USA Racquetball News 2014 Junior World Bl...

2014 Junior World Blogs

Oct. 17, 2014, 7:57 p.m. (ET)

Daily Blogs from the 2014  IRF XXVI World Junior Racquetball Championship for Team USA

Blog #9 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Saturday, October 25/Sunday October 26, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Suddenly, it’s Saturday. The second one!

Head Coach Cheryl Gudinas recapped:
“All in all, a good week. We finished third with one gold medal. We know what we need to do going forward. I can't believe this event is over. It's a lot harder than I thought seeing this end. I'm looking forward to the future with this team!”
Saturday’s Match Results
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Costa Rica, won 15-10, 15-11 – GOLD!
B10S-Blue Krish Thakur vs. Timmy Hansen, won 15-8, 15-6
G10D Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Mexico, lost 6-15, 11-15
G12D Graciana Wargo/Hannah Carver vs. Mexico, lost 3-15, 0-15
B16D Justus Benson/Jordan Barth vs. Mexico, lost 9-15, 6-15
B18D Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Mexico, lost 15-1, 13-15, 8-11
Medals Ceremony at the Club

After the doubles finals were played, the LOC and local volunteers were on hand to assist with the awarding of the medals, the bearing of country flags, and the playing of the national anthems of the winning Gold division individuals and countries.
Congratulations to all of our medalists! Jordan Barth receives special recognition as Team USA’s World Cup gold medalist in Boy's 14 Singles. Jordan wants to thank everyone who supported him in his journey to the Gold: Gustavo Peña of The Club Total Fitness & Racquetball, the Minnesota Racquetball community, and Minnesota Juniors. And, thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets or sent donations!
Team MVP

At a post-match/pre-closing ceremonies team meeting, 12-year-old Akul Ramayani was named MVP of this year’s team for the skill, heart, and effort he put forth for Team USA. Playing both Esprit 12’s singles and World Cup 14’s singles, his shot selection and smooth delivery was a joy to watch. He was presented with a t-shirt signed by the entire team.

Final Standings by Country
=> Combined Overall World Cup Team

1.     Mexico
2.     Bolivia
3.     USA
4.     Costa Rica
=> Combined Overall Esprit Team
1.     Bolivia
2.     Mexico
3.     USA
4.     Costa Rica
A full listing of individual and team results can be found at

Thank You’s

The US Junior Team Delegation wishes to deliver our gratitude to those who made this event so truly memorable:

All the individuals who made contributions large and small...every bit counts! The Team USA Challenge on provides the opportunity for racquetball players to support the US Teams with their participation at international competitions.
The Local Organizing Committee, headed by Juan Manuel Gutierrez, for putting on this great event. The work behind the scenes to pull off a tournament of this magnitude is extensive. The transportation logistics alone were a full-time job!
The tournament staff (Osvaldo Maggi, Francisco Kurzbard, Amanda Kurzbard, Mauro Grandio, et al.)
The referees who came in from several countries to provide a top-notch experience to the players, including the happy gift that no player had to ref the next match!
Rick Glazebrook of for bringing quarterfinals, semifinals and finals action to viewers on the IRF Network, and Gary Mazaroff and Tim Baghurst for providing entertaining commentary
The staffs of the Radisson Royal Cali Hotel and the Hotel Casa Santa Mónica
The parents and cheerleaders who were there for every match, living every point as if they were out there playing themselves, and pitching in to provide/arrange meals and snacks (a shout-out to Rachel Jacquet and Melissa York for their bottomless bags-o-treats!).

Greg and Julia Hayenga of Personal Touch Travel – making plans for a large delegation is so much easier with their assistance.
Jonathan Clay (Rollout Racquetball) for making the US Junior Team look so great when they compete.
Last but not least, Leo Vasquez who stopped whatever else he might have been doing as soon as a blog and photos were ready for posting. Leo ran a State Doubles event this past weekend to boot!
Thanks for tuning in to the blogs. The team sends their heartfelt gratitude for all the support via Facebook, Twitter, email, text messages, and telepathy.
Back to the USA!

Those who caught the early shuttles to the Cali airport Sunday morning were tired but upbeat. The 4:45 am crew (Wargos, Mahoneys, Kirk, and Meyer) from the Hotel Casa Santa Mónica learned firsthand the practical definition of “10 pounds in a 5-pound bag.” Bags in the back, bags on the roof, people squished in sideways. We made it!
On these long ten-day journeys, it seems at the beginning that the trip will last forever, but all of a sudden it’s Saturday: time for the finals, time to pack, time to say goodbye. At the airport in Miami, delegation members lingered on the concourse…no one wanted to say farewell. There’s so much emotion in the final days and hours. It’s hard, but it’s all good. This type of experience bonds people strongly together. What a blessing to be a part of this team and this sport.

I’ll leave you with this anecdote… I met Graciana and Evan Wargo at World Juniors in Tempe in 2008, and we enjoyed this photo together. Just today, six years later, this time in Miami, we re-enacted the same pose. They’re growing up (in fact, Evan turns 16 tomorrow!). This is what racquetball brings to us – friendships, camaraderie, and times to remember through the years.
Great Job, Junior Team USA!! I’m proud of the US Junior Team and proud to be an American. 
Until next time, signing off from Miami and homeward bound,

Blog #8 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Great moments are made from great opportunities. – Herb Brooks

Assistant Coach Jody Nance, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy), starts us off with some inspiring words:

“We have four athletes moving into the finals. They have a chance to have that great moment. This is great personally, for their family and friends, and also for the USA. The entire week our USA Junior athletes have been playing their hearts out!  Their preparation is evident even if their journey got cut short. They make me so proud to be a part of this team!”

Friday’s Results
5 wins, 13 losses

G12S-White Megan Carver vs. Ecuador, lost 3-15, 0-15
G12S-Blue Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia, lost 4-15, 13-15
G12S-White Graciana Wargo vs. Dominican Repubilc, lost 4-15, 2-15
G18S Lexi York vs. Mexico, lost 10-15, 4-15
G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Costa Rica, lost 5-15, 6-15
G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico, lost 8-15, 13-15
G10S Julia Stein vs. Bolivia, lost 8-15, 12-15
B10S-Blue Krish Thakur vs. Costa Rica, won 15-3, 15-3
B10S-Blue Timmy Hansen vs. Costa Rica, won 15-5, 15-4
B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Bolivia, lost 15-14, 5-15, 2-11
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Mexico, won 15-8, 10-15, 11-7
B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Mexico, lost 11-15, 6-15
B16S-CH Evan Wargo vs. Canada, lost 12-15, 15-8, 8-11
B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia, lost 15-9, 12-15, 0-11
G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Costa Rica, lost 1-15, 2-15
G14S-CH Megan Carver vs. Colombia, lost 8-15, 12-15
4:00 pm B16D Jordan Barth/ Justus Benson vs. Costa Rica, won 15-11, 15-5
4:00 pm B18D Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia, won 15-14, 15-11

Getting to Know Your US Junior Team Players, Part V
Do you have a job? Some are too young…or are they??

Adam Manilla – Racquetball lessons
Conner Laffey – Coaching racquetball
Sawyer Lloyd -- Worked as a tech for Automation Partners last summer
Daniel Rojas --  Cutting lawns, train kids at boxing gym
Wayne Antone – Racquetball coordinator at Courtsports Athletic Club in Eugene, OR
Jordan Barth – The Club Total Fitness & Racquetball in St. Cloud
Justus Benson – Cheese factory (boxing, labeling, deliveries)
Lexi York – Pre-school assistant at a Spanish immersion school
Danielle Falvey – Nanny and tanning salon
Jordan Cooperrider – Coaching racquetball – ages 12-13
Erika Manilla – Racquetball lessons, babysitting
Briana Jacquet – Starting a shirt screening business
Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas – Cutting lawns
Julia Stein – Entertaining my parents

Hardworking Referees

One of the many improvements the IRF has made in the administration of tournaments is the addition of a number of certified referees from many countries who travel to international events and lend consistency in match officiation. They work long hours and are truly ambassadors for our sport with their knowledge and work ethic. I bet everyone knows at least one of these guys/gals!  Thanks to Tim Baghurst (England), Pablo Rondo (Argentina), Kenny Goldstein (USA), Tom Cain (USA), Carlos A. Segovia (Colombia), Fabian Torres (Colombia), Ricardo Gonzalez (Mexico), Jose Ugalde (Ecuador), Leonardo Valencia (Colombia), Jose Mazariegos (Colombia), Bronc Hughes (USA), Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), Franco Capandegui (Argentina), Pablo Kurzbard (Argentina), Kurtis Cullen (Canada), Roland Keller (Bolivia) and Head Ref Gustavo Jaramillo (Colombia). Thank you also to staff members who assign courts and collect scorecards after each match as well as perform a host of other duties too numerous to mention: Gustavo Jaramillo, Gary Mazaroff (USA), Osvaldo Maggi (Argentina), Mauro Grandio (Argentina), Luke St. Onge (Secretary General), Amanda Kurzbard (Argentina), Francisco Kurzbard (Argentina) with getting into a little bit of  Thanks to you, everyone is enjoying  a first-class tournament

Speaking of referees, one of the refs from outside the US was overheard saying that he has reffed so many US matches this week, he thinks he should get a green card. J

Down to the Wire…Finals Day at World Juniors!

10:00 am B14S                    Jordan Barth vs. Costa Rica
10:00 am B10S-Blue          Krish Thakur vs. Timmy Hansen
12:00 pm G10D                   Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Mexico
1:00 pm G12D                     Graciana Wargo/Hannah Carver vs. Mexico
2:00 pm B16D                      Justus Benson/Jordan Barth vs. Mexico
3:00 pm B18D                      Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Mexico

When I said in yesterday’s blog, “I know the stands will be rocking tomorrow,” little did I know how that was a prophecy of the day to come… Club Cañasgordas and racquetball fans in attendance experienced bleacher stomping courtesy of Bleacher Creatures! A number of Team USA players, not to be outdone by the Bolivians’ air horn, commenced to stomp their feet on the metal bleachers outside Court 8. It sounded like a storm on a tin roof! Tomorrowshould be interesting. 

A big thank you to Jen Meyer (assistant blogger and stat gatherer) and also to the Chauhan family who have volunteered to have pizza waiting for a tired (and hopefully happy) team tomorrow evening after Closing Ceremonies. Speaking of that, Closing Ceremonies will be held at the Cañasgordas Club directly after the end of the last scheduled match. There will be medals presentations in all divisions, and then everyone will board buses back to the hotels for packing – since the first USA group leaves the hotel for the airport at 12 midnight, followed closely by the 2:00 am and 4:45 am groups!

But let me not get ahead of myself…good luck to all…


Be sure to tune in on the IRF Network for streaming by! Go to and see world-class racquetball live, commentated by Rick Glazebrook and Gary Mazaroff. 

Blog #7 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Just a little rain today, enough to cool things off, and everything went according to schedule…except that this afternoon’s bus was delayed in heavy traffic. Texts were flying back and forth, and those on the bus were assured that no one was in a forfeit situation.
Team USA experienced some devastating losses as well as some exciting and memorable wins. Tomorrow continues with the semifinals, and don’t forget to go to to sign up for streaming. It commenced today and will continue from 10 am throughout the day on Friday and Saturday.
Thursday’s Results
22 matches   won 9, lost 13

G10S Heather Mahoney USA vs. Julia Stein USA – Heather won 15-9, 15-4
G12S Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia, lost 15-1, 15-5
G12S-White Megan Carver vs. Colombia, won 15-6, 15-4
G14S-CH Megan Carver vs. Bolivia, lost 3-15, 1-15
G16S Erika Manilla vs. Costa Rica, lost 5-15, 7-15
B10S Krish Thakur vs. Colombia, lost 15-9, 15-6
G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Dominican Republic, won 15-11, 8-15, 11-5
B10S-Red Vedant Chauhan vs. Mexico, lost 15-12, 14-15, 2-11
G18S Lexi York vs. Bolivia, won 14-15, 15-9, 11-10
B10S Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia, lost 15-12, 15-13
B12S Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas vs. Mexico, lost 15-6,15-7
B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica, won 15-9, 15-14
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Bolivia, won 15-4, 15-0  
B16S Evan Wargo vs. Canada, lost 15-9, 15-4
B18S Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia, lost 14-15, 15-5, 9-11
G10D Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico, lost 15-5, 15-7
B16S Daniel Rojas USA vs. Wayne Antone USA, won 15-11, 15-0
B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Colombia, won 15-6, 15-3
G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Canada, lost 6-15, 13-15
G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Bolivia, lost 15-2, 15-0
B14D Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz vs. Costa Rica, lost 15-11, 0-15, 4-11
B16D Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Bolivia, won 14-15, 15-3, 11-2
Getting to Know Your US Junior Team Players, Part IV
What’s your favorite TV show?

Adam Manilla – Family Guy
Conner Laffey – 2 ½ Men
Sawyer Lloyd -- Scandal
Daniel Rojas -- Supernatural
Wayne Antone – How I Met Your Mother
Jordan Barth – SportsCenter
Justus Benson – Top Gear
Akul Ramayani – The Simpsons
Dane Elkins – South Park
Ricardo Diaz – Walking Dead
Lexi York – Gossip Girl
Danielle Falvey – American Horror Story
Jordan Cooperrider – Vampire Diaries
Erika Manilla – Pretty Little Liar
Briana Jacquet – I Love Lucy
Hannah Carver – America’s Got Talent
Nikita Chauhan – Once Upon A Time
Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas – Criminal Minds
Krish Thakur – SportsCenter
Timmy Hansen – Shark Tank
Graciana Wargo – America’s Got Talent
Megan Carver – America’s Got Talent
Heather Mahoney – Wizards of Waverly Place
Julia Stein – Modern Family
Vedant Chauhan – Kickin’ It

Communication is King
With the delegation in two hotels, communication is critical. Since it’s necessary to keep phones in WiFi mode with data off most or all of the time (in order to avoid phone bills that will make you want to weep when you get back), Whatsapp is great. After I set up groups, it’s easy to keep everyone informed in a “just in time” mode so new information can be relayed at the right time. What’s more (pun intended), people can comment or ask questions and everyone benefits from seeing the thread.   Bus delayed…t-shirt requests …reminders …instructions…time and location of team meetings, etc.

Transportation is, Too

This morning, IRF President Osvaldo Maggi came to the Hotel Casa Santa Monica to pick up’s Rick Glazebrook and all of his streaming equipment to go over to the club. Originally Osvaldo intended to pick Rick up at 9:30 am, but he left a message that it would be 10:15 am instead. The reason? Because of the fact that they are saddled with a pretty bad traffic problem here in Cali, what they did to rectify the situation is institute laws that keep roughly 20% of the traffic off of the roads during heavy traffic times (7-10 am and 4-7 pm).  They do this via license plate numbers. Plates ending with numerals 1 or 2 cannot be on the road Mondays during the above mentioned hours; 3 or 4 on Tuesdays; 5 or 6 on Wednesdays, etc. The penalty for non-adherence is a pretty heavy fine (perhaps $500), and when they pick you up to take you to the station, you have to leave your car in the spot where you were stopped. Soooo…Osvaldo didn’t leave to fetch Rick until the stroke of 10:00 am!

Coaches Rule
I wrote about the parents last night who make this trip a reality for their young players. Tonight I want to recognize another group who gives so much to the sport and to this experience: the coaches. Coaches Cheryl Gudinas, Nick Montalbano, Jen Meyer, and Jody Nance take off work and call it vacation, making sure they’re here to support the players with everything they need for success. Their duties are not only to sit courtside at match after match and offer coaching based on their long experience, but also to talk with the players, make sure they know their start times, deliver encouraging content at team meetings, ensure the players are wearing the correct uniforms, making certain they have enough water… all of that and more! We’re so lucky to have this group of successful athletes heading up our US Junior Team!
Well, to bring this day to a close, I have to say it was a tough one. Too many losses for Team USA. We’re so proud of those who are entering the semifinals tomorrow, and we are equally proud of the effort and heart this team put into competition on the court as well as interaction before and after. They are blessed with a camaraderie not often seen. I know the stands will be rocking tomorrow…TEAM USA is STRONG!
Friday’s Match Schedule!
10:00 am G12S-White Megan Carver vs. Ecuador
10:00 am G12S-Blue Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia
10:00 am G12S-White Graciana Wargo vs. Dominican Repubilc
11:00 am G18S Lexi York vs. Mexico
11:00 am G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Costa Rica
11:00 am G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico
11:00 am G10S Julia Stein vs. Bolivia
12:00 pm B10S-Blue Krish Thakur vs. Costa Rica
12:00 pm B10S-Blue Timmy Hansen vs. Costa Rica
12:00 pm B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Bolivia
1:00 pm B14S Jordan Barth vs. Mexico
1:00 pm B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Mexico
2:00 pm B16S-CH Evan Wargo vs. Canada
3:00 pm B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia
3:00 pm G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Costa Rica
3:00 pm G14S-CH Megan Carver vs. Colombia
4:00 pm B16D Jordan Barth/ Justus Benson vs. Costa Rica
4:00 pm B18D Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia
P.S. Happy Birthday to Ayde York, Lexi’s grandmother, who is celebrating her birthday here with us In Cali on Friday!

Blog #6 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

The day began pleasantly and quite warm, but as we are becoming accustomed to noticing, it turns cool and rainy in the afternoons/evenings. A few courts were closed for a while as rain moved through, but they quickly dried and matches resumed.

Wednesday’s Results:  11 wins, 8 losses
19 matches

B16S Wayne Antone vs. Guatemala, won 15-6, 15-5
G14S Hannah Carver vs. Mexico, lost 1-15, 1-15
G16S Erika Manilla vs. Guatemala, won, 15-2, 15-9
G14S Briana Jacquet vs. Canada, lost 6-15, 15-14, 5-11
G18S Lexi York vs. Guatemala, won 15-4, 15-2
G18S Danielle Falvey vs. Guatemala, lost 4-15, 1-15
B10S-Red Vedant Chauhan vs. Ecuador, won 15-3, 15-10
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Ecuador, won 15-3, 15-7
B14S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica, lost 15-9, 15-3
B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Dominican Republic, won 15-7, 15-1
B16S Wayne Antone vs. Bolivia, won 10-15, 15-3, 11-4
B18S Adam Manilla vs. Ecuador, won 15-2, 15-4
B18S Connor Laffey vs. Canada, lost 10-15, 1-15
G14D Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia, lost 1-15, 6-15
B16S Evan Wargo vs. Argentina, won 15-7, 15-13
G10D Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Bolivia, lost 1-15, 6-15
B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia, won 5-15, 15-14, 11-2
G18D Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Dominican Republic, lost 15-9, 0-15, 1-11
B18D Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Ecuador, won 15-4, 15-2
From Head Coach Cheryl…
“Not having really seen Akul Ramayani play prior, he is one of our shining stars. We are cheering for him in the 12s and hope he is on the team for years to come. He is an asset to Team USA. Also, a shout out to Wayne Antone who really showed today how tough he can be. It's the best I've ever seen him play. We are really proud of everyone’s efforts. Looking forward to tomorrow!”
…to Rick Glazebrook who arrived late Tuesday evening. Rick is with and will be setting up equipment on Thursday to begin streaming late in the day as well as for the semis on Friday and the finals on Saturday.
Getting to Know Your US Junior Team Players, Part III
What’s your favorite subject in school?

Adam Manilla -- Math
Conner Laffey – Summer (there’s one in every crowd)
Sawyer Lloyd -- English
Daniel Rojas – Lunch (okay, there are two in some crowds)
Wayne Antone – Chemistry
Jordan Barth – Phys Ed
Justus Benson -- History
Akul Ramayani -- Science
Dane Elkins -- Math
Ricardo Diaz -- Math
Lexi York -- Math
Danielle Falvey -- Psychology
Jordan Cooperrider – Math
Erika Manilla -- Spanish
Briana Jacquet – Animal Science
Hannah Carver – Math
Nikita Chauhan -- French
Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas -- Math
Krish Thakur -- PE
Timmy Hansen -- Math
Graciana Wargo -- Spanish
Megan Carver -- History
Heather Mahoney -- Math
Julia Stein -- Writing
Vedant Chauhan -- Math
Evan Wargo – Math
Parents are People, Too…

