Monday, February 15, 2016

Carson & Rajsich win USA Racquetball Singles Qualifying Divisions

USA Racquetball changed its National Team selection process this season, and part of that change was to include a singles division at the National Doubles Championships, which concluded Sunday in Tempe, Arizona, with Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich winning the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles divisions, respectively, and putting themselves in the lead in the standings to make the 2016-17 USA Racquetball National Team in singles.

Carson faced Jose Rojas in the Men’s Singles final, and they went to a tie-breaker, with Carson winning 15-8, 3-15, 11-8. Rajsich defeated Sharon Jackson in the Women’s Singles final, 15-13, 15-5. Thus, Carson and Rajsich earned 30 points (100 points weighted by 0.3) towards qualifying for the National Team for 2016-17.

The other team selection events are the 2016 US Open, weighted 0.2 and the USA National Singles Championships in May, weighted 0.5.

The odd competition in the trio is the US Open, as that is not a USA only player competition and both Men’s and Women’s Singles have two serves in that competition, while this weekend in Tempe the international rules were used, including only one serve, so one could argue that the results from the US Open and the other two competitions (assuming National Singles is run the same as this weekend’s tournament was) aren’t completely compatible.

That said, the current men’s standings have Carson ahead with 42 points, Jose Rojas 2nd with 30 points, his younger brother Marco Rojas is 3rd with 24 points, and Jose Diaz is 4th with 20 points.

Rajsich tops the women’s standings with 46 points, Jackson is 2nd with 25 points, Sheryl Lotts is 3rd with 20 points, one ahead of Cheryl Gudinas in 4th on 19 points.

The top four players in the point standings from the three competitions will qualify for spots on the 2016-17 USA National Team.

The men’s final could easily have gone the other way, as Rojas led 14-8 in game one, and had a set up in the front court that he made an error on, and did not get another game point after that, as Carson ran seven straight points to win 15-14.

Game one took 30 min, but game two went by only 11 min, as Rojas rolled through it, winning 15-2, and setting up a third game tie-breaker.

In the breaker, the early advantage was Rojas’s, as he went up 5-1. But the veteran Carson held tough, and tied it at 5-5, and then went on to win 11-8, outscoring Rojas 10-3 after being down 5-1.

In making his comeback, Carson stepped up his serving, including two aces and a service winner. Carson closed out the match on his first match point with a drive serve to the left side that bounced twice before Rojas could get to it: ace.

The finalists in Men’s and Women’s Doubles qualified for the USA National Team on Saturday. So, 2016 USA Racquetball Men’s Doubles Champions Jake Bredenbeck and Diaz, as well as their opponents Jansen Allen and Carson are on the team, as are the 2016 USA Racquetball Women’s Doubles Champions Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger and their opponents Rajsich and Lotts.

The 2016 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships will be in Denver, Colorado from May 25-29. If you missed any of the action from Tempe, you can watch it via the USA Racquetball Livestream channel.

2016 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men’s Singles - Final

2) Rocky Carson d. 1) Jose Rojas, 15-8, 3-15, 11-8

Women's Singles - Final

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 2) Sharon Jackson, 15-13, 15-5

2016-17 USA Racquetball National Team Selection Points Standings

Men’s Singles

1) Rocky Carson - 42
2) Jose Rojas - 30
3) Marco Rojas - 24
4) Jose Diaz - 20
5) Jansen Allen - 15
6) Jake Bredenbeck - 11
6) David Horn - 11
8) Mauricio Zelada - 9
8) Anthony Herrera - 9

Women's Singles

1) Rhonda Rajsich - 46
2) Sharon Jackson - 25
3) Sheryl Lotts - 20
4) Cheryl Gudinas - 19
5) Michelle Key - 15
6) Da’monique Davis - 11
7) Jackie Paraiso - 9
7) Kelani Bailey - 9

Follow the bouncing ball....

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