Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015-16 IRT First Half Season Review

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) begins the second half of its 2015-16 season this weekend with the NYC Open on Long Island, New York, and will be followed immediately with the Lewis Drug Pro-Am next weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Thus, it's a good time to look back on the first half of the season.

With five wins over seven events, Kane Waselenchuk is clearly the #1 IRT player this season. The two events he didn't win are events he didn't play in, although the record has him as losing in Davison, that was a late withdrawal. Waselenchuk also won the US Open doubles event for the second year, as he and Ben Croft successfully defended their title from a year ago.

Similarly, Rocky Carson is a solid #2 with one win and five runner up finishes in the first half of the season. But after Carson, it's a muddy picture. Alvaro Beltran is the only other winner this season, but he's also lost in the Round of 16 three times. Daniel De La Rosa reached the US Open final for the first time in his career, but has also lost in the 16s twice and only been a semi-finalist twice. Jose Rojas only has one loss in the 16s and a runner up finish to Carson, so he's arguably ahead of Beltran and De La Rosa, although it's really splitting hairs between the three.

The first half of the season also saw some breakthrough results, as Felipe Camacho, Sebastian Franco, Mario Mercado and Brad Schopieray all reached the semi-finals for the first times in their careers. Franco was a semi-finalist twice. Those four players are from four different countries, giving the IRT a real international flavour. Camacho is Costa Rican, Franco Colombian, Mercado Bolivian and Schopieray is American.

At the other end of the spectrum, Cliff Swain reached the semi-finals for the 163rd time in his career, when he got the semis in Davison. In most of his semi-final appearances (110 times), the six time IRT #1 Swain advanced to the final, but this year the now 49 year old lost to Rocky Carson. Swain's 163 semi-final or better IRT appearances alone would tie him for 8th on the all time appearances list with Chris Crowther. Swain's 285 appearances overall is by far the most career IRT appearances. Ruben Gonzalez is a distant second at 216.


What marked the first half of the IRT season was five Tier 1 events on consecutive weekends, which is a crazy schedule. Only 8 players played in all seven first half events: Carson, Jose Rojas, Beltran, Jansen Allen, Felipe Camacho, Robert Collins, Mauricio Zelada, and Mario Mercado. De La Rosa was technically in all seven events, but he was a late withdrawal from the Garden City event.

The second half schedule is more forgiving, as there are back to back events twice, with the first ones this weekend and next. Then there's two months until the IRT is in action again with back to back events in early March in Edinburg, Texas and Lombard, Illinois.

After that the IRT will be in Huber Heights, Ohio for the 2016 Raising Some Racquet for Kids, in Minneapolis, which will host the IRT Pro Nationals, in Sarasota for the Florida IRT Pro-Am, and then finishes up in Portland Oregon with the Pro Kennex Tournament of Champions.

Thus, there are 15 events on the IRT schedule this season, which will make for a good racquetball season.

2015-16 IRT Season - Event Summary
Event - Final - Semi-Finalists

Kansas City: Kane Waselenchuk d. Rocky Carson - SF: Jose Rojas & Felipe Camacho
US Open: Waselenchuk d. Daniel De La Rosa - SF: Alvaro Beltran & Carson
US Open Doubles: Waselenchuk & Ben Croft d. Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz - SF: Jose Rojas & Marco Rojas and Jansen Allen & Charlie Pratt
San Marcos: Waselenchuk d. Carson - SF: Beltran & Sebastian Franco
Atlanta: Beltran d. Carson - SF: De La Rosa & J. Rojas
Davison: Carson d. J. Rojas - SF: Cliff Swain & Brad Schopieray
Garden City: Waselenchuk d. Carson - SF: Franco & Beltran
St Louis: Waselenchuk d. Carson - SF: De La Roas & Mario Mercado

Top 20 IRT rankings - January 12, 2016
Rank - Player - Country - Points

1) Kane Waselenchuk (Canada): 4440
2) Rocky Carson (USA): 3738
3) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico): 2486
4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico): 2346
5) Jose Rojas (USA): 2187
6) Jansen Allen (USA): 1833
7) Marco Rojas (USA): 1688
8) Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica): 1254
9) Charlie Pratt (USA): 1179
10) Robert Collins (USA): 1124
11) Ben Croft (USA): 933
12) Mauricio Zelada (USA): 838
13) Matthew Majxner (USA): 817
14) Sebastian Franco (Colombia): 769
15) Mario Mercado (Bolivia): 736
16) Jose Diaz (USA): 582
17) Scott McClellan (USA): 580
18) Brad Schopieray (USA): 494
19) Filip Vesely (USA): 432
20) Tim Landeryou (Canada): 362

The 2015-16 IRT Statistical Abstract (first half of season)

Total matches played: 210

Percentage of 3 game matches: 60.5 (127 of 210)
Percentage of 4 game matches: 22.4 (47)
Percentage of 5 game matches: 14.3 (30)
Percentage of matches that were defaults or data was incomplete: 2.9 (6)

Most 5 game matches played: 7 - Daniel De La Rosa (4 wins, 3 losses)
2nd most 5 game matches played: 6 - Alvaro Beltran (4 wins, 2 losses)

Most points for in a victory: 53 - Thomas Fuhrmann d. Mario Mercado, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 14-12, at the US Open

Most points scored in a loss: 50 - Rocky Carson loses to Daniel De La Rosa, 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, at the US Open

Most points in a 5 game match: 102 - Daniel De La Rosa d. Rocky Carson, 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, at the US Open
Most points in a 4 game match: 80 - Andree Parrilla d. Mario Mercado, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in San Marcos
Most points in a 3 game match: 72 - Matthew Majxner d. Brian Simpson, 11-9, 13-11, 15-13, in St Louis

Largest margin of victory 5 game match: 19 - Matthew Majxner d. Jonathan Justice, 11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 8-11, 11-2, in Atlanta
Largest margin of victory 4 game match: 24 - Kane Waselenchuk d. Rocky Carson, 11-5, 11-0, 11-13, 11-2, in Kansas City
Largest margin of victory 3 game match: 32 - Rocky Carson d. Jeremy Best, 11-1, 11-0, 11-0, in Atlanta

Smallest margin of victory 5 game match: -9 - Teobaldo Fumero d. Fernando Rios, 11-9, 1-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, at the US Open
Smallest margin of victory 4 game match: 3 - Mauricio Zelada d. Dylan Reid, 13-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-6, in St Louis
Smallest margin of victory 3 game match: 6 - Matthew Majxner d. Brian Simpson, 11-9, 13-11, 15-13, in St Louis

Follow the bouncing ball....

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