Supportive parents really are the unsung heroes of the Junior Worlds event. I have observed parents in the background, quietly assisting their players and the entire US Junior Team. The players’ parents check match schedules, ensure optimum nutrition, cheer for their and other players on the team, supplement the coaches’ efforts, and offer encouraging words as necessary to ease the sting of a loss. They have taken time off from work and financed this experience so that their kids can enjoy competing on a team and learning about another country’s culture.
While we were watching Jordan Barth’s match today, I asked Kirti Chauhan (mom of Nikita and Vedant) what the role of a parent is like here. “We are vegetarians, so arranging a proper diet is important, to get enough protein. I brought protein powder, nuts and cereal along on the trip. Also, we check their match times and try to achieve a balance between rest and spending time with friends. One day we stayed the entire day at the club, and it was extremely tiring for everyone. My husband Anuj helps coach them, and I take care of their other needs.” Wishing the Chauhans and everyone in India a very Happy New Year – Wednesday was Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
Ayde York, Lexi’s grandmother, and Melissa, Lexi’s mom, find support duties a bit less intense with an older child. Ayde shared, “Lexi is an experienced tournament player, and she is good with her eating habits, although sometimes we do have to remind her to eat. The nights have been late with team meetings back at the hotel, so we encourage her to stay in bed a little longer since she usually likes to get up early.” It should be noted that both women gave up the more comfortable beds in the room to Lexi and roommate Danielle!
Nancy and Victor Manilla (Adam and Erika’s parents) lead the charge in finding donations and recruiting the sponsors/volunteers in providing the World Cup Team’s meals together each night of competition. The days usually end late with a team meeting, and it’s a valuable service to the team to have their meals provided. Please join USA Racquetball in thanking Nancy and also those who stepped up to assist: Elkins/Rojas families, Cooperrider family, Illinois State Racquetball Association, Benson/Barth/Falvey families, American Motors (Victor and Nancy Manilla), Oregon parents, and the Lloyd family.

Thursday’s Match Schedule
24 matches

9:00 am G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Julia Stein
9:00 am G12S Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia
9:45 am G12S-White  Megan Carver vs. Colombia
9:45 am G14S-CH  Megan Carver vs. Bolivia
10:00 am G12S Graciana Wargo vs. winner of Bolivia and Dominican Republic
10:30 am G16S Erika Manilla vs. Costa Rica
10:30 am B10S Krish Thakur vs. Colombia
10:30 am G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Dominican Republic

11:30 am B10S-Red Vedant Chauhan vs. Mexico
11:30 am G18S Lexi York vs. Bolivia
12:15 pm B10S Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia
12:15 pm B12S Antonio (Tato) Rojas vs. Mexico
12:15 pm B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica
1:00 pm B14S Jordan Barth vs. Bolivia
2:00 pm B16S Evan Wargo vs. Canada
3:00 pm B18S Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia
3:00 pm G10D Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico
3:00 pm B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Wayne Antone
4:00 pm B18D Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Bolivia
4:00 pm B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs.Colombia
4:00 pm G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Canada
4:00 pm G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Bolivia
6:00 pm B14D Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz vs. Costa Rica
6:00 pm B16D Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Bolivia
I’ll end this long day by offering up the US Junior Team’s gratitude for the support of Personal Touch Travel (Greg and Julia Hayenga) and Rollout Racquetball (Jonathan Clay). It’s great to have you on our team!
Until tomorrow…

Blog #5 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Assistant Coach Nick Montalbano Weighs In
"After a long day on Monday, Tuesday's matches showed a little fatigue from Team USA's players. Despite being tired, Jordan Cooperrider led the way for the day with a good win over Mexico's Diana Aguilar. In addition, Boy's Doubles had wins over both Canada and Bolivia. With opening matches of single elimination draws beginning Wednesday, Team USA is right on track to begin reaching their peak performance as the later rounds quickly approach. This is great news for the team, and I am looking forward to some great play and rejuvenated bodies on the court for opening day of the main draws. Thank you again to everyone back in the states for all the continued support you always show. These kids truly love competing and are making memories as every day goes by here in Colombia. It is truly an honor to be here and to be a part of such a wonderful team. Go USA!"
Tuesday’s Results:  10 wins, 16 losses
G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico, lost 9-15, 1-15
G10S Julia Stein vs. Bolivia, lost 2-15, 2-15
G14S Hannah Carver vs. Guatemala, lost 2-15, 2-15
G12S-Red Megan Carver vs. India, lost 2-15, 2-15 
G14S Briana Jacquet vs. Bolivia, lost 9-15, 7-15
G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Mexico, won 15-7, 9-15, 11-6
B10S-Red  Vedant Chauhan vs. Argentina, won 15-0, 15-3 
G18S Danielle Falvey vs. Mexico, lost 3-15, 5-15
G18S Lexi York vs. Mexico, lost 14-15, 13-15
B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica, won 15-4, 15-2
B12S Tatoe Rojas vs. Colombia, won 15-4, 15-14
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Colombia, won 15-4, 15-2
B14S Akul Ramayani vs. Mexico, lost 13-15, 13-15
B16S Wayne Antone vs. Mexico, lost 2-15, 8-15
B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Bolivia, lost 7-15, 6-15
B18S Connor Laffey vs. Mexico, lost 5-15, 9-15
B16S-CH  Evan Wargo vs. Ecuador, won 6-15, 15-6, 11-9
B18S  Adam Manilla vs. Mexico, won 15-5, 15-10
G12D  Graciana Wargo/Hannah Carver vs. Ecuador, lost 1-15, 8-15
G18D Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Mexico, lost 0-15, 4-15
G14D Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia, lost 4-15, 12-15
G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Costa Rica, lost 1-15, 8-15
B10D  Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Ecuador, won 15-7, 15-4
B14D Ricardo Diaz/Dane Elkins vs. Chile, lost 4-15, 11-15
B18D Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia, won 15-11, 15-8
B16D Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Canada, won 15-10, 15-9
Getting to Know Your US Junior Team Players, Part II
What’s your favorite animal?

Adam Manilla -- Monkey
Conner Laffey -- Wolf
Sawyer Lloyd -- Dog
Daniel Rojas -- Snake
Wayne Antone -- Tiger
Jordan Barth -- Dog
Justus Benson -- Camel
Akul Ramayani -- Tiger
Dane Elkins -- Platypus
Ricardo Diaz -- Shark
Lexi York -- Monkey
Danielle Falvey -- Monkey
Jordan Cooperrider -- Monkey
Erika Manilla -- Monkey
Briana Jacquet – German Shepherd
Hannah Carver -- Giraffe
Nikita Chauhan -- Dog
Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas -- Koala
Krish Thakur -- Dog
Timmy Hansen -- Dog
Graciana Wargo -- Giraffe
Megan Carver -- Panda
Heather Mahoney -- Cheetah
Julia Stein -- Tiger
Vedant Chauhan -- Snake
Evan Wargo – Pug dogs
7 dogs, 5 monkeys, 3 tigers, 2 snakes, 2 giraffes…and seven miscellaneous others. Why is this a relevant observation? I have no idea. I’m just in analysis mode.
Wednesday’s Schedule – The Main Event Begins!
18 Matches:

