Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Carson remains IRT's #1 player

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) released its latest rankings this week, and Rocky Carson remains the #1 IRT player, holding a slim lead of two points over #2 Kane Waselenchuk. But those two points aren’t really two points.


Because the IRT rankings work on 12 month cycles, so they totals currently include last year’s Stockton event, which Waselenchuk won and Carson finished in the semi-finals. But word is that event won’t happen this year. If it doesn’t, then Waselenchuk’s point total drops significantly more than Carson’s.

Race for #1

The IRT rankings situation is a complex this season, so spoke to Jason Mannino, President of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), regarding the rankings and race for the #1 spot at season’s end. Carson is still the #1 IRT player, although Waselenchuk’s won seven tournments this season compared to Carson’s three.

Waselenchuk remains #2, because he’s had health issues this season that have caused him to miss three events and forfeit in the quarterfinals of another. Carson, on the other hand, has been in at least the semi-finals of all 11 events this season with six runner up finishes to go with his three wins.

Players can drop performances from their record, but how many they can drop depends on the number of events in the season. There have been eleven events this season, and with the Stockton event unlikely to happen, only Portland’s Tournament of Champions remains on the IRT 2014-15 calendar (the next event in Long Beach, Calif. is doubles only, so won’t effect the rankings). When there are 12 or fewer Tier 1 events, players can only drop one event. Thus, Waselenchuk can only drop one of the events that he missed, while Carson can drop one of his semi-final finishes. Advantage Carson.

The number of points players earn from IRT events can vary substantially. The Grand Slam events have the most points, but there was only one of those this season: the US Open. Of the Tier 1 events, there are three types based on the prize money of the event.

For events that happen outside of the USA, the prize money is higher so as to cover the players’ costs better, and those events are worth more points. There have not been any such events this season, but Mannino suggested there could be as many as three of them next season.

There are also two events this season that are Tier 1 prize money, but Tier 2 points, as agreed by the tournament directors and players. Those events are the Sioux Falls stop and the Portland stop. As Portland is only Tier 2 points, a win there would not be enough to move Waselenchuk ahead of Carson.

Winning a Tier 1 event is worth 400 points, while winning a Tier 2 event is only 120 points. Perhaps more importantly, the difference between winning a Tier 1 event and finishing second is 96-100 points while the difference between winning a Tier 2 event and finishing second is 30 points (1st vs. semi-final finish is 60 points).

The system’s more complicated than Mannino would like, and he’s going to try to make it simpler for next season.

There are rumours of other Tier 1 events happening this season, although it seems unlikely at this late date. Mannino couldn’t confirm whether this would happen, but agreed that if it did, they would have to be announced by the end of the month.

If there were one or two more Tier 1 events, then Waselenchuk would have a chance to surpass Carson for the #1 season ending ranking. Of course, he would have to be healthy for them, and win them, or at least do better than Carson. But when healthy, Waselenchuk’s only lost twice in the last seven IRT seasons.

The situation should become clear by early April, at which point we’ll know whether Carson will be IRT #1 for this season or whether the #1 ranking is still up for grabs.

Rest of the field

There was little movement in the top 20, and none in the top 10. Danny Lavely has moved up to 15th, and Coby Iwaasa moved up one position to 19th. Also, Alejandro Herrera is back in the top 20 at #20.

The next IRT event is a doubles only event: the Long Beach Open Doubles goes April 9-11 in Long Beach, California.

IRT Rankings - March 23, 2015

Rank - Player - Country - Points

1 Rocky CARSON (USA) 3592
2 Kane WASELENCHUK (Canada) 3590
3 Alvaro BELTRAN (Mexico) 2862
4 Daniel DE LA ROSA (Mexico) 2226
5 Ben CROFT (USA) 2080

6 Jose ROJAS (USA) 2046
7 Jansen ALLEN (USA) 1594
8 Marco ROJAS (USA) 1411
9 Charlie PRATT (USA) 1344
10 Tony CARSON (USA) 1158

11 Chris CROWTHER (USA) 1010
12 Alejandro LANDA (Mexico) 950
13 Jose DIAZ (USA) 759
14 Matthew MAJXNER (USA) 689
15 Danny LAVELY (USA) 688

16 Robert COLLINS (USA) 595
17 Cliff SWAIN (USA) 543
18 Tim LANDERYOU (Canada) 503
19 Coby IWAASA (Canada) 458
20 Alejandro HERRERA (Colombia) 409

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Todd Boss said...

I think we have our answer. Doing some simple arithmetic, it seems that Kane has missed too many events and will not be #1 this year.

Kane: 7 wins, 1 quarterfinal. Assuming all t1 points for simplicity: 7*400 + 1*150 = 2950 points.

Rocky: 3 wins, 6 finals, 1 semi (we drop his other semi). 3*400 + 6*300 + 220 = 3220 points.

In the one Grand Slam, kane wins and Rocky loses in semis, so add an additional 200 to Kane's total and an additional 100 to Rocky's.

Final tally: Kane has 3150 points, Rocky has 3320. Yes there might be "tier 1 money but tier 2 points" but if both guys are playing those events then their point totals get reduced similarly.

I think Rocky's going to be the champ just by virtue of Kane's attrition this season.