Friday, January 17, 2020

More upsets than not in Round of 32 at 2020 IRT Longhorn Open

No fewer than five (5!) upsets in the Round of 32 at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2020 Longhorn Open in Austin, Texas, so there will be some different faces in the Round of 16 Friday night. Perhaps equally amazing is that none of the upsets were tie-breakers. The only breaker of the 32s was a win by 11th seed Mario Mercado over Alejandro Amada, 7-15, 15-11, 11-6. Mercado will play Eduardo Portillo in the 16s tonight.

The biggest upset was Alan Natera taking out 9th seed Jake Bredenbeck, 15-12, 15-8. Natera will play 8th seed Conrrado Moscoso in the Round of 16. The 10th seed Sebastian Franco lost to Javier Estrada, 15-13, 15-7, so Estrada will play 7th seed Daniel De La Rosa next.

Seeds 13, 14 and 15 also went out. Javier Mar defeated 13th seed Carlos Keller, 15-13, 15-10. Adam Manilla got a forfeit victory against 14th seed Gerardo Franco, and Eduardo Garay took out 15th seed Thomas Carter, 15-12, 15-11. In the Round of 16, Mar will play 4th seed Alvaro Beltran, Manilla plays 3rd seed Andree Parrilla, and Garay will be up against 2nd seed Alejandro Landa.

Also, 12th seed David Horn defeated Shai Manzuri, 15-13, 15-4, and will play 5th seed Samuel Murray in the 16s. Finally, 16th seed Andres Acuña beat Robert Collins, 15-7, 15-9, and will play IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk in the Round of 16.

You can follow the Longhorn Open action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 16 is Friday at 7:35 and 8:35 PM. On Saturday, the quarterfinals begin at 9:45 AM with the semi-finals at 7:35 and 8:35 PM, and the final at noon Sunday. All times Central.

2020 IRT Longhorn Open, January 16-19, 2020
Austin, Texas


Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Andres Acuña d. Robert Collins, 15-7, 15-9

Alan Natera d. 9) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-12, 15-8
8) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
12) David Horn d. Shai Manzuri, 15-13, 15-4

Javier Mar d. 13) Carlos Keller, 15-13, 15-10
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
Adam Manilla d. 14) Gerardo Franco, forfeit

11) Mario Mercado v. Alejandro Almada, 7-15, 15-11, 11-6
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
Javier Estrada d. 10) Sebastian Franco, 15-13, 15-7

Eduardo Garay d. 15) Thomas Carter, 15-12, 15-11
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 16) Andres Acuña - 8:35 PM
8) Conrrado Moscoso v. Alan Natera - 8:35 PM

5) Samuel Murray v. 12) David Horn - 8:35 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. Javier Mar - 8:35 PM

3) Andree Parrilla v. Adam Manilla - 7:35 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo d. 11) Mario Mercado - 7:35 PM

7) Daniel De La Rosa v. Javier Estrada - 7:35 PM
2) Alejandro Landa v. Eduardo Garay - 7:35 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Round of 64 results from 2020 IRT Longhorn Open

Only one tie-breaker in the 2nd round of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2020 Longhorn Open in Austin, Texas, and it was an odd match, with Adam Manilla coming back from a game down to defeat Miguel Arteaga Guzman, 13-15, 15-0, 11-5. Manilla will play 14th seed Gerardo Franco in the Round of 32 later today, with the winner to face 3rd seed Andree Parrilla Saturday in the Round of 16.

In other action, Robert Collins beat Andrés Gómez, 15-7, 15-10, and will play Andres Acuña in the 32s. Javier Mar will play Carlos Keller in the 32s after defeating Juan Loreto, 15-7, 15-6, this morning.

Also, Eduardo Garay beat Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-1, 15-11, to set up a match with lefty Thomas Carter in the Round of 32, and Javier Estrada defeated Kadim Carrasco, 15-10, 15-13, so he’ll play Sebastian Franco this afternoon.

You can follow the Longhorn Open action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 32 Friday at 1:55 PM and 3:05 PM, and Round of 16 at 7:35 and 8:35 PM. On Saturday, the quarterfinals begin at 9:45 AM with the semi-finals at 7:35 and 8:35 PM, and the final at noon Sunday. All times Central.

2020 IRT Longhorn Open, January 16-19, 2020
Austin, Texas


Round of 64 - Friday

Q1 - Robert Collins d. Andrés Gómez, 15-7, 15-10
Q8 - Alan Natera d. Set Cubillos, 15-4, 15-2

Q5 - Shai Manzuri d. Jose Diaz, forfeit
Q4 - Javier Mar d. Juan Loreto, 15-7, 15-6

Q3 - Adam Manilla d. Miguel Arteaga Guzman, 13-15, 15-0, 11-5
Q6 - Alejandro Almada d. Felipe Camacho, forfeit

Q7 - Javier Estrada d. Kadim Carrasco, 15-10, 15-13
Q2 - Eduardo Garay d. Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-1, 15-11

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Andres Acuña v. Robert Collins - 3:05 PM

9) Jake Bredenbeck v. Alan Natera - 3:05 PM
8) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
12) David Horn v. Shai Manzuri - 3:05 PM

13) Carlos Keller v. Javier Mar - 3:05 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
14) Gerardo Franco v. Adam Manilla - 1:55 PM

11) Mario Mercado v. Alejandro Almada - 1:55 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
10) Sebastian Franco v. Javier Estrada - 1:55 PM

15) Thomas Carter v. Eduardo Garay - 1:55 PM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

More wins without playing than with at 2020 IRT Longhorn Open

The first round of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2020 Longhorn Open began Thursday in Austin, Texas. But it began with a whimper, as there were more matches defaulted than actually played. Moreover, there are two matches on Friday that have already been defaulted. It’s not a good start to 2020 for the IRT, although hard to fault the tournament officials for this.

A few matches did get played, and there was one tie-breaker. Alejandro Almada was an upset winner over Scott McClellan, 15-12, 6-15, 11-9. Veteran Shai Manzuri got the better of Justus Benson, 15-10, 15-8, which was also an upset by the rankings, but Manzuri is definitely in that wily veteran category with numerous caps playing for Argentina at international events, so his victory isn't a real surprise. Finally, Bolivian Kadim Carrasco got the better of Mexican Edson Martinez, 15-5, 15-11.

But Jose Diaz, Felipe Camacho, Alejandro Cardona, Christian Longoria, Ernesto Ochoa and Jordy Alonso all defaulted their matches, and the tournament is worse off without them.

You can follow the Longhorn Open action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 64 begins Friday morning at 9:45 AM with the Round of 32 Friday at 1:55 PM and 3:05 PM, and Round of 16 at 7:35 and 8:35 PM. On Saturday, the quarterfinals begin at 9:45 AM with the semi-finals at 7:35 and 8:35 PM, and the final at noon Sunday. All times Central.

2020 IRT Longhorn Open, January 16-19, 2020
Austin, Texas


Round of 128 - Thursday

Robert Collins - BYE
Andrés Gómez d. Christian Longoria, forfeit

Set Cubillos - BYE
Alan Natera - BYE

Jose Diaz - BYE
Shai Manzuri d. Justus Benson, 15-10, 15-8

Juan Loreto d. Alejandro Cardona, forfeit
Javier Mar - BYE

Adam Manilla - BYE
Miguel Guzman d. Ernesto Ochoa, forfeit

Alejandro Almada d. Scott McClellan, 15-12, 6-15, 11-9
Felipe Camacho - BYE

Javier Estrada - BYE
Kadim Carrasco d. Edson Martinez, 15-5, 15-11

Erick Fernandez d. Jordy Alonso, forfeit
Eduardo Garay - BYE

Round of 64 - Friday

Q1 - Robert Collins v. Andrés Gómez - 10:35 AM
Q8 - Alan Natera v. Set Cubillos - 10:35 AM

Q5 - Shai Manzuri d. Jose Diaz, forfeit
Q4 - Javier Mar v. Juan Loreto - 10:35 AM

Q3 - Adam Manilla v. Miguel Guzman - 9:45 AM
Q6 - Alejandro Almada d. Felipe Camacho, forfeit

Q7 - Javier Estrada v. Kadim Carrasco - 9:45 AM
Q2 - Eduardo Garay v. Erick Fernandez - 9:45 AM

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Andres Acuña v. Q1 - 3:05 PM

9) Jake Bredenbeck v. Q8 - 3:05 PM
8) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
12) David Horn v. Shai Manzuri - 3:05 PM

13) Carlos Keller v. Q4 - 3:05 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
14) Gerardo Franco v. Q3 - 1:55 PM

11) Mario Mercado v. Alejandro Almada - 1:55 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
10) Sebastian Franco v. Q7 - 1:55 PM

15) Thomas Carter v. Q2 - 1:55 PM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 IRT Longhorn Open - Preview

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) kicks off 2020 in Austin, Texas with the 2020 Longhorn Open. IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk is an Austin resident, so he’ll be trying to win at home, but 38 players will be trying to prevent that, including IRT #2 Alejandro Landa. However, #3 Rocky Carson won’t be in Austin, as he’s still recovering from the knee surgery he had last month.

The Longhorn Open is a huge event - maybe the largest racquetball event outside of the UnitedHealthcare US Open - with 458 participants overall, including over 48 women, which is great. With that many players the schedule is a bit different from other IRT events, as there is one round of matches Thursday, then three rounds on Friday, with the quarterfinals and semi-finals Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Some of the notable players in qualifying include Alejandro Cardona, Jose Diaz, Javier Mar, Edson Martinez, Adam Manilla, Robert Collins and Felipe Camacho. Cardona and Mar will likely play in the Round of 64, which is a match up worthy of a later round.

You can follow the Longhorn Open action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. There will be three rounds of matches Thursday starting at 1 PM. The Round of 64 begins Friday morning at 9:45 AM with the Round of 32 Friday at 1:55 PM and 3:05 PM, and Round of 16 at 7:35 and 8:35 PM. On Saturday, the quarterfinals begin at 9:45 AM with the semi-finals at 7:35 and 8:35 PM, and the final at noon Sunday. All times Central.

