Wednesday, April 24, 2013

IRT - 2013 Ektelon Tournament of Champions - Preview

Going back to Portland. That's what the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) is doing this weekend, as the 2013 Ektelon Tournament of Champions happens in Portland, Oregon, which has a rich history of racquetball excellence. Portland was the site for the Tournament of Champions for ten years from 1991 to 2001.

Cliff Swain won the most Portland events with four victories. In fact, he was undefeated in Portland finals. Sudsy Monchik won three times in Portland and was in one other final, which he lost to Swain.

The first two Portland events were won by Dan Obremski, who beat Ruben Gonzalez in the first event and Drew Kachtik in the second one. Gonzalez won the third Portland event by beating Jack Newman in the final.

The last Portland Tournament of Champions was won by Swain in 2001, when he defeated Jason Mannino, who's now the IRT President.

Current IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk will be looking to add his name to the impressive list of Portland champions.

Qualifying rounds

There are several players in qualifying, so there will be three qualifying rounds on Thursday. Some highlights include Charlie Pratt's return to action. Pratt will be playing in his hometown, and he's been out most of the season with an ankle injury.

Pratt will play the winner of Drew Litzer and Jorge Thomas and if he gets through his qualifying bracket he'll face 3rd seed Alvaro Beltran in the Round of 16. Pratt defeated Beltran at the 2011 US Open for one of the best results of his career.

Some of we think could be the best qualifying matches include a potential match between Marco Rojas and Diego Crespo, who was very impressive in Denver, where he lost to Alex Ackermann in five games in the final qualifying round. Crespo has to beat Sunji Spencer to play Rojas.

Also, young left-hander Brad Schopieray will likely play Taylor Knoth in a battle of two good young players.

The IRT Network will be web-cast the final round of qualifying Thursday night and then the Round of 16 beginning at 10 AM PDT Friday morning. Note that the final will be Saturday night at 7:00 PM PDT not on Sunday.

2013 Ektelon Tournament of Champions, Portland, Oregon

Qualifying Rounds

Round 1

Joel Barshaw v. Ac Bates
Lee Cramer v. John Wetherbee

Taylor Knoth v. Mark Szabo
Connor Laffey v. Darryl Boris

Brad Hardy v. David Barnhart
Drew Litzer v. Jorge Thomas

Nick Baida v. Jeremy White
Wayne Antone v. Elliott Saunders

Round 2

David Horn v. Joel Barshaw / Ac Bates
Andrew Gale v. Lee Cramer / John Wetherbee

Sunji Spencer v. Diego Crespo
Robert Collins v. John Wolfe

Brad Schopieray v. Taylor Knoth / Mark Szabo
Tim Prigo v. Connor Laffey / Darryl Boris

Matt Majxner v. Brad Hardy / David Barnhart
Charlie Pratt v. Drew Litzer / Jorge Thomas

Jeff Stark v. Christopher Barton
Coby Arff v. Michael Bern

Arthur Schmeiser v. Nick Baida / Jeremy White
Francisco Troncoso v. Wayne Antone / Elliott Saunders

Round 3

Q8: David Horn / Joel Barshaw / Ac Bates v. Andrew Gale / Lee Cramer / John Wetherbee
Q1: Marco Rojas v. Rich Berich or Tyler Freeman

Q4: Daniel De La Rosa v. Robert Collins / John Wolfe
Q5: Brad Schopieray / Taylor Knoth / Mark Szabo v. Tim Prigo / Connor Laffey / Darryl Boris

Q6: Matt Majxner / Brad Hardy / David Barnhart v. Charlie Pratt / Drew Litzer / Jorge Thomas
Q3: Alex Ackermann v. Jeff Stark / Christopher Barton

Q2: Jose Diaz v. Coby Arff / Michael Bern
Q7: Arthur Schmeiser / Nick Baida / Jeremy White v. Francisco Troncoso /Wayne Antone / Elliott Saunders

Main Draw - Round of 16

Kane Waselenchuk v. Q8
Javier Moreno v. Q1

Jose Rojas v. Q4
Chris Crowther v. Q5

Alvaro Beltran v. Q6
Ben Croft v. Q3

Tony Carson v. Q2
Rocky Carson v. Q7

Follow the bouncing ball....

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