Racquetball: Double Donut Studios | Racquetball Action Photography

Misc. Racquetball Updates

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.

Rocky Carson

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

ADDITIONAL NEWS

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:

e-mail:  militaryrball@pacbell.net

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 hfender@usra.org or camp director Jim Winterton coachwint1@aol.com. 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

Racquetball Videos – 2008 National Singles Championships

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

Racquetball Video: Kane’s Comeback

The first photo slideshow / video of Kane Waselenchuk’s return to the IRT Tour has been posted to YouTube.  There sure were ALOT of bells and whistles for only being a Tier 2 IRT Stop :) I’m really liking the limo that Rocky Carson and Andy Hawthorne stepped out of, and the fog machine for the player intros was a nice touch (I’m a BIG fog machine fan!). Great job to the organizers of the 2008 Steadman Hawkins IRT Greenville Open!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjYMpPmKYh0]

1 comment June 23rd, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

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

IRT Tier 2 – 2008 Steadman Hawkins IRT Greenville Open

Normally end-of-season Tier 2 events (not affecting year-end outcome of rankings for most pros) don’t get much attention from racquetball fans outside of the host city, but the 2008 Steadman Hawkins IRT Greenville Open is generating some buzz.  This event marks the return of one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen, Kane Waselenchuk.  Armed with his new racquet, the Krowning Moment KM175, Kane will be testing the waters of the IRT tour against some of the tour’s top players, including: Shane Vanderson, Alvaro Beltran, and Rocky Carson (**assuming all top seeds advance).

Kane will play Shane Vanderson at 5:30PM EST TONIGHT, and you can bet I’ll have some updates online as soon as they are ready.  Assuming Kane picks up where he left off two seasons ago, he’ll play in the semifinals at 4:30PM on Saturday, and then in the finals at 12:30PM on Sunday.

You can find the draws online here.

June 20th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

2008 IRT Post-Season Summary

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.

Rank Pro qtrs semis finals champion
1 HUCZEK, JACK 13 13 12 6
2 CARSON, ROCKY 13 12 10 6
3 MANNINO, JASON 11 10 3 1
4 BELTRAN, ALVARO 13 10 1
5 VANDERSON, SHANE 13 3
6 WILLIAMS, MITCH 13 1
7 CROFT, BEN 10 2
8 CROWTHER, CHRIS 7
9 THOERNER, JASON 4
10 HAWTHORNE, ANDY 3
11 MORENO, JAVIER 2 1
16 ELLIS, JOHN 1
17 GUTIERREZ, POLO 1 1

June 11th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Photos: 2008 National Singles

The uploading of photos from the 2008 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships is underway!  I’ve got photos up from the Men’s final featuring Rocky Carson and Jack Huczek, as well as the Women’s Semifinal with Kristen Bellows and Rhonda Rajsich (get well, Rhonda!). I’ll keep adding photos over the next several days, and you can either periodically check back at www.doubledonut.com, subscribe to my feed, or follow my updates on Twitter to know when new photos have landed.

IMG_6662 IMG_6758

The latest updates are in the 2008 National Singles Photo Gallery.

There were also a few other photographers in Houston taking photos.  Julian Gomez, from 801Creative in Salt Lake City, was helping me with USA Racquetball duties, and Adam (Aaron?) Clark, a local player from Houston, was sharpening his skills with his new camera.  I’ll be in contact with Julian to see if he intends to post anything online, and Adam has already added some photos to the Racquetball Group on Flickr.  As always, the photo situation on the courts at the Houston YMCA is VERY challenging, with low light, dots on the glass, and lights that cycle resulting in color shifts in all the photos (not to mention that racquetball is one of the hardest sports to shoot!).  Hats off to anyone who gets decent shots (of which Adam and Julian both accomplished!!).

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If anyone else at the event has pictures you’d like to share, I’d HIGHLY recommend posting them to www.Flickr.com, and then adding them to the Racquetball Group on Flickr.  In fact, I’d recommend adding ANY racquetball photos to that group so the world can see!!

June 11th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

IRT – Pro Racquetball Trading Cards

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

Photos – 2008 IRT Pro Nationals

Although Double Donut Studios did not attend the 2008 IRT Pro National Racquetball Championships, veteran racquetball photographer Mike Boatman was onsite. Besides being all all-around great guy and talented racquetball photographer, Mike is an accomplished national photographer based out of Memphis, TN. Here are a few “teasers” – head over to the galleries for the complete 145 photo set.

**** All photos Copyright 2008 Mike Boatman – www.MikeBoatman.com. ***** (please contact Mike Boatman directly for licensing inquiries)

1 comment May 11th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

ESPN360.com and the IRT Pro Nationals

The 2008 IRT Pro National Racquetball Championships finished this weekend, with defending champion Jack Huczek(2) defeating Rocky Carson(1) in a LONG 5-gamer. Although a BIG win, Rocky Carson still sealed the deal for a year-end IRT #1 ranking with his second place finish. There were TWO huge additions to this year’s event – a new portable court with 4-wall glass, and LIVE video streaming via www.espn360.com.

The court looked great (from what I saw on the live ESPN feed), and it appears the front wall was covered with the IRT Pro Nationals logo. There were also two logo banners on either side wall of the court. The commentators made some comments about “the dark left wall”, where players were having some troubles immediately seeing the ball. It will be interesting to hear further reports from players who spent some time on the court this weekend. From what I understand, this will be the court used for all future IRT Grand Slam events.

The streaming on www.espn360.com was great! As with any internet feed, there was some intermittent “pauses” in the audio/video, but the overall quality made it easy to follow the action. It was exciting to see the ESPN logos around the video score banners and other areas :) This could be a HUGE relationship for the IRT, and I hope to see ESPN bring racquetball to people who haven’t experienced the sport. The matches from this weekend are currently available in the “archive” section of www.espn360.com, and I HIGHLY encourage anyone to spend a few minutes checking them out!

espn360_pro_nationals

April 27th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Photos – 2008 NW Regionals

I was able to spend a few hours last weekend at the 2008 USA Racquetball NW Regional Championships at Cascade Athletic Club in Gresham, OR. This was a huge event, featuring over 250 participants from around the Pacific Northwest. The only regional qualifier larger in size was the 2008 IRT Pro Nationals with 305 entrants, which was also a regional qualifier for the Chicago area. There were well over 50 people in just the men’s pro division, and MANY people who flew in from around the US to participate – which, in my opinion, really goes to show just how big the event in Oregon was.

IMG_3097 IMG_3064

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Rocky Carson made a guest appearance on Saturday of the event, to do a pro clinic followed by a few “play the pro” matches. The crowd seemed to be very impressed that the current #1 pro in the world was there to share some racquetball insight.

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Be sure to check the galleries for shots of the following players: Jimmy Lowe, Chad Westwood, Taylor Knoth, Dan Darling, Dave Azuma, Grant Stalley, David Laforest, Joey Lakowske, Jeremy White

April 27th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Twitter Digest – 2008-04-26

  • Jack Huczek and Jason Mannino both advance to the semis, where they play each other tomorrow at 330PM EST (live on http://www.espn360.com)! #
  • Rocky Carson advances to the Semi’s after a win over Chris Crowther. Looks like no upsets in the quarters! #
  • Saturday 4/26 430PM EST on http://www.espn360.com IRT Pro Nationals Racquetball LIVE Semifinal – Jason Mannino(3) vs. Jack Huczek(2) #
  • Saturday 4/26 600PM EST on http://www.espn360.com IRT Pro Nationals Racquetball LIVE Semifinal – Rocky Carson(1) vs. Alvaro Beltran(4) #
  • Pictures from the 2008 NW Regionals are processed, and will be online VERY soon! #
  • Huge thanks to the REDBULL girls for handing out FREE Redbull at the 2008 NW Regional Racquetball Champs. Your backpacks were SWEEET! #

April 26th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Update

Lots of racquetball action coming up in the days and weeks ahead. First, the Choice Hotels US OPEN from November 2007 starts airing with Quarterfinal #1 tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb 6) at 9pm Eastern Time on the Tennis Channel. If you get the Tennis Channel, check it out!

Update: The Tennis Channel has revised their scheduling and the Choice Hotels US OPEN will not air tonight as previously reported. The first installment is now scheduled to air on Wed. Feb 20 at 9pm Eastern Time. Check out the following link to better track the schedule on the Tennis Channel.

http://tennischannel.com/schedule/index.aspx

Then the WPRO is in Tempe, AZ for the Ektelon Fireball Rollout this coming weekend Feb 7-10. You can follow the draws at the following link:

http://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=3701

The following weekend will be the USAR National Doubles Championships also in Tempe, AZ. You can follow all the action at the following link:

http://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=2459

Also, Racquetballonline.tv will be there showing all the best matches…check them out at:

http://www.racquetballonline.tv

As a reminder, Jacqueline Paraiso and Aimee Ruiz are the defending champions in the Women’s Qualifying Division and there is plenty of stiff competition as they try to repeat. Current WPRO #1 Rhonda Rajsich will team with Janel Tisinger once again, WPRO #2 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes will team with former Junior Team member, Shannon Inglesby, Kristin Walsh and Kim Russell-Walselenchuk will also be in the hunt.

The Men’s Qualifying Division has some interesting pairings as the defending champions, Ben Croft and Mitch Williams will split up and play with their usual partners, Woody Clouse and Jason Thoerner, respectively. It’ll be interesting to see how the seedings play out as 2006 champions, Rocky Carson and Jack Huczek return looking to regain the crown. Also in the fray will be John Ellis along with Junior Team Member Jose Rojas, fresh off his gold-silver performance at Junior Worlds in the 16s and 18s respectively.

