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Kane Makes Statement on Court

Kane left no fans disappointed this weekend at the 2008 Steadman Hawkins IRT Greenville Open, where he dispatched two top IRT players on his way to a tournament win.  In the seminfinals, Kane met Alvaro Beltran (#3 IRT), and was able to make an immediate statement winning in three games – 3, 10, 0.  This win would create a showdown in the finals against current IRT #1, Rocky Carson.  Although the scores of the games are missing from the official online draws (1, 5, -10, 5 ?) the four game victory for Kane will undoubtably set the tone that he is ready and waiting to reclaim the top spot on the tour.  There are going to be some brutal qualifying matches in the coming months as Kane makes his way back into the top 8.  I guess the bright side is that some qualifying players who don’t normally make the main draw will get a chance to play against one of the most dominant players in the sport. :)

June 23rd, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

We’re back in the Pan AM Games!

I’m not sure of the politics in play at this level of sport governing bodies, but somehow racquetball has made a comeback appearance on the 2011 Pan American Games, to be played in Guadalajara, Mexico.

If anyone can fill me in on what led to racquetball being excluded/included at the Pan AM Games, please feel free to comment below. OK to stay anonymous!

The Associated Press
Published: July 11, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Rugby union and racquetball were added to the list of sports that will be played in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Mario Vazquez Rana, president of the Pan American Sports Organization, or PASO, made the announcement Wednesday in the organization’s general assembly in Rio de Janeiro, where the 2007 games begin Friday.

Rana said no sports would be dropped at this time, increasing the number of events to 36 in 2011.

Rana also said baseball and softball were guaranteed for the games in Guadalajara, dismissing some earlier reports that they would be dropped.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the addition of rugby union to the Pan Ams opens the doors for the sport in a future Olympics.

“It’s closer than ever,” he said.

Rana said the possible addition of rugby as an Olympic sport “was not bad news for baseball … which would have its chance.”

Racquetball was played in the previous three editions of the Pan Ams before being dropped for Rio de Janeiro.

1 comment July 11th, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

2007 IRF World Senior Doubles Concluded

Just when we thought international racquetball competition had subsided, doubles teams from around the world descended upon Hamburg, Germany for the 2007 IRF World Senior Doubles Championships.  Of the nine countries who participated, it looks like the USA, Germany and Guatemala took home the most medals.

DATE: June 11th, 2007
FROM: IRF Media Center

The 2007 IRF World Senior Doubles Championships have been successfully concluded last weekend. Many new World Champions were crowned during the Closing Banquet on Saturday night and a total of nine countries were represented during the competition in Hamburg, Germany.

To view the complete draws and results just go to:

Ladies Doubles 35+
Sallie Benedict (USA) & Lucy Zachrisson (GUA) def. Yvonne Kortes (GER) & Ayten Kececi (TUR) 15-9, 15-3

Ladies Doubles 60+
Mildred Gwinn & Gail Schaefer (USA) def. Marga Luehring & Renate Cudrup (GER) 15-5, 15-4

Mens Doubles 35+
Joachim Loof & Trevor Meyer (GER) def. Arturo Martin & Sergio Martinez (MEX) 13-15, 15-5, 11-2

Mens Doubles 40+
Yoshihiko Higashi & Shoichi Sakai (JPN) def. Arturo Martin & Sergio Martinez (MEX) 15-13, 15-6

Mens Doubles 45+
Ernesto Townson & Juan Salvatierra (GUA) def. Robert Frazier & James Johnson (USA) 15-8, 15-11

Mens Doubles 50+
Robert Frazier & James Johnson (USA) def. Michael Murphy & Oliver Gibney (IRE) 15-14, 15-2

Mens Doubles 55+
David Ellis & Fred Roe (USA) def. Gary Mazaroff & Luke St. Onge (USA) 15-8, 15-5

Mixed Doubles 35+
Juan Salvatierra & Lucy Zachrisson (GUA) def. Rene Pierre & Yvonne Kortes (GER) 15-13, 15-2

Mixed Doubles 50+
David Ellis & Mildred Gwinn (USA) def. Gary Mazaroff & Sallie Benedict (USA) 15-8, 15-5

Mixed Doubles 60+
David Ellis & Mildred Gwinn (USA) def. Fred Roe & Gail Schaefer (USA) 15-6, 15-9

More International Racquetball News at www.internationalracquetball.com

June 15th, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

20th Pan American Championships concluded

I’m REALLY behind reporting the results of the 2007 Pan American Racquetball Championships, but late is better than never!  Team USA finished the event with the Women’s and overall title, while Canada was able to come away with the Men’s title.  In some hometown news, Jason Samora partnered with Andy Hawthorne to make the finals in Men’s Doubles in their first international competition.  I say “hometown”, because Jason started his racquetball career at my own club in Beaverton, OR, and was the racquetball role model for MANY local players.  He’s a GREAT player who is still climbing the ranks (nationally and professionally), and I hope he continues to make appearances in Oregon to keep the locals in check ;)

DATE: April 8, 2007

FROM: IRF Media Center

SUBJ: 20th Pan American Championships concluded

Colorado Springs, USA –  The 20th PARC Pan American Championships 2007 have been successfully concluded yesterday in Santiago, Chile. Complete draws and results can be found at: http://www.r2sports.com/tourney/display/tourney.asp?TID=2133

Final results:

Mens Singles:
Alvaro Beltran (MEX9 def. Kris Odegard (CAN) 15-6, 15-8

Ladies Singles:
Rhonda Rajsich (USA) def. Samantha Salas (MEX) 15-7, 10-15, 11-3

Mens Doubles:
Francois Viens/Vincent Gagnon (CAN) def. Andy Hawthorne/Jason Samora (USA) 15-6, 11-15, 11-9

Ladies Doubles:
Janel Tisinger/Rhonda Rajsich (USA) def. Carola Loma/Jenny Daza (BOL) 15-5, 15-8

Seniors 35+:
Ivan Uzin (BOL) def. Roberto Aracena (BOL) 15-8, 15-10

Seniors 45+:
Rick Mattson (CAN) def. Juan Carlos Crespo (BOL) 15-8, 15-3

Senior Doubles 35+:
Ivan Uzin/Roberto Aracena (BOL) def. Alejandro Riquelme/Claudio Torres (CHI) 15-6, 15-10

Junior Boys  14U:
Daniel de la Rosa (MEX) def. Carlos Keller (BOL) 15-11, 15-14

Juniors Boys 16U:
Alejandro Cardona (MEX) def. Roland Keller (BOL) 15-3, 15-9

Junior Girls 14U:
Sofia Rascon (MEX) def. Mar?Jos?argas  (BOL) 7-15, 15-14, 11-9

Junior Girls 16U:
Yazmine Sbja (BOL) def. Ana Zertuche (MEX) 15-3, 15-1

More International Racquetball News at www.internationalracquetball.com

April 22nd, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

19th IRF World Junior Championships 2007 in Bolivia

Some exciting news has surfaced recently from the IRF – the official site of the 2007 World Junior Racquetball Championships has been named – Chochabamba, Boliva.  As fas as I can remember, the Worlds has always been held in the U.S., or in Mexico, so this news comes a big surprise to regular attendees of the event.  Bolivia seems to bring a large crop of talent to the 2006 Championships, so it will be interesting to see how this year’s event shapes up with Bolivia having home court advantage.  What a great opportunity for the Junior teams to see some new turf!

19th IRF World Junior Championships 2007 in Bolivia

Colorado Springs, USA – The International Racquetball Federation (IRF)
has granted the 19th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships to

The event will be held December 14th to 20th in Cochabamba, the city
that has also hosted the 1998 IRF Adult World Championships with
major success.

“This is an exciting development for international Racquetball”, says
Secretary General Luke St. Onge, “it will be the first time that the IRF
Junior Worlds will be held in South America.”

Bolivia as first host in South America is not really a surprise. The
countries success in international Racquetball competitions is one if it’s
own. In addition, there are many courts built over the past few years
and some more are in construction.

No wonder that that IRF Executive Board was in favor of moving the
Junior Worlds to Bolivia to support the countries ongoing boom in

Boys and girls from around the world are expected to compete in several
different age groups for gold, silver and bronze medals in singles and

The 2007 edition of the IRF Junior Worlds is also expected to be live
streamed on the internet and shown on national TV broadcast.


For more information please contact the IRF’s Secretary General Luke
St. Onge at LStOnge@internationalracquetball.com.

April 22nd, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

World Senior Doubles in Germany

The May 28th entry deadline is fast approaching for the World Senior Doubles Racquetball Championships in Hamburg, Germany.  The event will take place June 6th – 9th at the Sports Department, and will be sanctioned by the IRF.  Official information from the IRF can be found here, and the official website of the event appears in the press release below.  This sounds like the perfect vacation for the racquetball enthusiast!

Racquetball: World Senior Doubles in Germany

DATE: April 20, 2007

FROM: IRF Media Center

SUBJ: World Senior Doubles in Germany

Colorado Springs, USA/Hamburg, Germany – The IRF’s World Senior Doubles Championships 2007 in Hamburg, Germany are only a few weeks away and preparations are currently being made to host all international players with fine German hospitality in the country’s second largest city.

The ‘WSD’ (World Senior Doubles) will be held June 6-9 with the entry deadline being May 28th. All information on this event as well as the entry form can be found at www.worldseniordoubles.racquetball.de.

April 22nd, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

Pan American Championships Underway

The 20th IRF Pan American Racquetball Championships started this weekend in Santiago de Chile, Chile.  The event officially started March 30th, and runs through April 7th.  I seem to remember this event traditionally featured a playoff (one “open” division) for Men’s and Women’s singles and doubles,  but this year, there are actually some age divisions, as well as juniors.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Team USA has any competitors in these “new” divisions.

The competition starts with “pool play”, where competitors are divided into small groups to play round-robin qualifying matches.  The results of the round-robin matches determine placements in the main draws.

LIVE STREAMING – If you’d like to see how your country is is progressing through the competition, you can watch LIVE VIDEO of MATCHES being played!  Check out www.racquetballonline.tv for complete details!


Representing Team USA, we have:

Chris Crowther
Woody Clouse
Rhonda Rajsich
Kristen Walsh

Andy Hawthorne / Jason Samora
Janel Tisinger / Rhonda Rajsich
Gary Mazaroff / Luke St. Onge (M35+)

I’m not sure why Rhonda Rajsich is the only USA National Champion playing this event (Rocky Carson for singles, Laura Fenton and Aimee Ruiz for doubles, etc?) .. I’m guessing there were either scheduling conflicts or money issues (as the US Team has had to traditionally fund their own way to the events in recent years).

Whatever the case, GO USA! :)


Pool Play – Saturday through Monday
Bracket Play – Wednesday through Saturday

Entries per Country:

ARG (13)
BOL (17)
BRA (2)
CAN (10)
CHI (24)
CRI (7)
DOM (6)
ECU (11)
GUA (8)
HON (11)
MEX (17)
PUR (2)
USA (9)
VEN (9)

March 31st, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

2008 Racquetball World Championships Moves to Ireland

Well, it looks like the plans fell through for Paris’ plans to host the 2008 World Racquetball Championships.  It’s too bad that “financial reasons” seem to be such a common thread for event promotions.  It sure is good news that a new venue was identified, and that efforts like live video feeds of the pro stops are helping to promote the sport.

Official Press Release:

DATE: February 2, 2007
FROM: IRF Media Center
SUBJ: Worlds 2008 moves to Ireland

Colorado Springs, USA – The International Racquetball Federation will hold it’s 14th World Championships 2008 in Kingscourt, Ireland. The IRF Executive Committee has just voted on the venue change recently.

The 2008 Worlds were originally granted to Paris, France but finanical reasons forced the European Racquetball Federation (ERF) to ‘search’ for another venue, while other bids from around the world were already eager to host the Worlds as well. “We were much delighted to receive a bid from Ireland to host the 2008 Worlds”, says ERF President Erik Meyer, “Irish Racquetball is the backbone of European Racquetball and we are more than confident to have the best Worlds ever in 2008 in Ireland”. See complete press release in attachment.

More International Racquetball News at www.internationalracquetball.com

February 2nd, 2007 by Geoff Thomsen

Mexico Wins Team Title at World Junior Racquetball Championships

Congratulations to Team Mexico, who edged out the U.S. by 14 points to capture the team title at the 2006 IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, AZ U.S.A.  Just by looking at the number of finalists in the press release below, it looks like mexico had a pretty dominating finish.  Rumor has it that several countries had made huge strides in strengthening their teams, such as Bolivia and Ecuador.  It will be very interesting to see how things stack up next year!


DATE: December 26, 2006
FROM: IRF Media Center
SUBJ: Mexico wins Junior World Cup again!

The 18th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships 2005 in Tempe, AZ, USA have been successfully concluded. The Mexican Junior Team was able to win the overall World Junior Cup once again. It is the fifth time Team Mexico was able to claim the overall World Junior title. See complete draws on www.internationalracquetball.com.