9:00 am B16S Wayne Antone vs. Guatemala
9:45 am G14S Hannah Carver vs. Mexico
10:30 am G16S Erika Manilla vs. Guatemala
10:30 am G14S Briana Jacquet vs. Canada
11:30 am G18S Lexi York vs. Guatemala
11:30 am G18S Danielle Falvey vs. Guatemala
12:15 pm B10S-Red Vedant Chauhan vs. Ecuador
1:00 pm B14S Jordan Barth vs. Ecuador
1:00 pm B14S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica
2:00 pm B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Dominican Republic
3:00 pm B18S Adam Manilla vs. Ecuador
3:00 pm B18S Connor Laffey vs. Canada
3:00 pm G14D Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia
3:00 B16S Evan Wargo vs. Argentina
4:00 G10D Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Bolivia
5:00 pm B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen (make-up) vs. Bolivia
5:00 pm G18D Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Dominican Republic
6:00 pm B18D Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Ecuador
No Wednesday Matches
BYE B16D Jordan Barth/Justus Benson
BYE B14D Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz
BYE G16S Jordan Cooperrider
BYE G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider
OFF B12S Akul Ramayani
OFF B12S Antonio (Tato) Rojas
OFF B10S Krish Thakur
OFF B10S Timmy Hansen
OFF G12S Nikita Chauhan
OFF G12S Graciana Wargo
OFF G12S Megan Carver
OFF G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo
OFF G10S Heather Mahoney
OFF G10S Julia Stein
OFF G14S Megan Carver
From Wikipedia: The study of moths is known as lepidoptery, and biologists who specialize in this are called lepidopterists.
Have we got a moth for you! This guy was inside Court 1 on the light fixture for a while this morning and flew around during a match, causing a new racquetball rule to be developed: moth hinder. This is obviously a replay hinder, not a penalty hinder, unless of course the moth were severely penalized by getting hit by a racquet or a ball.
Happily, the unscathed (as far as we know) moth then located himself (guessing on gender) on the bamboo outside the court. He sat there all the rest of the day, presumably watching matches. What else do you do when you’re a sitting moth in a racquetball club?
I asked Connor Laffey what he thought we should name him and he said “Mo.” Mo the Moth. Clever. I thought maybe “Motor Moth,” but due to the moth’s apparent aversion to movement, Coach Jen ultimately named him “Sloth the Moth.” Fitting. (BTW, this is the kind of conversation you have in a cab when you’re so tired you’re punchy. It’s either funny or a “you had to be there” thing – you decide.) Tomorrow morning we’ll see if Sloth is still in the same place. If he is, we may have to assume we have a potentially permanent situation on our hands.
Back to racquetball, a few (more) words from Coach Jen Meyer:
"Life is a journey, not a destination. Well, so are the Junior World Racquetball Championships, and this incredible journey is far from over! From a warm Colombian welcome at the airport to opening ceremonies to our first three days of matches, every moment has brought us along in our quest to bring home the Gold. The raw talent of these young adults and kids is truly unbelievable. It is inspiring to see these athletes give all they have on the court and their camaraderie off the court. None of this trip would be possible without the “CDO” support of Cheryl Kirk and all of the kids’ parents. THANK YOU! USA should be extremely proud of our athletes. Here’s to the continued journey!

"P.S. A big shout out to the Meyerwood kiddos from Colorado who are keeping up with Team USA on the blog! I miss you guys!!"
Time for the main draws…results tomorrow night or online at
P.S. The IRF Network will be streaming quarterfinal, semifinal, and final matches this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Log onto for free live match viewing availability through its partnership with NOTE: You can’t miss the streaming link at the bottom right hand corner. Register now to avoid panic later this week!

Blog #4 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Monday, October 20, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

With regrets to the Tree Frog Saga, this blog is interrupted for the Big Story of the Day.
Club Cañasgordas is a sports complex that includes the eight-court open-air racquetball facility where Junior Worlds is taking place. It is about 15 minutes from the hotels by buses that travel down several roads to a jungle-like area, “off the beaten path.” The motif is reminiscent of a bamboo tiki-hut type of structure. The roof covering over the courts and spectator area is adobe tile and bamboo. The court floors are unfinished wood.

About 4:00 pm today, the skies darkened and opened up. We didn’t think a whole lot about it because it has rained late in the day just about every day so far. However, this was not your average storm. A huge front moved in with thunder, lightning, and monsoon-like torrential downpours. Yes, plural. Just when we thought it was over, there came round 2. The courtyard area in back of the courts became a lake.
Water started dripping onto the courts through the roof, quickly creating a significant situation. The power went out for a short time. All matches stopped play except for one of the stadium courts. The bleachers at the back and on the sides filled up as matches that had been in progress on several of the other courts were completed there.
Soon, more information became available, but it wasn’t good news. All transportation from the club back to the hotels came to a standstill – a nearby creek had turned into a river and there was flash flooding across the roads.
IRF Vice President Rafael Fernandez made an announcement to the crowd (perhaps 300 people) in Spanish and English describing the situation: flash flooding had occurred and at that moment it was not known when people could leave. He said that matches would continue to play as soon as the courts dried (actually, that happened fairly quickly after the storm subsided since the unfinished wood effectively absorbs moisture). 

Play resumed (three hours later than planned), and the cool evening grew much longer as all matches were played (except the 10 and 12 doubles), with a delay of 3-5 hours.

