Wednesday, June 26, 2013

USAR - 40th Wilson USAR Junior Olympics Preview

The 40th Wilson USA Racquetball Junior Olympics begins today in Des Moines, Iowa. There are 143 players in Des Moines from divisions U18 down to U6/8 Multibounce. That's about the same as last year in Fullerton, Calif., where there were 142 players.

The players are from 27 states with the most coming from the host state of Iowa, which has 22 players in the event. California and Texas both have 21 players in Des Moines followed by Oregon (12 players) and Minnesota (10 players).

There are 31 girls in Des Moines this year (21.7% of the total), and that's about the same as last year, when there were 33. But there are only six in U18 with eight in U16 and four in U14. Those are the Junior World Cup divisions, and we're sure the US Junior Team coaches would like to see bigger pools of players competing for the Junior Team spots.

There are 25 boys in U18, 28 in U16, and 30 in U14.

Who will win?

In the boy's divisions, the top four finishers in U18 from last year are too old now, so it's wide open. But three of the top four finisher in U16 have moved up to U18, including last year's U16 champion Adam Manilla, runner up Connor Laffey and 3rd place finisher Sawyer Lloyd.

Last year's U14 winner and runner-up are both back in that division for a second time, so Jordan Barth and Mauro Rojas could have another showdown in the final. They are also both in U16 as well.

On the girl's side, last year's U18 champion, Kelani Bailey, runner up Samantha Simmons, are both back and likely to be the finalists again this year.

In U16, the 2012 champion Rebecca Nielsen isn't in Des Moines, but the runner up Kaitlyn Simmons is, so she's likely the favourite in U16 this year.

Finally, Erika Manilla, last year's U14 champion, should be the favourite to win again this year, although Jordan Cooperrider, who finished 3rd last year, is also in the draw.

The 40th Wilson USA Racquetball Junior Olympics runs from June 26-30 at the Oakmoor Racquet and Fitness Club in Des Moines, Iowa.

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: