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2005 Junior Worlds – Final Day

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball ChampionshipsDRAWS

From Adam Katz:

While the overall World Cup had been decided by the final day, there was still plenty of racquetball to be played and plenty of individual gold to play for.

The day started with Sheryl Lotts and Danielle Key playing Mexico for the Silver medal in the Girl’s 14 Doubles. These two started out well and won the first game, but were unable to continue their momentum as the Pro-Mexico crowd grew throughout the match. They lost in a tough tiebreaker.

All content Copyright 2005 Adam Katz

Next up was the Boy’s 14 Doubles. Danny Lavely and Chad McGuffey were clearly on a mission in this match, and even though it went to a tiebreaker, the result was never in doubt. Danny pumped his fist through every point in the tiebreaker and with victory in hand, the whole team let go a tremendous roar of approval. That really woke up the entire crowd!

In the Girl’s 16 Singles, Shannon Inglesby gave it everything she had in facing Mexico’s Paola Longoria, but a sore shoulder seemed to slow her down and Paola won in two games. The second was definitely competitive as they were tied 8-8 before Paola went on the run that would claim the championship. Shannon immediately put ice on her shoulder after the match in preparation for the 16 doubles final a few hours later.

Ishmael Aldana and Jose Rojas gave it everything they had in the 16 Doubles final
against Mexico, but just like in pool play fell to the tough team in 2 close games. This result, however, really fired Jose up because he went into the Boy’s 14 singles final with one thing on his mind…Total Victory. He dominated Mexico’s Alex Cardona in two. The crowd did everything they could to get Alex into this match, but Jose started things with a 10-0 run and won comfortably 15-11, 15-. The energy required to get back into that first game clearly took its toll on Alex in the end.

In the Girl’s 18 Doubles, Ashley Leggett and Katie Ferguson were able to grab the last medal in a close match with Cuba.

In the Espirit Cup, Elizabeth Brenner and Courtney Chisholm wrapped up a solid week of play by claiming the Girl’s 12 Doubles World Championship with an easy win over Mexico. The scores were something like 15-1, 15-2. Elizabeth also captured the Mixed Doubles title in the 12s with partner Marko Rojas from California.

Joseph Lee won the Boy’s 12 singles title with a final win over teammate Marko Rojas, but he and Dylan Reid lost a really tight battle in the 12 Doubles to Mexico 15-10, 12-15, 11-5. I was trying to watch this match and Jose Rojas’ match in the 14s at the same time. Each match featured some great shots and great dives.

Adam Manilla won the gold in the Blue division of the Boy’s 10 singles with a straight games win over Costa Rica. Adam played well throughout the event in capturing 3 medals overall, and is looking forward to this summer’s Junior Nationals in Lansing, MI.

Erika Manilla spent most of the day showing everyone her two medals (1 gold, 1 bronze) from the multi bounce competition, and still refused to play me for them. I finally gave up and told her that I’d keep working with her and hopefully there would be plenty more medals in the future.

On the Friendship Cup front, Kevin Hernandez had one last match to play in the finals of the White Division of the Boy’s 16 Singles. They waited until 3pm to put this match on and by then Kevin’s energy had dipped. His opponent was able to take advantage and closed him out in 2 tough games. Scores were 15-9, 15-12. With that match in the books, we got on the road for our 13 hour adventure back to Denver.

The Girl’s 16 Doubles final was underway at that time and Shannon and Brittany were leading in the first game 11-9 as we walked out the door. I see from the drawsheets that they would lose in a tiebreaker.

I promised the coaches that I would finally mention something about them in this update, for as we all know…and in Shane’s own words, “It’s all about them”!

We are very fortunate to have this particular staff in place. They not only set an excellent example of leadership and integrity for the team, they also have spent most of the last 2 years doing all their own fund raising to make sure that our team can compete in these World Championships. How they can survive with such little
sleep and still keep smiling at each and every match is beyond me. But they are always there cheering on their kids, our kids!

I do hope these messages were beneficial to everyone out there. I have some pictures that I will now include as I finally have that capability.

This one is the team at the opening ceremonies. The children
holding the flag are some of my Colorado kids (l-r) Matt McAdam,
Elizabeth Vargas, Adam Manilla, Erika Manilla.

