There’s a bunch of stuff in the queue I wanted to post here, but always seemed too short for a post but too long for a tweet. So here is a quick summary post.
Just won the Men’s title at the 2008 World Racquetball Champs. Also in 2007/2008, was the champion for 2008 National Doubles, 2008 National Singles, 2008 Outdoor Nationals, 2007 IRT World Championships, and the 2007 US OPEN. And a BUNCH of other Tier 1 IRT Pro Stops. Nice work, Rocky (and nice website, by the way)!!
The Racquetball Blog
Evan Pritchard, of Racquetball Canada (assuming, correct me if I’m wrong, Evan), has started up his very own Racquetball Blog, The Racquetball Blog. He’s got some great coverage from the 2008 World Racquetball Championships, great commentary on Racquetball and the Olympics, and lots more. I’d highly recommend checking it out, or better yet, just add it to your news feed. Evan has covered every USA Racquetball US OPEN Championship I’ve been to, and I’ve worked with him on many occasions. He’s got some great knowledge and insight on the world racquetball scene!
Racquetball on an Aircraft Carrier
Got this interesting email from Peggine Tellez, California State Racquetball (CSRA) President:
Again sorry to send this to everyone, but please pass it on to any armed service members you know.
SAVE THE DATE!!! November 14 – 16, 2008
ALL MILITARY RACQUETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
November 12 – 13, 2008:
We are in the early stages of producing a Pro Racquetball Exhibition onboard a LARGE DECK AIRCRAFT CARRIER !! Watch as Racquetball history is made featuring some of the Top 10 Professional Racquetball players from the International Racquetball Tour, doing exhibitions, clinics, demonstrations & Play the Pro opportunities.
It is our intention to make this an exciting and fulfilling week dedicated to Racquetball in support of our Veterans (serving in our Armed Services now and in the past). We have been thrilled with the initial response from the racquetball and military communities. As promised, we have some additional information regarding the All Military Racquetball National Championships. We heard from several of you that it would be nice to include military retirees, so to that end, the event WILL BE OPENED to all active, reserve and retired military service personnel with the DD-214 Military Identification.
Please note that the tournament will have a limited number of entries allowed. We are working on the figure and will communicate the number of players that we can accommodate in the days leading up to the opening of the electronic entry system. Note; we will only be accepting electronic entries verses the traditional paper-copies that could be either mailed or faxed in.
Another exciting addition to this tournament is that for the first time in history, (12th and 13th of November / Wednesday and Thursday) we will are in the initial planning stages to have an outdoor Racquetball Court in the hangar bay of a large deck aircraft carrier to give a demonstration / exhibition with the top professionals in the sport today. They will give a clinic to the sailors onboard, play a few games among themselves, and to have all of this streamed lived to reach all military bases throughout (even those overseas)!!!
We have had early indications from many folks who want to help us with financial/product assistance to make this a great event. Keep the emails coming; we will be in touch with each of you to gather your support in providing a healthy diversion for our men and women in uniform.
As mentioned before, with the support and backing of the USRA, Moral, Welfare & Recreation (MWR), EKTELON and CSRA, this will be a racquetball event design specifically for all of the military forces competing against one another and for the glory of their branch of service.
There will be plenty of play with Men’s / Women’s Singles and Double and Mixed Doubles, especially since we will be using the Round Robin / Pool Play format for all participants except in the OPEN and ELITE divisions. We have also made arrangements for lodging, where out of town players will be able to stay on base for no more than $30/night. We really can’t do anything about flight arrangements, but hopefully coming from overseas duty stations (ie. Korea, Bahrain, Germany, etc), you will be able to catch a MAC flight to the States, and then find a cheap flight to San Diego. Right now, all services really don’t have funding to cover this event, but hopefully the costs / registration fees won’t deter people from coming out and having a great time. We highly recommend that you ask your command for NO COSTS / PERMISSIVE TAD orders, so you don’t burn your leave time up for this event.
Please be on the look out for additional entry information in about 1-2 weeks. There will be online entry available for this event. Still in rough draft status.
We hope you will be able to join us for this is an event. If there is anything we can do to get your here, please let me know. LCDR Steven Harper (USN), out of San Diego, can be reached at:
Unfortunately, they didn’t need a photographer I’m REALLY hoping they are planning on taking some photos, though!!!
Racquetball High Performance Camp Held At The USOC Training Complex & Lynmar Racquet Club
This sounds like a great week of racquetball! Start with some high peformance training, and end at the World Championships!
A perfect camp for all athletes!
Camp starts at 7pm on Thursday Sept. 4 in Colorado Springs and ends Tuesday Sept 9.
Checkout by 9am on the 10th. Or you can plan to play or/and watch the IRT Motorola World Championships in Denver, CO September 11-14. (45 miles away) this grand slam event features the 4 glass wall court! (go to r2sports.com to register for the tournament only)
48 hours of competitive racquetball instruction
- Racquetball Book, an Instructional DVD, Plus Your Own Personalized Instructional DVD, With Video Analysis
- Individualized Training Plan
- Video Analysis
- Stroke Mechanics and Shot Selection
- Personalized DVD
- Footwork Analysis
- Sports Psychology
- Weight Training
- Room and All Meals At The Great Usoc Village
- Jo Shattuck , Dennis Fisher, Rhonda Rajsich , Mitch Williams, Andy Hawthorne—( Attendance Numbers Permitting)
- Get A Peek Into The Elite Camp… See A 2 Minute Video at www.Racquetballacademy.Com
- Evening lectures and legendary morning exercise
Lecture topics include “planning your workouts” with USA Racquetball Hall of Fame coach- Jim Winterton (camp director) and lectures: “what it takes to make a champion.” “goal setting”, “& “visualization”
Do the math-this camp has the best instructors, best facilities, and best program for the best price! The best food ever,-train like an Olympic athlete at the USOC for less than $85 per day!
Camp cost: $495, (foreign athletes- without usa address) add $200
spaces are limited!!
Applications are available online at www.usaracquetball.com, (see programs & camps).
Questions? Ask heather fender at email@example.com or camp director Jim Winterton firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as you sign up—you will begin receiving our famous “what to expect” emails, and enrollment information.
Send apps with $200 deposit to:
High Performance Camp USA Racquetball
1685 West Uintah, Colorado Springs, CO, 80904
Call Heather Fender at 719-635-5396 to secure your place.
August 20th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
Just as I logged in to www.racquetballonline.tv to catch some of the action for the 2008 USA Racquetball Junior Nationals, I noticed that Pablo and Angela have also been hard at work publishing some new content to the Video on Demand section of the site. If you’ve got some free time, I’d HIGHLY recommend checking out some of the action from the the 2008 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships. So far, they’ve got the Men’s Finals (Rocky Carson def. Jack Huczek), Men’s Semifinal 1 (Jack Huczek def. Mitch Williams), and Men’s Semifinal 2 (Rocky Carson def. Shane Vanderson).
June 25th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
I decided to go back and take a look at the finishes of the IRT players for the 2007-2008 season, and below you will find a summary table for all Tier 1 and Grand Slam Events – 13 in total (**except two quaterfinalists from Allentown, PA where the draws are completely MIA). The rankings you see are from about mid-season, so the actual year-end rankings are not accurate. There is a definite trend for the top 7 or so players, with the 8th spot up for grabs at each of the events. The top two athletes also dominated throughout the season, with Jack and Rocky only giving up a single tournament win to another player.
June 11th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
Through some discussions with Mike Boatman, I learned that the IRT was distributing IRT Pro Player Trading Cards at the 2008 IRT Pro Nationals in Chicago! It looks like the top 10 players were included, but it’s not clear if they are intended to be for the 2007-2008 season or if they are more of a “one time thing”. These cards will apparently be sold through the IRT Store, however they weren’t listed on the site at the time of this post. I’m very curious to see the details (like cost and how many are available), so if anyone has an inside line, please comment below!
May 30th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
Last night’s broadcast of the 2007 US OPEN Racquetball Championships on The Tennis Channel featured a quarterfinal match between 2006 US OPEN Champion Jason Mannino and 2007 US National Champion Mitch Williams. Both players had a ton of great gets, and it was a fun match to watch. Part way through the second game, Shawn Royster and Mike Ceresia were joined in the announcers’ booth by none other than three-time US OPEN Champion, Kane Waselenchuk. Kane stated that he has been training hard, and will be ready to play at the first IRT stop of the 2008-2009 season. He likened his comeback to his first years on the tour, where he will have to battle his way through the qualifiers and into the main draw. Has anyone done the math to figure out if Kane can capture the year-end number ranking in his first year back? The draws are going to be VERY interesting with Kane coming in as a low seed for the first several events .. can’t wait!
February 28th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
Sunset Athletic Club, located in Portland, OR, hosted the grand opening of their stadium court expansion last night. To help kick things off, Shane Vanderson and Jason Thoerner were on hand for an exhibition match and “play the pro”. Also thanks to Mitch Williams for attending (and reffing), who made the trip despite being a little under the weather. We also got a special visit from some of the USA Racquetball staff, who are in town for this weekend’s USAR High School Nationals event.
Paul Maduell, the club’s racquetball director, ensured fun was had by all with free give-aways and refreshments courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.
The new courts are SPECTACULAR, with tons of room for viewing matches, movable back walls to convert for squash, and my favorite – photos windows in both front walls! IMO, this will be THE premiere club in the Northwest for hosting big events (now all we need is some prize money for the IRT or WPRO!!).
If you’re ever in town, you’ll also want to take a look at the expansion’s featured artwork – Courtesy of Double Donut Studios! A few of featured photos were blown up to ~8′x8′ and mounted on the walls above the viewing area.
Check out the gallery for all the pics ..
February 26th, 2008
by Geoff Thomsen
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
June 5th, 2006
by Geoff Thomsen
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?
May 31st, 2006
by Geoff Thomsen