Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Racquetball News - Longoria part of Athlete Commission & 2021 World Games

Paola Longoria of Mexico was named to the Athlete Commission of the Pan American Games. The objective of the Athlete Commission is “To represent the voice of Pan American athletes in Panam [sic] Sports and ensure that all needs for their development are met.” For example, the Athlete Commission recently put out a statement supporting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games.

It’s great for a racquetball athlete to be part of this commission, and Longoria is the only athlete from a Pan Am Games only sport to be part of the commission (the other members are from Olympic sports).

2021 World Games

With the change in dates for the 2020 Olympic Games from this year to 2021, we indicated that might effect the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, where racquetball will be on the program. Today comes word confirming this, as the dates for the Olympics now conflict with the World Games dates.

The new Olympic dates are July 23 to August 8, 2021, and the World Games dates were July 15-25, 2021. Not a large overlap, but still enough for the World Games to “urgently review alternative options.” The World Games and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been in “close contact” with the IOC pledging to help the World Games overcome the challenges created by this change in dates.

The possibilities that the World Games are considering are changing “to similar dates in 2022 or to slightly earlier dates in 2021.”

Hopefully, this can be worked out, and racquetball players can participate in a multi-sport event in the USA for the first time ever.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, March 27, 2020

Canadian Championships cancelled

Today Racquetball Canada announced its “made the difficult decision to CANCEL [sic] the 2020 Canadian Championships” that were scheduled for May 17-24 in Brossard, Québec. They “hope to hold a selection event to crown our Open 2020 Canadian Champions in singles and doubles … and select our National team.”

Not a surprising announcement, and confirms that another big event has been effected the current COVID-19 situation.

With this cancellation, Racquetball Canada will be unlikely to send a team to the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships if those go ahead as scheduled in August. They would also need to figure out how to determine a team for the IRF World Junior Championships, if that event goes ahead in November.

As with other cancellations due to COVID-19, this is a sad decision, but the appropriate one given the current conditions.

We're not sure how this situation is going to end, let alone when. But we look forward to once again being able to...

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, March 23, 2020

USAR cancels 2020 National Singles & National Junior Championships

Late today, USA Racquetball sent an email announcing the “difficult but appropriate decision to cancel the National Singles and National Junior Championships scheduled for May and June, respectively” (bold in the original). This is a change from last Wednesday, when USA Racquetball was “fully committed to hosting” those championships.

We thought their commitment was optimistic, and unfortunately that optimism has not been rewarded.

National Singles and the National Junior Championships are USA Team selection events, so alternative arrangements will need to be made to select the US teams. USA Racquetball is “discussing approaches” to how that could be accomplished. Of course, if the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships (scheduled for August) and World Junior Championships (scheduled for November) are cancelled, then determining US Team members would be unnecessary.

While cancelling the IRF events may seem unlikely, the COVID-19 situation has created a great deal of uncertainty in the world. So much so, that Canada and Australia announced yesterday that they would not be sending athletes to the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo if it starts as scheduled on July 24. There is a generally feeling - though no official announcement - that the Olympics will be postponed, maybe even by a year.

While that seems like a good idea, it will have other ramifications. Most Olympic sports are set up on a 4 year - quadrennial - cycle based on when the Olympics occur. There are smaller games that build up to the Olympics. In the Americas, there’s the Central American Games one year, the Central American & Caribbean Games, the next, then the Pan American Games in year three and the Olympics in year four. Moving the Olympics can throw that off.

Also, moving the Olympics can create conflicts with other events. For example, athletics - aka track and field - holds its World Championships every two years in odd numbered years. The 2021 Athletics World Championships are scheduled for August 6-15 in Eugene, Oregon.

Back within racquetball, the 2020 IRF World Championships are also supposed to be the qualification event for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. If Worlds, don’t happen, then it’s unclear how players will qualify for the World Games. Bigger picture, if the Olympics do happen in 2021, then they may conflict with the World Games, which probably won’t make people in Birmingham happy, and there would be less attention for an event that will feature racquetball.

So, COVID-19 has changed our current conditions, and will for some time. But COVID-19 will also have a “hangover” for future conditions, as we recover from it.

We wish you the best in these current conditions, and that any hangovers are minimal.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, March 19, 2020

IRT cancels two events & where we are now

Another day, and another racquetball organization cancels tournaments due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Today, the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) announced Thursday that both their Denver event (scheduled for April 30-May 3) and their Sarasota event (May 14-17) have been cancelled.

On their website, the IRT states "these are critical times for everyone. The safety of our athletes is of the utmost importance to us. Without having events and clubs shut down, it makes it difficult for players to not only practice but make an income. We hope to come out of this challenging time stronger than before. Stay healthy & safe."

The statement is a bit awkward in highlighting players' incomes, and not taking fans into account also. Because some of the point in what people are being asked to do here - in terms of social isolation - is for people to be separated so that the spread of the virus is limited. That is, this is very much a case of it not just being about YOU, and what happens to YOU, but about what you could do to others. That is, who you could infect.

This is why we were so surprised that last weekend’s IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois was not cancelled. That’s especially in light of the fact the World Health Organization identified the situation as a pandemic on Wednesday, and the City of Chicago recommended against gatherings of 250 people or more. There were 203 players registered in the Shamrock Shootout, so there were likely more than 250 people in the club during that event.

Of course, the COVID-19 developments have happened quickly, and sporting events began to be cancelled in the middle of last week, when players would have already been in Lombard. It can be more difficult for a small enterprise (like the IRT) than a large enterprise (like the NBC, NHL, etc) to walk away from money, and cancelling last week would have meant no one gets paid, yet everyone would have expenses. Not a happy prospect.

But, as some people say “hard choices, easy life - easy choices, hard life.”

It would have been a hard choice to cancel last week, but it would have been a better choice.

There will probably be more hard choices before this is over, and we wish you the best in making them.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

LPRT cancels San Antonio due to COVID-19 situation, plus US & Canadian Nationals

The COVID-19 situation continues to effect the racquetball world. The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) announced Tuesday that the Battle at the Alamo event scheduled for April 17-19 has been cancelled. That was a sad announcement, but not surprising given how the COVID-19 situation has been developing in the USA.

It’s also entirely sensible, and we’re surprised that the announcement on Facebook has garnered some “angry” reactions. We understand being sad about this decision, but anger? Come on.

According to LPRT Commissioner T.J. Baumbaugh, the YMCA that would host the event has forbidden group events until further notice, and she felt the uncertainty on whether the event would go ahead was too great to ask players to make travel arrangements to be in San Antonio at this time, so it was best to cancel it.

US & Canadian Nationals

USA Racquetball sent an email today stating they remain “fully committed to hosting our National Singles and Junior Championships… there is no need for any drastic decisions. Any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive.” But they will be guided by two principles: “to protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus” and “to safeguard the interests of the athletes and all involved with USA Racquetball.”

It’s good for USA Racquetball to get in touch with its membership, but a little optimistic to think that everything’s going to be fine in two month time.

Last week (that is, last Thursday, not today, Wednesday), Racquetball Canada sent an email about their Nationals, which happen at the same time as US National Singles. In their message, Racquetball Canada states “we are working closely with our National Team and High-Performance Committee to ensure our athletes and coaches are not put into an unsafe situation. As of today, we are still planning our National Championships. Registration is on hold while we wait for further information” in the coming weeks.

Furthermore, Racquetball Canada is working on “contingency plans” to use “if the situation escalates.” A message on their website states they recommend “NOT [purchasing] flights or [making] travel arrangements until registration is open.”

Both USA Racquetball and Racquetball Canada are hopeful their National events will go ahead, although the latter’s message seems more pessimistic, and speaks to actively planning for alternatives. USA Racquetball should be doing that too, and perhaps they are even if they are not stating that publicly at the moment.

It’s not the best of times, but it’s not the worst of times either. There isn’t fire and brimstone raining down on us, but the situation isn’t normal either. We will go through some pain and discomfort, but overall, we will get through this.

And when we do, racquetball will be waiting.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, March 16, 2020

Weekend Round Up - Wins for Acuña & Manilla

Andres Acuña won Men’s Open on the weekend at the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois. He defeated Sebastian Fernandez, 15-11, 15-13, in what was a replay of their match in the Round of 32 of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) draw on Friday. Fernandez won the IRT match, so Acuña's win was a measure of revenge for that loss.

In the semi-finals, Acuña beat Mario Mercado, 15-2, 15-6, and Fernandez defeated Gerardo Franco, 15-9, 15-3.

Erika Manilla won the Women’s Open division at the Shamrock Shootout, as she defeated Melania Sauma, 15-9, 15-8. Manilla got to the final with a win over Erin Slutzky, 15-6, 15-5, in the semi-finals, and Sauma beat Marie Gomar, 15-1, 15-11.

COVID-19 and Racquetball

We were surprised the Shamrock Shootout was not cancelled, given the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is changing day by day if not hour by hour, and it seems there will be a greater clampdown in the USA regarding people movement and gatherings. Thus, it’s unclear when another large tournament will happen.

When there’s a pandemic going on, and everyone is shutting their businesses down or making accommodations for the pandemic, but you’re going about your business as if everything is normal, you need to ask yourself “who’s the crazy one?” You? Or everyone else?

Things can get crazy on a racquetball court, but they should not get crazy off the court.

35th Annual KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Men’s Open Final

3) Andres Acuña d. 1) Sebastian Fernandez, 15-11, 15-13

Semi-finals

1) Sebastian Fernandez d. 4) Gerardo Franco, 15-9, 15-3
3) Andres Acuña d. 2) Mario Mercado, 15-2, 15-6

Quarterfinals

1) Sebastian Fernandez d. 9) Edwin Galicia, 15-8, 15-8
4) Gerardo Franco d. 5) Jaime Martell, 15-9, 15-5

3) Andres Acuña d. 6) Robert Collins, 15-2, 9-15, 11-5
2) Mario Mercado d. 7) Kyle Ulliman, 12-15, 15-11, 11-4

Women’s Open Final

1) Erika Manilla d. 3) Melania Sauma, 15-9, 15-8

Semi-finals

1) Erika Manilla d. 5) Erin Slutzky, 15-6, 15-5
3) Melania Sauma d. 2) Marie Gomar, 15-1, 15-11

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Waselenchuk defeats Landa to win 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), won his 7th event of the season and the 123rd of his career, Sunday at the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, where he defeated IRT #2 Alejandro Landa, 15-3, 15-5, in the final.

It was a dominating performance by Waselenchuk, although Landa did make some great shots, but he also made some errors that you just can’t do, if you are going to defeat Waselenchuk. Waselenchuk also served well, especially in game one, when he hit four aces. He hit two more in game two.

Game two was closer than game one, as Landa kept it close, trailing 5-3 and 7-4. But he only got one more point after that, as Waselenchuk got the last eight he needed to end the game, 15-5, and the match in two straight games. The winner came when Waselenchuk hit a jam serve that Landa could just push back, and his return was in the middle of the court, so Waselenchuk was able to hit a soft forehand pinch into the left corner for the match winner.

If you missed any of the Shamrock Shootout action, check out matches on the IRT YouTube channel.

Future Racquetball

Yesterday, USA Racquetball announced that it was cancelling its Intercollegiate Championships that were to take place at Louisiana State University, March 25-28. Also, the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) announced that the 2020 Pan American Championships slated for Santa Cruz, Bolivia, April 3-11, have been postponed. Both of those decisions come in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given this pandemic, we’re not sure when we’ll see racquetball action again. Quite frankly, we were surprised that the Shamrock Shootout went ahead. The City of Chicago recommended against gatherings of 250 people or more, and there were 203 players registered in the Shamrock Shootout, so there were likely more than 250 people in the club during that event. Thus, it seems that recommendation was not heeded, or perhaps they hosts felt there would not be more than 250 people the club. Still, it seems odd when everyone is cancelling their events, and you are not.

After today’s final, Waselenchuk was asked about playing when few, if any, sports are in action. He said “I think the IRT made the right decision by coming and playing,” but also “we shouldn’t ignore” the current situation and we “gotta be safe,” because “people are dying and you need to take that seriously.”

The next pro events on the schedule are the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Battle at the Alamo, April 17-19, and the IRT World Singles and Doubles Championships in Denver, April 30-May 3. Perhaps things will be better by then. We certainly hope so.

But we wouldn’t bet on it.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Final - Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 2) Alejandro Landa, 15-3, 15-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

Beltran & De La Rosa win doubles, Waselenchuk & Landa in singles final at 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

The International Racquetball Tour’s (IRT’s) #1 player faces off with the #2 player Sunday in the final of the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, when Kane Waselenchuk, the IRT’s #1 player, plays #2 Alejandro Landa. In Saturday’s semi-finals, Waselenchuk beat 5th seed Andree Parrilla, 15-6, 15-11, while Landa had to come back from a game down to defeat 6th seed Daniel De La Rosa, 13-15, 15-12, 11-7.

Doubles Final

Top seeds Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa won the doubles event Saturday night, as they beat 3rd seeds Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya, 15-10, 15-13. Beltran and De La Rosa never trailed in game one, but game two was more back and forth.

Beltran and De La Rosa led 3-0, and then Mar and Montoya led 6-3. Beltran and De La Rosa led 8-7. Then Mar and Montoya led 10-8, and a tie-breaker looked like a possibility. But from there Beltran and De La Rosa got six straight points to make it 14-10.

A long rally ensued, and on the 21st shot De La Rosa skipped a backhand shot, which was an unforced error, and gave the serve back to his opponents. Mar and Montoya took advantage, as they ran off three quick points to get within one at 14-13. Beltran and De La Rosa called a timeout.

When play resumed, De La Rosa hit a winner to put Mar and Montoya half down. Then Montoya skipped a forehand shot that gave the serve back to Beltran and De La Rosa for their second match point.

Beltran served a high lob down the right side, which is a very common serve for him. Montoya returned it with his forehand, and tried to go cross court, but the ball skipped to the front wall, giving Beltran and De La Rosa the match winning point.

But the rally of the match, which you can see on the IRT YouTube channel (go to the 22 min mark of the recording), happened in game one, as they played a 36 shot rally that De La Rosa ended with a simple pass down the right side that Mar and Montoya couldn’t cover. Montoya had fallen over on the right side making the previous shot, and Mar seemed to let the ball go past him on the belief that Montoya would be able to cover it.

The Shamrock Shootout final can be seen at 1 PM central time Sunday via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Andree Parrilla, 15-6, 15-11
2) Alejandro Landa d. 6) Daniel De La Rosa, 13-15, 15-12, 11-7

Final - Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 2) Alejandro Landa - 1 PM

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-10, 15-13

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Top 2 seeds into semi-finals at 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

The top two seeds are through to the semi-finals at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 35th Annual KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, but the 3rd and 4th seeds lost. Kane Waselenchuk, the IRT’s #1 player, defeated 8th seed Eduardo Portillo, 15-6, 15-7, and IRT #2 Alejandro Landa beat 7th seed Samuel Murray, 15-6, 15-9.

But 6th seed Daniel De La Rosa upset 3rd seed Rocky Carson, 15-5, 15-5, and 5th seed Andree Parrilla came back from a game down to defeat 4th seed Alvaro Beltran, 6-15, 15-12, 11-4.

Both Waselenchuk and Landa had streaks of good play that helped them to victory. Waselenchuk started slowly in game one, as Portillo was up 4-1. However, Waselenchuk won 21 of the next 23 points, as he went from down 1-4 to win game one 15-6 and then take a 7-0 lead in game two.

After Portillo got a few points in game two, Waselenchuk then went up 13-3. Portillo kept fighting and it took several rallies for Waselenchuk to finish off the game, 15-7.

Landa began his match on fire, as he took a 9-0 lead. From there they were even, as Landa won 15-6. In game two, he and Murray were close early with Murray holding slight leads at 5-3 and 7-5.

There were 9 sideouts with Murray ahead 7-5. Landa broke the stalemate with a forehand winner to make it 7-6, and he tied it with another forehand winner, 7-7. An ace serve from Murray got him back in the lead, 8-7, but Landa got the serve back with another forehand winner that went cross court.

With the serve, he put together a streak of six points to go from 7-8 down to 13-8 up, which put the writing on the wall. Murray got a final point with another ace serve - driving the ball to the left, making it 13-9, but Landa won the next three rallies with forehand shots, the last being a reverse pinch that won him the game, 15-9, and the match in two straight games.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The singles semi-finals will be at 5:30 and 6:30 PM, and the final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles semi-finals are Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 8) Eduardo Portillo, 15-6, 15-7
5) Andree Parrilla d. 4) Alvaro Beltran, 6-15, 15-12, 11-4

6) Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Rocky Carson, 15-5, 15-5
2) Alejandro Landa d. 7) Samuel Murray, 15-6, 15-9

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 5) Andree Parrilla - 6:30 PM
2) Alejandro Landa v. 6) Daniel De La Rosa - 5:30 PM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo, 14-15, 15-8, 11-6
3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-4

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - 8:30 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, March 13, 2020

Top 8 seeds into quarters at 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), won his first match at the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois Friday, as he beat 19 year old Sebastian Fernandez, 15-6, 15-9. Waselenchuk and Fernandez were close early in game one, but then Waselenchuk took control and pulled away. He carried that momentum over into game two, and won in two straight games.

What was remarkable about Fernandez’s game was that more than once he anticipated where Waselenchuk was going to hit the ball, and went over to cover it. That’s the kind of anticipation that we sometimes see from Waselenchuk, but rarely see from anyone else. It bodes well for Fernandez’s future.

Waselenchuk will next play another young Mexican in Eduardo Portillo. Portillo won two close games against Jaime Martell, 15-13, 15-13, to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Waselenchuk.

Alejandro Landa, the IRT’s #2 player, barely escaped from his Round of 16 match, as he pulled out an 11-10 tie-breaker over 18th seed Adam Manilla, winning 15-10, 12-15, 11-10. They were close in game one until Landa put together a five point run to end it.

In game two, Manilla had the big lead, but Landa worked his way back into the game, and looked like he might pull off the comeback. But eventually Manilla got the last two points to force the tie-breaker.

Landa was in control early in the breaker with leads of 3-0 and 8-4. But the left-handed Manilla tied the game at 8-8, and took the lead at 9-8 with a forehand pinch shot, reinforcing the cliché that lefties like their pinches. Uncharacteristically, Landa called a timeout, because he often doesn’t call timeouts.

When play resumed, Landa got a sideout with a backhand winner off a Z serve to the left side. Landa tied the score at 9-9 with a backhand pinch from deep. Manilla got the serve back with a forehand winner, but couldn’t get a point, as he skipped a backhand shot on the next rally.

A forehand winner by Landa put him on match point at 10-9, but Manilla fought that off with a great backhand return winner off a Landa drive serve to the right side. A Manilla backhand pinch winner put him on match point also at 10-10.

Landa denied Manilla the match with a forehand winner down the left side. Then on his 2nd match point, Landa drove the ball to the right side. Manilla returned it cross court, and then Landa sent it back to the right with a backhand cross court that Manilla couldn’t reach for the match winner.

Landa will play his doubles partner Samuel Murray in the quarterfinals Saturday. Murray defeated Rodrigo Montoya in two games, 15-11, 15-3, in the 16s. That was the only match on the bottom of the draw to be over in two games.

Rocky Carson, the IRT #3 player, defeated 14th seed Eduardo Garay, 15-5, 12-15, 11-7, and he’ll play 6th seed Daniel De La Rosa in the quarters. De La Rosa won another 11-10 tie-breaker, as he came back to beat 11th seed Jake Bredenbeck, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The quarterfinals will be Saturday from 10 & 11 AM with the semi-finals at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles semi-finals are Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 16) Sebastian Fernandez, 15-6, 15-9
8) Eduardo Portillo d. 24) Jaime Martell, 15-13, 15-13

5) Andree Parrilla d. 12) Gerardo Franco, 15-0, 15-11
4) Alvaro Beltran d. 13) Thomas Carter, 15-8, 15-8

3) Rocky Carson d. 14) Eduardo Garay, 15-5, 12-15, 11-7
6) Daniel De La Rosa d. 11) Jake Bredenbeck, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10

7) Samuel Murray d. 10) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-11, 15-3
2) Alejandro Landa d. 18) Adam Manilla, 15-10, 12-15, 11-10

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 8) Eduardo Portillo - 11 AM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. 5) Andree Parrilla - 11 AM

3) Rocky Carson v. 6) Daniel De La Rosa - 10 AM
2) Alejandro Landa v. 7) Samuel Murray - 10 AM

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins, 11-15, 15-3, 11-2
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado, 15-13, 15-5

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck, 15-8, 15-9
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray d. 7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla, 14-15, 15-3, 11-3

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - 1 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - 2 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Round of 32 at 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

Jaime Martell upset Mario Mercado, 15-7, 15-2, in the Round of 32 at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 35th Annual KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois Friday. Mercado, the 9th seed, was a finalist at the last IRT event in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, but still he’s been bounced from the Shamrock Shootout by 24th seed Martell, who’s playing his 1st IRT event since last year’s US Open. Martell’s win gets him a match with 8th seed Eduardo Portillo later today.

One other upset in the Round of 32, but not one as dramatic, as 18th seed Adam Manilla beat 15th seed Javier Mar in two straight games, 15-9, 15-9. Manilla will play IRT #2 Alejandro Landa in the Round of 16.

There were two tie-breakers in the 32s. Sebastian Fernandez needed three games to get past Andres Acuña, 15-10, 11-15, 11-7. Fernandez’s win put him up against IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk in the Round of 16.

Also, Eduardo Garay and Robert Collins played two close games, and then - as so often happens - there was a blow out in the tie-breaker, with Garay coming out on top, winning 14-15, 15-13, 11-1. Garay will play IRT #3 Rocky Carson in the 16s.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 16 will be at 5 and 6 PM Friday. The quarterfinals will be Saturday from 10 & 11 AM with the semi-finals at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles Round of 16 and quarterfinals are Friday with the semi-finals Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Sebastian Fernandez d. 17) Andres Acuña, 15-10, 11-15, 11-7

24) Jaime Martell d. 9) Mario Mercado, 15-7, 15-2
8) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

5) Andree Parrilla - BYE
12) Gerardo Franco d. 21) Scott McClellan, 15-10, 15-8

13) Thomas Carter d. 20) Sam Bredenbeck, 15-1, 15-9
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Rocky Carson - BYE
14) Eduardo Garay d. 19) Robert Collins, 14-15, 15-13, 11-1

11) Jake Bredenbeck d. 22) Juan Salvatierra, 15-8, 15-7
6) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

7) Samuel Murray - BYE
10) Rodrigo Montoya d. 23) Kyle Ulliman, 15-4, 15-1

18) Adam Manilla d. 15) Javier Mar, 15-9, 15-9
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 16) Sebastian Fernandez - 5 PM
8) Eduardo Portillo v. 24) Jaime Martell - 5 PM

5) Andree Parrilla v. 12) Gerardo Franco - 5 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. 13) Thomas Carter - 5 PM

3) Rocky Carson v. 14) Eduardo Garay - 6 PM
6) Daniel De La Rosa v. 11) Jake Bredenbeck - 6 PM

7) Samuel Murray v. 10) Rodrigo Montoya - 6 PM
2) Alejandro Landa v. 18) Adam Manilla - 6 PM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins d. 9) Juan Salvatierra & Christian Wer, 15-7, 15-2

5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado - BYE
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - BYE

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck - BYE

7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla d. 10) Edwin Galicia & Javier Martinez, 15-1, 15-0
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray - BYE

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins - 8 PM
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo v. 5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado - 8 PM

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya v. 6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck - 9 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla - 9 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Early round results from 35th Annual KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout

Only one significant upset in the first two rounds of play at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois. Juan Salvatierra claimed the 6th qualifying spot by defeating Justus Benson in two close games, 15-12, 15-13. Salvatierra will now play Jake Bredenbeck in the Round of 32 with the winner to play Daniel De La Rosa in the Round of 16.

Salvatierra-Benson was the closest two game match of the Round of 64, but there was a tie-breaker also. Kyle Ulliman came back from a game down to defeat Edwin Galicia, 10-15, 15-12, 11-6. Ulliman will play Rodrigo Montoya in the 32s.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 32 begins Friday morning at 10 and 11 PM with the Round of 16 at 5 and 6 PM. The quarterfinals will be Saturday from 10 & 11 AM with the semi-finals at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles Round of 16 and quarterfinals are Friday with the semi-finals Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Round of 128 - Thursday

Andres Acuña - BYE
Javier Martinez d. Zachary Williams, 15-12, 15-9

Anthony Martin - BYE
Jaime Martell - BYE

Scott McClellan - BYE
Erick Cuevas Fernandez d. Anthony Cosmano, 15-4, 15-4

Jeremy Dixon d. Ferd Samson, 15-2, 15-6
Sam Bredenbeck - BYE

Robert Collins - BYE
Christian Wer d. Victor Migilore, 14-15, 15-5, 11-9

Juan Salvatierra d. Blase Zera, 15-10, 15-4
Justus Benson - BYE

Kyle Ulliman - BYE
Edwin Galicia d. Zach Pellowski, 15-1, 15-4

Nadeem Sarifuddin d. Jim Douglas, 15-12, 10-15, 11-2
Adam Manilla - BYE

Round of 64 - Thursday

Q1 - Andres Acuña d. Javier Martinez, 15-3, 15-2
Q8 - Jaime Martell d. Anthony Martin, 15-4, 15-3

Q5 - Scott McClellan d. Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-5, 15-5
Q4 - Sam Bredenbeck d. Jeremy Dixon, 15-14, 15-4

Q3 - Robert Collins d. Christian Wer, 15-8, 15-1
Q6 - Juan Salvatierra d. Justus Benson, 15-12, 15-13

Q7 - Kyle Ulliman d. Edwin Galicia, 10-15, 15-12, 11-6
Q2 - Adam Manilla d. Nadeem Sarifuddin, 15-4, 15-2

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Sebastian Fernandez v. 17) Andres Acuña - 10 AM

9) Mario Mercado v. 24) Jaime Martell - 10 AM
8) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

5) Andree Parrilla - BYE
12) Gerardo Franco v. 21) Scott McClellan - 10 AM

13) Thomas Carter v. 20) Sam Bredenbeck - 10 AM
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Rocky Carson - BYE
14) Eduardo Garay v. 19) Robert Collins - 11 AM

11) Jake Bredenbeck v. 22) Juan Salvatierra - 11 AM
6) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

7) Samuel Murray - BYE
10) Rodrigo Montoya v. 23) Kyle Ulliman - 11 AM

15) Javier Mar v. 18) Adam Manilla - 11 AM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins v. 9) Juan Salvatierra & Christian Wer - 2 PM

5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado - BYE
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - BYE

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck - BYE

7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla v. 10) Edwin Galicia & Javier Martinez - 3 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout - Preview

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) returns to action this weekend with the 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois. It’s been over a month since the players were last in action, when IRT Kane Waselenchuk won his 6th title of the season, defeating Mario Mercado in the final. Both of Waselenchuk and Mercado are in the field of 39 players. Mercado is also of of the 20 players in the IRT doubles draw with partner Eduardo Garay.

Ten of the top 11 IRT players will be in Lombard, so it’s a strong field. Waselenchuk, racquetball’s unicorn, will be the one to beat. Alvaro Beltran, the last person to defeat Waselenchuk, is seeded 4th, so could have a chance to do so in the semi-finals. IRT #2 Alejandro Landa and #3 Rocky Carson are on path to face off in the other semi.

Who could upset that apple cart? IRT #5 Andre Parrilla and 8th seed Eduardo Portillo - who coincidentally play doubles together - are two players who are tough to be when they are rolling. Also, Daniel De La Rosa, seeded 6th, but the winner in Sioux Falls in January, has played well this season, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the final on Sunday.