Finals and Finishers:
Junior Boys Singles:
Boys 18-: David Ortega (Mexico) def. Armando Landa (Mexico) 9-15, 15-11, 11-7
Boys 16-: Ishmael Aldana (USA) def. Jose Rojas (USA) 10-15, 15-9, 11-10
Boys 14-: Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) def. Taylor Knoth (USA) 15-2, 15-13
Boys 12-: Marco Rojas (USA) def. Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) 15-13, 15-11
Boys 10-: Javier Estrada (Mexico) def. Andree Parrilla (Mexcio) 15-3, 15-10
Boys 8-: Alex Almada (Mexico) def. Gil Duarte (Mexico) 15-3;11-7
Boys 8- MB: Roberto Hernandez (Costa Rica) def. Josue Perdomo (Dom. Republic) 15-7, 15-1
Boys 6- MB: Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) def. Pedro Andrés Reyes (Ecuador)

Junior Girls Singles:
Girls 18-: Michelle Key (USA) def. Karen Torres (Mexico) 15-5, 9-15, 11-5
Girls 16-: Paola Longoria (Mexico) def. Sharon Jackson (USA) 15-12, 15-2
Girls 14-: Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) def. Aubrey O’Brien (USA) 15-5, 12-15, 11-9
Girls 12-: María José Vargas (Bolivia) def. Devon Pimentelli (USA) 15-6, 15-8
Girls 10-: Lucia Gonzalez (Mexico) def. Ximena Gonzalez (Mexico) 15-8, 15-8
Girls 8-: Diana Aguilar (Mexico) def. Vanezza Gutierrez (Mexico) 15-0;11-2
Girls 8- MB: 1. Dariana Montiel (Mexico) 2. Erika Manilla (USA)
Girls 6- MB: Dariana Montiel (Mexico) def. Victoria Leon (Mexico) 15-3, 15-0

Junior Boys Doubles:
Boys 18-: David Ortega / Ruben Estrada (Mexico) def. Chris Coy / Zach Apperson (USA) 15-13, 15-5
Boys 16-: Erick Sandoval / Jose Luis Martinez (Mexico) def. Ismael Aldana/Jose Rojas (USA) 15-14, 15-8
Boys 14-: Alejandro Cardona / Pedro Gonzalez (Mexico) def. Jake Bredenbeck / Taylor Knoth (USA) 4-15, 15-14, 11-6
Boys 12-: Jose Diaz / Marco Rojas (USA) def. Rodrigo Garay / Ruben Rodelo (Mexico) 14-15, 15-8, 11-4
Boys 10-: Javier Estrada/Andree Parrilla (Mexico) def. Eduardo Garay/Javier Mar (Mexico) 15-9, 15-8

Junior Girls Doubles:
Girls 18-: Eleny Guzman / Marcela Moreno (Mexico) def. Kara Mazur / Samantha Mcguffey (USA) 15-12, 0-15, 11-2
Girls 16-: Holly Hettesheimer / Sharon Jackson (USA) def. Luisa Alderete / Paola Longoria (USA) 15-14, 7-15, 11-8
Girls 14-: Veronica Sotomayor / Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador) def. Jessica Parrilla / Maria Magdalena Chavez (Mexico) 15-7;15-3
Girls 12-: Elizabeth Anne Brenner / Samantha Rosado (USA) def. María José Vargas / Rocío Cuenca (Bolivia) 15-7, 15-2
Girls 10-: Lucia Gonzalez/Ximena Gonzalez (Mexico) def. Abbey Lavely / Elizabeth Vargas (Mexico) 15-4, 15-4

Junior Mixed Doubles:
10-: Hollee Hungerford/John Lindsey (USA) def. Bobby Sehrgosha / Sabrina Viscuso (USA) 15-11, 15-11
12-: Elizabeth Anne Brenner / Marco Rojas (USA) def. Alex Guzman / Devon Pimentelli(USA) 15-6, 15-4
14-: Carlos Tapia / Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia) def. Carlos Keller / María José Vargas (Bolivia) 15-1, 15-7
16-: Jenny Daza / Roland Keller (Bolivia) def. Jose Serrano / Teresa Diaz (USA) 15-11, 15-6
18-: Karen Torres / Roman Landa (Mexico) def. Andreanne Chartier / Mathieu Messier (Canada) injury forfeit

Final Team Standing:

World Cup:

01. Mexico (321)
02. USA (307)
03. Canada (173)
04. Ecuador (136)
05. Costa Rica (128)
06. Bolivia (111)
07. Venezuela (71)
08. Ireland (69)
09. Korea (63)
10. Dom. Rep. (54)
11. Puerto Rico (53)
12. Cuba (52)
13. Guatemala (51)
14. Colombia (50)
15. Honduras (50)
16. Nicaragua (50)

Esprit Cup:
01. Mexico (534)
02. USA (448)
03. Bolivia (211)
04. Costa Rica (193)
05. Ireland (118)
06. Canada (90)
07. Ecuador (65)
08. Puerto Rico (62)
09. Nicaragua (55)

Friendship Cup:
01. Canada (277)
02. Mexico (266)
03. USA (155)
04. Costa Rica (89)
05. Dom. Rep. (88)
06. Bolivia (44)
07. Ireland (24)
More International Racquetball News at www.internationalracquetball.com

December 27th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 World Junior’s – Final Day

First, I would like to congratulate each and every one of the 301 players that came to Tempe, Arizona to compete in the 18th IRF Ektelon Junior World Racquetball Championships, and also congratulations to Team Mexico for defending their titles in the Junior World Cup (14-18 year olds) and the Espirit Cup (12 and under).I didn’t get to see all the matches yesterday, but I will report on what I know. And today we will start with the match of the day. The Girl’s 14 Singles Final between Ecuador’s Veronica Sotomayer and USA’s Aubrey O’Brien. Both players gave it everything they had from the opening shot to the final point in the tiebreaker.

Aubrey came out strong in this one keeping the score close early in the first game with solid passing shots and near perfect splats forcing Veronica to play even smarter than she already does. Slowly, however, Veronica pulled away putting points together until she had won the first game 15-5. This didn’t deter Aubrey one bit, as she fought through a point for point battle in the second game. The crowd continued to grow at the exhibition court as this match progressed and each rally ended with wild cheers from 1/2 of that crowd. The U-S-A cheer was even heard for the first time this tournament. So when Aubrey managed to get the 15th point in that second game, the US Team and all of their fans absolutely erupted, the noise was truly deafening. Aubrey came out strong in the breaker to build a 5-2 lead, but Veronica wasn’t about to go away without a fight. She started ripping shots and quietly moved to match point at 10-5, but Aubrey wasn’t about to let this world championship go that easily. She regrouped and managed to get to 9-10, each point ending with Aubrey pumping her fist to the crowd. You could feel the adrenaline in the air. At 9-10, Aubrey hit a great serve to get a weak return from Veronica, but she skipped the set up and Veronica was able to close out the win on the very next serve. The team from Ecuador erupted in cheer and took their celebration to the court, where they danced around and waved their countries flag for all the online fans in the world to see. Afterwards, I asked the Ecuador coaches when was the last time that Veronica had lost a game in tournament play. None of the coaches could remember, her mother didn’t even know.

Veronica would be cheering again later on in the morning as she and teammate Maria Paz Munoz would officially claim the World Championship in the Girl’s 14 Doubles with a fairly easy win over Mexico.

