Racquetball: Double Donut Studios | Racquetball Action Photography

2009 Turkey Shoot Pro/Am Racquetball Photos

I finally got a chance to spend some time taking racquetball photos at the 2009 Sunset Athletic Club Turkey Shoot Pro-Am this past weekend! Felt good to be back in the “Double Donut Dog House” (check out the area behind the front wall window if you get a chance), and I ended up with ~1000 shots or so. This turned out to be a GREAT event with several of the top pros, and I look forward to seeing what Paul Maduell can put together for next year. Oregon would be the perfect spot for an IRT Tier 1, so I’ll definitely keep my fingers crossed. Best photo courts I’ve shot on (*slight* exception to the IRT portable court), bar none!!

Photo Gallery – 2009 Turkey Shoot Pro/Am

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1 comment November 23rd, 2009 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

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

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

New Pro Contracts

‘Tis the time of year that the major equipment manufacturers start announcing any new contracts with Pro level players. This list is not comprehensive of all Pro players, as many are in the middle of existing contracts. Here is a quick summary:

Ektelon:

  • Rhonda Rajsich – 2 year contract

Head:

  • Shane Vanderson – 3 year contract
  • Jason Thoerner – 3 year contract
  • Mike Guidry – 2 1/2 year contract
  • Mike Green – 2 year contract
  • Ryan Smith – 2 year contract

Wilson:

  • Kerri Wachtel

Pro Kennex:

  • Kane Waselenchuk (*** no official word has been released to date, but Kane has been seen on event posters with his new “Krowning Moment” racquet. It appears to be his own line, produced by Pro Kennex – as noted by the Pro Kennex logo on the posters and racquet stencil)

E-Force:

Gearbox:

I’ll update this list as any new information surfaces ..

3 comments April 22nd, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Set your DVR! US OPEN on the Tennis Channel Tomorrow!

Anyone watch the first match aired last week on the Tennis Channel? It was the 2008 quarterfinal match between Alvaro Beltran and Shane Vanderson. IMO, it turned out great! I will admit the (non racquetball related) commercials got a little tiring, but it awesome to see our sport on TV. I know an HD broadcast is a little much to ask for at this point, but I have my fingers crossed if we ever make it on ESPN.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday Frebruary 27, 9:00PM EST, is the next match. I would HIGHLY recommend tuning in if you have the Tennis Channel!

February 26th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

Sunset Athletic Club Stadium Court Expansion – Grand Opening

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.

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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.

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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.

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Check out the gallery for all the pics ..

February 26th, 2008 by Geoff Thomsen

2007 US OPEN – Semifinals

Cheryl Gudinas Holmes versus Christie Van Hees

Cheryl began this match with a short serve, and that gave Christie a little momentum out of the gate. Jumping ahead 2-0 and then 5-2, it looked like Christie would be more than happy to relive last year’s final. However, Cheryl had other ideas and came back to tie the score each time. Tied at 5, Christie decided it was time to take one more lead and once she had it she closed it out.

That only served to fire Cheryl up. She’s been playing very well in recent events and that certainly continued today. The players took turns grabbing one point leads early in Game 2 until Cheryl led 4-3. At that point, there was a close call on the left side wall. That particular call went Christie’s way, but Cheryl used that and regained the momentum quickly. She built her lead to 7-3 before Christie was able to get the service back. Cheryl then kept the pressure up and built her advantage to 10-5. Christie then went on a run to bring it back to 9-10, but that was as close as she would get. Cheryl closed it out on her next service to even the game count at 1.

Each player knew they needed game three to put additional pressure on their opponent, and both players came out firing. Cheryl built a quick 2-0 lead, but Christie came right back and strung together five points for a 5-2 lead. Cheryl then pushed it up to another level and stormed back with nine straight points to close it out.

Cheryl now sensed her moment, but Christie came out for a quick 2-0 lead. Cheryl erased that right away with four straight points. At that point, they started trading points with some amazing shots. At 10-8, Cheryl served another short serve, but quickly regrouped with a side out. She would end in on her next serve and now looks forward to another championship final on the stadium court at the 12th Choice Hotels US OPEN.

Rhonda Rajsich versus Angela Grisar

This one started fairly slow as both players adapted to their surroundings on the stadium court. Eventually Rhonda put a run together to grab a 7-1 lead, but Angela started to calm her nerves and got back into the game at 4-7. Playing on the stadium court seemed to hinder Angela’s usual precise shots as she had a few serves go out of bounds on the fly for side outs and Rhonda continued to take advantage. Building her lead, very slowly Rhonda inched her way to game one 11-7.

Game two was a back and forth affair as Angela was able to grab her first lead of the match. Playing very controlled and smooth, she built a 7-3 lead before she stalled. Rhonda increased the pressure with some incredible diving kills and was able to end the game with an 8-1 run.

Rhonda’s momentum seemed to be building but Angela refused to go down without a fight. She grabbed a quick 2-0 lead, but now Rhonda sensed her opportunity. She knew she didn’t want to let Angela get comfortable and she moved the score to 2-2 with another great show of athleticism. Angela briefly grabbed a 3-2 lead, but once Rhonda got the lead back, she wouldn’t give it up. 11-3 to Rhonda and onward to the finals here at the 12th Choice Hotels US OPEN Racquetball Championships.

Rocky Carson vs Jason Mannino

Rocky came into this one very focused. Brimming with confidence from his recent win in Albuquerque combined with his first Grand Slam title in Colorado Springs, he could see the ultimate prize out there and he decided to grab it. keeping Jason on the defensive from the outset, Rocky stormed out to a 2 games lead. But Stadium Court at the Racquet Club of Memphis is like a second home for Jason and he wasn’t about to let some outsider in. Being the only former champion in the draw, he didn’t want to see someone else’s name go on the Silver Champions Cup and he blitzed Rocky in the third game 11-1. The crowd started to sense a comeback, but it was not to be. Rocky regrouped and managed to pull out a point for point battle in the 4th game to take the match and earn his second successive Choice Hotels US OPEN Final berth.

Jack Huczek vs Shane Vanderson

Shane had another amazing battle with Alvaro yesterday, and that seemed to take something out of him. And when you have to play the number 1 player that’s not a good thing. Jack took advantage of a slightly sluggish Shane and closed this one in 3. Shane did put up a good fight and probably should have won the second, but Jack proved that his ranking is a true reflection of his character. He’s onto the final tomorrow of the 12th Choice Hotels US OPEN.

November 17th, 2007 by Adam Katz

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

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

Jack Takes NY!

Well, the New York City Pro-Am Racquetball Championships turned into a great event for IRT matchups! Huczek starts tough with four game victories first over Mike Guidry in the quarterfinals and then Jason Mannino in the semis. Vanderson capitalizes on a Kane Waselenchuk forfeit for a spot in the lower semis, while Alvaro Beltran wins a 3-hour, 5-game battle royale with Cliff Swain for his. Beltran then moves to face Huczek in the finals after four close games with Vandy. The finals were close, but Huczek closed out the first three games for his second consecutive title of the season.

IRT-Tour Recap
Great MeetandPlay Recap (Thanks Vin C!)

January 23rd, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

Swain / Beltran win Pro Doubles

Cliff Swain and Alvaro Beltran beat Shane Vanderson and Josh Tucker in the finals of the Chicago IRT Pro Doubles Racquetball Tournament this weekend (7, (7), 9, 5).

DRAW MNP#1 MNP#2 Irt-Tour.com

Videostreams (and DVDs?) on ProRacquetball.Net (sign me up for a set of DVDs!)

Interesting tid-bit:

The pros did play for third and fourth with Carson and Huczek taking the match 6-4,6-1 on a tennis court. It was Kane’s first time with a tennis racquet in his hands.

October 31st, 2005 by Geoff Thomsen

IRT Pro Doubles draws are up

The stage is set for Men’s Pro Doubles Racquetball this weekend in Chicago. Should be some very interesting matches, as you don’t usually see four of these guys on a court at a time.