In doubles, Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa are the team to beat with Landa and Samuel Murray as the 2nd seeds, Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya are the 3rd seeds, and Parrilla and Portillo the 4th seeds.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. There will be two rounds of matches on Thursday starting at 2 PM. The Round of 32 begins Friday morning at 10 and 11 PM with the Round of 16 at 5 and 6 PM. The quarterfinals will be Saturday from 10 & 11 AM with the semi-finals at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles Round of 16 and quarterfinals are Friday with the semi-finals Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois


Round of 128 - Thursday

Andres Acuña - BYE
Javier Martinez v. Zachary Williams - 2 PM

Anthony Martin - BYE
Jaime Martell - BYE

Scott McClellan - BYE
Erick Cuevas Fernandez v. Anthony Cosmano - 2 PM

Ferd Samson v. Jeremy Dixon - 3 PM
Sam Bredenbeck - BYE

Robert Collins - BYE
Christian Wer v. Victor Migilore - 2 PM

Juan Salvatierra v. Blase Zera - 3 PM
Justus Benson - BYE

Kyle Ulliman - BYE
Edwin Galicia v. Zach Pellowski - 3 PM

Jim Douglas v. Nadeem Sarifuddin - 3 PM
Adam Manilla - BYE

Round of 64 - Thursday

Q1 - Andres Acuña v. Javier Martinez or Zachary Williams - 5 PM
Q8 - Anthony Martin v. Jaime Martell - 5 PM

Q5 - Scott McClellan v. Erick Cuevas Fernandez or Anthony Cosmano - 5 PM
Q4 - Sam Bredenbeck v. Ferd Samson v. Jeremy Dixon - 6 PM

Q3 - Robert Collins v. Christian Wer or Victor Migilore - 5 PM
Q6 - Justus Benson v. Juan Salvatierra or Blase Zera - 6 PM

Q7 - Kyle Ulliman v. Edwin Galicia or Zach Pellowski - 6 PM
Q2 - Adam Manilla v. Jim Douglas v. Nadeem Sarifuddin - 6 PM

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Sebastian Fernandez v. Q1 - 10 AM

9) Mario Mercado v. Q8 - 10 AM
8) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

5) Andree Parrilla - BYE
12) Gerardo Franco v. Q5 - 10 AM

13) Thomas Carter v. Q4 - 10 AM
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Rocky Carson - BYE
14) Eduardo Garay v. Q3 - 11 AM

11) Jake Bredenbeck v. Q6 - 11 AM
6) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

7) Samuel Murray - BYE
10) Rodrigo Montoya v. Q7 - 11 AM

15) Javier Mar v. Q2 - 11 AM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins v. 9) Juan Salvatierra & Christian Wer - 2 PM

5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado - BYE
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - BYE

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck - BYE

7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla v. 10) Edwin Galicia & Javier Martinez - 3 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, March 9, 2020

Weekend Round Up - Wins for Waselenchuk, Portillo, Muñoz and Manilla & Riffel, Goth & Hansen

There were two Tier 4 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) events on the weekend. Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the IRT, won the 2020 Pueblo Athletic Club Shootout in Pueblo, Colorado, where he defeated IRT #11 Rodrigo Montoya in the final, 15-9, 15-6. In the semi-finals, Waselenchuk beat Adam Manilla, 15-7, 15-6, and Montoya defeated Erik Garcia, 15-7, 15-5.

They played doubles in Pueblo also, as Manilla and Nicholas Riffel capturing the title with a win over Garcia and David Horn, 15-12, 15-9. In the semis, Manilla and Riffel defeated Luis Martinez and Montoya, 15-0, 15-4, and Garcia and Horn beat Nick Blanchard and C. J. Sanders, 15-12, 15-7.

The 2020 Arcsserve Series - Hall of Fame Tournament took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Eduardo Portillo defeated Jake Bredenbeck, 12-15, 15-8, 11-0. In the semi-finals, Portillo beat Justus Benson, 15-2, 15-3, and in all Bredenbeck battle, Jake Bredenbeck got the better of his younger brother Sam Bredenbeck, 15-5, 15-8.

The Bredenbecks teamed up in doubles, and were the top seeds. However, they lost to the veteran team of John Goth and Blake Hansen, 15-6, 15-11. In the semi-finals, Goth and Hansen needed a tie-breaker to get past Portillo and Andrew Gleason, 15-7, 9-15, 11-6, while the Bredenbecks beat Benson and Brad Hansen, 15-2, 15-9.

Finally, at the 2020 Boston Open, Carla Muñoz won Women’s Open by defeating Maria Renee Rodriguez, 11-2, 11-9, in the final. In the semis, Muñoz defeated Maria Riquelme, 11-3, 11-0, and Rodriguez defeated Sheryl Lotts, 11-9, 11-9.

This week, the IRT will be in action with one of their traditional events: the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois. Thirty nine IRT players have registered, so it’s sure to be a great event.

2020 Pueblo Athletic Club Shootout, IRT Tier 4, March 6-8, 2020
Pueblo, Colorado


IRT Final

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 2) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-9, 15-6

Semi-finals

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Adam Manilla, 15-7, 15-6
2) Rodrigo Montoya d. 6) Erik Garcia, 15-7, 15-5

Quarterfinals

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 9) Matt Melster, 15-1, 15-4
4) Adam Manilla d. 5) Nicholas Riffel, 15-13, 15-3

6) Erik Garcia d. 3) David Horn, 14-15, 15-6, 3-0, injury forfeit
2) Rodrigo Montoya d. 10) Andrew Clarke, 15-3, 15-6

IRT Doubles Final

2) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel d. 1) Erik Garcia & David Horn, 15-12, 15-9

Semi-finals

1) Erik Garcia & David Horn d. 4) Nick Blanchard & C. J. Sanders, 15-12, 15-7
2) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel d. 3) Luis Martinez & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-0, 15-4

2020 Arcsserve Series - Hall of Fame Tournament, IRT Tier 4, March 6-8, 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota


IRT Final

1) Eduardo Portillo d. 2) Jake Bredenbeck, 12-15, 15-8, 11-0

Semi-finals

1) Eduardo Portillo d. 4) Justus Benson, 15-2, 15-3
2) Jake Bredenbeck d. 3) Sam Bredenbeck, 15-5, 15-8

IRT Doubles Final

2) John Goth & Blake Hansen d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-11

Semi-finals

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck d. 5) Justus Benson & Brad Hansen, 15-2, 15-9
2) John Goth & Blake Hansen d. 6) Andrew Gleason & Eduardo Portillo, 15-7, 9-15, 11-6

2020 Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Women’s Open Final

1) Carla Muñoz d. 3) Maria Renee Rodriguez, 11-2, 11-9

Semi-finals

1) Carla Muñoz d. 4) Maria Riquelme, 11-3, 11-0
3) Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 2) Sheryl Lotts, 11-9, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Longoria a double winner at 2020 LPRT Boston Open

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), won both singles and doubles on Sunday at the 2020 LPRT Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts. In the singles final, Longoria defeated Samantha Salas, 15-8, 15-3, and then she teamed up with Salas to win the doubles final over Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas, 15-10, 15-12. Longoria has won seven of the eight singles finals this LPRT season, and six of the eight doubles finals with Salas her partner for five of those wins.

In the singles final, Salas started strong, and had leads at 7-3 and 8-4. When Longoria got within one at 8-7, Salas took a timeout. But that didn’t slow Longoria down, as she continued to pile up the points. Salas took another timeout when Longoria had a 12-8 lead.

But again that didn’t have the desired effect, as Longoria continued to put up the points often hitting a drive Z serve to the left side to start the rallies. The last point came when Salas skipped a backhand serve return, and she seemed clearly frustrated as she left the court.

Nonetheless, Salas took the first two points of game two. However, Longoria tied it at 3-3, and then held Salas off the board, as she scored twelve unanswered points to win game two, 15-3, and take the match in two straight games.

In the doubles final, Longoria and Salas found themselves down early in game one to Mendez and Vargas, who took leads of 5-0 and 8-3.

Cue the comeback.

Longoria and Salas went from 8-3 down to up 9-8 and then 12-9. When the score was 13-10, Mendez and Vargas called a timeout, which did lead to a winning rally, but that was only half down for their opponents, who won the next two rallies to take the game, 15-10. Salas closed it out with a forehand cross court shot.

Early in game two, it looked like Longoria and Salas would roll to the victory, as they went up 7-1 and 10-4. But Mendez and Vargas came back to tie it at 11-11. Then they took the lead 12-11. Longoria and Salas called a timeout.

A Longoria backhand winner got her side the serve back, and she tied it at 12-12 with a forehand shot down the left side. Mendez and Vargas did get the serve back at that point, but they failed to score before Longoria and Salas took the serve back.

Salas got her side to match point at 14-12 with a forehand cross court winner, but again Mendez and Vargas got the serve back after a weird rally, where Longoria served to Mendez on the left side. Mendez returned it with a pinch, and walked to the service box, although Longoria hit the ball to the right side, where it seemed to bounce at least twice before Vargas reached it. Yet Mendez’s and Longoria’s shots happened in slow motion, as if they both thought the serve was short.

Much discussion ensued, and we’re not sure what exactly was called on the play. Yet the result was a sideout, so Mendez and Vargas got another chance to score. However, again they could not capitalize on the opportunity.

On their 3rd match point, Longoria hit a backhand cross court for the match winner, making the final 15-12.

If you missed any of the Boston Open action, check out the matches on the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The LPRT will next be in action in San Antonio for the Battle at the Alamo, April 17-19, 2020.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 3) Samantha Salas, 15-8, 15-3

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas, 15-10, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Longoria & Salas win semi-finals at 2020 LPRT Boston Open

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), defeated Adriana Riveros, 15-4, 15-1, in the semi-finals of the 2020 Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts Saturday to advance to Sunday’s final. Riveros, the 13th seed, was a surprise semi-finalist, but her glass slipper was broken by Longoria, who will play in her 8th LPRT final in as many events this season. She’s won seven of those finals.

Samantha Salas, LPRT #3, will be Longoria's opponent in Sunday's final, as she came back to defeat LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas, 13-15, 15-14, 11-3, in the other semi-final, which was a crazy match. Salas led 10-1 in game one, but lost it, 15-13. Vargas was up 14-11 in game two, but failed to convert her two match point opportunities, as Salas came back to win 15-14.

Then, as often seems to happen after two close games, the tie-breaker wasn’t close. Salas got up 6-2 and then 9-4, when Vargas made an appeal without any appeals left, which meant she was assessed a technical, making the score 9-3. Salas hit forehand winners on the next two rallies to end it, 11-3.

Afterwards, Salas said it’s “always a battle against Maria,” and she was “really happy” to win, after playing well in the match. Salas has been working on her backhand technique with her coach Jim Winterton, and it’s “paying off,” as she’s into her first final this season.

