USA Racquetball News 2014 Annual Award Wi...

2014 Annual Award Winners

May 05, 2014, 3:35 p.m. (ET)

USA Racquetball Announces Annual Award Recipients

USA Racquetball annually bestows seven awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments in our sport.  Four of these are based on competitive excellence and three are recognition for contributions to the sport.


Congratulations to the 2014

USA Racquetball Annual Award Recipients!


Male Athlete of the Year - Jose Rojas

Jose continued to show that he is among the best players in the sport throughout 2013.  He played his way to the semifinals of the IRT division at the 2013 National Singles Championships and, in September  2013, Jose became the first to beat Kane Waselenchuk in a completed match in more than four years on his way to the Kansas City Pro-Am title. This year, he won the National Doubles Championships with partner Rocky Carson.  Just last month he brought home the Singles Gold Medal from the Pan Am Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as well as the Doubles Silver Medal with partner David Horn.


Female Athlete of the Year - Rhonda Rajsich

Rhonda continued her domination of American women's racquetball in 2013.  Rhonda took home the Gold Medal in the U.S. National Team Division at the 2013 National Singles Championships while finishing third in the LPRT division at the same event.  She also finished second at the 2014 National Doubles Championships along with partner Kim-Russell-Waselenchuk.  Rhonda recently reached the quarterfinals of the Pan American Racquetball Chamnpionships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  She currently has more than a 1,000 point advantage on the second-place American on the LPRT rankings. This is the sixth time Rhonda has received this award.


Bud Muehleisen Male Age Group Award - Jimmy Lowe

No stranger to this award, Jimmy had another great year in age divisions at national championships.  At the 2013 National Singles Championships, he took home the Gold Medal in both the Men's 45+ and 50+ Open divisions.  At the 2013 US OPEN Jimmy won the CPRT divisions as well as the 50+ Open division.  At this year's National Doubles Championships he captured the Silver Medal in the 40+ and 45+ Men's and the Bronze Medal in the 50+ Mixed divisions.  Jimmy has received this awared an impressive seven times.


Peggy Steding Female Age Group Award - Debra Tisinger-Moore

Debbie has won this award for the sixth time, following a year in which she captured her 100th career national championship gold medal!  Debbie finished second in the Women's 50+ Open division at the 2013 National Singles Championships.  She came back at the US OPEN with a Gold Medal in the Women's 55+ Singles.  Debbie then went on to double up at the 2014 National Doubles Championships with Gold Medals in the 45+ and 55+ Women's divisions.


Joe Sobek Outstanding Contribution Award -

Robert "Smokey" Van Schalkwyk

Smokey began playing racquetball while in college in 2002, and has contributed greatly to the sport over the past decade.  Following college, Smokey began volunteering with the Eastern Collegiate Racquetball Conference and in short order became the Assistant Director of the Conference, a position he still holds today.  Smokey also serves as Vice-President of the Massachusetts Racquetball Association while working full time and pursuing a masters degree.  Smokey has worked tirelessly to introduce thousands of college students to the sport and offer them engaging competitive opportunities.  He has also been instrumental in the conduct of the National Intercollegiate Championships over these years.


Presidential Award - Bryan Crosser (Iowa Racquetball Association)

Bryan has served as the President of the Iowa Racquetball Association since 2012.  He has reinvigorated the Association by recruiting a team of volunteers, rebuilidng the Board, and creating a functioning organization where none had existed.  Bryan and his team successfully hosted the 2013 National Junior Olympic Championships, and raised $2,000 for the U.S. Junior National Team.  Junior racquetball is growing quickly in the state and, with the help of scholarships from the Association, a number of young Iowans are expected to travel to Denver for this year's Junior Olympics. 



John Halverson Fair Play Award - Cheryl Gudinas

Cheryl is a 21-year veteran of the U.S. National Team.  She is no stranger to fierce competition on the national and international stage.  Yet, she is also known as a fair and gracious competitor, which was exemplified by an incident at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Cololmbia.  Cheryl lost the first game of the third-place match to Rhonda Rajsich.  In the second game, with the score tied 14-14, the referee called a skip on Rhonda's shot.  Rhonda appealed but the call was upheld.  However, Cheryl offered to replay the point and Rhonda eventually went on to win the match and the bronze medal.


2014 Hall of Fame and Annual Awards Ceremony

Banquet to be held on Friday, May 23 during

the National Singles Championships in Fullerton, CA.


Join us for a wonderful celebration of excellence and contributions to oursport

as we also recognize the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees.


Seating is complimentary.  Premium reserved seats are available for $40.

Premium reserved tables of 10, including wine, are available for $400.

Call (719) 635-5396 x 0 for details.



2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Brian Hawkes

(Outdoor Player)

Hawkes, 50, of Lake Forest, California. is widely considered the most dominant outdoor racquetball player in the history of the sport.  He has more than 20 outdoor World and National Pro singles titles to his credit, the most recent coming in 2005 at the age of 41.  Hawkes is an accomplished indoor player as well, serving two stints on the U.S. National Racquetball Team in 1989 and 1990.  The first inductee in the World Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame, Hawkes is fittingly the first inductee under the Outdoor category of the Racquetball Hall of Fame.

Jimmy Lowe

(Amateur Age Player)

Lowe, 50, of Aiea, Hawaii is the winner of numerous state singles and doubles titles in multiple states, a seven-time Army Racquetball champion, and six-time Armed Forces Racquetball champion.  Additionally, Lowe is the winner of 16 National Singles age group titles from 1992-2010.  He’s added an additional 10 U.S. Open age group titles from 2003-2010.  Accomplished in doubles as well, Lowe has won 15 National Doubles age group titles from 1997-2011.  Lowe is also a five-time winner of USA Racquetball’s  Bud Muehleisen Male Age Group Award.

Mike Zeitman


Zeitman, 65, of Louisville, Kentucky started in the sport in his teenage years.  Zeitman’s most meaningful contributions to racquetball came from his tireless work and volunteerism.  Mike was instrumental in saving and building the International Racquetball Association, the precursor to USA Racquetball, in its early years.  He is among the first full-time promoters of the sport and did everything from running tournaments, starting pro tours, publishing magazines, starting junior programs and consulting for racquetball companies.




USA Racquetball

1685 W. Uintah St., Suite 103

Colorado Springs, CO  80904

(719) 635-5396