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….

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