In the doubles semi-finals, Longoria and Salas teamed up to beat Jessica Parrilla and Erin Rivera, 15-2, 15-3. They’ll face Vargas and Natalia Mendez, who were winners over Kelani Lawrence and Sheryl Lotts, 15-5, 15-11.

You can watch the Boston Open finals live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page) on Sunday. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final at 1. All times eastern.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 13) Adriana Riveros, 15-4, 15-1
3) Samantha Salas d. 2) Maria Jose Vargas, 13-15, 15-14, 11-3

Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria v. 3) Samantha Salas - Noon

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera, 15-2, 15-3
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas d. 6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts, 15-5, 15-11

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - 1 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Riveros into semi-finals at 2020 LPRT Boston Open

Adriana Riveros, the 13th seed, has yet to drop a game, as she’s rolled into the semi-finals at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) 2020 Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts. In the quarterfinals, Riveros defeated 5th seed Rhonda Rajsich in two straight games, 15-13, 15-10. She’s in the semi-finals for the first time this season, and only the second time in her career. The first was four years ago, when she lost in the semi-finals to Rajsich in Cincinnati.

But in the semis she’ll play LPRT #1 Paola Longoria, who has beaten Riveros in all seven of their LPRT matches. Perhaps #8 will be the charm for Riveros. Longoria advanced to the semis with a win over 9th seed Jessica Parrilla in the quarters, 15-6, 15-3.

The other semi-final will see LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas play #3 Samantha Salas. Vargas beat 10th seed Brenda Laime, 15-1, 15-9, in the quarters, while Salas defeated 11th seed Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-6. In their 12 LPRT matches, Salas holds an 8-4 advantage over Vargas, but Vargas has won their last two meetings.

You can watch the Boston Open action live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). On Saturday, the singles semi-finals will be 4 and 5 PM with the doubles semis to follow at 6 and 7 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final at 1. All times eastern.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 9) Jessica Parrilla, 15-6, 15-3
13) Adriana Riveros d. 5) Rhonda Rajsich, 15-13, 15-10

3) Samantha Salas d. 11) Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-6
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 10) Brenda Laime, 15-1, 15-9

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria v. 13) Adriana Riveros - 5 PM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 3) Samantha Salas - 4 PM

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera - 7 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas v. 6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, March 6, 2020

Round of 16 at 2020 LPRT Boston Open

Three upsets in the Round of 16 at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) 2020 Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts with the biggest being 13th seed Adriana Riveros’s win over 4th seed Natalia Mendez, 15-8, 15-10. Riveros will next play 5th seed Rhonda Rajsich in the quarterfinals Saturday, as Rajsich held off 12th seed Ana Laura Flores, 15-12, 6-15, 11-8, in the 16s.

Eleventh seed Carla Muñoz came back to upset 6th seed Nancy Enriquez, 10-15, 15-5, 11-7. She’ll play 3rd seed Samantha Salas in the quarters, as Salas battled back against young Valeria Centellas, the 14th seed, to win 3-15, 15-11, 11-4. The match was all Centellas until the middle of game two, when Salas tied the game at 10-10. Then momentum flipped, and it was all Salas.

While other higher seeds had trouble in the 16s, LPRT #1 Paola Longoria beat 16th seed Sheryl Lotts, 15-7, 15-2. She’ll play 9th seed Jessica Parrilla in the quarters, which will be a rematch of last weekend’s Mexico National Team Selection Event final that was won by Longoria. In the 16s, Parrilla outlasted 8th seed Masiel Rivera, 15-1, 13-15, 11-8.

Finally, LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas had little trouble in advancing, as she beat 18th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-6, 15-2. Vargas will play 10th seed Brenda Laime in the quarters on Saturday, as Laime had a forfeit win over 7th seed Cristina Amaya. There was a photo on Instagram recently of Amaya in a hospital bed after she broke her left wrist in a bicycle accident. We were surprised to see her in the draw at all, actually, as the Instragram post suggests she needs 6 weeks recuperation. That could put her participation in next month's 2020 Pan American Championships in jeopardy.

We wish Amaya the best with her recovery.

In doubles, 9th seeds Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez came out strong against top seeds Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas, going up 10-2 in game one. But it turned into a case of “Whatever you can do, we can do better” as Longoria and Salas stormed back to win the game 15-10, shutting their opponents out the rest of the way. Game two was close early, with Longoria and Salas leading until Martinez and Rodriguez tied it at 6-6.

But once again Longoria and Salas put the hammer down, and held Martinez and Rodriguez to just one more point, as they won the game 15-7, and match in two straight games. They’ll play either Nancy Enriquez and Ana Laura Flores or Jessica Parrilla and Erin Rivera in the semi-finals Saturday night.

The other semi-final will be 2nd seeds Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas versus 6th seeds Kelani Lawrence and Sheryl Lotts. In the quarterfinals, Mendez and Vargas defeated 7th seeds Valeria Centellas and Carla Muñoz, 15-8, 15-11, while Lawrence and Lotts upset 3rd seeds Brenda Laime and Masiel Rivera, 15-5, 15-12.

You can watch the Boston Open action live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). On Saturday, the singles quarterfinals will be at 10 AM and 11 AM, and the semi-finals at 4 and 5 PM. The doubles semis will be Saturday night at 6 and 7 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 1. All times eastern.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria d. 16) Sheryl Lotts, 15-7, 15-2
9) Jessica Parrilla d. 8) Masiel Rivera, 15-1, 13-15, 11-8

5) Rhonda Rajsich d. 12) Ana Laura Flores, 15-12, 6-15, 11-8
13) Adriana Riveros d. 4) Natalia Mendez, 15-8, 15-10

3) Samantha Salas d. 14) Valeria Centellas, 3-15, 15-11, 11-4
11) Carla Muñoz d. 6) Nancy Enriquez, 10-15, 15-5, 11-7

10) Brenda Laime d. 7) Cristina Amaya, forfeit
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 18) Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-6, 15-2

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria v. 9) Jessica Parrilla - 11 AM
5) Rhonda Rajsich v. 13) Adriana Riveros - 11 AM

3) Samantha Salas v. 11) Carla Muñoz - 10 AM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 10) Brenda Laime - 10 AM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 9) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-10, 15-7
4) Nancy Enriquez & Ana Laura Flores v. 5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera - 7 PM

6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts d. 3) Brenda Laime & Masiel Rivera, 15-5, 15-12
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas d. 7) Valeria Centellas & Carla Muñoz, 15-8, 15-11

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4) Nancy Enriquez & Ana Laura Flores or 5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera - 7 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas v. 6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

2020 LPRT Boston Open - Round of 32

The Round of 32 at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) 2020 Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts had only one small upset, but there were some big results nonetheless. The upset happened as 18th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez defeated 15th seed Erin Rivera, 15-10, 10-15, 11-8, and will play LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas in the Round of 16 later today.

Some of the big results were Brenda Laime defeating Gabriela Martinez, International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women’s Singles World Champion, 15-13, 15-5. Laime, as the 10th seed, is a good player, and Martinez hasn’t played many LPRT events this season, so perhaps this shoudn’t be that much of a surprise, but, still, to do it in two straight games does raise eyebrows. Laime will play 7th seed Cristina Amaya in the 16s.

Elsewhere, Valeria Centellas, part of the Women’s Doubles IRF World Championship team, came back to defeat Kelani Lawrence, 12-15, 15-8, 11-1. And in another comeback win, Ana Laura Flores beat Hollie Scott, 14-15, 15-10, 11-5. Centellas faces LPRT #3 Samantha Salas in the Round of 16.

You can watch the Boston Open action live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles Round of 32 begins at 9 AM on Friday, with the Round of 16 beginning at Friday at 2 PM. Doubles begins at 11 AM Friday with the Round of 16 followed by the quarterfinals at 6 and 7 PM Friday night. On Saturday, the quarterfinals will be at 10 AM and 11 AM, and the semi-finals at 4 and 5 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 1. All times eastern.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Round of 32 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria - BYE
16) Sheryl Lotts d. 17) Cassi Lee, 15-3, 15-3

9) Jessica Parrilla d. 24) Maria Riquelme, 15-3, 15-7
8) Masiel Rivera - BYE

5) Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
12) Ana Laura Flores d. 21) Hollie Scott, 14-15, 15-10, 11-5

13) Adriana Riveros d. 20) Susana Acosta, 15-8, 15-5
4) Natalia Mendez - BYE

3) Samantha Salas - BYE
14) Valeria Centellas d. 19) Kelani Lawrence, 12-15, 15-8, 11-1

11) Carla Muñoz d. 22) Lexi York, 15-7, 15-9
6) Nancy Enriquez - BYE

7) Cristina Amaya - BYE
10) Brenda Laime d. 23) Gabriela Martinez, 15-13, 15-5

18) Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 15) Erin Rivera, 15-10, 10-15, 11-8
2) Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria v. 16) Sheryl Lotts - 5 PM
8) Masiel Rivera v. 9) Jessica Parrilla - 5 PM

5) Rhonda Rajsich v. 12) Ana Laura Flores - 2 PM
4) Natalia Mendez v. 13) Adriana Riveros - 2 PM

3) Samantha Salas v. 14) Valeria Centellas - 3 PM
6) Nancy Enriquez v. 11) Carla Muñoz - 3 PM

7) Cristina Amaya v. 10) Brenda Laime - 4 PM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 18) Maria Renee Rodriguez - 4 PM

Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
9) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 8) Susana Acosta & Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 15-9

5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera d. 12) Gillian Cobb & Cassi Lee, 15-4, 15-4
4) Nancy Enriquez & Ana Laura Flores d. 13) Jessica Chan & Megan Shelton, 15-3, 15-6

3) Brenda Laime & Masiel Rivera - BYE
6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts d. 11) Adriana Riveros & Maria Riquelme, 15-5, 15-2

7) Valeria Centellas & Carla Muñoz d. 10) Hollie Scott & Lexi York, 15-6, 15-10
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 9) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 7 PM
4) Nancy Enriquez & Ana Laura Flores v. 5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera - 7 PM

3) Brenda Laime & Masiel Rivera v. 6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts - 6 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas v. 7) Valeria Centellas & Carla Muñoz - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 LPRT Boston Open Preview

After more than a month off, the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) is back in action with the 2020 Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Sixteen of the top 18 players are competing, led by the LPRT #1 Paola Longoria and #2 Maria Jose Vargas. Longoria and Vargas have faced off in 6 of the 7 finals this season with Longoria winning five times and Vargas once. It will be no surprise if they do so again on Sunday.