2020 IRT Longhorn Open, January 16-19, 2020
Austin, Texas


Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Robert Collins - BYE
Andrés Gómez v. Christian Longoria - 4 PM

Set Cubillos - BYE
Alan Natera - BYE

Jose Diaz - BYE
Justus Benson v. Shai Manzuri - 3 PM

Alejandro Cardona v. Juan Loreto - 4 PM
Javier Mar - BYE

Adam Manilla - BYE
Ernesto Ochoa v. Miguel Guzman - 3 PM

Scott McClellan v. Alejandro Almada - 3 PM
Felipe Camacho - BYE

Javier Estrada - BYE
Kadim Carrasco v. Edson Martinez - 3 PM

Erick Fernandez v. Jordy Alonso - 4 PM
Eduardo Garay - BYE

Qualifying Round 2 - Friday

Q1 - Robert Collins v. Andrés Gómez or Christian Longoria - 10:35 AM
Q8 - Alan Natera v. Set Cubillos - 10:35 AM

Q5 - Jose Diaz v. Justus Benson or Shai Manzuri - 10:35 AM
Q4 - Javier Mar v. Alejandro Cardona or Juan Loreto - 10:35 AM

Q3 - Adam Manilla v. Ernesto Ochoa or Miguel Guzman - 9:45 AM
Q6 - Felipe Camacho v. Scott McClellan or Alejandro Almada - 9:45 AM

Q7 - Javier Estrada v. Kadim Carrasco or Edson Martinez - 9:45 AM
Q2 - Eduardo Garay v. Erick Fernandez or Jordy Alonso - 9:45 AM

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
16) Andres Acuña v. Q1 - 3:05 PM

9) Jake Bredenbeck v. Q8 - 3:05 PM
8) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
12) David Horn v. Q5 - 3:05 PM

13) Carlos Keller v. Q4 - 3:05 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
14) Gerardo Franco v. Q3 - 1:55 PM

11) Mario Mercado v. Q6 - 1:55 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
10) Sebastian Franco v. Q7 - 1:55 PM

15) Thomas Carter v. Q2 - 1:55 PM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, January 13, 2020

Happy 37th Birthday Jack Huczek!

We’ve wished you Happy Birthday before - twice, in fact. The first time, back in 2009, we said “in years to come, when people talk about the best players of all time, they will have to consider you in the discussion.” The second time in 2011, we said “we’re hoping that we’ll be celebrating [your] career … for some years to come.” Little did we know that there would only be a few months left before you retired.

Because it’s almost a decade since you played, we feel like you’ve been almost forgotten. However, what we’re thinking on your birthday is “why aren’t you in the Hall of Fame?”

You won 29 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) events (5th most) and was in 63 IRT finals total (6th most). Your the last teenager to win on tour, doing so in 2002, when he was 19. You were ranked in the top 5 for 10 consecutive seasons (2002-2011), including a year at #1 in 2007 and five years at #2.

You were also an outstanding player for the USA, representing it 10 times, winning 7 gold medals in Men’s Singles. You were the Men’s Singles World Champion at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships three times: 2002, 2004, 2006, as well as Pan American Games Champion in 2003 and World Games Champion in 2009.

You earned your spot on Team USA via the USA Racquetball (USAR) National Championships. You played in 11 National Singles Championships and won four times, and were a runner up five times and never failed to reach the semi-finals. You won six National Doubles Championships (with Rocky Carson as your partner), and were runner up once (with Eric Muller).

You retired in May 2011, and if there was a five year period prior to Hall of Fame induction, then you would have been in four years ago. But the USAR Hall of Fame nomination procedures state “Nominees must be forty years old as of May 1st of the year following their nomination” (nominations are to made the year prior to induction). You were just 28 when you retired in 2011, so you don’t meet the Hall’s age requirement.

However, the nomination procedures also state “Any age requirement, or waiting period, may be removed by approval of the Hall of Fame Committee and the USAR Board of Directors.” Without such approval, you won’t be eligible for induction until 2023. Way too late in The Racquetball Blog’s opinion.

There is some precedence for inducting people before the age of 40, as Cliff Swain was inducted in 2003, when he was 37, and Marty Hogan went in at 39. Conversely, Michelle Gould, who retired in 1999, didn’t get in until 2012, and - like you - she should have gone in sooner.

Last month Pro Racquetball Stats wrote a piece advocating for Jason Mannino to be in the USAR Hall of Fame. Mannino is clearly a Hall of Fame caliber player and did much off court to help the game through running numerous racquetball clinics and overseeing the International Racquetball Tour for several years. We'd be happy to see Mannino inducted into the USAR Hall of Fame.

But there’s someone who should be in the USAR Hall of Fame already, and that’s Jack Huczek.

Follow the bouncing ball…..