In the Girl’s 18 singles, Michelle Key put an end to her disappointment from last year where she didn’t get to play by winning the World Championship in this division. Michelle played very smart and controlled throughout this tournament and was truly deserving of the title. One she now looks forward to trying to defend next year.

The Girl’s 18 doubles had been decided earlier after Mexico had beaten the US on Wednesday night to win the gold and give the silver to the US.

In the Girl’s 16 singles, Mexico’s Paola Longoria continued her domination of juniors with a straight games win over USA’s Sharon Jackson. I didn’t see this match, but I heard that Sharon stuck with her early on in the first, but pulled away late and kept the pressure on to win in two. All in all, it was still an excellent tournament for Sharon as she was still able to claim a world championship later in the day.

She and Holly Hettesheimer combined to defeat Paola and her doubles partner for the Girl’s 16 Doubles title. Didn’t see this match, nor have I heard anything about it as I was on the road back to Denver before it started.

On the Boy’s side, Mexico’s David Ortega continued his dominating run in Junior play claiming both the singles and doubles titles in the 18s. Chris Coy and Zach Apperson gave it all they had in that doubles final, but came up just a little short. It was clearly not the end to his junior career that Chris was hoping for, but he is one tough competitor and one high class individual. I am certainly honored that he was representing the US at this tournament.

In the Boy’s 16 singles, Ishmael Aldana continued his strong tournament by taking out close friend and doubles partner, Jose Rojas for the title. They weren’t quite able to complete the sweep of the division as Mexico was able to claim the doubles title.

In the Boy’s 14s, Mexico was able to complete the sweep as Alex Cardona repeated the feat of teammate David Ortega by winning the singles and doubles avenging his loss to Jose Rojas last year in the singles by defeating Taylor Knoth in two tight games.

On the Espirit Cup front, in the Girl’s 12 Singles, Team USA’s Devon Pimentelli came up just short in her bid for a first World Title when she was beaten by Bolivia’s Maria Jose Vargas. Team USA did manage to win the doubles title when Elizabeth Brenner and Samantha Rosado completed their sweep of the round robin competition.

In the Girl’s 10′s, one of the Gonzalez sister’s won the event. To be honest, they are twins and I cannot tell them apart so I’m afraid I have no idea which girl won the title.

In the Girl’s 8s Mexico claimed both the Gold and Silver in this round robin event with Team USA’s Erika Manilla bringing home a bronze medal.

On the Boy’s side, Marko Rojas was a one man wrecking crew in this tourney as he swept to the singles and doubles titles. He now moves up to the 14s and is looking forward to his first bid to qualify for the US Junior World Cup team. He is also one very talented young man who could be the next big thing on the IRT tour.

In the Boy’s 10s Mexico ended up Gold and Silver and Team USA’s Adam Manilla brought home the bronze in both singles and doubles. Adam truly was the personification of the heart that this entire Team USA showed during this World Championships. I am extremely proud of him and glad to know that he really had a good time at this tournament despite his very tough, close losses in the semifinals of both the singles and doubles. He did gain a little consolation when he and mixed doubles partner, Hollee Hungerford from Oregon claimed the World Championship in the Mixed Doubles.

The Boy’s 8s were dominated by Mexico, but both Ryan Francis and Jake Birnel showed that they have some serious talent to contend with as well.

As I get to the wrap up portion of this update and the tournament in general, I feel it is very important to mention how lucky we are to have the current US Junior Team coaching staff in place. They are an inspiration for our kids and for us all in their behavior and their demeanor. They added a couple of new faces this year, but they never missed a beat. I only hope that they will continue on in this venture for many years to come. They all share a true passion for this sport and a true dedication to each and every player on their team…our team. For those of you that don’t know who they are:

Kelley Beane – Head Coach

Cheryl Gudinas

Kristen Walsh

Andy Pitock

Shane Wood

Charlie Pratt – Coach in training

Jen Meyer – 12 and Under Coach

Now that we are at the end of the year, I figure I might as well hand out my “unofficial” year end awards for this tournament. This is entirely my opinion based soley on the matches that I saw this past week.

Female Athlete of the Year World Cup Age – Michelle Key. I was so sad for her last year when she couldn’t play in the tournament due to fears about a recurring hamstring injury, and she just put it all out there every match this week to claim the title in the Girl’s 18 Singles.

My runner-up here is Sharon Jackson who was all heart all week.

Male Athlete of the Year World Cup Age – Ishmael Aldana. To lose like he did in Juarez was tough, but he fought through all that this year and had a great tournament to take home the title.

Female Athlete of the Year Espirit Cup Age – Devon Pimentelli. I had no idea who she was at the opening ceremonies, but watching her play, I can tell that she has some serious game.

Male Athlete of the Year Espirit Cup Age – Marko Rojas. Two world championships and a dominating performance at this tourney make him the clear cut choice.

Match of the Year – Female – World Cup Age – Sharon Jackson over Yazmine Sabja in the Girl’s 16s. Sharon trailed bad in all three games but still fought back to win it. My runner up here is the Girl’s 14 Singles Final Veronica Sotomayer over Aubrey O’Brien.

Match of the Year – Male World Cup Age – Ishmael Aldana over Ruben Estrada. All the motivation and being his second tough match of that day.

Match of the Year – Female – Espirit Cup Age – Ximena and Lucia Gonzalez over Abbey Lavely and Elizabeth Vargas – Girl’s 10 Doubles. They went into this one both undefeated and Abbey and Elizabeth played their best match of the tournament but were still beaten in two tough games by the Mexican sisters.

Match of the Year – Male – Espirit Cup Age – Adam Manilla over Pablo Sauma in the Boy’s 10s quarterfinals. Watching this one, you would have thought that they were both playing on the IRT tour, it was that good of a match.

That’s all for now…pictures later.

December 26th, 2006 by Adam Katz

2006 World Junior’s – Day 5

Another amazing day of racquetball as we’ve now reached the finals in all divisions. For awhile it looked like they weren’t going to make it on the Boy’s side of things, but they were able to get the quarters and semis completed today, and the overall World Cup is going to come down to the matches tomorrow between the USA and Mexico. Several divisions will have this matchup so I’m sure you can imagine what the atmosphere will be like.Today in the Girl’s 18s, Michelle Key played some solid racquetball in defeating Mexico’s Marcelo Moreno to set up her final against the other Mexican player, Karen Torres. Michelle is definitely excited about the challenge and is playing hitting the ball extremely well right now.

