Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Round Up - US Team members

The USA Racquetball Doubles Champions earned the right to represent the USA at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships that will be held in Burlington, Ontario, Canada from June 14-21, 2014. All four of the men's and women's champions are US Team veterans, although two have competed many times and two not so much.

Rocky Carson will be making his 14th appearance for the USA, and Aimee Ruiz will be on the US team for the 9th time. In contrast, Jose Rojas will be making his 4th appearance and Janel Tisinger her 2nd.

All four have had success playing for their country. Carson is the three time defending IRF World Champion in Men's Singles. His three titles tie Carson with Jack Huczek for the most singles World Championships. A fourth title would put Carson alone at the top.

Ruiz has also been a IRF World Champion. Her titles came in doubles with Laura Fenton in 2006 and Jackie Paraiso in 2008. Ruiz has reached the podium each time she's been on the US Team, but she hasn't won gold this decade.

Rojas won gold in the team competition at the 2012 IRF World Championships, and was a bronze medalist in the individual part of that tournament.

Tisinger was a gold medalist in doubles with Rhonda Rajsich in 2007 at the Pan American Championships.

Carson and Rojas will likely be double qualifiers for the American team, as they will likely be two of the top three finishers on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), which is one of the qualifying criteria for the US Team. Whether Carson and Rojas will play singles and doubles or whether the US will choose to send some other players as well is still to be determined.

The US have usually sent four players to Worlds, although they did send three in 2006, when Carson went as only a doubles player (Huczek and Shane Vanderson were the singles players).

Who the US women's singles players will be is less clear. Or rather who the second US woman will be is less clear, as Rajsich will more than likely qualify for the team as the top ranked American woman on the Ladies Pro Racquetball Tour (LPRT). The second player would likely be the one who finishes best in the US Team Qualifying Division at the US National Singles Championship in Fullerton, California in May.

Live Streaming of IRF Events

On the weekend, the IRF announced an agreement with Network, which will create an IRF channel (the IRF Network) on the Network website. They agreement will have the three principal 2014 international events broadcast over the IRF Network: the 2014 Pan American Championships (April 12-19 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia), the 2014 World Junior Championships (October 19-25 in Cali, Colombia) and the 2014 Worlds as mentioned above.

This is very good news. The IRT Network does a good job at presenting racquetball coverage over the web, and has been continually improving its capacity and capability.

If you are not an IRT Network subscriber, you are missing out.

Follow the bouncing ball….

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