Friday, July 20, 2018

2018 Central American & Caribbean Games - Day 1

The racquetball competition has begun at the 2018 Central American & Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia. The format has a group stage prior to a playoff round with the group stage results used to seed players for the playoffs.

On day 1 there haven’t been any big surprises. In Men’s Singles, one match went tie-breaker, as Ramón De León of the Dominican Republic came back to defeat Luis Zea of Venezuela, 10-15, 15-8, 11-2.

In Women’s Singles, Colombian Cristina Amaya and Guatemalan Maria Renee Rodriguez needed three games to find winner with Amaya coming out on top, 11-15, 15-12, 11-3. Also notable, their team-mates Gabriella Martinez (Guatemala) and Adriana Riveros (Colombia) face off with Martinez winning, 15-14, 15-9.

The first round of Men’s and Women’s Doubles will happen later today. The playoff round begins July 23 with finals on July 25.

2018 Central American & Caribbean Games - July 20-29
Barranquilla, Colombia

Men’s Singles - Day 1

Group A

Maykel Moyet (Cuba) d. Marco Sarmiento (Honduras), 15-3, 15-1
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Juan Salvatierra (Guatemala), 15-3, 15-6

Group B

Luis Pérez (Dominican Republic) d. Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela), 15-5, 15-8
Andrés Acuña (Costa Rica) d. Hosman Gomez (Colombia), 15-3, 15-10

Group C

Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 15-4, 15-2
Carlos Medrano (Honduras) d. Robin Romero (Cuba), 15-6, 15-1

Group D

Ramón De León (Dominican Republic) d. Luis Zea (Venezuela), 10-15, 15-8, 11-2
Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica), 15-4, 15-3

Men’s Doubles - Day 1

Group A

Andrés Acuña & Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) d. Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala), 15-6, 15-14
Cesar Castillo & Cesar Castro (Venezuela) d. Carlos Medrano & Sergio Ortega (Honduras), 15-2, 15-8

Group B

Set Cubillos & Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Enier Chacon & Maykel Moyet (Cuba), 15-11, 15-10
Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Ramón De León & Luis Pérez (Dominican Republic), 15-12, 11-15, 11-3

Women’s Singles - Day 1

Group A

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Diana Rangel (Venezuela), 15-0, 15-0
Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica) - BYE

Group B

Gabriella Martinez (Guatemala) d. Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-14, 15-9
Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group C

Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) d. Marian Tobon (Venezuela), 15-10, 15-6
Melania Sauma (Costa Rica) d. Loraine Felipe (Cuba), 15-13, 15-6

Group D

Maria Viera (Cuba) d. Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic), 15-0, 15-13
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) v. Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala)

Women’s Doubles - Day 1

Group A

Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-4, 15-12
Maricruz Ortiz & Melania Sauma (Costa Rica) - BYE

Group B

Gabriella Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Yurisleidis Allue & Maria Viera (Cuba), 15-12, 15-8
Merynanyelly Delgado & Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic) d. Marian Tobon & Lilian Zea (Venezuela), 13-15, 15-6, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

A busy month of international racquetball

A busy month of international racquetball begins Friday with the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games that are taking place in Barranquilla, Colombia. Like the Olympics, the Central American and Caribbean Games are a quadrennial event involving countries around the Caribbean Sea. These games will be a lead up to the 2019 Pan American Games taking place in Lima, Peru.

Then next month the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica, August 10-18. These championships were originally to be held in Haining, China, but that fell through due to difficulties co-ordinating with the government.

Team USA

Earlier this month, USA Racquetball announced its team for the 2018 World Championships. David Horn and Charlie Pratt will play Men’s Singles with Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik playing Men’s Doubles. Rhonda Rajsich and Sheryl Lotts will play both Women’s Singles and Doubles. David Ellis will coach the team with Brent Huff as the trainer and Cheryl Kirk as the leader.

There are two surprising aspects the US Team. One is that Rajsich and Lotts are playing Women's Doubles, as Kelani Bailey and Sharon Jackson defeated them to win Women’s Doubles at the 2018 USA Racquetball Doubles Championships. But Bailey is getting married during the period that Worlds is occurring, so she declined the invitation to play on the team.

The other surprising aspect is that Carson isn’t playing Men’s Singles. We’re surprised by that because he is the 5 time defending World Champion in Men’s Singles. Carson hasn’t lost a singles match at Worlds since 2004 (he didn’t play singles in 2006). We expected that he’d want to try to keep that steak going. But it seems the appeal of playing doubles with Monchik was too strong, and that Carson didn’t want to play two events at Worlds.

Monchik will be playing on Team USA for just the second time. He played Men’s Doubles at the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina, where he and Tim Sweeney won gold.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ten Years Later

Ten years ago - July 7, 2008 - the first article of The Racquetball Blog was published, so July 7, 2018 is our 10th Anniversary. Yay! We haven’t looked back on our history for awhile, but anniversaries always good for that.

The Racquetball Blog’s mission is stated above: “independent writing and reporting on racquetball.” This outlet isn’t tied to one organization or company or tour. We’re trying to cover everything, and to do so in a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of way.

Recently, someone was critical of us for not taking more of a stand on things, making predictions and being more opinionated. However, we’re not interested in stirring the pot unnecessarily. We’ll make arguments for things when there’s a sound basis for it. For example, it should have been clear what we thought of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) changing their match format (spoiler: it was dumb and unnecessary). And we’ve often expressed concerns about the number of women playing racquetball, including in junior tournaments.

We often did predictions in the early days, but with the dominance of Paola Longoria and Kane Waselenchuk that began to seem a bit unnecessary. If one of them in the draw? If so, then we predict that they will win.

However, after Waselenchuk won the 2008 US Open, we wrote about who had the best chance to beat him, arguing that Alvaro Beltran was mostly likely to defeat Waselenchuk. In the 2009 California Open - next IRT event that happened after our analysis came out - Beltran beat Waselenchuk. Waselenchuk’s only lost once since.

Since 2008, there have been 2718 pieces on The Racquetball Blog (this is 2719). Racquetball is a great game. Yes, there are issues, and things that could be improved, although most of the problems would likely be resolved if there were, say, 20% more players. More players could create other problems, but those would be nicer to deal with.

Will The Racquetball Blog be around for another 10 years? That’s hard to say, as 10 years is a long time. Sometimes it seems we’re a bit of a voice in the wilderness, but if you are reading this, and know other racquetball people who might like it too, let them know. We appreciate the word of mouth.

Also, if you want to give us feedback on what you’re reading, you can contact us via email - theracquetballblog at - or on Twitter @racquetballblog. Comments can also be left at the bottom of articles, although they may not show up immediately, as there’s a spam filter on them.

Regardless of whether you comment or not, we hope that you continue to enjoy reading The Racquetball Blog, and continue to ...

Follow the bouncing ball….