Buses started to run again, but the club stayed pretty heavily populated as matches continued. When I sat down to work on this blog, I saw Timmy Hansen (10 doubles, match postponed) nearby and asked him if his parents knew that the buses were running. Tim and Sarah were actually sitting behind me and shared that Timmy said he wanted to stay and support his team. With this ordeal we were all enduring, this was heartwarming.
So Jordan Cooperrider had a 16th birthday she’ll never forget…the relatively unfazed players continued to have a good time hanging out together…and the parents were calm and collected.
We weathered the storm together...literally!
Proud of you, Team USA!
Monday’s Results  16 wins, 9 losses, 3 postponed 
B18S  Adam Manilla vs. Chile, won 15-7, 15-4
B18S  Connor Laffey vs. Japan, won 15-11, 15-6
B16S  Daniel Rojas vs. Ecuador, won 15-8, 15-8
B16S  Wayne Antone vs. Ireland, won 15-4, 15-11
B14S  Jordan Barth vs. Guatemala, won 15-4, 15-1
B14S   Akul Ramayani vs. Chile, won 15-9, 15-7
B10S  Krish Thakur vs. Colombia, won 15-1, 15-3
B10S  Timmy Hansen vs. Colombia, won 15-13, 15-1
B18D  Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Ecuador, won 15-7, 15-3
B16D  Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Ireland, won 15-8, 15-3
B14D  Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz vs. Chile, won 15-3, 15-5
B10D  Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia (postponed)
B16S-CH  Evan Wargo vs. Bolivia, lost 8-15, 8-15
G18S  Danielle Falvey vs. Canada, lost 6-15, 1-15
G18S   Lexi York vs. Korea, won 15-0, 15-1
G16S  Jordan Cooperrider vs. Guatemala, won 15-8, 15-5
G16S Erika Manilla vs. Canada, won 15-1, 15-0
G14S  Briana Jacquet vs. Dominican Republic, lost 15-10, 3-15, 2-11
G14S  Hannah Carver vs. India, lost 3-15, 1-15
G12S  Nikita Chauhan vs. Colombia, won 15-7, 15-14
G12S  Graciana Wargo vs. Ecuador, lost 2-15, 4-15
G10S  Heather Mahoney vs. Bolivia, lost 13-15, 5-15
G10S  Julia Stein vs. Mexico, lost 0-15, 3-15
G18D  Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Canada, lost 9-15, 12-15
G16D  Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Mexico, lost 5-15, 2-15
G14D  Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Puerto Rico, won 15-7, 9-15, 11-9
G12D  Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Mexico (postponed)
G10D  Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Mexico (postponed)
Getting to Know Your US Junior Team Players, Part I
Hobbies (besides racquetball…is there such a thing??)
Adam Manilla -- Soccer
Conner Laffey -- Snowboarding, swimming, singing, hanging out with girlfriend and friends
Sawyer Lloyd -- Basketball, hiking
Daniel Rojas -- All Racquetball!
Wayne Antone -- Competitive bowler (185 avg.), squash
Jordan Barth -- Baseball, football
Justus Benson -- Baseball, working out, and video games
Akul Ramayani -- Playing video games, soccer
Dane Elkins -- Basketball
Ricardo Diaz -- Tennis
Lexi York -- Running, squash
Danielle Falvey -- Tennis
Jordan Cooperrider -- Racquetball!!!
Erika Manilla – Soccer, cooking
Briana Jacquet -- Racquetball 24/7
Hannah Carver -- Soccer, basketball, tennis
Nikita Chauhan -- Baking
Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas -- Boxing, keeping my room clean
Krish Thakur -- Soccer, basketball, reading
Timmy Hansen -- Play outdoors
Graciana Wargo -- Girl Scouts, reading, art, young women’s church group, piano
Megan Carver -- Basketball and soccer
Heather Mahoney -- I compete on a traveling soccer team, United.
Drawing, writing stories. Play the electric bass and sing, Girl Scouts.
Julia Stein -- Making videos, gymnastics, singing
Vedant Chauhan -- Play cricket, basketball
Evan Wargo -- Piano, ultimate Frisbee, paintball, ping pong, running, robotics team
Tuesday’s schedule: 27 matches
9:00 am  G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Mexico
9:00 am  G10S Julia Stein vs. Bolivia
9:00 am  G14S Hannah Carver vs. Guatemala
9:00 am  G12S-Red Megan Carver vs. India
9:45 am  G14S Briana Jacquet vs. Bolivia
9:45 am  G16S Jordan Cooperrider vs. Mexico
10:30 am B10S-Red  Vedant Chauhan vs. Argentina
10:30 am G18S Danielle Falvey vs. Mexico
11:30 am G18S Lexi York vs. Mexico
12:15 pm  B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica
12:15 pm  B12S Tatoe Rojas vs. Colombia
2:00 pm B14S  Jordan Barth vs. Colombia
2:00 pm B14S Akul Ramayani vs. Mexico
2:45 pm B16S Wayne Antone vs. Mexico
2:45 am B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Bolivia
3:30 pm B18S Connor Laffey vs. Mexico
3:30 pm B16S-CH  Evan Wargo vs. Ecuador
4:30 pm B18S  Adam Manilla vs. Mexico
4:30 pm G12D  Graciana Wargo/Hannah Carver vs. Ecuador
5:15 pm  G18D Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Mexico
5:15 pm  G14D Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Bolivia
5:15 pm  G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Costa Rica
5:15 pm  B10D  Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Ecuador
6:00 pm  B14D Ricardo Diaz/Dane Elkins vs. Chile
7:00 pm  B18D Sawyer Lloyd/Adam Manilla vs. Bolivia
7:00 pm  B16D Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Canada
With this day under our belts and in the record books, we move into the final day of preliminary competition. As these matches conclude tomorrow, the results will be used to formulate the main draws that will commence on Wednesday.

Back with you tomorrow night, and...

Blog #3 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Day #1 of Competition
Head Coach Cheryl Gudinas recapped the day: “A successful first day of competition. We looked at these first round matches last night and knew they were going to be tough. USA came through! The matches we lost were win-able. Everyone built confidence today, regardless of match outcome. Long way to go…and I like our chances.”
The last match of the night, the 18 Doubles, was racquetball at its finest. It was USA vs. Canada, Lloyd/Manilla vs. Bousquet/Iwaasa. Our neighbors to the North proved tough competitors, as expected. After winning the first game 15-7, Team USA fell behind in the second game 4-13 before impressively turning up the heat but losing 13-15. Tiebreaker… Hard-fought, such a great effort on all parts. USA 11-9!

It’s really hard to believe you’re at a Junior tournament when you witness this caliber of racquetball. “Boys” seems a strange division designation – this was 100% world-class men’s racquetball! Loving the future of our sport.

Sunday's Results

Team USA logged 24 matches today with a record of 13 wins and 11 losses.
You can look up the draws and results on (click on the red/orange box in the top right corner of the home page), but for your convenience, here’s how it went for Team USA today:


B18S Adam Manilla vs. Guatemala, won 15-7, 15-2
B18S Connor Laffey vs. Guatemala, won 15-11, 15.14
B18D Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Canada, won 15-7, 13-15, 11-9
B16S Daniel Rojas vs. Colombia, won 13-15, 15-9, 11-7
B16S Wayne Antone vs. Colombia, lost 9-15, 12-15
B14S Jordan Barth vs. Honduras, won 15-2, 15-1
B14S Akul Ramayani vs. Canada, won 13-15, 15-9, 11-0
G18S Lexi York vs. Canada, won 15-7, 15-6
G16S Erika Manilla vs. Bolivia, lost 7-15, 15-8, 11-6
G16D Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Canada, won 15-0, 15-8
G14S Briana Jacquet vs. Puerto Rico, won 15-8, 15-8
G14S Hannah Carver vs. Canada, lost 5-15, 1-15
G14D Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan, Sunday 5:15 pm vs. Dominican Republic, lost 12-15, 1-15
B12S Akul Ramayani vs. Bolivia, won 15-6, 15-4
B12S Antonio (Tato) Rojas vs. Bolivia, won 15-4, 15-5
B10S Vedant Chauhan vs. Bolivia, lost 1-15, 14-15
B10D Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Mexico, won 3-15, 15-7, 11-8
G12S Megan Carver vs. Bolivia, lost 1-15, 4-15
G12D Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Colombia, won 15-10, 13-15, 11-2
G10S Heather Mahoney vs. Bolivia, lost 4-15, 0-15
G10S Julia Stein vs. Mexico, lost 10-15, 5-15
G10D Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Bolivia, lost 4-15, 2-15
B16S-CH  Evan Wargo vs. Colombia, lost 13-15, 1-15
G14S-CH  Megan Carver, Sunday vs. Bolivia, lost 3-15, 2-15
Tree Frogs – The Saga Continues
Racquetball fans love tree frog stories. We know this. For example, my buddy Barb Curran (who is a science teacher) sent me an email today: “I would like two tree frogs, please.” Even knowing that she is hard to buy for, I wrote back that I felt it could be an awkward moment in US Customs if they started chirping. However, not wanting to disappoint Barb and the many other tree frog fans, Coach Jen and I went on another (what turned out to be dangerous) expedition to the palm trees right outside our rooms. The issue happened when Coach Jen’s nose came too close to a palm frond with spikey thorns. Palm frond, 1, Coach Jen’s nose, 0. However, she rallied and crept behind the palm to find…GEORGE! He got really quiet when we got close, and here’s his picture.