The Girl’s doubles finished their play in this round robin with a tough match with Mexico. The Mexican team of Eleni Guzman and Marcela Moreno came out strong a jumped to a 6-1 lead in the first game. Kara Mazur and Samantha McGuffey fought back to 6-6 before Mexico went on another run to 9-6 and then to 12-9. The Americans continued to chip away, but were only able to get to 12 before the Mexican team put the game away. That only seemed to fire Kara and Samantha up as they refused to miss anything in the second game. Consequently, the 15-0 score was appropriate for what went on in that game. Now it was the Mexicans who were fired up. Team USA had the serve first in the tiebreaker, but it was the Mexicans who took the early 3-0 lead. Kara and Samantha got it back to 3-2 on their next serve, and then we stayed there for quite a while. I believe there were 3 complete rotations of serve before Mexico got the next point, and once they did that they didn’t stop until they reached 11. They still have a match against Canada tomorrow, but I think that they have already clinched the Gold Medal.

In the Girl’s 16s, we had the match of the day as Sharon Jackson took on Bolivia’s Yazmine Sabja, who had lost to Aubrey O’Brien last night in the 14s. Sharon came out red hot in this one to grab a 4-0 lead on her first serve. However, things changed very quickly as Yazmine found a serve she liked and got a great run of points going. She ended up taking a 9-4 lead before Sharon attempted to regroup with a timeout. She was able to get herself back into the match and slowly chipped away getting to 9-12, then Yazmine brought herself to 14. But Sharon refused to give in right away and got back to 12 before Yazmine put away the first game. In the second game, Sharon appeared out of sorts as Yazmine kept her off balance mixing up her serves. Eventually, she pulled ahead 9-1 and things were looking a bit bleak. But Sharon Jackson is all heart, and this was clearly displayed today. She fought with everything that she had and chi pped away until she had a 14-12 lead. That lead was short-lived as Yazmine got it back to 14 before Sharon could finish off the game. It appeared as if the momentum had made its final move over to the Team USA side, but Yazmine had other ideas, this time she jumped to a 6-1 lead in the breaker. But Sharon fought back leaving it all on the court. The shots by both players were outstanding, but in the end Sharon wanted it more and she took it 11-9. Sharon now faces Mexico’s Paola Longoria in the final in yet another USA-Mexico matchup.

In the doubles, Sharon Jackson and Holly Hettesheimer defeated the Canadian team of Christine Richardson and Erin Baldwin to advance to the finals against Mexico.

In the Girl’s 14s, Team USA and Team Mexico each had one player in the semifinals and each girl had to play a girl from Ecuador. Aubrey O’Brien looked sharp today in beating Maria Paz Munoz, while Veronica Sotomayer was able to get a comfortable win against Jessica Parrilla. Aubrey will now try to end Veronica’s strong run at Junior Worlds, where it appears she has never lost a match. I heard that earlier today, but haven’t had a chance to go back and verify that information.

The doubles team of Lily Berry and Danielle Key played the Ecuadorians (Munoz and Sotomayer) today and fought bravely in two tough games. However, the pressure put on by the young girls from Ecuador proved too much as they won a very long lasting 15-6, 15-12 match. In the second game, the Ecuadorians served for the match 3 full times before they could achieve that elusive 15th point. Looking at the standings, it appears that Ecuador will win Gold, Mexico Silver, and the US Bronze in this event.

On the Boy’s side the 18s will come down to a battle of Mexicans as both Alejandro Landa and David Ortega advanced to the finals. Chris Coy and Allan Crockett gave it everything they had today, but each ran up against a truly determined opponent and neither had an answer on this day. I talked with Chris shortly after he lost to Costa Rica and reminded him that there was still gold to play for in the doubles.

In those doubles, Chris and Zach Apperson had a true battle with last year’s beaten finalists, Michael Burgess and Ryan Smith from Canada. This match was a very close one from start to finish as Chris and Zach gained the win 12 and 12 to set up another USA-Mexico final as they will battle Ruben Estrada and David Ortega tomorrow for the gold.

In the 16s, Jose Rojas continued his quest for two world championships by displaying his dominating style in the quarters and semis of the singles giving up 8 points in the quarters and 9 in the semis. In that final, he’ll face his partner and close friend, Ishmael Aldana. Ishmael had two battles on his hands today as he first faced Costa Rica’s Felipe Alonso. Knowing that he needed to conserve energy and not go to a tiebreaker, he fought back bravely from deficits in both games to win 13 and 13. This set up a semifinal match against Mexico’s Ruben Estrada. I found out later from talking with Shane Wood that Ishmael had been pointing to this match for a year.

Last year, in Juarez, Mexico, Ishmael was not 100 percent when the Junior Worlds started, but being the person that he is, he decided to tough it out and do the best he could for the team. In the end, he faced Ruben prior to the finals and didn’t play well. The scores were something along the lines of 2 and 1. Ishmael has lived with that for a year, and you could see when he gained the final point of his 14 and 10 win that he was thrilled to have that monkey off his back. He is looking forward to meeting his friend for the gold, and hoping to reverse the order of finish from Junior Nationals where Jose brought home the gold.

In the doubles, Ishmael and Jose defeated the Canadian team of Barrett Husulak and Sean Barclay in the semis to set up another USA-Mexico match for the gold.

In the 14s, Taylor Knoth will be looking to sweep the event as he earned a spot in the finals with a 6 and 5 win over Costa Rica. This sets up another USA- Mexico match as Alex Cardona was able to beat Brad Kirch in the other semifinal. Alex will be looking for some form of revenge as he was the beaten finalist last year as Jose Rojas grabbed the World Championship in Alex’s home country.

In the doubles, Taylor and Alex will get to know each other very well tomorrow as they will face off here as well with their partners for the gold. These matches could very well determine the overall World Cup.

I don’t know the overall scores heading into tomorrow, but I do know that the teams are close.

On the Espirit Cup side today, in the Girl’s 12s singles Devon Pimentelli had the day off but will face Bolivia tomorrow for the gold.

In the Doubles, Elizabeth Brenner and Samantha Rosado defeated Ines Lecland and Mercedes Arias and have clinched the World Championship.

In the Girl’s 10s, Hollee Hungerford gave it all that she had in the semifinals todays against Mexico’s Lucia Gonzalez, but lost in two tough games. Lucia will meet her sister, Ximena, for the gold tomorrow.

In the doubles, Abbey Lavely and Elizabeth Vargas defeated Hollee Hungerford and Victoria Fladstol to set up their meeting with the Gonzalez sisters for the Gold. Abbey and Elizabeth have looked pretty strong this week and are hoping to avenge last year’s defeat down in Juarez.

In the Girl’s 8s, Erika Manilla has clinched at least a bronze after her win over Christina Lavely today. She’ll face top seed, Diana Aguillar, tomorrow and a victory could bring home the gold. It could come down to a tiebreaker.

In the Boy’s 12s, Marko Rojas is on the same mission as his older brother, Jose, as he claimed a spot in the finals where it will be another USA-Mexico matchup.

In the doubles, Marko and Jose Diaz have earned a spot in the finals and will take on…you guessed it…Mexico for the gold.

