Monday, June 1, 2015

Waselenchuk IRT #1 for 6th straight season, 10th time overall

Kane Waselenchuk did it again. Indeed, did it for the 6th straight time, as he has finished #1 on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) for a sixth consecutive season, and tenth overall, as he overtook Rocky Carson, who was #1 for much of the second half of the season, with a win on the weekend in Fresno, California.

Waselenchuk won ten IRT tournaments this season, but he missed three due to a recurrence of his inner ear condition that also caused him to default out of another event in the quarterfinals. Thus, there was some doubt as to whether he could finish #1, as Carson's been an Iron Man on tour, and excellent in all his appearances.

But the doubt has been removed.

This season's top ten is very similar to last season's, when Carson was also #2. Alvaro Beltran is again #3. But Jose Rojas and Daniel De La Rosa have flip flopped with De La Rosa 4th and Rojas 5th this season.

Ben Croft finished 6th, up one from last season, although he was higher during the season, but a shoulder injury has caused him to miss the last few tournaments.

Jansen Allen is 7th, Marco Rojas 8th, both are up from last season, when Allen was 8th and Rojas 10th. After a two season absence, Charlie Pratt is back in the top 10 at #9, which matches a career high. Tony Carson rounds out the top 10, which is his fourth consecutive season in the top 10.

For their careers, Rocky Carson now has the second most top 10 finishes with 16 behind only Cliff Swain with 20. Carson's finish this season broke a tie he had with Jason Mannino at 15. Also, Beltran is fourth on the list with 13 top 10s and Waselenchuk now has 12, tied with Mike Ray for fifth most all time.

IRT Final Rankings for 2014-15 IRT season
June 1, 2015

Rank - Player - Country - Points

1 Kane WASELENCHUK (Canada) 3990
2 Rocky CARSON (USA) 3968
3 Alvaro BELTRAN (Mexico) 3002
4 Daniel DE LA ROSA (Mexico) 2444
5 Jose ROJAS (USA) 2126

6 Ben CROFT (USA) 2082
7 Jansen ALLEN (USA) 1746
8 Marco ROJAS (USA) 1689
9 Charlie PRATT (USA) 1554
10 Tony CARSON (USA) 1104

11 Alejandro LANDA (Mexico) 910
12 Chris CROWTHER (USA) 820
13 Robert COLLINS (USA) 762
14 Jose DIAZ (USA) 757
15 Matthew MAJXNER (USA) 739

16 Tim LANDERYOU (Canada) 660
17 Danny LAVELY (USA) 626
18 Coby IWAASA (Canada) 592
19 Felipe CAMACHO (Costa Rica) 497
20 Alejandro HERRERA (Colombia) 409

Other Ways to Count

Prior to the season ending rankings, there was a great deal of discussion along the line of "How can Waselenchuk be #2 when he's won more tournaments than Carson?" And that discussion could have continued had Carson (or anyone really) defeated Waselenchuk even once during the season, as only 22 points separated them in the end.

But the IRT rankings reward players for an overall record of performance, rather than individual performances. To take an extreme case, if someone played only one tournament (say, the US Open), but won it, should that be enough to be the #1 player for the season? Most people would probably think that would not be enough.

The IRT want the players to play in as many tournaments as possible, so it wasn't to reward those players who do so. The ranking system is set up to do that. Moreover, each individual tournament director wants all the top players to participate in THEIR tournament, so having a ranking system that rewards participation means players are more likely to play in each tournament rather than just playing a selection of the tournaments.

The Racquetball Blog staff tracks all the IRT players during the season, recording how many tournaments they play and how they finish in each event. We can create an alternate ranking by awarding points to players based on what round they reached. Finishing first would be one, second two, semi-final loss is four, quarterfinals is eight, etc.

Alternate IRT Rankings

Rank - Player - Country - Mean (Tournaments played)

1 Kane WASELENCHUK (Canada) 1.80 (10)
2 Rocky CARSON (USA) 2.21 (14)
3 Alvaro BELTRAN (Mexico) 4.92 (13)
4 Alejandro LANDA (Mexico) 6.00 (4)
5 Daniel DE LA ROSA (Mexico) 6.08 (13)

6 Ben CROFT (USA) 7.09 (11)
7 Jose ROJAS (USA) 7.71 (14)
8 Tony CARSON (USA) 8.57 (7)
9 Chris CROWTHER (USA) 9.60 (5)
10 Marco ROJAS (USA) 10.15 (13)

11 Jansen ALLEN (USA) 10.57 (14)
12 Charlie PRATT (USA) 12.85 (14)
13 Jose DIAZ (USA) 17.00 (8)
14 Felipe CAMACHO (Costa Rica) 18.67 (6)
15 Matthew MAJXNER (USA) 19.20 (10)

16 Coby IWAASA (Canada) 19.43 (7)
17 Alejandro HERRERA (Colombia) 20.00 (4)
18 Danny LAVELY (USA) 20.57 (7)
19 Robert COLLINS (USA) 24.00 (12)
20 Tim LANDERYOU (Canada) 24.00 (12)

This is the same 20 players, but the order is different. Note, this includes only players that were in at least four tournaments. If we lower that to three, then Andree Parrilla comes in with 21.33. Lowering it to two appearances gets in Cliff Swain (12) and Jacob Matthews (16), who reached the Round of 16 in two tournaments, and those tournaments - Davison, Michigan and Garden City, Kansas - weren't close to each other. Several players got to the 16s in only one appearance on tour.

The major difference, of course, is that Landa is in the top 4 here, as he was in two quarterfinals and two semi-finals, including a US Open semi, in four appearances on tour this season. Also, veterans Tony Carson and Chris Crowther are in the top 10 despite playing reduced schedules.

Is this fairer? No, not necessarily. It's just a different way of looking at the players' performance over the length of the season.

But perhaps the main point is that outside of Waselenchuk, Rocky Carson and Beltran, who in that order, are clearly the top three players, where everyone else falls is up for grabs.

Ideally, we'd see everyone play all the events, and see what happens. And there are other players we'd like to see play all the IRT events, such as the Bolivians - Conrado Moscoso and Carlos Keller - who beat Beltran and De La Rosa at the Pan American Championships in April, as well as guys who are playing the World Racquetball Tour (WRT).

It's interesting to consider the IRT rankings compared to the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) rankings in terms of where the players are from. Someone looking at the IRT rankings could think the USA still dominates, but while no one looking at the LPRT rankings would think that. USA has several high quality men's players, but as a whole, they aren't that far ahead of the rest of the countries, as they have been in the past.

Rankings can be debated almost endlessly, but one thing is undebatable: Kane Waselenchuk is the #1 IRT player.

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Todd Boss said...

(I've registered this domain and will transition to it eventually; right now it redirects back to

I'd like to point out that Kane's season, if at all possible, was even more impressive than we think. Reason? He only lost TWO GAMES all year. If you go to the reporting page and run the "Player Games and W-L record" report for Kane this year, you'll see that he went 123-2 in games. He lost one game to Beltran in a quarter earlier in the year and one to Rocky in a final. That's it.

That's a level of dominance that is hard to comprehend.