DRAWS MNP#1 MNP#2

 From IRT-Tour.com :

The IRT pros will converge on Schaumburg Illinois October 28-30 at the STP club to test their skills in the first pro doubles event in 5 years on the tour. The event will also offer singles divisions for men.women and juniors. Many of the top ranked professionals will be playing the event . Look for the likes of Kane Waselenchuk and Mike Guidry, Jack Huczek and Rocky Carson, Cliff Swain and Alvaro Beltran, Shane Vanderson and Josh Tucker to name a few.The racquetball fans of Chicago and the Midwest will be treated to some great doubles. Entry forms are available on the IRT site. Just click on the tournament link on the front page. We look forward to seeing you at the event!!

Check back for updates!

From http://www.irt-tour.com:

UPDATE OCT 29TH 2:00AM

TOP SEEDS ADVANCED TO THE SEMIFINALS OF THE CHICAGO OPEN IRT PRO DOUBLES

All the top seeds advanced tonight in Chicago with relative ease in the first three matches of the evening . After a little scare in the first game winning 12-10 Swain/Beltran settled down to defeat Minor/Amatulli in three games. Keith Minor of KWM Gutterman Intl. is a sponsor of the event and very active in keeping racquetball alive in the Chicagoland area as is John Amatulli. The next match up featured tour commissioer Dave Negrete and fitness specialist to the pros, Eugene Coyle against Jack Huczek and Rocky Carson. After handling the commssioner’s trash talking Carson turned on the heat as did Huczek to win in three straight. No fines were issued. The next match featured an odd team of lefties, the best in the world Kane Waselenchuk and multiple US doubles champion Mike Guidry versus two time 18 and under world junior champion Ben Croft and one of the IRT ‘s top 12 Andy Hawthorne. Kane showed why his is the best in the world and Guidry held up the left side to defeat Team Ektelon in three games. The last match of the evening proved to be the best as Team Head was well represented with Shane Vanderson and Josh Tucker adavncing over Jason Thoerner and Kyle Veenstra in a five game battle. This was the match of the night and the crowd showed their emotions coming to their feet numerous times thoughout the match.

The semifinals will begin at noon central with Swain/Beltran vs. Guidry/Waselenchuk and in the 1pm match Vanderson/Tucker vs. Carson/Huczek. The finals will held at 7:30pm Saturday evening.

1 comment October 27th, 2005 by Geoff Thomsen

Update!

OK, long enough with no updates!

IRT: Kane Waselenchuk maintains his healthy lead in the IRT point standings with a win over Huczek in both New York and Virginia, but has been on a brief hiatus missing the San Diego and Boston pro stops. Jack Huczek takes advantage of Kane’s absence with a win in Boston over Shane Vanderson. Cliff Swain proves the 2004 US Open was no fluke by working through a tough draw in San Diego which included a win over Vanderson in the finals.

IRT Top Three: Waselenchuk, Huczek, Swain
IRT Events: April – Pro Nationals, Chicago; May – Players Championships, Dallas

LPRA: Christie Van Hees storms back from her injury at the US Open with wins in Stockton and Nashville to establish her LPRA ranking of #1. Rhonda Rajsich takes a win in Miami over LPRA Tour up-and-comer Angela Grisar.

LPRA Top Three: Van Hees, Gudinas, RajsichLPRA Events: May – Wilson Pro Nationals

COLLEGIATES: University of Alabama (2nd Mens, 1st Women’s, 1st Team) and Brigham Young University (3rd Men’s, 2nd Men’s, 2nd Team) are the bigger winners at the 2005 USA Racquetball Intercollegiates. I went to Oregon State back in the day (4th Men’s, 4th Women’s, 4th Team), so they get a plug too =)

HIGH SCHOOL: Congrats to Oregon Teams Catlin Gable, Beaverton High, and Sprague High for taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in final standings at the 2005 USA Racquetball High Schools. Complete team results are here.

April 14th, 2005 by Geoff Thomsen

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