But there are several other strong players in the field including Gabriela Martinez, the current Women’s Singles International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion, Valeria Centellas, who is part of the current Women’s Doubles IRF World Championship team, Hollie Scott, who’s coming off a win in the Women’s Singles division at the USAR National Doubles Championships last month, and Jessica Parrilla, who was a finalist at the Mexican National Team Selection Event last weekend.

Doubles could be interesting as well. Longoria and long time partner Samantha Salas are the top seeds, and have won doubles at four of the seven LPRT events this season. But they will have to play either Martinez and her regular partner Maria Renee Rodriguez or the veteran team of Susana Acosta and Rhonda Rajsich in the quarterfinals, and then probably either Parrilla and Erin Rivera or Nancy Enriquez and Ana Laura Flores in the semi-finals.

On the other side of the draw, Vargas and Natalia Mendez are the 2nd seeds, and have been finalists three times this season. However, they will need to play either Centellas and Carla Muñoz or the young American team of Scott and Lexi York in the quarterfinals, and then one of Brenda Laime and Masiel Rivera - a new pairing - Kelani Lawrence and Sheryl Lotts, who have some experience together, or Adriana Riveros and Maria Riquelme, which is also a new team, as Riveros usually plays with Cristina Amaya.

You can watch the Boston Open action live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles Round of 32 begins at 9 AM on Friday, with the Round of 16 beginning at Friday at 2 PM. Doubles begins at 11 AM Friday with the Round of 16 followed by the quarterfinals at 6 and 7 PM Friday night. On Saturday, the quarterfinals will be at 10 AM and 11 AM, and the semi-finals at 4 and 5 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 1. All times eastern.

2020 LPRT Boston Open, March 6-8, 2020
Marlborough, Massachusetts


Round of 32 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria - BYE
16) Sheryl Lotts v. 17) Cassi Lee - 10 AM

9) Jessica Parrilla v. 24) Maria Riquelme - 10 AM
8) Masiel Rivera - BYE

5) Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
12) Ana Laura Flores v. 21) Hollie Scott - 9 AM

13) Adriana Riveros v. 20) Susana Acosta - 9 AM
4) Natalia Mendez - BYE

3) Samantha Salas - BYE
14) Valeria Centellas v. 19) Kelani Lawrence - 9 AM

11) Carla Muñoz v. 22) Lexi York - 9 AM
6) Nancy Enriquez - BYE

7) Cristina Amaya - BYE
10) Brenda Laime v. 23) Gabriela Martinez - 10 AM

15) Erin Rivera v. 18) Maria Renee Rodriguez - 10 AM
2) Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
8) Susana Acosta & Rhonda Rajsich v. 9) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 11 AM

5) Jessica Parrilla & Erin Rivera v. 12) Gillian Cobb & Cassi Lee - Noon
4) Nancy Enriquez & Ana Laura Flores v. 13) Jessica Chan & Megan Shelton - 11 AM

3) Brenda Laime & Masiel Rivera - BYE
6) Kelani Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts v. 11) Adriana Riveros & Maria Riquelme - 11 AM

7) Valeria Centellas & Carla Muñoz v. 10) Hollie Scott & Lexi York - 11 AM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, March 2, 2020

2020 USA Racquetball High School Championships

The 2020 USA Racquetball High School Championships wrapped on the weekend in Portland, Oregon, and there are a couple of fun things to highlight from the event. In one of the most remarkable matches you could see anywhere, Antonio Rojas won the Boy’s #1 Singles division in a tie-breaker over Nikhil Prasad, 15-11, 12-15, 11-10.

That’s impressive enough, but Rojas did it by coming back from 10-2 down in the breaker. Prasad started out the breaker on fire, as he went up 5-0 in the blink of an eye. A second blink and it was 10-2.

After getting his 10th point, Prasad let out a big yell. The yell was his first of the game, and it seemed out of character. Rojas, who seems a more fiery kid, yelled more during the match than Prasad, and if that’s the kind of guy you are, then fair enough. But if it's not the kind of guy you are, then maybe it's best not to do so.

Now, these are kids, and we’re not interested in being critical of them. Athletic competitions are stressful situations, and many adults have lost their heads in the heat of the moment. Apparently, Prasad is only 14 and Rojas 17, and asking teen-agers to keep their emotions under control can be a big ask under normal circumstances. It’s a huge ask under stressful circumstances, like the tie-breaker of a championship match.

But the teaching point is that if you want to perform your best under stress - whether it’s in sport or not - you want to learn some emotional control. Emotions are great in the long run, because that’s where we get our motivation from, and they are what drive us to achieve our goals. However, in the moment of performance, emotions can be distracting, and you want to learn how to deal with them, so you can perform your best.

A forehand winner by Rojas denied Prasad his first match point, and that started Rojas’s comeback. Racquetball comebacks often involve good serving, and Rojas’s was no different, as he hit four aces and a service winner in his comeback; he also had an ace for his 2nd point of the game.

Prasad did get a sideout at 10-4, and called a timeout at that point. However, Rojas hit a forehand winner to escape Prasad’s 2nd match point. He got five points on consecutive rallies to make the score 10-9, so Prasad called his 2nd timeout.

When play resumed, Rojas double faulted - hitting two drive serves to the left - the serve that was getting him his aces. That wasn’t good, and you thought maybe that will be a fatal error.

But it wasn’t as Rojas hit a forehand return winner off a Prasad drive serve to the right side. Prasad had some success serving to the right, so it wasn’t an unexpected choice for his 3rd match point.

An ace to the left put Rojas on match point at 10-10. But then he skipped a drive serve! That doesn’t happen very often, and maybe reflected the stress of the moment. Yet Prasad couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, as he skipped a forehand shot close to the right wall.

Rojas called his 2nd timeout to compose himself. But that didn’t work as Prasad hit a serve return backhand winner when play resumed. That was the first of four sideouts. Then with his 4th match point, Rojas hit a drive serve to the left for an ace to win the match, 11-10.

Prasad had 6 match points, but to be fair, he only skipped one of them, as Rojas hit winners on the other five. It was more a case of Rojas winning the match, rather than Prasad losing it.

If you want to see it again - and you do - check out the entire match out on the USAR Livestream channel, where you can watch some of the other action from Portland.

In girl’s play, Annie Roberts, the top seed, won the Girl’s #1 Singles division by defeating #2 Heather Mahoney, 15-3, 15-11, in what was a battle of two USA Junior Team members. Roberts also won the Girl’s #1 Doubles division with Kelsey Klinger, as they got the better of 10th seeds Arya Cyril and Esha Cyril, 15-8, 15-11.

The last four teams in the Boy’s #1 Doubles division were the 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th seeds. It’s always fun when lower seeds go deep in a draw, but having all four teams outside the top 8 seeds is incredible! Not sure any major event has ever had that happen.

Given that situation, perhaps it was most appropriate that the lowest seeds won the final, as 13th seeds Vedant Chauhan and Darren Lee defeated 10th seeds Cole Hartman and Nathan Soltis, 15-1, 15-8. In the semi-finals, Chauhan and Lee beat 9th seeds Cody Boucher and Brady Reynolds, 15-5, 15-3, while Hartman and Soltis defeated 11th Alec Growe and Adam Pendleton, 15-7, 15-3.

The next big USAR event will be the Intercollegiate Championships later this month at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, March 25-28.

2020 USA Racquetball High School Championships
Portland, Oregon - February 26 - March 1, 2020


Boy’s #1 - Singles - Final

1) Antonio Rojas d. 3) Nikhil Prasad, 15-11, 12-15, 11-10

Semi-Finals

1) Antonio Rojas d. 5) Julius Ellis, 15-1, 15-5
3) Nikhil Prasad d. 2) Vedant Chauhan, 8-15, 15-5, 11-7

Girl’s #1 - Singles - Final

1) Annie Roberts d. 2) Heather Mahoney, 15-3, 15-11

Semi-Finals

1) Annie Roberts d. 5) Erin Slutzky, 15-9, 15-10
2) Heather Mahoney d. 6) Shane Diaz, 15-6, 15-9

Boy’s #1 - Doubles - Final

13) Vedant Chauhan & Darren Lee d. 10) Cole Hartman & Nathan Soltis, 15-1, 15-8

Semi-Finals

13) Vedant Chauhan & Darren Lee d. 9) Cody Boucher & Brady Reynolds, 15-5, 15-3
10) Cole Hartman & Nathan Soltis d. 11) Alec Growe & Adam Pendleton, 15-7, 15-3

Girl’s #1 - Doubles - Final

1) Kelsey Klinger & Annie Roberts d. 10) Arya Cyril & Esha Cyril, 15-8, 15-11

Semi-Finals

1) Kelsey Klinger & Annie Roberts d. 4) Bella Bertarelli & Grace Maloney, 15-3, 15-3
10) Arya Cyril & Esha Cyril d. 6) Hannah Carver & Megan Carver, 13-15, 15-14, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Longoria wins twice and men split titles at Mexican National Team Selection Event

Paola Longoria won twice Saturday at the 2020 Mexican National Team Selection Event in Tijuana, as she captured both the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles titles. She was 2nd seed in singles, as Longoria lost the final last year to Montserrat Mejia. But Longoria wasn’t to be denied this year, as she defeated 9th seed Jessica Parrilla, 15-14, 15-4, in the final. Parrilla was a surprise finalist, and beat Mejia in the quarterfinals en route to the final.

In the doubles final, Longoria and long time partner Samantha Salas Solis defeated Mejia and Alexandra Herrera, 15-7, 15-13. The win will give Longoria and Salas Solis a chance at a 4th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women’s Doubles World Championship, which is a title they haven’t won since 2014. The 2020 IRF World Championships will be in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in August.

In men’s play, the spoils were shared, as the finalists in Men’s Singles - Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa lost the Men’s Doubles final to Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya. In singles, De La Rosa, the 2nd seed, defeated Beltran, the 1st seed, 15-14, 15-11. De La Rosa has been playing some of the best racquetball of his career, including winning his 4th International Racquetball Tour (IRT) title in January, so it’s no surprise he won this weekend.

The win puts De La Rosa - a 3 time Pan American Champion and World Champion two years ago in Men’s Doubles with Beltran - back on Team Mexico after a year off it.

De La Rosa had a chance to win both singles and doubles, as he and Beltran were in the Men’s Doubles final against Mar and Montoya. However, Mar and Montoya were able to eke out the victory in three games, winning 15-10, 7-15, 11-9.

In winning, Mar and Montoya successfully defended the title they won last year. Also, they will have the opportunity to win a third consecutive Men’s Doubles title for Mexico at Worlds in August. Mar and Montoya won Men’s Doubles last year at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Campeonato Nacional Selectivo FMR
Tijuana, Mexico - February 25-29, 2020


Women's Open

Final

2) Paola Longoria d. 9) Jessica Parrilla, 15-14, 15-4

3rd Place

3) Samantha Salas Solis d. 12) Lucia Gonzalez, 15-8, 15-9

Women's Open Doubles

Final

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis d. 2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia, 15-7, 15-13

3rd Place

6) Maria Gutierrez & Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido d. 4) Erin Rivera & Jessica Parrilla, forfeit

Men's Open Singles

Final

2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 1) Alvaro Beltran, 15-14, 15-11

3rd Place

11) Sebastian Fernandez d. 4) Javier Mar, forfeit

Men's Open Doubles

Final

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa, 15-10, 7-15, 11-9

3rd Place

6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 4) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera, 15-3, 15-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, February 28, 2020

Semi-finals at Mexican National Selection Team Event

Rodrigo Montoya - the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Men's Singles World Champion and Pan American Games Men’s Singles Champion — lost in the Round of 16 to Eduardo Portillo, 15-9, 15-11, at the 2020 Mexican National Team Selection Event in Tijuana. The loss means Montoya won’t be able to defend his World Championship at the 2020 IRF World Championships in August.

Ouch.

How Montoya and Portillo - the 11th and 9th players on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) - were seeded 7th and 10th in this event may be puzzling, but in this event last year, Montoya was only a quarterfinalist and Portillo lost in the Round of 32.

The Men’s Singles final will be #1 versus #2, as veteran Alvaro Beltran will take on Daniel De La Rosa in the final Saturday. In Friday’s semi-finals, Beltran needed a tie-breaker to defeat 4th seed Javier Mar, 15-8, 1-15, 11-9, while De La Rosa defeated a surprise semi-finalist in 11th seed Sebastian Fernandez, 15-10, 15-11. Also, De La Rosa ousted Portillo in the quarterfinals, 15-12, 14-15, 11-2.

In women’s play, the top half of the draw has been full of surprises. Ninth seed Jessica Parrilla upset top seed Monserrat Mejia, 15-9, 15-11, in the quarterfinals. Mejia won this event last year by upsetting Paola Longoria in the final.

This year Parrilla will play Longoria in the final Saturday, as Parrilla defeated 12th seed Lucia Gonzalez, 15-12, 15-10, in one semi-final, and Longoria beat 3rd seed Samantha Salas Solis, 15-14, 15-9, in the other.

Gonzalez got to the semis with two upset wins. She beat 5th seed Nancy Enriquez in the Round of 16, 15-2, 15-11, and then outlasted 4th seed Alexandra Herrera, 15-11, 8-15, 11-2, in the quarterfinals.

Campeonato Nacional Selectivo FMR
Tijuana, Mexico - February 25-29, 2020


Women's Open - Final - Saturday

2) Paola Longoria v. 9) Jessica Parrilla - 2 PM

3rd Place - Saturday

2) Samantha Salas Solis d. 12) Lucia Gonzalez - Noon

Semi-finals

9) Jessica Parrilla d. 12) Lucia Gonzalez, 15-12, 15-10
2) Paola Longoria d. 3) Samantha Salas Solis, 15-14, 15-9

Quarterfinals

9) Jessica Parrilla d. 1) Monserrat Mejia, 15-9, 15-11
12) Lucia Gonzalez d. 4) Alexandra Herrera, 15-11, 8-15, 11-2

3) Samantha Salas Solis d. 6) Susana Acosta, 15-4, 15-9
2) Paola Longoria d. 10) Erin Rivera, 15-0, 15-3

Round of 16

1) Monserrat Mejia - BYE
9) Jessica Parrilla d. 8) Ximena Martinez, 15-10, 15-0

12) Lucia Gonzalez d. 5) Nancy Enriquez, 15-2, 15-11
4) Alexandra Herrera d. 13) Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido, 15-3, 15-5

3) Samantha Salas Solis d. 14) Abril Sacristán, 15-2, 15-0
6) Susana Acosta d. 11) Karime Estrella, 15-6, 15-10

10) Erin Rivera d. 7) Maria Gutierrez, 15-9, 15-12
2) Paola Longoria d. 15) Alejandra Zuniga, 15-1, 15-1

Women's Open Doubles

Final - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis v. 2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - 5 PM

Semi-finals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis d. 4) Erin Rivera & Jessica Parrilla, 15-9, 15-10
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 6) Maria Gutierrez & Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido, 15-3, 15-4

Quarterfinals

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis d. 8) Cythia Gutierrez & Naomi Ros, 15-3, 15-0
4) Erin Rivera & Jessica Parrilla d. 5) Nancy Enriquez & Daniela Rios, 15-3, 15-9

6) Maria Gutierrez & Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido d. 3) Susana Acosta & Abril Sacristán, 15-1, 9-15, 11-7
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 7) Ximena Martinez & Alejandra Zuñiga, 15-7, 15-5

Men's Open Singles

Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran v. 2) Daniel De La Rosa - 1 PM

3rd Place - Saturday

4) Javier Mar v. 11) Sebastian Fernandez - 11 AM

Semi-finals

1) Alvaro Beltran d. 4) Javier Mar, 15-8, 1-15, 11-9
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 11) Sebastian Fernandez, 15-10, 15-11

Quarterfinals

1) Alvaro Beltran d. 8) Christian Longoria, 12-15, 15-12, 11-3
4) Javier Mar d. 5) Gerardo Franco, 15-12, 15-5

11) Sebastian Fernandez d. 3) Alan Natera, 15-11, 15-11
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 10) Eduardo Portillo, 15-12, 14-15, 11-2

Round of 16

1) Alvaro Beltran d. 17) Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-0, 15-13
8) Christian Longoria d. 9) Andree Parrilla, 15-6, 11-15, 11-4

5) Gerardo Franco d. 12) Javier Estrada, 15-6, 13-15, 11-7
4) Javier Mar d. 20) Manuel Moncada, 15-5, 15-8

3) Alan Natera d. 19) Sebastian Longoria, 15-10, 15-1
11) Sebastian Fernandez d. 6) Alejandro Cardona, 15-8, 15-8

10) Eduardo Portillo d. 7) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-9, 15-11
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 18) Homar Prieto, 15-6, 15-5

Round of 32

1) Alvaro Beltran - BYE
17) Erick Cuevas Fernandez d. 16) Kevin Alejandro Rios Hernandez, 15-2, 15-3

9) Andree Parrilla d. 24) Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 15-6, 15-13
8) Christian Longoria d. 25) Andres Ruelas Jr., 15-5, 15-7

5) Gerardo Franco - BYE
12) Javier Estrada d. 21) Felipe Muñoz, 15-6, 15-4

20) Manuel Moncada d. 13) Daniel Rodriguez, 15-7, 15-10
4) Javier Mar - BYE

3) Alan Natera - BYE
19) Sebastian Longoria d. 14) Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr., 15-9, 15-5

11) Sebastian Fernandez d. 22) Erick Trujillo, 15-11, 15-12
6) Alejandro Cardona - BYE

7) Rodrigo Montoya d. 26) Cesar Barragan, 15-5, 15-5
10) Eduardo Portillo d. 23) Juan Loreto, 15-2, 15-11

18) Homar Prieto d. 15) Fernando Gutiérrez, 15-2, 15-2
2) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

Men's Open Doubles

Final - Saturday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya v. 2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - 4 PM

Semi-finals

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera, 15-4, 15-14
2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo, 8-15, 15-7, 11-10

Quarterfinals

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 9) Manuel Moncada & Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr., 15-8, 15-2
4) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera d. 5) Sebastian Fernandez & Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 15-13, 15-12

6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 3) Sebastian Longoria & Erick Trujillo, 15-6, 15-5
2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 10) Cesar Barragan & Christian Longoria, 15-14, 15-11

Round of 16

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
9) Manuel Moncada & Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr. d. 8) Omar Gastelum & Cristhian Sanchez, 15-9, 15-10

5) Sebastian Fernandez & Miguel Rodriguez Jr. d. 12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco, 5-15, 15-7, 11-8
4) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera d. 13) Armando Cota & Javier Gonzalez Motta, 15-4, 15-5

3) Sebastian Longoria & Erick Trujillo - BYE
6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 11) Erick Cuevas Fernandez & Juan Loreto, 15-8, 15-7

10) Cesar Barragan & Christian Longoria d. 10) Homar Prieto & Sebastian Hernandez, 15-5, 15-10
2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

USA Racquetball News

USA Racquetball made some notable announcements this month. They have appointed Jim Durham to be the Head Coach of the USA Adult Racquetball Team. Durham succeeds Dave Ellis, who has coached Team USA for most of the past decade or more.

You might be thinking “Jim who?” And that was the reaction of some of The Racquetball Blog staff. But Durham has been involved in racquetball since 1978, and has competed as an open and open age level player. Also, he has “decades of experience coaching championship football, basketball, baseball, and track teams,” according to the USAR press release.

Durham is from Fresno, California, and will be the coach for two events this year: the 2020 Pan American Championships in April and the 2020 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in August.

Durham, a relative unknown coach, will have a team with several veteran players. Aimee Ruiz, Sudsy Monchik and Alejandro Landa all qualified to be on the Worlds team based on winning National Doubles earlier this month, and Rocky Carson is the leading player in the race to claim a men’s singles spot. That’s a lot of veteran experience to manage.

But in addition to that there will be some young players on the team. Erika Manilla was Ruiz’s partner in winning the Women’s Doubles title, so she’s on the team. Further Hollie Scott has the inside track to earn a spot in singles. Manilla and Scott have international experience via the USA Junior Team, but neither has played at Worlds - or the Pan Am Championships.

Couple that combination of players with the fact that Team USA will go to Worlds having won no gold medals in 2018, which was a first in racquetball history, and you can see how it’s an interesting time to be the Team USA Head Coach.

USA Racquetball Hall of Fame

The 2020 USA Racquetball Hall of Fame inductees will be Jason Mannino, Gregg Peck, and Hank Marcus. They will be inducted in May at the USA Racquetball National Singles Championship in College Station, Texas.

Mannino was an elite level player for 15 years, finishing in the top 10 on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) in each of those years. He was the #1 player in 2002-03, and won the US Open Championship twice: 1999 and 2006. His 22 IRT wins is the 7th on the all time wins list. In addition to being an elite player, Mannino was IRT President for 8 years - 2009 to 2017, and has led numerous racquetball clinics over the years, often in conjunction with Fran Davis. Mannino and Davis co-authored Championship Racquetball in 2011.

Peck, like, Mannino, was an elite player. He won 4 times on the IRT (20th all time). He was in the top 10 for seven consecutive seasons: 1981-82 to 1987-88. In addition, Peck coached the USA Junior Team in 1999 and 2000 with great success. Furthermore, he brought in both Cheryl Gudinas and Mike Guidry, who were key contributors in the following years. Peck joins his older brother Dave Peck in the Hall of Fame; Dave Peck was inducted in 1997. They are the only siblings in the Hall of Fame.

Hank Marcus’s most significant contributions to racquetball have been off the court, as he’s been a tournament organizer and tour administrator for decades. Marcus was the head of the men’s pro tour from 1989 to 2001, including when its current name - International Racquetball Tour - was adopted in 1991. In addition,, Marcus founded World Outdoor Racquetball (WOR) in 2004.

Mannino, Peck and Marcus are all very deserving of a place in the USAR Hall of Fame, and we congratulate them on receiving this honour.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, February 10, 2020

Murray & Morissette win at Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event

Samuel Murray and Michèle Morissette won the Men's and Women's divisions, respectively, at the second Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season on the weekend in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which was held in conjunction with the 46th Annual Keystone Classic. In their respective finals, Murray had to come back from a game down to defeat Coby Iwaasa, 8-15, 15-7, 11-1, and Morissette beat Christine Richardson, 15-6, 15-11. Their victories will help Murray and Morissette qualify for the 2020 World Championships to be held next year in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Murray, the #1 ranked men’s player in Canada and currently 8th on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), got off to a slow start in game one, as Iwaasa went out to a 12-0 lead. Murray came back to 13-8, so Iwaasa called a timeout, and was able to close out the game after that.

They were even early in game two with a tie at 5-5. From there, Murray went out to a 10-5 lead, and closed it out at 15-7. He carried that momentum into the tie-breaker, as Murray won it going away, 11-1.

Morissette played well against Richardson in the women’s final. She did have a bit of trouble closing out game two, as Richardson scored several points with Morissette on 14. But when Richardson got to 11, Morissette called a timeout. When play resumed, Richardson, who had been hitting drive Z serves to Morissette’s backhand, hit a serve to Morissette’s forehand, and it was returned for a winner. Morissette won the game and match on the next rally, as Richardson skipped a backhand return.

This is the second event in the qualification process for the 2020 International Racquetball Federation (

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Scott and Carson win at 2020 USAR National Doubles Championships

Hollie Scott put herself in the driver’s seat to earn a spot on Team USA for the 2020 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in August, as she won Women’s Singles at the 2020 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships Sunday at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Scott hung on to outlast Erika Manilla, 15-5, 9-15, 11-9, in the final. Players make the Worlds team based on performances at the 2019 US Open, this weekend’s US Team Singles competition, and the 2020 US National Singles Championships in May.

By our calculations, if Scott gets to the final at National Singles, she’ll be on the team. In fact, if she loses in the semi-finals, Scott will still make the team unless Manilla loses the final to either Rhonda Rajsich or Kelani Bailey-Lawrence. Manilla will be on the team if she gets to the final at National Singles.

Both Rajsich and Bailey-Lawrence can get a spot on the team with a win at National Singles. If either fail to win, they will need help to make it.

Rocky Carson won Men’s US Team Singles in Tempe by defeating Alejandro Landa, 15-6, 15-14, in the final. But Landa is still ahead of Carson in the points race for the team, as Landa did much better than Carson at last year’s US Open (a semi-final versus a Round of 16 result). But if either Carson or Landa make the semi-finals, he will be on the team, unless the other one loses to either Jake Bredenbeck and David Horn in the final at National Singles.

A win at National Singles is probably what Bredenbeck or Horn need to get on the team, unless both Carson and Landa lose early at National Singles, which seems unlikely. Thomas Carter or Adam Manilla could make the team with a win at National if either Carson or Landa fail to make the semis.

On the other hand, Charlie Pratt would likely need to win National Singles and have a lot of help, if he’s going to make the Team USA.

If you missed any of the action from Tempe check out the USA Racquetball LiveStream channel. The next USA Racquetball event will be the 2020 National High School Championships in Portland, Oregon, February 26 to March 1. The 2020 USA National Singles Championships will be May 27-31 on the campus of Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas.

2020 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
February 5-9, 2020 - Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions


Men’s Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson d. 2) Alejandro Landa, 15-6, 15-14

3rd place

3) Jake Bredenbeck v. 4) David Horn, double forfeit

Women's Singles

Final - Sunday

3) Hollie Scott d. 4) Erika Manilla, 15-5, 9-15, 11-9

3rd place

1) Rhonda Rajsich, d. 2) Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-11, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Landa & Monchik and Manilla & Ruiz are the 2020 USA National Doubles Champions

Alejandro Landa and Sudsy Monchik won a 3rd straight tie-breaker 11-9, and this victory got them the title at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships Saturday at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, as they won Men’s US Team Qualifying Doubles division with a win over 2nd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz in the final, 15-13, 4-15, 11-9. The win gives them the right to represent the USA at the 2020 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in August.

It will be Monchik’s 2nd consecutive IRF World Championship, as he and Rocky Carson were the US Team that took home silver in Men’s Doubles two years ago in Costa Rica. Landa will represent the USA for the first time, as he recently changed affiliations from Mexico to the USA. Landa is a dual USA-Mexico citizen.

Women’s top seeds Erika Manilla and Aimee Ruiz defeated 3rd seeds Hollie Scott and Lexi York, 15-6, 15-9, to win the Women’s US Team Qualifying Doubles division. It’s the first win for Manilla, but a bit of old hat for Ruiz as it’s her 12th US Women’s Doubles title. Manilla is the fourth partner Ruiz has won with, and is in good company, as Ruiz’s previous partners are Laura Fenton (twice), Jackie Paraiso (5 times), and Janel Tisinger-Ledkins (5 times).

Singles Play

There were two upsets in Women’s Singles, as 4th seed Erika Manilla held on in a tie-breaker to defeat top seed Rhonda Rajsich, 15-3, 12-15, 11-7, and 3rd seed Hollie Scott came back from a game down to defeat 2nd seed Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 12-15, 15-12, 11-3.

But in Men’s Singles, it will be #1 versus #2, as top seed Rocky Carson defeated 4th seed David Horn, 15-4, 8-15, 11-6, and 2nd seed Alejandro Landa beat 3rd seed Jake Bredenbeck, 15-4, 15-13.

You can watch the singles finals live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball website. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the Singles finals on Sunday. Note the match times below are Mountain Standard Time.

2020 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
February 5-9, 2020 - Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles


Final - Saturday

5) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik d. 2) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-13, 4-15, 11-9

Women's Doubles

Final - Saturday

1) Erika Manilla & Aimee Ruiz d. 3) Hollie Scott & Lexi York, 15-6, 15-9

Men’s Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson d. 4) David Horn, 15-4, 8-15, 11-6
2) Alejandro Landa d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-4, 15-13

Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson v. 2) Alejandro Landa - 12:15 PM

Women's Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Erika Manilla d. 1) Rhonda Rajsich, 15-3, 12-15, 11-7
3) Hollie Scott d. 2) Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 12-15, 15-12, 11-3

Final - Sunday

3) Hollie Scott v. 4) Erika Manilla - 11:10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball....