Thursday, March 12, 2015

IRT Shamrock Shootout Preview

Illinois hosts the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) for the first time since 2009, when they brought the portable court to Navy Pier. In that event, Kane Waselenchuk defeated Rocky Carson in the final, and if the bookmakers were handicapping this weekend’s Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, they would likely predict the same finalists and outcome.

Waselenchuk remains in pursuit of the #1 ranking at season’s end, yet remains 2nd behind Carson. Waselenchuk’s won six times this season with Carson winning three times (Daniel De La Rosa's won once). In the last IRT event, they met in one of the best played finals in recent times. Carson was excellent, yet Waselenchuk still prevailed in three straight games.

Carson will have to be that good again if he’s going to defeat Waselenchuk. However, they will both have significant challengers before the anticipated final. Carson will likely play Ben Croft in the quarterfinals and either De La Rosa or Jose Rojas in the semi-finals, while Waselenchuk will likely play Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals, who took a game off him in Florida and really should have been up 2-0, as Beltran had a large lead in game one also, and won game two.

Yet Waselenchuk won, because that’s what he does. He wins.

In recent years, the other players have raised their games in response to Waselenchuk’s challenge, and they will have to continue to do so if they are to stop him from winning.

The Field

Thirty three players are in Lombard, Illinois for the Shamrock Shootout, so 32 of them are trying to prevent Waselenchuk from winning his seventh title of the season.

Some of the early match ups to look forward to are 2014 Boy’s U18 World Champion Mario Mercado versus 2014 World Doubles Champion Alejandro Herrera, although Mercado has to get past Zach Archer first.

Also, if young Canadian Coby Iwaasa wins his qualifying match against veteran Keith Minor or Colombian junior Set Cubillos, then he’ll play Daniel De La Rosa, which should be a great match.

The matches kick off Thursday afternoon with the Round of 16 beginning Friday morning. The 16s will be on the IRT Network, and check out their website for Thursday coverage.

2015 Shamrock Shootout
Lombard, Illinois

Preliminary Round 1

Thomas Carter v. Juan Martinez III
Andres Ramierez v. Juan Torres
Jorge Ortiz v. Brian Simpson

John Scott v. Richard Berich
Keith Minor v. Set Cubillos

Zach Archer v. Mario Mercado
Brian Pineda v. Clint Hickman

Filip Vesely v. Eugene Coyle
Juan Herrera v. Kyle Ulliman

Preliminary Round 2

Q8: Thomas Carter or Juan Martinez III v. Andres Ramierez or Juan Torres
Q1: Charlie Pratt v. Jorge Ortiz or Brian Simpson

Q4: Tim Landeryou v. John Scott or Richard Berich
Q5: Coby Iwaasa v. Keith Minor or Set Cubillos

Q6: Alejandro Herrera v. Zach Archer or Mario Mercado
Q3: Danny Lavely v. Brian Pineda or Clint Hickman

Q2: Robert Collins v. Filip Vesely or Eugene Coyle
Q7: Felipe Camacho v. Juan Herrera or Kyle Ulliman

Main Draw of 16 (with seeding)

1 Rocky Carson v. Q8
8 Ben Croft v. Q1

5 Jose Rojas v. Q4
4 Daniel De La Rosa v. Q5

3 Alvaro Beltran v. Q6
6 Jansen Allen v. Q3

7 Marco Rojas v. Q2
2 Kane Waselenchuk v. Q7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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