Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 IRT March Madness - Preview

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) will be back in action this weekend with the IRT March Madness tournament in San Antonio, Texas. That’s the good news. The sad news is that IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk is not in the draw, as he has not recovered from the knee injury he suffered at the Los Angeles Open in January. Also, Rocky Carson will not be there either, as he has a contractual obligation that conflicts with this event.

For those wondering when the last time neither Waselenchuk or Carson were in an IRT event, it was August 2000 in New Orleans. That’s remarkable enough, but it’s more remarkable that Carson has played every IRT tournament since then, so you needn’t even add Waselenchuk to this either / or question. That’s a streak of 215 events for Carson, which is the longest in IRT history, and nearly 100 more than the second longest streak of 118 tournaments by Chris Crowther.

The absence of Waselenchuk and Carson provides an opportunity for others, including the two players who have won the most recent IRT events: Daniel De La Rosa - the Los Angeles Open winner - and Alejandro Landa - the Lewis Drug Pro-Am winner. The last four IRT events have been won by different players: De La Rosa, Landa, Charlie Pratt and Waselenchuk, which hadn’t been done since the fall of 2013, when Jose Rojas, Waselenchuk, Alvaro Beltan and Carson won consecutive tournaments. If there’s a different winner in San Antonio, which means if neither De La Rosa or Landa win as Pratt and Waselenchuk aren’t there, there would be five different winners for the first time since 1995, when Andy Roberts, Sudsy Monchik, Drew Kachtik, Cliff Swain and John Ellis all won in a row.

De La Rosa and Landa will not meet in the final this weekend, as they did in Sioux Falls, as they are on the same side of the draw with De La Rosa the #1 seed and Landa the #4 seed. Beltran is the #2 seed and Jansen Allen #3. Is this the opportunity that Allen needs to win his first IRT event? The other top four seeds have all done so.

The dark horses this weekend are Mario Mercado, a runner up to Pratt in Portland in December, Andree Parrilla, who was an IRT finalist last season, and Samuel Murray, who has been in the semi-finals in two of the last three IRT events.

The IRT Network will have the action from San Antonio starting with the Round of 16 on Friday morning at 10 and 11:05 AM Central with the quarterfinals at 5:35 and 6:40 PM. The semi-finals will be at 10:10 AM and 11:15 AM Saturday with the final at 6:50 PM Saturday. For action on Thursday, check out the IRT Facebook page.

2018 IRT March Madness, March 1-4, 2018
San Antonio, Texas

Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday afternoon

Mauro Rojas v. David Mendoza
Christian Longoria v. Bruce Robles

Tyrone Gilmore v. Hanzel Martinez
Francisco Troncoso v. Lorenzo Valdez

Edwin Galicia v. Glenn Martineau
Erik Mendoza v. Jody Morris

Brennen Jennings v. Daniel Neri
Christian Wer v. Zachary Williams

Qualifying Round 2 - Thursday night

Q8) Juan Salvatierra v. Mauro Rojas or David Mendoza
Q1) Felipe Camacho v. Christian Longoria or Bruce Robles

Q4) Adam Manilla v. Tyrone Gilmore or Hanzel Martinez
Q5) Nicholas Riffel v. Francisco Troncoso or Lorenzo Valdez

Q6) Scott McClellan v. Edwin Galicia or Glenn Martineau
Q3) Robert Collins v. Erik Mendoza or Jody Morris

Q2) Jose Diaz v. Brennen Jennings or Daniel Neri
Q7) John Wolfe v. Christian Wer or Zachary Williams

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Daniel De La Rosa v. Q8
8) Andree Parrilla v. Q1

5) Mario Mercado v. Q4
4) Alejandro Landa v. Q5

3) Jansen Allen v. Q6
6) Samuel Murray v. Q3

7) Sebastian Franco v. Q2
2) Alvaro Beltran v. Q7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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