In the 10s, a very tough day for Adam Manilla. He gave it everything he had, but came up just a little short in the semifinals against Mexico’s Andres Parilla…the IRF staff took great pleasure in announcing Manilla and Parilla to the court before the match started, but it was fairly apparent that the two titanic struggles that Adam endured yesterday had taken their toll on him as he appeared a bit sluggish and out of sorts throughout this match. Although he did manage to win the first game, he just couldn’t seem to find the right shot in the second or third game and lost out 10 and 5. But no complaints from him, he had a really good tournament and will go home with at least 2 bronze medals and is still in the running for the Mixed Doubles Gold.

The doubles has two Mexican teams fighting for the gold tomorrow.

In the 8s, again two Mexicans will battle it out for the gold.

Originally, I had planned on leaving tomorrow fairly early as I have some things to do in Denver on Friday, but it looks as though the current storm will be preventing me from getting home on time so I will be there for the whole day tomorrow and will then be able to put out some form of update later on. We’re going to be driving to Albuquerque tomorrow night, so it’ll probably be late before I get this update out, but I will do what I can…including pictures.

December 20th, 2006 by Adam Katz

2006 World Juniors – Day 4

What an amazing day of high quality racquetball. The atmosphere definitely kicked into gear today. The drums and noisemakers haven’t made an appearance yet, but I’m sure they aren’t far behind. As such, I’m going to break with my protocol of covering the ladies first by going with the match of the day.It took place in the Boy’s 10 quarterfinals between Costa Rica’s National Champion, Pablo Sauma, and the US National Champion, Adam Manilla from Colorado. This match took place over 9 hours ago, and I can remember every shot moment by moment. It didn’t start very well for Adam as Pablo found a slight chink in his armor and exploited it relentlessly in the first game. Adam just couldn’t get untracked and Pablo ran out to an uncatchable 10-1 lead. Adam fought back to 3, but kept Pablo from clinching the game for several serves giving him a glimmer of hope for the rest of the match. When word started to spread that Adam had lost the first game, the crowd went from a few people from the US and Costa Rica to the vast majority of people in the club. I kept looking behind me to see even more people trying to find some vantage point to watch the action.

Game 2 started much differently, as Adam started hitting some great shots and Pablo seemed to hurt his hip with an early dive. Adam was able to capitalize on this and built a strong 8-2 lead, but then momentum seemed to turn again as Pablo inched back in to this game. Pablo got the game back to 10-7 when they seemed to trade amazing shots for quite a while. I didn’t have a clock going on the match, but I know it was a long time. Finally, Pablo broke through with his eighth point, and the crowd started to sense the upset. Fortunately, I know Adam and am aware of how totally unflappable he is. He stayed calm and level throughout this game and slowly…and I do mean very slowly finished Pablo off 15-10. Both players left it all on the court in this one as each rally seemed to have both players diving for amazing retrievals multiple times each rally.

The tiebreaker was a very tense event as the crowd continued to grow. By now, very few people were watching any of the other courts and the players saved their best for this atmosphere. Adam came out and slowly built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker and eventually got the score to 8-5. At this point, I could see that Adam had determined that he was through giving up any points and he was able to chip away with some truly amazing shots from all over the court and the 11-5 win. To put things into perspective, as Adam and Pablo were walking onto the court to start their tiebreaker, Veronica Sotomayer from Ecuador was starting her first round match in the Girl’s 14 elimination draw on the very next court. Veronica was finished with her match, changed, and enjoying some food long before Adam and Pablo stepped from the court.

Now for the rest of the story. In the Girl’s 18s today, it was a mixed day for Team USA. Michelle Key was able to beat Ireland’s Julie Skehan in two games, but Ashley Willhite lost a tough tiebreaker match to Canada’s Christine Richardson. Ashley just couldn’t seem to calm down in this one and was left devastated by the result.

The Girl’s doubles team of Kara Mazur and Samantha McGuffey defeated the Guatemalan team of Carolina and Monica Escobar in two good games, and will now face Mexico tomorrow where a win would give them the gold in this 5 team round robin. As I’ve said earlier, these two are amongst the toughest competitors that I’ve seen and I know that they will definitely leave it all on the court tomorrow.

In the Girl’s 16s, again a mixed day as Sharon Jackson eliminated one of the Mexican players when she beat Rocio Enriquez in two games. Sharon looked to be in control of this match from the outset as she powered shots all over keeping her opponent totally off balance. However, Sheryl Lotts lost a tough match to Bolivia’s Jenny Daza. Sheryl seemed out of sorts in this one and never really got comfortable.

The Girl’s 16 doubles team of Sharon Jackson and Holly Hettesheimer had the day off and will play in the semifinals tomorrow afternoon.

In the Girl’s 14s, the mixed day theme reappeared as Aubrey O’Brien battled in the Match of the Day runner-up. Playing Bolivia’s Yazmine Sabja, she too started slowly losing the first game 15-3. Coming back strong in the second, she forced the tiebreaker with 15-11 win. The tiebreaker was a point for point struggle as neither player was able to build any real lead or any real momentum. Then Aubrey was able to break a 6-6 tie and run 3 points. But Yazmine managed to scratch and claw her way back to 9-9. Taking her last time out, Aubrey returned to the court determined and managed to get the 10th point, but had to wait two service times before the 11th would follow and the 11-9 win, setting up a semifinal with Ecuador’s other 14s player, Maria Paz Munoz.

The Girl’s Doubles team of Lily Berry and Danielle Key defeated the Venezuelan team 11-5 in the tiebreaker and have an excellent chance for some medal. They face the tough Ecuadorians tomorrow.

On the Boy’s side, in the 18s Allan Crockett defeated Costa Rica’s Bruno Casalvolone in two to set up a quarterfinal with the top seed, Mexico’s Alejandro Landa. Chris Coy defeated Ireland’s Christopher Carey.

In the Boy’s Doubles, Chris Coy and Zach Apperson defeated the Venezuelan team to set up a semifinal meeting with Canada’s Michael Burgess and Ryan Smith.

In the Boy’s 16s, a good day for Team USA as Jose Rojas and Ishmael Aldana both won their way into the quarterfinals in the singles and also teamed in doubles to gain a spot in the semifinals where they will face Team Canada’s Barrett Husuluk and Sean Barclay.

In the Boy’s 14s, another good day for Team USA as Taylor Knoth and Brad Kirch both advanced to the quarterfinals in singles and then Taylor joined forces with Jake Bradenbeck in the doubles to advance to the semifinals.

Last year in Juarez, Team USA swept the gold in the Boy’s 14s and this year’s team is looking for the repeat.

On the Espirit Cup front, the Girl’s 12s had a semifinal meeting of the 2 US point earners as Devon Pimentelli managed to defeat Samantha Rosado in a very tough match. Samantha came out on fire, but couldn’t maintain that momentum throughout the second game and Devon showed great patience to battle through and advance to the final where she will face Bolivia’s Maria Jose Vargas.

