Friday, April 8, 2022

2022 Pan American Championships - Preview

The Pan American Racquetball Championships are being held for the first time in three years. The COVID 19 pandemic, which is still going on, resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 Pan American Championships. But the 2022 Pan American Championships will begin Saturday in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with 140 players from 12 countries in 24 divisions, as there’s also junior events. Notable is that mixed doubles will be on the program for the first time in the event’s history, as well as U21 in the junior competition. Also, this will be the first international event using rally scoring with a five game match format: four games to 15 with a tie-breaker to 11, and the first four games are win by one point while the breaker is win by two.

Matches will be streamed by the International Racquetball Federation (IRF), as well as a broadcast on Bolivian television. You can check out links for play via the IRF Facebook page or the IRF YouTube channel.

The IRF hasn’t released any player rosters, and the draws won’t be finalized until after the coaches meeting Friday afternoon, but we have some information for some of the countries.

The USA will have six players in Bolivia. Alejandro Landa, the current IRF Men’s Singles World Champion, leads the team and will try to win his 2nd Pan American Championship title in Men’s Singles. He won in 2017 while representing Mexico. Brothers Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck will play Men’s Doubles with Jake as the 2nd player in Men’s Singles.

Veteran Rhonda Rajsich leads the women’s side and will play singles and doubles with Erika Manilla. Rajsich and Manilla were silver medalists at Worlds last year. Manilla will play Mixed Doubles with Landa, and Kelani Bailey rounds out the team playing Women’s Singles, in which she was also a silver medalist at Worlds in 2021.

Team Canada will have its top three men’s players and some young women’s players in Bolivia. Samuel Murray, a winner on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), leads the team, and will play both Men’s Singles and Doubles. Coby Iwaasa will be Murray’s doubles partner, and the two were silver medalists at the last Pan Am Championships back in 2019. Trevor Webb will be the other Canadian Men’s Singles player.

Michèle Morissette - a 2022 World Games qualifier - leads the Canadian women in the absence of veterans Frédérique Lambert and Christine Richardson, and she’ll play Women’s Singles along with Juliette Parent, who’s just making her second appearance on Team Canada after playing at Worlds last year. Parent will also play Mixed Doubles with Coby Iwaasa. Alexis Iwaasa - Coby’s cousin - and Cassie Prentice will be the Canadian Women’s Doubles team. Prentice is making her Team Canada debut.

Some of the Bolivian players reported to be representing the host country are Conrrado Moscoso, a two time winner on the IRT, Carlos Keller, and Kadim Carrasco on the men’s side, and on the women’s side Yazmine Sabja, Micaela Meneses, Angelica Barrios. Keller is the two time defending Pan American Champion in Men’s Singles.

The format of the event is to have two days of group play followed by a medal round on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then they plan to have a team competition on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Finally, as it has been awhile since the last Pan American Championships, let’s remind you of who was on the podium in 2019.

XXXII Pan American Racquetball Championships
Barranquilla, Colombia - April 12-20, 2019

Women's Singles

GOLD - Paola Longoria (Mexico)
SILVER - María José Vargas (Argentina)
BRONZE - Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) and Natalia Mendez (Argentina)

Men's Singles

GOLD - Carlos Keller (Bolivia)
SILVER - Charles Pratt (USA)
BRONZE - Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) and Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)

Women's Doubles

GOLD - Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico)
SILVER - Valeria Centellas & Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) and Danielle Drury & Jennifer Saunders (Canada)

Men's Doubles

GOLD - Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
SILVER - Coby Iwaasa & Samuel Murray (Canada)
BRONZE - Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) and Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica)

Follow the bouncing ball….

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