This past weekend, it felt like something was happening, intermittent streams and updates not withstanding. As I take a look at things settling in, it does feel like an important start to a dynamic season end stretch.
1. USA Racquetball High School Nationals: Lexi York of Oregon won her 3rd straight Women's national title. Mauro "Daniel" Rojas won the Men's title playing his first year. The set up for 4 in a row and a bold statement. York will try to match LPRT #11 Adrienne Fisher's record. And never one to shy away from bold statements, John Ellis stated from the "209", "yes, I do believe he will win 4 titles in a row." That Rojas is 209 spawn, those words would be hard to bet against, odds or no odds.
- This photo speaks volumes.
2. Racquetball India: India's first racquetball tourney. Growth. Set up. A Bollywood/Tollywood star participates. Interesting.
3. World Racquetball Tour: If you read the blog, you know what i feel about what's going on with them and what they are trying to do. This weekend, they held an event in California. I love what they do, though getting info on what they are doing or what's coming up is harder than it should be from where I see things. That aside, they still feel like they are on the edge of something really good. The opportunity they provide fringe players makes for interesting match ups. They are primarily sponsored by Gearbox Racquetball, and things seem to be spread a bit thin right now. Inside news has them engaged with a former IRT commissioner on board to help with growth. Following...
I caught Brad Kirch playing the WRT Pleasanton Open. (Husband to LPRT Scholarship recipiant and current LPRT #12 Aubrey Kirch.) He made it to the Quarter's where he met Anthony Herrera. Brad, a former World Doubles Champion is one of those players that had crazy potential and didn't go the pro route. The first and only time I saw him play in person was at Outdoor Nationals in Huntington Beach a few years ago. He made a shot, that until today remains one of the greatest shots I've ever seen. (If you were there, you know.) So naturally, I wanted to see how he looks on the court now. He didn't look like the player he could have been, though the match up caught my attention. He's currently doing well helping his wife with training and whether he's considering getting serious about playing wasn't concretely addressed. The thought "critical years" comes to mind answering definitevely for me.
4. The Segue: The International Racquetball Tour held a Tier 2 in Kansas. A good semi set-up with Ben Croft taking the stop. My thinking then goes to, what would this four look like playing the WRT Pleasanton four today. (Someday maybe.)
The IRT is hitting Florida this upcoming weekend for the Florida Spring Break IRT / ProAm. A major event in Florida run by racquetball devoted racquetball promoter Kim Roy. It's a Tier 1 that's popular on the tour.
5. Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour: Heading to New Jersey this upcoming weekend. 19 of the top 20 ranked players making this one. 4 out of 5 LPRT Scholarship holders there. The closest they will get to New York City for now. Looking forward to seeing what the match-ups will look like. Shake ups are expected and almost guaranteed by tournament coordinator Jonathan Clay of Rollout Racquetball. This one... I'll be personally filling in the chart ahead of time... to see where my own expectations are.
6. & 7. Things keep rolling: The following weekend will see two key events going in in the sport. USA InterCollegiate Nationals and WOR's Beach Bash.
I'm unaware of any deep story lines going into Inter-Collegiates, That doesn't mean they don't exist... I'm hoping something interesting shows up on my feeds.
Beach Bash however is shaping up to be a burner this year. Maxed out entries and new divisions. Newbies to One Wall will be showing up for the fun right on the beach. Every year thoughts on whether any of the top IRT Pros will give this Hollywood Beach event a taste, seeing as they are in Tampa the week before. Charlie Pratt and Daniel De Larosa will be hitting swing in. As well as the LPRT's Rhonda Rajsich and Michelle Key, who then move on to Miami the following week. I won't note the other notables. This is the WOR's first major, sparking the 2014 Outdoor season by being added to the 3 Wall Ball Hemborg Cup Series. Without a doubt, The Bash sports the funnest courts location in racquetball. This event will host the deepest cross-section of racquetball players you can find anywhere. (I'm boldly confident stating this.)
My feeling is, everything here is relevant.