Not playing in the Qualifying division, but still returning to competitive play will be one of the legends of the sport as Cliff Swain has entered the Men’s 40s and the Mixed Open.

Closing out a very busy February, the IRT will be at the Washington Athletic Club for the Seattle Open Feb 21-24, check out their website for further information at:

http://www.irt-tour.com

The USAR Junior Nationals will run June 25-29 at the Big C Athletic Club in Concord, CA. At the current time, I am uncertain of my attendance as I am trying to go to Beijing this coming August for the Summer Olympics.

Team Colorado will be raffling off a framed jersey autographed by one of the following Colorado sports players: Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, or Joe Sakic in order to help pay for the trip out to Junior Nationals. At the current time, I am not sure which jersey will be made for raffle as I won’t be getting those until early March during a dinner at the Pepsi Center. Once details are finalized I will let everyone know how they can obtain tickets.

That’s all for now.

February 5th, 2008 by Adam Katz

Video – 2008 NYC Finals Carson vs. Huczek

Thanks to David Calabrese for posting this to Google Video! Awesome 1 HOUR clip of the finals from the NYC Finals for the IRT.

[googlevideo:http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5108399567007261215&hl=en]

January 21st, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

2007 US OPEN – IRT Final

By the time Rocky and Jack took to the court, the capacity crowd at the Racquet Club of Memphis had been treated to some absolutely fantastic racquetball.  First, by Ruben and Woody in the CPRT Finals, won by Ruben in 5, then by Rhonda and Cheryl in the WPRO finals.  So Rocky and Jack had a lot to live up to as they entered the stadium court at the 12th Choice Hotels US OPEN.  Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.

Rocky came out on fire and simply could not miss.  Most people around me were saying that he was “in the zone” and I would heartily agree.  While Jack was playing well, he simply couldn’t keep up with Rocky in the first game and the 11-3 scoreline is both a testament to how well Rocky played and how tough a competitor Jack is…the fact that he was able to score any points with the way Rocky was hitting proves that Jack is truly worthy of his Number 1 ranking.

Further proof was delivered in the second game.  The crowd was definitely feeling a Rocky sweep after that first game, but Jack refused to allow that to happen.  He changed things up and kept attacking Rocky every chance he got.  Although Rocky was still playing very solidly, Jack just refused to lose this game.  They were together throughout until Jack closed it late to tie things up 11-7 to Jack.

Now the crowd decided it would be best to settle in and just enjoy the moment.  Getting riled up for the TV Cameras seemed to have pumped up both of the competitors as they were definitely playing some amazing racquetball.

As the third game started, it was pretty obvious that both players were going to try and impose their will on this game in order to get the 2-1 lead and obtain the better odds of clinching the title and having their name etched on the Champions Cup of the Choice Hotels US OPEN.  Points seemed very hard to come by as both players spent a lot of time diving and hitting to the ceiling to keep the ball in play.  When the dust settled, though, Rocky had strung together enough at the end to squeak out the game 11-8.

At this point, Rocky could sense his time was coming.  However, Jack has earned that number 1 ranking and he wasn’t about to potentially give it up without a major fight.  Both players traded points early in the game until Rocky went on a run that would bring him to the verge of the title.  He got the score to 10-5 and then he stalled…or more appropriately, Jack really turned his own game up.  Rocky served for the match at least 6 different times, but at the same time, he only gave up one more point himself during this long stretch of time.  Rocky did have one moment when he thought that he had finally ended it with a dive in the right side front court, but side Referee, Andy Hawthorne called it two bounces and so the celebration was postponed.  Each time Rocky stepped into the service box, the crowd started chanting, “Rocky, Rocky” so when he finally ended things it was only natural that the theme song from the movie would boom out in the stadi um court area.

As to my earlier report on the women’s final, I did see Rhonda as I was leaving the club for the airport and she mentioned that on that tough play in the 3rd game, when she hit Cheryl on her backswing, it threw her off quite a bit and after she had hit the ball, her own racqet came up and caught her in the nose.  All I can say is that it was very bloody.

This concludes my Choice Hotels US OPEN experience.

The US Junior Team heads to Cochabamba, Bolivia for the IRF Junior Worlds in about 3 weeks.  A few of the team members made the trip to Memphis and they all appear very eager to get down there and start playing.  I will do the best I can to get updates out to everyone as I receive word from those that will be there.

Next up for me, potentially, will be National Doubles in February in Tempe, AZ.  Still not 100% certain, but we’ll see.

Anyway, I just got home, and I haven’t had a chance to upload the pictures that I did take from my camera and won’t be doing that tonight.  When I have, I will send some out to everyone…I am not a Geoff Thomsen or Mike Boatman by any means, so please keep that in mind.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving this coming week!

2 comments November 19th, 2007 by Adam Katz

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