Adam Katz

Sam Reid and Adam Manilla receiving serve in the Boy’s 10 Doubles (below):

Girl’s 10 Doubles (l-r) Abbey Lavely, Elizabeth Vargas, Hollie Hungerford, Victoria Fladstol, Alecia Fladstol (below):

Chris Good preparing to serve in the Boy’s 14 Singles (Friendship Cup) (below):

Erika Manilla on her way to the Gold in the Girl’s 6 multi bounce (below):

Most of the team after the banquet (below):

Erika and Adam Manilla showing off their hardware…if not their teeth!
(below):

Adam Katz

Photos Copyright 2005 Adam Katz

January 11th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Junior Worlds – Day Five

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball ChampionshipsDRAWS
Before I get into the World Cup play for today, I want to take a moment and congratulate the first World Champion crowned at this year’s Junior World racquetball Championships. That would be Centennial, Colorado’s Erika Manilla who won the Girl’s 6 and Under Multi Bounce World Championship today.

Overall, not a very good day for Team USA, but once again there were some bright spots along the way. Being that we are on the penultimate day of this week long event, the Quarterfinals and Semifinals in each bracket were played today.

The day started with Sheryl Lotts playing Ecuador at 8am. She played with everything she had today, but in the end she had no answer for the young South American and lost in two games. Danielle Key followed playing Mexico and started off that match playing extremely well. The crowd started to build mid way through the first game as Danielle continued to dominate. After winning the first game, the largely pro-Mexican crowd got behind their own, and helped to push her on to a tiebreaker victory. In the doubles, Sheryl and Danielle will team to play Mexico for 2nd tomorrow as Ecuador has already clinched that title. The Girl’s 14 final will pit Ecuador against Canada.

The Girl’s 16s started on a much more positive note as Kara Mazur took on Canada and dominated this one from start to finish. Controlling the tempo and making some amazing shots, she finished her off quickly and was able to rest before her semifinal showdown with Mexico. Shannon Inglesby started off against Mexico and although she started slowly, in the end her power was too much for her opponent and she was able to pull away for an 11-7 tiebreaker win. This set up a semifinal against Canada. The semis were a mixed bag as Kara came out a bit flat and her opponent, Paola Longoria from Mexico, was on fire. That was a bad combination for Team USA, and that match was over with fairly quickly. Kara played well throughout this tournament, but it ended a round too early. Shannon, however, kept US hopes alive with another convincing win. She is serving extremely well right now and has the ability to serve people off the court in a manner similar to Mike Keddie. In the doubles, Shannon and Brittany Leggett will play Mexico for the gold medal tomorrow.

In the Girl’s 18s, our players gave it all they had, but they came up a little short when all was said and done. Sarah Hettesheimer had to start against Mexico and played a great match pushing it to a tiebreaker, but once that started she seemed to run out of gas and was out in the quarterfinals. Kelley Fisher, playing in her final junior worlds, came out strong in the quarterfinals and won in two quick games, but couldn’t carry that momentum over to the semifinal against Mexico. Playing the last match of the night before the banquet, the court area was packed and the atmosphere electric, but Kelley went down in 2 close games. The Girl’s doubles have a shot at the bronze medal in their match tomorrow.

In the Boy’s 14s, Jose Rojas had a great day, dominating his opponents in both the quarters and semis, he steamrolled his way into the Finals. With his mentor, John Ellis, looking on Jose put on quite the show for all in attendance. He possesses a great combination of speed and power and totally dominated both of his opponents today. Danny Lavely looked to be matching him every step of the way, but his momentum didn’t hold true in the semifinals as he lost a close one to the top seeded Mexican. I believe the scores were 15-13, 15-14. However, Danny was able to put that behind him and score a victory in the doubles with partner, Chad McGuffey. They will meet Mexico tomorrow for the gold.

In the Boy’s 16s, neither Ishmael Aldana nor Allan Crockett had an answer for the Mexicans and were beaten in their respective matches. In the doubles, though, Ishmael and Jose Rojas will meet Mexico for the gold in a repeat of a pool play match.

The Boy’s 18s saw the end to a long period of US domination as Chris Coy and Mike Keddie had to meet in the quarterfinals. This match was a long affair as these players are friends and doubles partners. Although Chris won in two games, the match lasted almost 2 hours. That took something out of Chris when he had to turn around and play Mexico in the semifinals and he was beaten in two games. The doubles final will pit Mexico against Canada, as the Canadians came back against the US. Recovering from a 0-15 first game, they will again face the Mexicans that they challenged in pool play losing 11-10 in the tiebreaker.

On the Espirit Cup front, things again went more Mexico’s way, but we did have some bright spots along the way.

Elizabeth Vargas, of Aurora, Colorado, played Mexico for the Girl’s 8 gold medal. She played as well as you could hope for, but in the end lost out on the gold in a very close match.

Abbey Lavely lost in the semifinals of the Girl’s 10s and none of the point earners made the finals in the Girl’s 12s, but the Girl’s 12 Doubles team of Elizabeth Brenner and Courtney Chisholm played an inspired match against Mexico to earn a spot in the Finals tomorrow.

The Boy’s 8s and 10s will have all Mexican match ups in singles and the Boy’s 10 doubles will also feature and all Mexican match as Adam Manilla and Sam Reid lost a heartbreaker today. I’m still very emotional about this match, so I won’t pass along any details, but Sam and Adam played with such great heart and integrity and I am extremely proud of both of them.

In the Boy’s 12s, looks like Team USA will dominate here as the final is an All American event and the doubles pits he US and Mexico.

On the Friendship Cup Front, Chris Good played as well as he could today with his hand still bothering him from a blister, but he lost out in both singles and doubles. He did, however earn bronze medals in both the White Division for singles and the Red Division for doubles.

Kevin Hernandez started the day off right by winning his Boy’s 16 White semifinal against Venezuela. For a while it seemed that he wanted to go to a tiebreaker, but he fought back in the second game to close out the match and earn a spot in the finals tomorrow. In the doubles in the Gold division, he and his partner lost a tough one to Mexico in the semifinals. He has earned a bronze in the Gold division for doubles and either a gold or silver in the White division for singles.

Our Colorado team still has a few matches tomorrow, but we’ve already counted our medal haul and are extremely proud to report that our 7 entrants will be bringing home 15 medals including one World Champion.

Tomorrow’s report is going to be a bit difficult as we are getting on the road right after some matches, but I will do what I can.

December 21st, 2005 by Adam Katz

Junior Worlds – Day Four

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball ChampionshipsDRAWS

This one is going to be short as the connection speed is killing me and I was busy working most of the day. Things went well today.

Sarah Hettesheimer won, Kelley Fisher Did not play, Ashley Leggett and Katie Ferguson lost to Mexico.

Sheryl Lotts won.

Chris Coy , Mike Keddie, and Anthony Herrera/Jared Torres all won.

Ishmael Aldan and Aldana/Jose Rojas Won.

Danny Lavely and Jose Rojas won.

Other results I still don’t know but will talk with the coaches later on tonight.

Espirit Cup, Elizabeth Vargas goes for the gold in Girl’s 8s tomorrow, Abbey Lavely is in the semifinals of the Girl’s 10s, Courtney Chisholm lost in the semis of the Girl’s 12s.

Joseph Lee and Marko Rojas meet for the Boy’s 12 World Title, John Lindsey lost his semifinal as did Matt McAdam in the 8s today.

All Espirit doubles is tomorrow.

In the Friendship Cup, Kevin and Chris both won today.

Didn’t actually get a chance to talk to the coaches last night, but I do know that DannyLavely andChad McGuffey won their doubles match in the Boy’s 14s and that Sheryl Lotts and Danielle Key won their doubles match in the Girl’s 14s. Don’t have many details.

Today, they are doing the quarterfinals and semifinals in the Junior World Cup draws, so each player has the potential for 2 very tough matches, some will play 3 as they are playing both singles and doubles.

On the Friendship Cup front, both Kevin Hernandez and Chris Good were able to settle their nerves prior to getting on court for their singles matches yesterday and that was enough to see them through to the next round. Each has an 8am match this morning, and so I’m trying to type quietly as they sleep behind me. They will play two matches a piece as they have doubles matches this afternoon.

My work effort here ends this morning, so I should be at the clubs most of the day and will try to provide a better update tonight…but again this connection speed is not easy.

It promises to be a long day, but the kids are excited and in the end, That’s all that matters!

December 20th, 2005 by Adam Katz

Junior Worlds – Draws

Direct link to tournament draws:

http://www.tennisinformation.com/tourny/5/1/6/3/4/3/7/draws.asp

December 19th, 2005 by Geoff Thomsen

Junior Worlds – Day Three

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball Championships

I’m still waiting on the coaches to find out what happened on the Junior World Cup front today as I spent most of my day at the second club watching the Espirit Cup matches. I do know some results as Kelley Fisher won her last pool match to clinch the pool. However, Sarah Hettesheimer lost again to finish third in her pool. Still don’t know the result for the doubles team of Ashley Leggett and Katie Ferguson.

Kara Mazur made quick work of her opponent today to win her pool and secure the top seed in the Girl’s 16s elimination draw starting tomorrow. I heard several rumors that Shannon Inglesby lost her match but haven’t been able to confirm those. Brittany Leggett and Shannon Inglesby did win their doubles. I was just walking back into the club as they finished the match off and Tom Inglesby said they won fairly easily.

In the Girl’s 14s, Sheryl Lotts continued to struggle in singles as she was beaten for the second straight day. I heard rumors that Danielle Key won and also that she lost in her match against Mexico, so I have no idea which is true. But I do know that Sheryl and Danielle teamed to beat Canada in the Girl’s Doubles.

Chris Coy won his last match in pool play in the Boy’s 18s as did Mike Keddie. I asked Mike if he served his opponent off the court and he just smiled and said, “You bet!” In the Doubles, Anthony Herrera and Jared Torres actually got to step on the court tonight as their 2 previous opponents had forfeited to them. Tonight they beat Ecuador 11-15, 15-5, 11-0. Overall it was a good match to get their nerves out and prepare for the start of the elimination draw tomorrow.

In the 16s, Ismael Aldana beat the Bolivian player who was the top seed in this group. I believe this locks up the 2nd seed for Ishmael, but it might have been the third seed. Allan Crockett won two matches by forfeit today, so he finished second in his group. Ismael teamed with Jose Rojas, but they lost to Mexico today in two tight games…again the atmosphere was amazing for this one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a spot anywhere with a view.

In the Boy’s 14s, Jose Rojas and Danny Lavely continued to look very strong as they both captured their pools. Danny and Chad McGuffely, however, lost a tough tiebreaker to finish 2nd in the pool. The main draws for these matches should be out on the IRF website soon, if they aren’t already.

In the Espirit Cup, Aurora, Colorado’s Elizabeth Vargas continued on her quest for a World Championship by winning her Girl’s 8 match against a competitor from Mexico. She now stands at 3-0 with 2 matches to play. She’ll also be playing in the Girl’s 10 main draw that starts tomorrow as she double qualified this past summer at Junior Nationals. She also teamed with friendly rival Abbey Lavely of Ohio to win a match in the Girl’s 10 doubles. They have one more match together in this 4 team round robin and a win would mean a 3 way tie, so Tuesday promises to be a fun day.

In the Girl’s 12s, Courtney Chisholm continued her impressive run with a straight games win which moves her into the semifinals. The girl who beat Elizabeth Brenner, Aubrey O’Brien continued her own impressive run with another victory to set up a showdown with Ecuador’s Veronica Sotomayer in the semifinals. In the Girl’s 12 doubles, Courtney and Elizabeth teamed to beat Ireland in two games to continue their path to the gold medal.

In the Boy’s 8s, Littleton Colorado’s Matt McAdam moved into the semifinals with a straight games win today. He had a busy day of matches as he turned right around after that match to play in the Mixed 10 doubles. This was an interesting match as he played local rival Adam Manilla, from Centennial, Colorado. Each of the boys was paired with a sister from Oregon as Adam and Alicia Fladstol beat Matt and Victoria Fladstol in straight games. But Matt’s fun wasn’t over, he then teamed with Oregon’s John Lindsey in the Boy’s 10 doubles and lost a close one to a Mexican team. Overall, an exhausting day, but he is looking forward to the challenge of the semifinals tomorrow evening.

In the Boy’s 10s, John Lindsey’s momentum continued to roll as he moved into the semifinals with a tiebreaker win over Costa Rica today. In doubles, Adam Manilla and Sam Reid moved into the semifinals with a 15-3, 15-5 win. In this match, Sam had a great service match. In the first game, on his first serve he ran 11 straight points and ran another 7 points in the second game.

The Boy’s 12s had a perfect day as both doubles point earners and the doubles team won. Joseph Lee had a battle against a Mexican player, but was able to prevail 11-9 in the tiebreaker. Marko Rojas had to play fellow American Dylan Reid, but didn’t let that bother him as he won in two hard fought games. Dylan and Joseph then teamed to beat a Mexican team. Both singles players and the doubles team have advanced to the semifinals. One other division that I’ve basically forgotten to mention is multi bounce. Once again, I have 1 Colorado players, Erika Manilla from Centennial, CO, competing in both the 6 and under and 8 and under versions. So far she is undefeated in the 6 and under at 3-0 and is 2-1 in the 8 and under.

As for the Friendship Cup, both Kevin and Chris had matches today as they both played singles in their respective Red divisions and then started out in their doubles competition. Chris came into today with some issues as he developed a painful blister in his playing hand. He fought bravely through the pain, but it was definitely affecting his forehand. He did the best he could, but was beaten in both singles and doubles. This drops him to the White Division in singles and the Red Division in Doubles. Kevin Hernandez had a mixed day as he continued to struggle with his nerves in singles causing him to lose another close one. However, having a teammate on the court helped as they won their first round in the doubles. So he moves to the White division in singles, but remains in the Gold in doubles.

If I can get any word in with the coaches tonight I will add to the Junior World Cup update!

December 19th, 2005 by Adam Katz

Junior Worlds – Day Two

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball Championships

The atmosphere definitely kicked into gear today as tiebreakers seemed to be the rule of the day. This was not the best of days for Team USA but there were several bright spots along the way.

In the Girl’s 18s today, Kelley Fisher continued her momentum in the round robin pool with a 2 game win. However, Sarah Hettesheimer suffered a loss to Cuba. I saw part of that match and was surprised by the result, Sarah seemed to be in control most of the way, but couldn’t seem to close it out. I am confident that she’ll come out strong tomorrow. The Girl’s 18 Doubles team had the night off.

In the Girl’s 16s today, 1 of the two matches of the day took place as Kara Mazur from Connecticut took on Eleni Guzman from Mexico in the opener of pool play for both young ladies. The largely Mexican crowd showed up with drums and noisemakers for this one and the entire club was loud and boisterous throughout. Eleni took the first game 15-9 and seemed to be cruising in the second up 13-9 late. However, Kara dug deep and fought through a great deal to even things out 15-13. She then came out on fire in the tiebreaker going up 6-0. This wasn’t going to be an easy one though and Eleni regrouped and pulled within 2 at 8-10. During that rally chaos ensued. Sadly, I was at the next court over so I’m not entirely certain what happened, but I can tell you it delayed the match for almost 30 minutes as all the coaches argued over whatever the call was. The coaches are currently eating dinner before their team meeting and so I will have to wait to find out, but I will try to pass that along later. Also in the Girl’s 16s, Shannon Inglesby made it 2 for 2 with a win over Australia today. The Girl’s 16 doubles also had the night off.

In the Girl’s 14s today, Sheryl Lotts continued to struggle finding her rhythm and was beaten in two close games. I’m hoping that she’s just getting the nerves out of her system before the single elimination draw starts on Monday. Danielle Key won her match toady fairly easily. However, in the doubles these two lost to Ecuador in a tight tiebreaker. 1 of the members of the Ecuador team is up and coming player Veronica Sotomayer. All I can say is this girl can really play. She’s here playing 14 Doubles and 12 Singles, and has a very good chance of winning them both.

In the Boy’s 18s, the other match of the day took place as Chris Coy took on Costa Rica, and by the sound of the crowd it definitely felt like he was taking on all of Costa Rica. This match, like the Mazur-Guzman match was Standing Room Only and was impossible for me to find any spot to view it. All I can say is that the crowd reaction to each and every rally let everyone in Juarez know what was going on. In the end, Chris lost both games 15-14, 15-14. Both games ended with controversial skip calls but Chris was ok with it in the end. I’m sure he’ll rebound well tomorrow. Mike Keddie, once again, served his opponent off the court in two fairly quick games. As hard as he hits the ball, I worry about these courts. There are already some holes in the front wall on one court, and that was the court Mike played on yesterday. I’m curious to see how today’s court holds up tomorrow. The Boy’s 18 Doubles team received a forfeit when Nigeria failed to show.

In the Boy’s 16s, Ishmael Aldana continued to show that his eye problems are in the past as he breezed through this match. He seemed to be testing some things out as the second game wore on, but when it came time to close it out, he pushed it up another gear. Allan Crockett wasn’t so lucky, however, as he lost a tight tiebreaker. This match featured 2 very fast kids who were willing to dive for every shot if necessary. For a while, it seemed like it definitely was necessary as every rally featured multiple dives from both players. The Boy’s 16 doubles of Ishmael teaming with Jose Rojas won their match rather comfortably.

In the Boy’s 14s, Team USA actually swept its 3 matches as Jose Rojas and Danny Lavely both looked extremely strong in their singles games and Danny then teamed with Chad McGuffey and looked really strong in the doubles.

On the Espirit Cup front, again it was a tough day for Team USA again with some very bright spots.

The day started with Colorado’s Elizabeth Vargas playing in the girl’s 8s. After winning the first game fairly easily at 15-3, she found herself down 14-3 in the second. Being that I help coach her, I was very calm since I know how focused and determined she is. So it was no surprise to me when she came back and closed out the match 15-14.

The Girl’s 10s are still playing round robin matches to give the girls some matches before the real draw begins on Monday, so I won’t talk about these matches until they get to the real event.

In the Girl’s 12, a USA point earner fell out of the Gold division when Elizabeth Brenner lost 11-10 in the tiebreaker. She falls into the Blue Division. Courtney Chisholm got things righted in this division when she won her match today.

In the Boy’s 8s, another member of my Team Colorado came through in a tough match as point earner Matt McAdam fought through all the noise of the Mazur-Guzman match next door to win his own little battle with Team Mexico 11-5 in the tiebreaker.

In the Boy’s 10s, John Lindsey played extremely well in keeping our hopes alive as he was able to fight through a large Pro Mexico crowd to earn a spot in the next round.

Both Boy’s 12 players Joseph Lee and Marko Rojas played extremely well and won their matches.

In the Boy’s 10 doubles, another of my Team Colorado players and point earners Adam Manilla teamed with Sam Reid of Oregon to win their match rather easily. They both served extremely well to completely frustrate their opponents 15-1, 15-5. On the Friendship Cup front, today Kevin Hernandez started his play in these Junior World Championships and just like Chris Good yesterday, he was overcome by his nerves. He started out slowly and we tried to calm him down, but nothing seemed to work and he lost in 2 tough games 15-8, 15-11. Afterwards, he finally calmed down and we’re still expecting great things from him in the Red Division singles and the 16 doubles starting tomorrow afternoon. Mike, you can definitely be proud of your son, even though he lost he handled all the pressure with great dignity. The crowds here are like nothing you’ve ever seen and Kevin stayed very even tempered throughout.

That’s all for now, tomorrow is the last day of pool play in the World Cup so the action will only be getting hotter down here in Juarez.

December 18th, 2005 by Adam Katz

Junior Worlds – Day One

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball Championships

What a day, some absolutely amazing racquetball and some very tired children…and coaches.

Matches started at 8am at the Juarez Racquet Club with several Mixed Doubles matches. Since these don’t count for points in any competition, it was very quiet in the club.

On the Junior World Cup front, Team USA did very well today as did Team Mexico and Team Canada, don’t really know too many of the names on the Mexican or Canadian teams, but they did well. I do need to correct a couple of mistakes from yesterday’s update. Chad McGuffey is not playing singles in the 14s, Jose Rojas is the 2nd singles players, he just happens to be playing 16 Doubles as well since his partner Ishmael Aldana is in that age bracket. Also, Marco Rojas is the 2nd point earner in the Boys 12 Espirit Cup competition, not Joshua Hungerford.

Also, one late scratch in the World Cup, Michelle Key pulled a hamstring a couple of weeks ago and pulled out of the 2nd singles spot in the Girl’s 16s. Luckily, Shannon Inglesby was there to step up and take her place in the pool play today. I’ve known the Key’s for several years and was really happy for Michelle when she claimed her spot on this team at Junior Nationals in Portland back in June. Today she was very sad about it all, but she’s looking forward to trying to reclaim a spot next summer in Lansing, MI.

The first match up on the World Cup stage was Sheryl Lotts from Ohio in the Girl’s 14s. My big concern for this match was that this was Sheryl’s first Junior Worlds and I thought she might be a little nervous heading into Pool play. I was right as her Venezuelan opponent jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first game. Sheryl managed to calm down and finished the first game on a 15-1 run to win 15-6. She then seemed nice and calm in the second and led 11-6 before tailing off late to lose 15-13. The tiebreaker was a back and forth affair before Sheryl pulled away late to win it 11-9.

Next up Mike Keddie was set to play Costa Rica and Kelley Fisher took on Cuba. These matches took place right near each other, but I couldn’t get a vantage point to watch both so I took the option that presented a seat, Mike Keddie’s Boy’s 18 match. Luckily, I wasn’t there long. Mike hits the ball as hard as anyone and he had his opponent completely off balance throughout. He hit some absolutely amazing serves that his opponent was diving for trying to keep in play. When Mike’s match ended I headed over to catch the last moments of Kelley Fisher’s match. She is always very even-keeled on court and played with great poise in easily defeating Cuba. Right after that she took up her role as Team Captain and was there cheering for all of her teammates, both World Cup and Espirit Cup.

At that point, I started watching my CO kids playing in the Espirit Cup, so I can tell you that Sarah Hettesheimer beat Ireland in her Girl’s 18 Singles, Shannon Inglesby beat Canada in her Girl’s 16 Singles, Shannon Inglesby and Brittany Leggett won their opening match in Girl’s 16 Doubles, Sheryl Lotts and Danielle Key won their opener in the Girl’s 14 Doubles in a tiebreaker over Ireland, Chris Coy won in the Boy’s 18 Singles, Ishmael Aldana shook off his eye problems to win his opener in the Boy’s 16 singles as did Allan Crockett, Danny Lavely and Jose Rojas both won their openers in the 14s Singles and Danny Lavely and Chad McGuffey won their opener in the 14s Doubles. Also, Colorado’s Anthony Herrera and partner Jared Torres from Kansas won their opener in the Boy’s 18 doubles. However, Ashley Leggett and Katie Ferguson lost a tough one to Canada in the Girl’s 18 doubles. Overall, though a very good day in the World Cup. I can’t give you any more information on these matches since I didn’t see them and the team is currently in their evening meeting.

On the Espirit Cup side, I was very impressed with everyone’s play today. Two of the 3 Colorado players played today and Elizabeth Vargas won her opening match in the Girl’s 8s by the score of 15-0, 15-0. Adam Manilla won his opener in the Boy’s 10s 15-3, 15-9. Actually the scores were more like 18 in each game as the referee forgot to change his score a few times, but he was in control throughout and won this match with many of the Mexican coaches watching trying everything they could think of to change the momentum.

Adam, however, is a point earner in the 10 Doubles not singles. His partner, Sam Reid from Oregon, is also a point earner in the 10 Singles, but he lost his match today and therefore falls out of the Gold Division and is now in the Red Division.

Elizabeth Brenner and Courtney Chisholm won their opener in the Girl’s 12 Doubles. Joseph Lee and Marco Rojas both won their matches in the Boy’s 12 Singles, John Lindsey won his opener in the Boy’s 10 and the rest will play tomorrow.

I talked with Ishmael Aldana earlier and he said that he felt much better now and that his eye problems are behind him.

Dan Sheppick – I spoke with Mike Keddie earlier as well and he said thank you for the encouragement!

On the Friendship Cup front, Chris Good opened his campaign today. This was Chris’s first major tournament and the nerves seemed to get to him. He started very slowly and after a timeout was able to get back on track. Unfortunately, it was a little late in the first game and he went down 15-6. The second game was a different story as he came out on fire and rolled through it fairly quickly at 15-7. The tiebreaker was touch and go for a while, but in the end Chris got a little nervous as the large crowds seemed to distract him and his opponent, from Puerto Rico, managed to pull it out 11-6. Chris now moves into the Red Division and will play again on Sunday. Todd, we’re very proud of your son, he performed very well today in his first Worlds and we look forward to his first Junior Nationals this summer. I can tell by watching him around the other players that he is going to train very hard for that…and he’ll continue to play well here in the singles and the doubles.

That is all for now…I’m going to be relying on the Team USA coaches for tomorrow’s update as I have a lot of work to get done and will probably be in the hotel room most of the day.

December 16th, 2005 by Adam Katz

Junior Worlds Underway

2005 IRF 17th World Junior Racquetball Championships

Greetings from Juarez! I won’t bore any of you with any details of our 11 hour drive from Denver yesterday. The key is that it was uneventful!

The team all arrived yesterday as well and everyone is in great spirits. They practiced at the main Juarez Racquet Club for a couple of hours this morning. The club is going to be very nice when it is finished…I have no idea when that will be, but it will be nice…11 courts and this is a racquetball only facility. They are also using the San Angel Racquet Club for the Friendship Cup and some Espirit Cup matches, haven’t been over there yet, but I suspect I will be there quite a bit in the next week.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Junior Worlds format, there are actually 3 competitions. The main competition is the Junior World Cup, which features the top two singles players and top doubles team from each nation playing first in Round Robin pools for seeding and then a single elimination tournament. This competition is for the Girls and Boys in 14s, 16s, and 18s. There are 19 nations competing for this year’s World Cup.

The Espirit Cup features the Olympic Tournament Format of Gold, Red, White, and Blue divisions for players in the 8s, 10s, and 12s. Each nation designates 2 point earners for singles and 1 doubles team in this competition. Those not earning points towards the Espirit Cup are then earning them towards the final competition, the Friendship Cup.

The Friendship Cup is an Olympic format tournament for the 14s, 16s, and 18s that aren’t part of the Junior World Cup.

The US Team is led by Captain Kelley Fisher who is in her final juniors event and playing #1 singles in the Girl’s 18s. Sarah Hettesheimer is playing #2 Singles in the Girl’s 18s. The Doubles team is Katie Ferguson and Ashley Leggett,

Kara Mazur is playing #1 Singles in the Girl’s 16s and Michelle Key is playing #2 Singles. The Doubles team is Shannon Inglesby and Brittany Leggett.

Sheryl Lotts is playing #1 Singles in the Girl’s 14s and Danielle Key is playing #2 Singles. They will also team up to play doubles.

On the Boy’s side, Captain Anthony Herrera and Jared Torres will be teaming up in the 18 Doubles. Both of the singles players are in their 1st year in the 18s, so we can expect great things from them now and next year. They are Chris Coy at #1 and Mike Keddie and #2 Singles.

In 16s, Ishmael Aldana will play #1 Singles and doubles with Jose Rojas. #2 Singles will be Allan Crockett. At least we’re hoping this is the case. Ishmael awoke with some eye problems the other day and he is currently having trouble with light. I spoke with him earlier before the team took off for the Opening Ceremonies and he is hoping that he’ll be ok in the morning. He stayed behind this morning when the rest of the team went to practice.

In the 14s, Danny Lavely and Chad McGuffey will be playing both singles and doubles. To be honest, I forgot which one is designated at #1 in singles.

On the Espirit Cup front, we have a great team all with promising futures in racquetball. Elizabeth Brenner and Courtney Chisholm will be point earners in the Girl’s 12 Singles and Doubles. If you’ve never seen Elizabeth, she is only 12 years old but is already over 6 feet tall.

In the Girl’s 10s, Abbey Lavely and Elizabeth Vargas will be point earners in the singles and Victoria Fladstol and Hollie Hungerford will earn points in the doubles.

In the Girl’s 8s Elizabeth Vargas and Alicia Fladstol will be the singles point earners. There are no doubles divisions in the 8s.

On the Boy’s side Joseph Lee and Joshua Hungerford will be earning points in singles and Joseph Lee will team with Dylan Reid as point earners in the doubles in the 12s.

The 10s features John Lindsay and Sam Reid playing singles and Sam will team up with Adam Manilla in the doubles as point earners.

The Boy’s 8s will have Matt McAdam and Jesse Mendoza earning points.

In the Friendship Cup, I have two players entered that I will be covering their matches in this update because I help coach them and both of their fathers are currently serving in Iraq. So you’ll be hearing about Kevin Hernandez in the Boys 16 singles and doubles, and Chris Good in the Boy’s 14 Singles and Doubles. They took advantage of the practice time at the Juarez racquet club today and both looked very comfortable on these courts.

Everyone is currently at the opening ceremonies, so I will try and send some pictures later on tonight. I had to stay behind to get some work done and get this first update out to everyone as the internet access tends to be very slow at night. The plan for the ceremonies was to have 2 flag bearers for each nation walk in with the flag and the rest of the team would be assembled together. They’re hoping to have this ceremony done in 1 hour, but nobody was really expecting that.

I will try to send a report about each World Cup match and as many Espirit Cup matches as I can each day. The tourney starts tomorrow morning at 8am.

If there is any particular player that you want more in depth coverage on, please let me know.

December 16th, 2005 by Adam Katz

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