¡Exito! Success! Photo credit, through great personal sacrifice: Jen Meyer.

P.S. For any racquetball fans out there who happen to be herpetologists...if you look at this photo and think these Colombian tree frogs may be poisonous…we do not, I repeat DO NOT want to know.
Monday's Schedule
Twenty-eight matches tomorrow! I decided to re-format so everyone can send the right vibes at the right times. It’s also easier for us to follow the matches from court to court and try to be there at each match as much as possible. BTW, times are CDT.
9:00 am  G16S  Jordan Cooperrider vs. Guatemala
9:00 am  G12S  Nikita Chauhan vs. Colombia
9:00 am  G10S  Heather Mahoney vs. Bolivia
9:00 am  G10S  Julia Stein vs. Mexico
9:45 am  G12S  Graciana Wargo vs. Ecuador
10:30 am  G16S Erika Manilla vs. Canada
10:30 am  G14S  Briana Jacquet vs. Dominican Republic
11:30 am  G14S  Hannah Carver vs. India
11:30 am G18S  Danielle Falvey vs. Canada
12:15 pm  B10S  Krish Thakur vs. Colombia
12:15 pm  B10S  Timmy Hansen vs. Colombia
2:00 pm  B14S  Jordan Barth vs. Guatemala
2:00 pm  B14S   Akul Ramayani vs. Chile
2:00 pm  G18S   Lexi York vs. Korea
2:45 pm  B16S  Daniel Rojas vs. Ecuador
2:45 pm  B16S  Wayne Antone vs. Ireland
3:30 pm  B18S  Adam Manilla, vs. Chile
3:30 pm  B18S  Connor Laffey, vs. Japan
3:30 pm  B16S-CH  Evan Wargo vs. Bolivia
4:30 pm  G12D  Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo vs. Mexico
4:30 pm  G10D  Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein vs. Mexico
5:15 pm  B10D  Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen vs. Bolivia
5:15 pm  G18D  Lexi York/Danielle Falvey vs. Canada
5:15 pm  G16D  Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider vs. Mexico
5:15 pm  G14D  Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan vs. Puerto Rico
6:00 pm  B14D  Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz vs. Chile
7:00 pm  B18D  Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd vs. Ecuador
7:00 pm  B16D  Jordan Barth/Justus Benson vs. Ireland
No scheduled matches on Monday:
Akul Ramayani  B12S 
Antonio (Tato) Rojas B12S
Megan Carver G12S 
Megan Carver  G14S-CH 
Vedant Chauhan B10S
P.S. Very best wishes to Jordan Cooperrider who is celebrating her 16th birthday tomorrow here in Cali!

Blog #2 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 11:59 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

Apologies to a State not mentioned last night! The players here in Cali represent nine states: Colorado, Oregon, California, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Sorry, Minnesota!
I wasn’t kidding about tree frogs last night (every night!), by the way. Coach Jen and I went on an intense expedition (well, just outside our rooms) where we knew for a fact those noisy guys are hiding. Funny, when you shone a light in their general direction, all chirping stopped. We did find one little one, named him George, but couldn’t get a photo before he hopped away. We promise that we will do our best to grab a picture of one of the little guys.

The Gang’s All Here

Everyone has arrived now (except for Sue Cooperrider; she'll be here soon) from the US Delegation to compete and cheer for for Team USA!

Listed below are the rest of the members of the delegation…
Head Coach Cheryl Gudinas, Assistant Coach Nick Montalbano, Esprit Coach Jen Meyer, Athletic Trainer Jody Nance, and Team Leader Cheryl Kirk
Tony Antone, Meadow Barth, Jeff Benson, Deborah Carver, Richard Carver, Anuj Chauhan, Kirti Chauhan, Daryl Cooperrider, Sue Cooperrider, Tim Hansen, Sarah Hansen, Eric Jacquet, Rachel Jacquet, John Mahoney, Nancy Manilla, Victor Manilla, Atul Ramayani, Mauro Rojas, Adam Stein, Rajesh Thakur, Gary Wargo, Kathleen Wargo, Melissa York
Bill Halvorson, Ashlyn Carver, Robert Santoro, and Ayde York
Bronc Hughes
Happy to have them all here supporting Team USA!!

Saturday at Junior Worlds

Today was a jam-packed day, beginning with a 2:00 am power outage (due to the storm) discovered upon arising at the Casa Santa Mónica Hotel. Electricidad was quickly restored and we went merrily about our very full schedule.
While the team practiced at the club, Coaches Cheryl and Nick and I attended the coaches’ meeting at the Radisson where all sorts of useful information was imparted…like event rules, the appointing of a rules committee, shuttle schedule, uniform guidelines…and the draws! Also, passports were checked for dates of birth, entry fees paid, and shirts and credentials distributed.
Opening Ceremonies were held this evening across from the Radisson Hotel at the UniCentro Mall. Countries lined up alphabetically and were announced one by one to applause from delegations and visitors as they entered the main court of the center. Comments were delivered by IRF and local dignitaries, the athlete’s and referee’s oaths were administered, and the audience was treated to world class salsa dancing complete with sequined outfits and incredible skill. Some acrobatics were included, to everyone’s delight.
But the day still wasn’t over! At 10:00 pm, the World Cup Team met for a briefing on event details, starting times, and curfew rules.
The schedule for Sunday (and a few first-round matches that begin on Monday) is below for your viewing pleasure. Tomorrow I’ll give you information on where you can go online to check all the divisions as they progress during the week to come.