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Longoria wins twice at 2020 LPRT Florida Pro-Am

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), defeated LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas on Sunday in the final of the LPRT Florida Pro-Am in Davie, Florida, 15-6, 15-12. Longoria has won five of the six LPRT events this season, and defeated Vargas in four of the finals. Her only loss was to Vargas in Virginia Beach.

Longoria also got the better of Vargas in doubles, albeit narrowly, as she and Alexandra Herrera defeated Vargas and Natalia Mendez, 15-14, 15-14. Longoria’s won four of the six LPRT doubles finals this season. Perhaps ironically, Longoria’s only losses have been to Herrera, when the two were playing with their usual partners. Longoria usually plays with Samantha Salas and Herrera with Montserrat Mejia, but neither Salas or Mejia were in Florida, so Longoria and Herrera teamed up.

In the singles final, Longoria and Vargas were close early in game one, but after being tied at 5-5, Longoria outscored Vargas 10-1 to finish off the game. She carried that momentum over into game two, as Longoria took an 8-3 lead.

But Vargas battled back, and actually led late in the game at 12-11. But Longoria is #1 for a reason - well, many reasons really, but one of them is her ability to come through in the clutch, and she did it again Sunday. Longoria got the last four points of game two to win it and the match in two straight games.

Clutch play was also evident in the doubles final, as Longoria and Herrera had to fight off game point in each game in order to win the match over Vargas and Mendez.

The LPRT will be back in action later this month, when they travel to Greenville, South Carolina for the Sweet Caroline Open, January 24-26. If you missed any of the Florida action, check out the LPRT YouTube channel, where the matches are archived.

2019 LPRT Florida Pro-Am, January 10-12, 2020
Davie, Florida


Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 2) Maria Jose Vargas, 15-6, 15-12

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera d. 2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas, 15-14, 15-14

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Longoria & Vargas opponents twice on Sunday

For the fifth time this Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) season, Paola Longoria - the LPRT’s #1 player - will face off with Maria Jose Vargas - the LPRT’s #2 player in a tournament final, as they both reached the final of the Florida Pro-Am in Davie, Florida with semi-final wins on Saturday. Mexican Longoria ended the great run of Bolivian teenager Valeria Centellas in one semi-final, winning 15-5, 15-8, while Argentina's Vargas beat Mexico's Alexandra Herrera, 15-5, 15-14, in the other semi.

Centellas was seeded 11th, and upset 4th seed Natalia Mendez of Argentina in the quarters, 15-5, 15-12, to set up the semi-final showdown with Longoria, who defeated fellow Mexican Jessica Parrilla in the quarters, 15-6, 15-9.

Vargas beat 7th seed Cristina Amaya of Colombia, 15-8, 15-13, in the quarters, while Herrera was a straight game winner over the USA's Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-6, 15-13.

Longoria and Vargas will also face off in the doubles final Sunday. Longoria and Herrera beat Bailey Lawrence and Carla Muñoz, 15-9, 15-5, in one semi-final Saturday, while Vargas and Mendez needed three games to get past Nancy Enriquez and Parrilla, 15-6, 10-15, 11-6.

Check out the finals live from Florida via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website. They will begin at 11 AM Sunday with the singles final, and the doubles final will follow at noon. All times eastern.

2019 LPRT Florida Pro-Am, January 10-12, 2020
Davie, Florida


Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 8) Jessica Parrilla, 15-6, 15-9
12) Valeria Centellas d. 4) Natalia Mendez, 15-5, 15-12

3) Alexandra Herrera d. 11) Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-6, 15-13
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 7) Cristina Amaya, 15-8, 15-13

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 12) Valeria Centellas, 15-5, 15-8
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 3) Alexandra Herrera, 15-5, 15-14

Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria v. 2) Maria Jose Vargas - 11 AM

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera d. 5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Carla Muñoz, 15-9, 15-5
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas d. 3) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla, 15-6, 10-15, 11-6

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera v. 2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, January 10, 2020

Upset, upset, upset at the 2020 LPRT Florida Pro-Am Friday

The top four seeds are through to the quarterfinals at the 2020 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Florida Pro-Am in Davie, Florida, but there were two upsets in the Round of 16. Bolivian teenager Valeria Centellas had the biggest one, as she defeated 5th seeded USA veteran Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 2-15, 11-7. She’ll face 4th seed Natalia Mendez in the quarters, as Mendez beat Micaela Meneses, 15-6, 15-8.

USA’s Kelani Bailey Lawrence got the other upset, as she beat 6th seed Nancy Enriquez of Mexico in two close games, 15-13, 15-14. Bailey Lawrence will play 4th seed Alexandra Herrera in the quarterfinals Saturday. Herrera defeated Laura Brandt, 15-1, 15-2, in the 16s.

Also, 7th seed Cristina Amaya of Colombia held off a charge by 10th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala to win in three games, 15-8, 10-15, 11-8. Amaya will face LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas in the quarters, as Vargas beat 15-1, 15-4.

