Racquetball: Double Donut Studios | Racquetball Action Photography

2006 National Singles – Venue

Here are some shots of the Dowtown YMCA, which is the venue for the 2006 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships.

View coming down the elevator at the Hyatt:

Tournament Desk (from atop the media platform):

Ektelon and Lawler Sports booths, in the check-in area:

Check-in desk and VIP tent:

Another shot of the tournament desk:


Media platform behind the main court:

4 comments June 12th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 National Singles Photos – Men’s and Women’s Finals

Men’s Final – Rocky Carson def. Jack Huczek (15-10, 13-15, 11-3)

- Full Double Donut Match Gallery

Women’s Final – Rhonda Rajsich def. Cheryl Gudinas (15-5, 15-8 )

- Full Double Donut Match Gallery

June 10th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 National Singles Photos – Men’s Semifinals

MS1 – Jack Huczek def. Shane Vanderson (15-11, 15-1)

- Full Double Donut Gallery 

MS2 – Rocky Carson def. Jason Thoerner (15-4, 15-5)

- Full Double Donut Gallery

June 10th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Photos – Women’s Semifinals – 2006 National Singles

WS1 – Cheryl Gudinas def. Tammy Brown (15-9, 12-15, 11-1)

- Full Double Donut Match Gallery

WS2 – Rhonda Rajsich def. Kristen Walsh (15-7, 11-15, 11-9)

- Full Double Donut Match Gallery

June 10th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 National Singles Photos – Men’s Open Quarterfinals

Quarterfinal 1 – Jack Huczek def. Chris Crowther (15-9, 15-8 )

- MQ1 Double Donut Gallery

Chris Crowther proved he has what it takes to hang with the big boys, but ended up being no match for the number two player in the world, Jack Huczek. Jack chased down everything on the court, and kept things under control with his amazing consistency.

Jack Huczek takes advantage of a pinned Chris Crothwer,
and forces him to the air. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Chris Crowther smashes a serve to Jack Huczek in
the first quarterfinal match. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 2 – Shane Vanderson def. Andy Hawthorne (15-8, 15-7)

- MQ2 Double Donut Gallery

Shane started this match missing some shots he was previously killing in the 16′s. Andy came out strong, and with his AWESOME getting ability he kept the scores close for most of the game. Shane’s THUNDER backhand and forehand serve returns proved to be too much to handle, and he took the match in two straight games.

Shane Vanderson blasts a photon past Hawthorne. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Andy Hawthorne gets some hangtime to cover a
backhand rocket delivered by Vanderson. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 3 – Jason Thoerner def. Mitch Williams (15-14, 14-15, 11-7)

- MQ3 Double Donut Gallery

Let’s just say that this was the match of the event. Both players giving 110%, both on top of their game, and neither willing to give up on a single rally. The first game ended with Thoerner on top at 15-14, over an hour after the start of the match. After an entire game of controvertial calls (just ask Thoerner), Mitch leaves the court the victor of game 2 at 15-14. Just so there was no doubt, Jason leaves the court shouting “2 against 1 .. 3 against 1 … I WILL NOT BE DENIED” refering to the refs who didn’t see things his way. The tie breaker followed the same path as the previous two games, with both players in it till the end. Jason made a few crucial shots late in the match to seal his spot in the semifinals.

Jason Thoerner refuses to let the forehand pass go, and
makes an incredible return in the back court. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Put another “check” in the “hustle” box for Mitch Williams, as another
kill from Thoerner is scraped off the court. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 4 – Rocky Carson def. Micah Rich (15-2, 15-3)

- MQ4 Double Donut Gallery

After amazing upsets over Doug Ganim and John Ellis, Micah started this match with nothing to lose. Whether out of gas from the previous rounds, or simply out-classed in these quarterfinals, he couldn’t get things started against Rocky. Carson simply flat killed every serve return, and made sure no rally went more than 2 or 3 hits. Carson would end both games quickly, and have plenty of gas left in the tank for a semifinal matchup against Jason Thoerner.

Rocky Carons hustles down a ball in the front court. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Micah Rich gets ready for a forehand setup during his
quarterfinal match with Carson. Photo: Geoff Thomsen
DOUBLE DONUT GALLERY – 2006 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships

June 5th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 Singles Photos – Women’s Open Quarterfinals

The next round of photo processing includes the Women’s Open Quarterfinal rounds of the 2006 USA Racquetball National Singles Championship in Houston, TX. This was first night better quality photos started turning up, and I learned very quickly that shooting from the side glass is TRICKY with a very limited area on the court to get good shots.

Quarterfinal 1 – Cheryl Gudinas def. Brenda Kyzer (15-7, 15-8)

- WQ1 Double Donut Gallery Link

This match started out fast with Brenda firing shots to keep Cheryl on her toes. Both games started close, with Cheryl’s focus and consistency paying off in end.

Gudinas looks for a cross court pass while
Kyzer keeps the front court on lock-down. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Kyzer rips a backhand to the corner as Gudinas
hurries back into position. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 2 – Tammy Brown def. Malia Bailey (15-14, 11-15, 11-4)

- WQ2 Double Donut Gallery Link

Tammy Brown wasted no time turning the power on, but Malia Bailey played every angle on the court to force a tie-break. This was a battle from beginning to end, as Malia tried to keep Tammy on the move and out of position. Tammy seemed to take the momentum when it counted, deep in the tie-break.