Boys 18 Singles
Adam Manilla, Sunday 3:30 pm vs. Guatemala
Connor Laffey, Sunday 3:30 pm vs. Guatemala
Boys 18 Doubles
Adam Manilla/Sawyer Lloyd, Sunday 7:00 pm vs. Canada
Boys 16 Singles
Daniel Rojas, Sunday 2:45 pm vs. Colombia
Wayne Antone, Sunday 2:45 pm vs. Colombia
Boys 16 Doubles
Jordan Barth/Justus Benson, Monday 7:00 pm vs. Ireland
Boys 14 Singles
Jordan Barth, Sunday 2:00 pm vs. Guatemala
Akul Ramayani, Sunday 2:00 pm vs. Canada
Boys 14 Doubles
Dane Elkins/Ricardo Diaz, Monday 6:00 pm vs. Chile
Girls 18 Singles
Lexi York, Sunday 10:30 am vs. Canada
Danielle Falvey, Monday 11:30 am vs. Canada
Girls 18 Doubles
Lexi York/Danielle Falvey, Monday 5:15 pm vs. Canada
Girls 16 Singles
Jordan Cooperrider, Monday 9:00 am vs. Guatemala
Erika Manilla, Sunday 9:00 am vs. Bolivia
Girls 16 Doubles
Erika Manilla/Jordan Cooperrider, Sunday 5:15 pm vs. Canada
Girls 14 Singles
Briana Jacquet, Sunday 9:45 am vs. Puerto Rico
Hannah Carver, Sunday 9:00 am vs. Canada
Girls 14 Doubles
Briana Jacquet/Nikita Chauhan, Sunday 5:15 pm vs. Dominican Republic
Boys 12 Singles
Akul Ramayani, Sunday 11:30 am vs. Bolivia
Antonio (Tato) Rojas, Sunday 1:00 pm vs. Bolivia
Boys 10 Singles
Krish Thakur, Monday 12:15 pm vs. Colombia
Timmy Hansen, Monday 12:15 pm vs. Colombia
Vedant Chauhan, Sunday 2:00 pm vs. Bolivia
Boys 10 Doubles
Krish Thakur/Timmy Hansen, Sunday 5:15 pm vs. Mexico
Girls 12 Singles
Nikita Chauhan, Monday 9:00 am vs. Colombia
Graciana Wargo, Monday 9:45 am vs. Ecuador
Megan Carver, Sunday 9:00 am vs. Bolivia
Girls 12 Doubles
Hannah Carver/Graciana Wargo, Sunday 4:30 pm vs. Colombia
Girls 10 Singles
Heather Mahoney, Sunday 9:45 am vs. Bolivia
Julia Stein, Sunday 10:30 am vs. Mexico
Girls 10 Doubles
Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein, Sunday 4:30 pm vs. Bolivia
Boys 16 Singles
Evan Wargo, Sunday 3:30 pm vs. Colombia
Girls 14 Singles
Megan Carver, Sunday 12:15 vs. Bolivia
First results report tomorrow…and…

Blog #1 -- US Junior National Team at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Cali, Colombia
Friday, October 17, 2014, 10:40 pm CDT
Team USA Challenge Donate Link
by Cheryl Kirk

¡Hola! After much preparation on the parts of everyone in the US Junior Team Delegation, suddenly it was Thursday, and it was time for the journey to the XXVI IRF World Junior Championships in Cali, Colombia.

Of the 57 members of the US Delegation, 34 arrived Thursday, 19 on Friday, and four more will arrive Saturday morning. The delegation is made up of 26 players (15 boys, 11 girls), 27 parents and cheerleaders, 4 coaches, and a team leader (yours truly). The players represent eight states: Colorado, Oregon, California, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
The categories at World Juniors are divided up into World Cup (18’s, 16’s, 14’s singles and doubles), Esprit Cup (12’s and 10’s singles and doubles), and Challenger Cup (non-qualifying divisions). World Cup and Esprit Cup players qualified at the USAR Junior Olympics held last June in Denver.
The US Junior Team members will be competing against 17 other countries including the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Ecuador, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea, Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama.
Who’s Who on the US Junior Team
World Cup competitors in Boy’s 18 singles are Adam Manilla (CO) and Connor Laffey (OR). Adam will pair up with Sawyer Lloyd (CA) in the doubles. Daniel Rojas (CA) and Wayne Antone (OR) will play the 16 singles, and Jordan Barth (MN) and Justus Benson (WI) are the 16 doubles match-up. The Boy’s 14’s singles players are Jordan Barth and Akul Ramayani (NY) and the doubles team is Dane Elkins (CA) and Ricardo Diaz (CA).
In the Girls’ divisions, our singles competitors are Lexi York (OR) and Danielle Falvey (WI). Lexi and Danielle are also the 18 doubles team. The Girl’s 16’s are Jordan Cooperrider (FL) and Erika Manilla (CO), and they will team up in the doubles as well. Briana Jacquet (CO) and Hannah Carver (WA) are the Girl’s 14’s singles players, and Briana will team up with Nikita Chauhan (CA) in the 14 doubles.
In the Esprit Cup, our Boy’s 12 singles players are Akul Ramayani and Antonio (Tato) Rojas (CA). Krish Thakur (CA) and Timmy Hansen (FL) will take on all comers in the Boy’s 10 singles and doubles. Vedant Chauhan (CA) will additionally play Boy’s 10 Esprit singles.
On the Girls’ side, Nikita Chauhan and Graciana Wargo (FL) are both playing Girl’s 12’s singles; Graciana will also play the 12’s doubles with partner Hannah Carver.  Megan Carver will additionally play Girl’s 12 Esprit singles. Heather Mahoney (CA) and Julia Stein (PA) are the Girl’s 10 singles players and the doubles team as well.
The US has two participants in the Challenger Cup – Evan Wargo (FL) in the Boy’s 16’s and Megan Carver in the Girl’s 14’s.
I’ll share more information on this delegation of impressive junior players via short profiles throughout these blogs over the next 8 days.
“How I Spent My Friday”
The day on Friday was spent getting acclimated to the hotels (we are in two) and practicing at Club Cañasgordas.
Assistant Coach Nick Montalbano commented after practice today: “This first practice day today was used as an opportunity for the players to get a feel for the courts along with checking out the atmosphere that they will be competing in. With the altitude being relatively high here in Cali*, the ball is traveling faster than it would on a usual court. Along with practicing at the club, US Junior Team members took the opportunity to relax and recover from their travels to Cali from their hometowns. Practice tomorrow should be of a higher intensity and continuing mental focus. Looking forward to practice day #2 and Opening Ceremonies!”
Grabbing a late lunch and exploring the nearby mall, a group of parents and players were available and in fine spirits for this photo op at Crepes & Waffles, a popular destination for many American players who have visited Cali in times past. So delicious, muy rico!
*Cali, capital of Valle del Cauca departamento, western Colombia, lies on both sides of the Cali River at an elevation of 3,327 feet (1,014 m) in the subtropical intermontane Cauca Valley. The city was founded on July 25, 1536, by Sebastián de Benalcázar.
Saturday in Cali
Coaches meeting, practice, Opening Ceremonies, team meeting… Tomorrow will be a full and exciting day for this delegation.
And at the Coaches Meeting, the draws will be made available!
Over the next days, come along with us and live the experience here in Cali. This team is ready to do you proud!
Signing off to the sounds of a late-night thunderstorm and little chirping tree frogs who don’t seem to mind thunder…

-- Cheryl Kirk
P.S. A shout-out to Robert Prymus, Jr., a Senior Systems Analyst at Miami Airport, whom we ran into during our layover. It was great to strike up a conversation with a long-time racquetball player right there in the airport, and he’ll be taking this photo back to his friends at LA Fitness with a story of meeting one of the greatest racquetball players of all time!