Finally, 8th seed Jessica Parrilla defeated 9th seed Carla Muñoz, 15-13, 15-8, in the Round of 16, and will play LPRT #1 Paola Longoria in the quarterfinals Saturday. Longoria had a walkover win against Joselin Arevalo.

In doubles, Bailey Lawrence was also an upset winner, as she and Muñoz were seeded 5th but came back to defeat 4th seeds Amaya and Rajsich, 5-15, 15-5, 11-8, in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal was almost an upset also, but 3rd seeds Enriquez and Parrilla came back from dropping the first game to beat 6th seeds Meneses and Rodriguez, 4-15, 15-7, 11-2.

Check out the action live from Florida via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The quarterfinals are Saturday at 11 AM and noon with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The doubles quarterfinals are Friday night at 5 and 6 PM with the semi-finals Saturday night at 7 and 8 PM. The singles final will be 11 AM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at noon. All times eastern.

2019 LPRT Florida Pro-Am, January 10-12, 2020
Davie, Florida


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria d. 16) Joselin Arevalo, forfeit
8) Jessica Parrilla d. 9) Carla Muñoz, 15-13, 15-8

12) Valeria Centellas d. 5) Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 2-15, 11-7
4) Natalia Mendez d. 13) Micela Mensese, 15-6, 15-8

3) Alexandra Herrera d. 14) Laura Brandt, 15-1, 15-2
11) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 6) Nancy Enriquez, 15-13, 15-14

7) Cristina Amaya d. 10) Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-8, 10-15, 11-8
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 15) Graci Wargo, 15-1, 15-4

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria v. 8) Jessica Parrilla - Noon
4) Natalia Mendez v. 12) Valeria Centellas - Noon

3) Alexandra Herrera v. 11) Kelani Bailey Lawrence - 11 AM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 7) Cristina Amaya - 11 AM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera - BYE
5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Carla Muñoz d. 4) Cristina Amaya & Rhonda Rajsich, 5-15, 15-5, 11-8

3) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla d. 6) Micaela Meneses & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 4-15, 15-7, 11-2
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera v. 5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Carla Muñoz - 8 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas v. 3) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

2020 LPRT Florida Pro-Am - Preview

The 2019-20 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) season continues today with the LPRT Florida Pro-Am in Davie, Florida. The draw is one of the smaller ones in awhile, but the top players are there, including LPRT #1 Paola Longoria and #2 Maria Jose Vargas. Longoria and Vargas have faced off in the 4 of the 5 finals this season.

Perhaps their most remarkable match was the most recent, as Longoria defeated Vargas in a tie-breaker at the LPRT Christmas Classic last month. Longoria had won the first game decisively, but Vargas came back to win game two, and was up 6-0 in the breaker. But Longoria proved her mettle, as she fought back to win the breaker, 11-8.

We’d like some more of that, please.

Hopefully, that competitiveness will be on display throughout the weekend in Florida. It could start in the Round of 16, when 8th seed Jessica Parrilla takes on 9th seed Carla Muñoz. Parrilla is working her way back up the rankings after a serious knee injury that kept her out for over a year, while Muñoz has been playing some of the best racquetball of her career of late.

Also in the 16s, USA veteran Rhonda Rajsich takes on Bolivian teenager Valeria Centellas, who’s a current International Racquetball Federation (IRF)World Champion in Women’s Doubles (with Yazmine Sabja) and IRF World Junior Champion in Girl’s U18 Doubles (with Angelica Barrios). Sixth seed Nancy Enriquez of Mexico takes on the USA’s Kelani Bailey Lawrence, and 7th seed Cristina Amaya from Colombia is up against 10th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala.

Check out the action live from Florida via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The Round of 16 begins at 1 PM on Friday, with the quarterfinals on Saturday at 11 AM and noon, and the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The doubles quarterfinals are Friday night at 5 and 6 PM with the semi-finals Saturday night at 7 and 8 PM. The singles final will be 11 AM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at noon. All times eastern.

2019 LPRT Florida Pro-Am, January 10-12, 2020
Davie, Florida


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria v. 16) Joselin Arevalo - 4 PM
8) Jessica Parrilla v. 9) Carla Muñoz - 4 PM

5) Rhonda Rajsich v. 12) Valeria Centellas - 1 PM
4) Natalia Mendez v. 13) Micela Mensese - 1 PM

3) Alexandra Herrera v. 14) Laura Brandt - 2 PM
6) Nancy Enriquez v. 11) Kelani Bailey Lawrence - 2 PM

7) Cristina Amaya v. 10) Maria Renee Rodriguez - 3 PM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 15) Graci Wargo - 3 PM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Alexandra Herrera - BYE
4) Cristina Amaya & Rhonda Rajsich v. 5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Carla Muñoz - 6 PM

3) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla v. 6) Micaela Meneses & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 5 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, January 6, 2020

Rankings then and now

As we’ve just come through a decade (actually, we always do, but this time the numbering has changed), The Racquetball Blog staff thought it would be fun to compare the top ranked players from 10 years ago with now. Some things have changed, and some things have stayed the same.

Women’s Pro Tour

Let’s look at the women first. In 2010, their tour was called the Women’s Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO), while it’s now the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT). Here’s the WPRO rankings from 10 years ago.

WPRO Rankings (as of December 21, 2009)

Rank - Name - Country - Points

1 Paola Longoria, Mexico 1297.00
2 Rhonda Rajsich, USA 1260.06
3 Cheryl Gudinas, USA 631.040
4 Kerri Wachtel, USA 612.70
5 Kristen Bellows, USA 576.00
6 Adrienne Fisher, USA 363.70
7 Jennifer Saunders, Canada 253.45
8 Angela Grisar, Chile 245.00
9 Jo Shattuck, USA 224.41
10 T.J. Baumbaugh, USA 218.80

11 Veronica Sotomayor, Ecuador 217.20
12 Krystal Csuk, USA 203.68
13 Keely Franks, USA 180.25
14 Diane Moore, USA 164.25
15 Samantha Salas, Mexico 133.05
16 Vivian Gomez, USA 128.50
17 Jackie Paraiso, USA 120.00
18 Susy Acosta-Mendoza, Mexico 112.70
19 Doreen Fowler, USA 112.19
20 Cristina Amaya, Colombia 106.50

And now, here’s the current LPRT rankings.

LPRT Rankings (as of January 6, 2020)

Rank - Name - Country - Points

1. Paola Longoria MEX - 2225
2. Maria Jose Vargas ARG - 1543.5
3. Samantha Salas MEX - 1296.5
4. Alexandra Herrera MEX - 768
5. Natalia Mendez ARG - 639.5
6. Rhonda Rajsich USA - 635.5
7. Nancy Enriquez MEX - 606.5
8. Montserrat Mejia MEX - 498.5
9. Cristina Amaya COL - 449.5
10. Masiel Rivera BOL - 433.5

11. Adriana Riveros COL - 269.75
12. Brenda Laime COL - 269.5
13. Ana Laura Flores MEX - 242.75
14. Jessica Parrilla MEX - 215.25
15. Adrienne Fisher Haynes USA - 207
16. Sheryl Lotts USA - 199.25
17. Casandra Lee USA - 198.75
18. Erin Rivera MEX - 166.5
19. Carla Muñoz CHI - 164.5
20. Maria Renee Rodriguez GUA - 151.5

There are five players from a decade ago still in the top 20 now. Most notably Paola Longoria was #1 in January 2010 and she is now too. Rhonda Rajsich was #2 then, and is #6 now. Samantha Salas has moved up from #15 to #3 and Cristina Amaya from #20 to #9, while Adrienne Fisher Haynes was #6 and is now #15. T. J. Baumbaugh was #10, but she’s now running the tour.

More significant than the individuals in the top 20 is where they are from. In 2010, 13 of the top 20 women were from the USA with 3 from Mexico and 1 each from Canada, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. Now, there are 8 from Mexico and only 4 from the USA with 3 from Colombia, 2 from Argentina, and 1 each from Bolivia, Chile and Guatemala, although two of the Colombians and both Argentines are Bolivian born.

That’s a stark contrast, and especially so when you look at just the top 10, which had 7 USA players a decade ago and has just one now.

Men’s Pro Tour

Although the men’s pro tour has changed hands, just like the women’s tour, it did not change names. The International Racquetball Tour continues albeit under under new administration.

Here’s the IRT rankings from a decade ago.

IRT Rankings (as of December 7, 2009)

Rank - Player - Country - Points

1 Kane WASELENCHUK, CAN - 4286
2 Jack HUCZEK, USA - 3240
3 Rocky CARSON, USA - 2906 - 2
4 Jason MANNINO, USA - 2284
5 Shane VANDERSON, USA - 2216 - 5
6 Mitch WILLIAMS, USA - 1901
7 Alvaro BELTRAN, MEX - 1811
8 Chris CROWTHER, USA - 1789
9 Ben CROFT, USA - 1664
10 Andy HAWTHORNE, USA - 1620

11 Javier MORENO, MEX - 972
12 Travis WOODBURY, USA - 968
13 Juan HERRERA, COL - 945
14 Kris ODEGARD, CAN - 941
15 Andres HERRERA, COL - 885
16 Anthony HERRERA, USA - 881
17 Polo GUTIERREZ, MEX - 817
18 Alejandro LANDA, MEX - 801
19 Charlie PRATT, USA 778,
20 Alejandro HERRERA, COL - 776

And now, the current IRT rankings.

IRT Rankings (as of January 6, 2020)

1. Kane Waselenchuk, CAN - 3581.09
2. Alejandro Landa, MEX - 3064.69
3. Rocky Carson, USA - 3032.17
4. Andree Parrilla, MEX - 2399.78
5. Alvaro Beltran, MEX - 2176.75
6. Daniel De La Rosa, MEX - 1889.81
7. Conrrado Moscoso, BOL - 1573.95
8. Samuel Murray, CAN - 1445.18
9. Eduardo Portillo, MEX - 1324.54
10. Rodrigo Montoya, MEX - 1323.82

11. Jake Bredenbeck, USA - 1241.61
12. Sebastian Franco, COL - 1183.19
13. Mario Mercado, COL - 945.34
14. David Horn, USA - 909.67
15. Carlos Keller, BOL - 852.60
16. Gerardo Franco, MEX - 815.89
17. Thomas Carter, USA - 814.33
18. Sebastian Fernandez, MEX - 812.66
19. Robert Collins, USA - 683.71
20. Andres Acuña, CRC - 633.32

This tells a similar tale to what we saw in the womens’ rankings. Four players from the top 20 a decade ago are still in the top 10, including the #1 player then and now: Kane Waselenchuk. Rocky Carson was #3 then and he’s #3 now. But Alejandro Landa has moved up from #18 in 2010 to be #2 now. Finally, Alvaro Beltran was 7th ten years ago, and he’s 5th now.

As with the women, USA players dominated the rankings a decade ago, but now? Not so much. There were 11 USA players in the top 20 in 2010, but are only 5 now, and only one of them in the top 10, just as on the LPRT. Mexican players have doubled from 4 to 8, while the Canadian players were 2 then and are 2 now. There were 3 Colombians in 2010, and there are 2 now, along with 2 Bolivians and a Costa Rican.

So, if you needed any (more) proof that racquetball is more international now than it was a decade ago, this review of the pro top 10s is it.

We look forward to the next decade of racquetball.

Follow the bouncing ball…..

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 Stories of the year

2019 was another good year for racquetball. There was a Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, perhaps the penultimate US Open in Minneapolis, as well as the usual pro tour events, Pan American Championships and World Junior Championships. All of that plays into what are The Racquetball Blog Top 10 Stories of the Year.

Top Racquetball Stories of 2019

10. Natalia Mendez. Mendez finished in the top 10 of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) for a second time in June, and ended the year with two consecutive semi-final appearances, as well as a quarterfinals finish at the 2019 US Open. Also, Mendez was a triple medalist at the Pan Am Games: bronze in Women’s Singles and Doubles (with Maria Jose Vargas) and silver in the Women’s Team event. She has an unusual swing, but a great attitude, and at 22, Mendez’s future looks bright.

9. International Racquetball Tour. The International Racquetball Tour made changes in 2019, but they were more seamless than in previous years. John Scott, who had been a big presence on the IRT for most of the last decade, quietly left the scene. We understand that some personal issues, including his health, led to the departure, and we hope that he’s doing better. Mike Grisz came in as CEO and Board Chair helped most prominently by Dean Baer as Director of Broadcasting, who in turn is helped by Pablo Fajre. Also, Aimee Ruiz is their Social Media DIrector, which is a smart appointment. So off court, things are good, and there’s more presence on court from players south of the USA, which is where more development is going on. Those player have made the matches better, so on court things are good too, and that bodes well for the coming year and decade.

8. Rodrigo Montoya. We’re maybe underrating this, because Montoya - the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Men’s Singles World Champion, won both Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles (with Javier Mar) at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. He’s the 1st man to do that. At 23, Montoya is one of the younger Mexican players who is starting to play the IRT, where he’s currently ranked 10th. But with his international accomplishments, you can only expect his ranking to improve.

7. Alejandro Landa. Landa was our #1 story last year, and he’s continued to play well on tour and is currently ranked #2. Landa won two IRT events in 2019, which is more than anyone not named Waselenchuk. This season he’s been in three finals, winning once, and was also a semi-finalist at the US Open. Landa is now the winningest Mexican player on the IRT, as he has 4 titles, one more than Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa. But Landa was also involved in a spot of controversy in 2019, as he was left out the Mexican Pan Am Games team that went to Lima, which did seem odd, as Landa beat Beltran in the final of the Mexican Team Selection Event in February. But Beltran went further than Landa at the Pan American Championships, and apparently that was the basis for selecting Beltran rather than Landa for Lima. Seems harsh, although both Mexican players selected to play at the Pan Am Games - Beltran and Montoya - made the Men’s Singles final, so from that perspective it worked out for Mexico.

6. Bolivia. Bolivia has been making progress on the racquetball scene for some time, and this year they earned their first gold medal at the Pan American Games, as Conrrado Moscoso and brothers Carlos Keller and Roland Keller won the Men’s Team event. Bolivia also swept men’s gold at the 2019 Pan American Championships in Barranquilla, Colombia, where Carlos Keller won Men’s Singles and Moscoso and Roland Keller won Men’s Doubles. At the 2019 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships in San José, Costa Rica, Bolivia took home gold in 8 of the 12 World Cup divisions (Boys and Girls U14 , U16 & U18 singles & doubles). They swept gold in all three Girls Doubles divisions and all three Boys Singles divisions. Also, Bolivia hosted a true pro Grand Slam event, with both the IRT and LPRT competing in Bolivia for the first time. Moscoso won the IRT event with a dramatic comeback to defeat Rocky Carson in the final, and Bolivia native Maria Jose Vargas won the LPRT final. It was a great year for a country that really cares about racquetball. Consider that of the 5 medals won by Bolivians at the 2019 Pan Am Games, four were won in racquetball events.

5. Montserrat Mejia. Mejia came into 2019 as the reigning two time U18 IRF World Junior Champion, and proceeded to upset Paola Longoria in the Mexican National Team Event in February, so she went to the Pan Am Championships as the #1 Mexican player, although she lost to Natalia Mendez in the quarterfinals. But she helped Mexico win gold in the Women’s Team event at the 2019 Pan Am Games. On the LPRT this season, Mejia has been a finalist once and a semi-finalist twice. Also, she and Alexandra Herrera won the US Open LPRT Doubles title, as well as the first LPRT Doubles event of the season in San Luis Potosi. She ends 2019 as the 8th ranked player, and should finish the LPRT season in the top 10 for the 1st of what we’re sure will be many times.

4. Conrado Moscoso. People paying attention to racquetball were familiar with Moscoso prior to 2019. He’d won Boys U18 at the 2013 IRF World Juniors and was a silver medalist in Men’s Singles at the 2014 IRF World Championships. But for casual fans, 2019 was the year Moscoso blew up. As mentioned above, he won Men’s Doubles (with Roland Keller) at the 2019 Pan Am Championships and gold in the Men’s Team event at the 2019 Pan Am Games. He also won an IRT event - the 1st Bolivian to do so, and just the 2nd South American. Moscoso capped the year by becoming the 1st South American to reach the 2019 US Open final, and is currently ranked 7th on the IRT.

3. Maria Jose Vargas. Vargas ends the year as the #2 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT). She won her 4th and 5th career LPRT titles in 2019, including winning in her native Bolivia in April. In five events this season, Vargas has been in four finals, winning in Virginia Beach, where she defeated Paola Longoria in the final. Vargas was also a triple medalist at the Pan Am Games: silver in Women’s Singles and the Women’s Team event as well as bronze in Women’s Doubles. Vargas also got silver in Women’s Singles at the Pan Am Championships.

1 & 1. Paola Longoria & Kane Waselenchuk. We’re not going to pick between Longoria and Waselenchuk this year. Maybe Longoria should be #1, as she won 5 (!) gold medals in 2019, sweeping Women’s Singles and Doubles at both the Pan Am Games and Pan Am Championships, as well as winning the Women’s Team event at the Pan Am Games, while Waselenchuk doesn’t compete internationally. They both continued to dominate their respective pro tours, but each had a loss on tour as well, which was unusual (yes, they are so successful that it's news when they lose). Both successfully defended their US Open titles in singles, keeping long winning streaks intact (12 straight years for Waselenchuk; 9 for Longoria). Waselenchuk also won doubles at the US Open with Ben Croft. Ten years ago Longoria and Waselenchuk were the #1 players on the LPRT and IRT, respectively, and they are still on top. Will they be 10 years from now? Waselenchuk’s 38 and Longoria 30, so we doubt it, because - as the saying goes - Father Time is undefeated. However, we also wouldn’t want to bet against either of them accomplishing anything they want to in racquetball.

Honorable mentions: Jen Saunders retired as the Canadian Champion in both Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles, and her 24 Canadian titles make her the winningest player ever. An incredible career for someone who didn’t show much promise as a junior player, but she believed in herself and worked hard to be the best player she could be. Saunders has taken a position with Racquetball Canada, so racquetball hasn’t seen the last of her. Samantha Salas won two gold medals - in Women’s Doubles (with Longoria) and the Women’s Team event - at the 2019 Pan Am Games, as well as gold in Women’s Doubles (with Longoria) at the 2019 Pan Am Championships. She’s the #3 player on the LPRT. Rocky Carson, who turned 40 last year, was the #2 IRT player at the end of the 2018-19 season and won the first event of 2019-20, as well as earning two bronze medals at the 2019 Pan Am Games, which was the 4th Pan Am Games he’d competed at, and he's reached the podium each time. Charlie Pratt was a double medalist at Pan Am Games, and also was finalist in Men’s Singles at the 2019 Pan Am Championships. Alvaro Beltran was silver medalist in Men’s Singles at the 2019 Pan Am Games and also got bronze in the Men’s Team event. He also was a bronze medalist in Men’s Singles at the 2019 Pan Am Championships and ends the year as the #5 player on the IRT. World Racquetball Tour. The WRT seems to be dead, as its creator Pablo Fajre is now working with the IRT. It was a nice series of tournaments while it lasted, but we never really thought there was room for two men’s pro tours, so it’s good that the WRT has effectively been folded into the IRT.

2019 was an action packed year for racquetball, and we expect more of the same in 2020. Internationally, the highlight will be the 2020 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Also, 2020 will be Doug Ganim’s last US Open, so you may want to put a trip to Minneapolis on your calendar for early October, because that’s sure to be a special event.

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This is our 12th Top 10 Stories of the Year list. We reviewed the 1st ten lists last year, for those interested about what’s happened in the last decade of racquetball.

But now, on to the future!

Follow the bouncing ball….