Brown blasts a photon from the back court. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Bailey sends a backhand down the line away
from a waiting Brown. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 3 – Kristen Walsh def. Liz Alvarado (14-15, 15-2, 11-4)

- WQ3 Double Donut Gallery Link

Kristen got a slow start in this match, and Liz took every available opportunity. Kristen found a groove too late, and Liz steals game one 15-14.The rest of the match is all Kristen, with her excellent getting ability and power shooting.

Walsh gets some air to cover the down-the-line pass by Alvarado.
Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Alvarado scrambles back for a pass to catch Walsh in the front court.
Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Quarterfinal 4 – Rhonda Rajsich def. Kersten Hollander (15-11, 15-2)
- WQ4 Double Donut Gallery Link

This is the first time I see Rhonda playing her new “focused and smart” game. Part way through game one, she goes into the zone and puts an immediate stop to Kersten’s attack. With a game like this, Rhonda could go all the way.

Rajsich proves there’s no safe spot for a pass
on *this* court. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

Hollander moves in to take advantage as Rajsich scrambles
up from the floor. Photo: Geoff Thomsen

1 comment June 2nd, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Photos – 2006 National Singles Round of 16 (and misc.)

The first batch of photos has arrived from the 2006 USAR National Singles Racquetball Championships – the Men’s and Women’s Open round of 16 (and a few other misc. matches covered during the weekend). Most of these shots were taken Thursday evening.


Notable Shots:
Jack Huczek sends this splat into the next court during his match against Allan Crockett (below):

Allan Crockett skies out after a cross-court pass by Jack Huczek (below):

Rocky Carson forces Rafael Filippini airborne to clear a setup off the back wall (below):

John Ellis pins Micah Rich with a pinch into the near corner (below):

Micah Rich hustling down a loose ball (below):

Rhonda Ra…… I mean #$&^%$! DOTS! (below):


Featured players include: Jack Huczek; Allan Crockett; Patric Mascorro; Chris Crowther; Shane Vanderson; Mike Harmon; Chris Coy; Andy Hawthorne; Jeff Bloom; Mitch Williams; John Ellis; Micah Rich; Rafael Filippini; Rocky Carson; Cheryl Gudinas; Lourdes Sanders; Kristen Walsh; Jesi Fuller; Kersten Hollander; Jo Shattuck; Sharon Jackson; Rhonda Rajsich; Keely Franks; Kimi Ferina; Jimmy Lowe

3 comments June 1st, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 USAR National Singles Wrap-Up

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the 2006 USAR National Singles Racquetball Champions; Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich!!! Rhonda interrupted Cheryl Gudinas’ 6th consecutive National Title by taking a win in 2004, but Cheryl stormed back in 2005 for her 6th overall title. After securing her first year-end #1 ranking on the WPRO Tour, Rhonda capped an incredible season with her second win at National Singles in three years. Rocky has been battling fiercely with Jack Huczek for the 6 past years, and dashed his chances to be the first male with three consecutive wins with a tie-break victory this past weekend. This title will be Rocky’s third, with wins also in 2000 and 2003.

Some quick DoubleDonut event stats:
Cans of redbull: 9 (slow start due to $3.50 a can at the Hyatt)
Cans of Coke: lost count
pictures taken: 4600
Matches and Events covered: 35

It’s going to take some time to process the “final cut” from those 4,600 shots, but I am hard at work. Check the site for updates, or subscribe to the RSS news feed to receive automatic updates. For now, some teasers:

What would National Singles be without some challenging photography? ;)

6 comments May 31st, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Draws set for Nationals

The draws have been posted for National Singles!

If the top eight seeded players advance to the quarterfinals, the matchups will be:

Q1: Huczek vs. Crowther
Q2: Vanderson vs. Hawthorne
Q3: Thoerner vs. Williams
Q4: Carson vs. Ellis

Q1: Gudinas vs. Fisher
Q2: Brockbank vs. Bailey
Q3: Walsh vs. Moore
Q4: Rajsich vs. Hollander

May 24th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 National Singles Racquetball Championships

Well, here we are again, getting ready for the 2006 USA Racquetball National Singles Champions! I’ll be at the event, covering all open matches starting Thursday evening. Pending the internet access at the venue, I’ll post some some shots during each day of the event. Stay tuned …

May 23rd, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Ektelon 39th USA Racquetball National Singles Championships Set To Begin

HOUSTON, TX. – Everything is in place for the Ektelon 39th USA Racquetball Association (USAR) National Singles Championships in Houston, TX. The event presented by Head/Penn Racquet Sports will begin May 24-29 at the Downtown YMCA. Nearly 600 players will compete in over 70 divisions separated by age, skill, and age-skill. The men’s and women’s Open division will serve as a qualifier for appointments on the U.S. National Racquetball Team.

“We have been hosting the nationals for 29 years now and this event gets a lot of publicity. That’s great for us. It reminds the community that the Downtown YMCA is a nationally recognized facility,” said Mandy Steltzer, YMCA Center Executive Director and Host of the National Championships. “We get so much in return when it comes to publicity and community goodwill.”

Houston’s Downtown YMCA will play host to nearly 2,000 athletes, visitors and spectators throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Nearly 600 players will compete for coveted gold medals and the chance to be recognized as a national champion.

The tournament begins Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at the Downtown YMCA located at 1600 Louisiana St., Houston, TX. The men’s and women’s Open finals are scheduled for Sunday and all other finals on Monday. Special activities are also scheduled throughout the week for players and spectators.

For more information, please contact Leo R Vasquez, USA Racquetball Press Officer, at 817-791-4948, or via email at leo@themav.com . For more racquetball on the internet, visit www.usaracquetball.com or www.usra.org .

May 22nd, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

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