In the 12 Doubles, Mercedes Arias and Ines Lecland received a forfeit victory and Samantha Rosado and Elizabeth Brenner defeated the Mexican team to set up their meeting tomorrow. If Samantha and Elizabeth win, then they will earn the gold.

In the Girl’s 10s, a mixed day as Hollee Hungerford managed to defeat Ashley O’brien to advance to the semfinals, but Abbey Lavely lost a tough match to Mexico’s Diana Aguilar.

In the doubles, Abbey Lavely and Elizabeth Vargas had the day off but are on track for a Thursday meeting with the Mexican team of Lucia and Ximena Gonzalez for the gold.

In the Girl’s 8s, Erika Manilla had a true battle with American Jordan Cooperrider but managed to get the win 12 and 14. If she wins out, the she could force a 3 way tie at the top of this 6 person round robin.

Christina Lavely played a great match today as well but lost a tough one to top seeded Diana Aguilar.

In the Boy’s 12s, Marko Rojas kept alive his dreams of gold as he advanced to the semifinals in the singles defeating Ireland’s Daire Gargan in two and then teamed with Jose Diaz in the doubles to advance to the semifinals as well beating the Mexican team of De los Rios and Jurado 14 and 9.

In the Boy’s 10s, you’ve already read about the match of the day, but Adam played in two great matches today as he and Sean Cooperrider played in the semifinals against Mexico. Adam and Sean came out strong and managed to win the first game 15-13. However, the Mexicans changed their strategy and found a weakness to force the tiebreaker 15-2. In that breaker, Mexico jumped to a 7-0 lead before Sean erased it in one stint in the service box, but unfortunately, Team USA could go no further and lost out 11-7 in the tiebreaker. They have earned the Bronze medal and Adam is one very tired young man. His singles semifinal is tomorrow morning at 7:50 and I for one am very excited already.

The Boy’s 8s have fallen out of the Gold division and I have no idea what they did today, so I would encourage everyone to check the draws online.

The banquet is scheduled for tomorrow evening so I will try to get something out to everyone before then, otherwise, it’ll be late.

December 20th, 2006 by Adam Katz

Photos – 2006 World Junior’s

2006 IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, AZ USA

Team USA – Junior World Cup and Espirit Cup players just before the opening ceremonies (below):

The Junior World Cup Coaches L-R – Kristen Walsh, Cheryl Gudinas, Charlie Pratt, Andy Pitock, Shane Wood and Head Coach Kelley Beane (below):

L-R – Team USA members – Devon Pimentelli, Samantha Rosado, Samantha McGuffey, Aubrey O’Brien, Danielle Key (below):

The Korean Team at the Opening Ceremonies (below):

December 19th, 2006 by Adam Katz

2006 World Juniors – Day 3

What an incredible day of racquetball, the action was non stop and this was just the last day of pool play. The rest of the tournament promises to be very exciting as we now move to the single elimination portion of the Junior World Cup.Head Coach Kelley Beane mentioned that the team was still doing well and everyone is looking forward to the next phase of this tournament.

In the Girl’s 18s today, teammates Michelle Key and Ashley Willhite met in pool play to determine final placement in the main draw. These two had a point for point battle throughout the match. And once again, Michelle Key managed to get the win in three very tough games 10, (12), 9. Both ladies hit some great shots throughout this match, but Michelle seemed to be able to put together a few more runs in the end.

The doubles team of Kara Mazur and Samantha McGuffey were just getting ready to start as I was leaving so I am not sure what happened in that match.

In the Girl’s 16s, we had the match of the day involving Sharon Jackson and Canada’s Denise Haynes. This match was also one of the longest of the day lasting close to 2 hours. Denise got off to a very hot start in Game one grabbing a quick 5-2 lead. From that moment she seemed in control of the match as she was able to parlay that into a 15-5 first game victory. But Sharon wasn’t going to lose without a fight, and game 2 certainly proved that. Point for point from start to finish, Sharon was able to gut out the victory and force the tiebreaker 15-14. That tiebreaker had the Student Rec Center rocking as each rally had half of the crowd exploding with cheers. In the end, Sharon had a little more than Denise and was able to gain the 11-6 victory. Afterwards, coach Beane told me that this one was all heart on Sharon’s part. I have to agree.

Sheryl Lotts also faced a Canadian opponent in Frederique Lambert. In this match, Canada was able to turn the tables and Frederique grabbed the win 6,2. Sheryl was able to get all the nerves out in the pool play, and she is now looking forward to the main draw starting tomorrow.

The doubles hadn’t started when I left (after 13 plus hours in the facility) so I would again encourage everyone to check the draws online.

In the Girl’s 14s, another split day as Aubrey O’Brien defeated Mexico’s Yesenia Malvaez while Danielle Key lost a tough tiebreaker match to Mexico’s Jessica Parilla. I don’t have the scores for either match, although I do know that Danielle lost the tiebreaker 11-7. Aubrey looked particularly sharp in this last match before the real show begins.

The Girls doubles team of Lily Berry and Danielle Key lost a tough one to Mexico (Parrilla/Magdelena) in two close games.

On the Boy’s side in the 18s, Allan Crockett led off with his match against Canada’s Michael Burgess. In warmups, this looked like it was going to be quite the battle, but when the action started Michael was ready to play and Allan had an off day. Michael jumped to a big lead in the first game and continued the momentum into the second winning by scores of 6,1. Allan was obviously disappointed after this match, but he was able to put it into perspective when he told me that it’s better to get this out of his system now in the pool play rather than later in the week in the main draw. Chris Coy was just taking to the court when I left, so again, please check the draws.

In the doubles, Chris Coy and Zach Apperson were victorious over the Irish team of Christoper Carey and Colm O’Regan to win their pool and clinch the third seed in the main draw.

In the 16s, Team USA enjoyed a 3-0 day as Ishmael Aldana started things off with a tough 10,6 win over Canada’s Sean Barclay. Sean came out on fire in this match, but Ishmael was able to whether the storm and claim the win.

Jose Rojas came out firing on all cylinders early to grab a 6-0 lead against Canada’s Barrett Husuluk, but Barrett had something else in mind when he came back to take game one 15-13. That effort seemed to drain him, though, and Jose rolled through the second game and tiebreaker 3 and 4.

In the doubles, Ishmael and Jose were able to beat the team from Ecuador to win their pool and move into the main draw as the second seeds.

In the 14s, Taylor Knoth and Brad Kirch both won their matches and their groups fairly convincingly to move into the main draw as the first and third seeds, respectively.

In the doubles, Taylor Knoth and Jake Bredenbeck won their match today and their pool to move into the main draw as the top seed.

On the Espirit Cup front, the girl’s 12 singles players had the day off as they are in the semifinals. However, the doubles team of Mercedes Arias and Ines Lecland had a very tough battle with the team from Bolivia today. Playing hard throughout, the Americans lost in two very close games.

In the Girl’s 10s, the singles will resume action tomorrow with quarterfinal round matches. In the doubles, Abbey Lavely and Elizabeth Vargas managed to win a tough tiebreaker match against fellow Americans Sabrina Viscuso and Ashley O’Brien. This match was tough as all the parents were there cheering on all the players and nobody seemed to want to step forward and coach the girls for fear of showing favortism, but they all perservered and a great match was the result. The tiebreaker ended 11-3 for Abbey and Elizabeth.

The Girl’s 8s players enjoyed a day off today, but will be back at it bright and early tomorrow morning.

In the Boy’s 12s, Marko Rojas continues to roll through the field winning today’s match 4 and 0. However, doubles partner and fellow singles point earner, Jose Diaz lost a tough match against Mexico’s Rodrigo Garay 10 and 14.

Jose was able to regroup though for the doubles as he and Marko teamed to win over Mexico’s De los Rios and Jurado 14 and 9.

In the Boy’s 10s, Adam Manilla has made it through to the quarterfinals, but he got all he could handle today from Costa Rica’s Nicholas Arguello. Adam built big leads in both of the games, but seemed to stall both times allowing his opponent to chip away. In the first game, Adam got to 14-9 and served for the game more times than I could count. Eventually Nicholas tied it at 14, and they both served for the game several times, but each serve was met with an even better return before Adam was finally able to put the game away. It looked like the same thing would happen in game two, but Adam was able to regroup and claim the win at 9.

The Boy’s doubles were off today, but will be back at it with the semifinals tomorrow evening.

The Boy’s 8s had the day off today and both American point earners are currently playing in the Blue division.

December 19th, 2006 by Adam Katz

2006 World Juniors – Day 2

Another great day of Racquetball as the US Junior World Cup team kept its strong pool play going, as did Mexico and Canada.

Head Coach Kelley Beane mentioned that the team looked and felt much stronger today now that the first day jitters are gone. And this is a very good thing as pool play ends tomorrow and the single elimination will start on Tuesday morning.

The only player not to play yesterday got her tournament off on the right foot as Oregon’s Ashley Willhite defeated Guatemala’s Monica Escobar in two games to set up the pool play finale against teammate Michelle Key. Ashley looked very strong throughout this match as she worked on every aspect of her game in completing the sweep in two. The girl’s 18 doubles had the day off and will resume competition tomorrow.

In the Girl’s 16s Sharon Jackson contined her strong play as she defeated Ecuador’s Maria del Carmen Crespo in two. Sheryl Lotts stepped on the court after I had left for the day so I would highly encourage everyone to check the draws at the following link to find out what happened. The Doubles team had the day off and will resume tomorrow.


In the Girl’s 14s, Aubrey O’Brien looked very strong in winning her match in two as did Danielle Key. And the doubles team had the day off and will resume tomorrow.

In the Boy’s 18s, Allan Crockett defeated Korea’s Seoung Jeung Jon in two close games while Chris Coy defeated Bolivia’s Jaime Vargas in the match of the day.

Chris and Jaime took turns trading amazing shots early in this one, and the crowd seemed to sense right away that this was going to be something special. Jaime was able to string a few points together in the middle of the first game and that was enough to carry him onto victory in the first game 15-13. I looked over at Sue Coy and could see that she was extremely nervous at this point, but Chris was the picture of composure as he walked off the court and quietly grabbed some water and his thoughts for the second game. That seemed to work as Chris was able to grab a quick lead in that game. But Jaime was certainly not through. He gave is everything that he had trying to finish Chris off, but Chris stood tall and managed to grab the game 15-12. Gaining the serve in the tiebreaker, Chris was able to build a quick lead and hold on for the victory 11-6.

That match was a stark contrast to the doubles earlier in the day where Chris and partner Zach Apperson defeated the team from Honduras, Marco Zelaya and Raul Banegas in two quick games. I think the 8 am start time might have had something to do with the 1 and 0 game scores as Zach and Chris were definitely wide awake for this one.

In the 16s, Ishmael Aldana also got up early to beat Puerto Rico’s Jose Acosta in two good games. Ishmael was working on various aspects of his game today as he prepares for the single elimination. Jose Rojas enjoyed a day off from the competition in singles, but still teamed with Ishmael to defeat the Canadian team of Barrett Husulak and Sean Barclay in two games. Once again, these two were on the same page from the moment they walked on the court and from the outset it looked as if it was only a matter of time before they would win.

In the 14s, Brad Kirch was the only player in action defeating Ireland’s Rory O’Rourke in two as Taylor Knoth enjoyed a day off from both singles and doubles.

On the Espirit Cup side, today was a bit of a mixed day for Team USA. In the Girl’s 12s, they are down to the semifinals and 3 of the 4 young ladies are American as Devon Pimentelli, Samantha Rosado, and Elizabeth Brenner have all come through and are joined by Mexico’s Paulina Estrada. They will be off tomorrow before playing for the finals on Tuesday.

The Girl’s 12 Doubles is a 4 and 1/2 team round robin as one player couldn’t get a partner and had to forfeit so there were no matches in that division today.

In the Girl’s 10s, the singles will start play on Tuesday and the doubles will resume action on Monday.

In the Girl’s 8s today, it was a very difficult day for Team USA. Erika Manilla lost a tough match to Mexico’s Vanessa Guttierez. This was a very exciting match to watch as both girl’s played way beyond their 8 years making some incredible shots that had the crowd on its feet with excitement throughout, but in the end Vanessa was able to fight through for the victory at the end of each game, scores were something around 13 and 12.

Christina Lavely also lost out today to fellow American, Jordan Cooperrider. Again two very close games ended with Jordan just able to close her out.

In the Boy’s 12s, both Marco Rojas and Jose Diaz won very comfortably in both singles and doubles and spent part of the afternoon trying out the special Outdoor court that was built on the tennis courts earlier in the day.

In the Boy’s 10s, a mixed day. Adam Manilla continued his strong play in beating Mexico’s Erik Garcia in two. The games were very close, but Adam seemed to be in control of this match throughout. Even when he skipped a ball he refused to show any signs of disappointment and that appeared to bother his opponent throughout their match.

Bobby Sehrgosha, however, lost a tough match to Mexico’s Raul Javalera 9 and 12. I didn’t get a chance to see this match, but was told by a few people that did that it was extremely tight until about 8-8 in each game and then Raul was able to pull away.

In the 10 Doubles, Adam Manilla and Sean Cooperrider were able to gain a win in two close games against a team from Costa Rica winning 14 and 9.

In the Boy’s 8s, it was a tough day as both Ryan Francis and Jake Birnel lost tough matches to Mexican opponents.

Tomorrow starts bright and early with matches at 7:10am, and everybody plays, so

I will get an update out as soon as I can tomorrow night.

December 18th, 2006 by Adam Katz

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