committee focussed on increasing women's participation, but it doesn't mention girls' participation.

Regardless, while it's nice to have programs from the big organizations, there needs to be action at a local level to change things. In this case, that means recruiting girls to participate in junior programs, and maybe putting more effort into recruiting girls than boys as boys are easier to convince to play sports.

The bottom line for the US is that low participation levels at younger ages is going to catch up to them as the senior level. The US lost two consecutive major women's doubles competitions - 2010 Worlds and 2011 Pan American Games - for the first time ever, and without more girls playing that might be the beginning of a negative trend that could continue for many years to come.

2012 USA Racquetball Junior Olympics Doubles Results
Fullerton, California

Boy's U18

Final: Jose Diaz (Stockton, Calif.) & Marco Rojas (Stockton, Calif.) d. Rick Charbonneau & Ryan Charbonneau (Oregon City, Ore.), 15-4, 15-10
3rd: John Lindsay (Oregon City, Ore.) & Nicholas Riffel (Oregon City, Ore.) d. Dustin Cole (Oklahoma City, Okla.) & Brad Schopieray (Swartz Creek, Mich.), 15-2, 15-12

Boy's U16

Final: Adam Manilla (Centennial, Colo.) & Sawyer Lloyd (Petluma, Calif.) d. Connor Laffey (Salem, Ore.) & Alex Winter (Melville, NY), 15-11, 15-6
3rd: Joshua Lebow (Salem, Ore.) & Matthew Goolsby (Portland, Ore.) d. Diego Perez (Tyler, Tex.) & Alec Wasilonsky (Torrington, Conn.), 15-3, 15-9

Boy's U14

Final: Jordan Barth (Cold Spring, Minn.) & Justus Benson (Sun Prairie, Wisc.) d. Jake Birnel (Bellingham, Wash.) & Mauro Rojas (Stockton, Calif.), 11-15, 15-7, 11-3
3rd: Wayne Antone IV (Junction City, Ore.) & Daniel Fishbein (Barrington, N.H.) d. Jared Lee (Danville, Calif.) & Nikhil Singh (Pleasanton, Calif.), 15-7, 15-4

Girl's U16/18

1st: Kelani Bailey (Norfolk, Virg.) & Samantha Simmons (Crofton, Mary.)
2nd: Courtney Chisholm (Marlborough, Mass.) & Devon Pimentelli (San Bruno, Calif.)
3rd: Kaitlyn Simmons (Crofton, Mary.) & Lexi York (Milwaukie, Ore.)
4th: Hollee Hungerford (Milwaukie, Ore.) & Rebecca Nielsen (Upland, Calif.)
5th: Sarah Lewis (Beaverton, Ore.) & Elizabeth Simmons (Tucson, Ariz.)
6th: Erika Lipski (Portland, Ore.) & Krystle Boyle (Beaverton, Ore.)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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