Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 USA Racquetball Junior Olympics - Singles Finals

Wanye Antone IV and Jordan Cooperrider won the Boy's and Girl's U18 divisions, respectively, on Sunday at the 2017 USA Racquetball Junior Olympics at the In-Shape Sport West Lane Club in Stockton, California, so they each successfully defending the title they won a year ago. And both needed tie-breakers to get it done.

In the Boy's U18 final, Antone faced match point against Mauro Rojas, but managed to squeak out the victory, 4-15, 15-14, 11-10. In game two, Rojas was up 11-7, but Antone came back to tie it at 11-11 and then go up 14-11. However, Rojas then came back to tie it 14-14, but on match point #1, he skipped a forehand pinch shot from deep in the court. Antone calls TO, and then came in with the lob serve close to the right wall that he used to get back in the match. Rojas returned it with a ceiling ball, and Antone hit a forehand pinch shot to win the game.

In the breaker, they were back and forth early, and tied 4-4. Then Rojas went ahead 9-4, and looked to good to win it. But Antone came back to make it 9-8, but Rojas got a side out, then he hit a drive serve that cracked out off the left side wall to make it 10-8, setting up his second match point.

Rojas went for the crack ace again, but it was short, and on the ensuing rally Antone hit a forehand winner to get the serve back. But Antone couldn't score on his serve, so Rojas served for the match a third time. Again Rojas couldn't convert, as Antone hit a backhand winner. Antone made it 10-9 with a forehand pinch winner, but Rojas prevented him from tying it by hitting a backhand winner down the line. So, Rojas served for the match for a 4th time. Again he hit a drive serve on first serve, but it was short. Rojas's second serve was a lob to the right side that nicked off the right wall early, allowing Antone space to hit a forehand pinch shot for a winner.

Serving at 9-10, Antone hit a straight lob on the right side that Rojas skipped on his serve return, which set up Antone's first match point at 10-10. Antone again served a lob down the right wall that started a long rally during which Antone hit three shots - one from his knees and one from a dive into the left wall - that just kept the ball in play, and it ended as Rojas skipped a forehand shot from the middle of the court perhaps feeling that he had to hit the ball even lower to prevent Antone from keeping the ball in play.

Akul Ramayani was a double winner Sunday, as he took both the Boy's U14 and U16 titles. In U14, Ramayani beat the boy who beat him last year, Antonio Rojas, 15-11, 15-10, while in U16, Ramayani defeated Sahil Thaker, 15-11, 15-7.

In the divisions, Cooperrider won the U18 title by defeating Hollie Scott in three games, 15-4, 12-15, 11-2, for her second title in as many years. The Girl's U14 final also went to a tie-breaker, as Annie Roberts defeated Heather Mahoney, 15-5, 9-15, 11-3. But no breaker was needed in Girl's U16, where Briana Jacquet beat Nikita Chauhan in two straight games, 15-4, 15-2. Jacquet was runner up in U16 last year, and Chauhan won U14 last year.

The boy's and girl's finalists in the U14, U16 and U18 divisions all qualified for the 2017 USA Racquetball Junior National Team that will compete at the 2017 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships in November in Minneapolis.

If you missed any of the action from Stockton, or want to see it again - especially that 11-10 tie-breaker between Antone and Rojas - check out the USA Racquetball LiveStream channel.

2017 USA Racquetball Junior Olympics
Stockton, California

Boy's U14


Akul Ramayani (Poughkeepsie, NY) d. Antonio Rojas (Stockton, CA), 15-11, 15-10

3rd place

Nikhil Prasad (Fremont, CA) d. Krish Thakur (Tracy, CA), 15-11, 15-13

Boy's U16


Akul Ramayani (Poughkeepsie, NY) d. Sahil Thakur (Tracy, CA), 15-11, 15-7

3rd place

Cayden Akins (Keller, TX) d. Antonio Rojas (Stockton, CA), forfeit

Boy's U18


Wayne Antone IV (Eugene, OR) d. Mauro Rojas (Stockton, CA), 4-15, 15-14, 11-10

3rd place

Justus Benson (Austin, TX) d. Kevin Vazquez (Miami, FL), forfeit

Girl's U14


Annie Roberts (Gresham, OR) d. Heather Mahoney (Penngrove, CA), 15-5, 9-15, 11-3

3rd place

Estefania Perez (Corvallis, OR) d. Julia Stein (Murrysville, PA), 15-14, 15-13

Girl's U16


Briana Jacquet (Port Arthur, TX) d. Nikita Chauhan (San Ramon, CA), 15-4, 15-2

3rd place

Kaitlyn Boyle (Beaverton, OR) d. Megan Carver (Spokane, WA), 15-2, 15-1

Girl's U18


Jordan Cooperrider (Palm Harbor, FL) d. Hollie Scott (Lynden, WA), 15-4, 12-15, 11-2

3rd Place

Hannah Carver (Spokane, WA) d. Kristine Holman (Salem, OR), forfeit

Follow the bouncing ball….

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