2017 Junior World Racquetball Championship Blogs

By Cheryl K Kirk | Nov. 04, 2017, 2:31 a.m. (ET)
XXIX 2017 Junior World Racquetball Championship Blogs

Minneapolis, MN
November 5-11, 2017
Team USA Challenge Donation Link


US Junior Team -- Blog #10
Monday, November 13, 2017


Well, at the beginning, I predicted nine blogs (10 if you were lucky). Your fondest wish has come true! For those of you feeling the pangs of withdrawal and a certain melancholy after so many days of marathon blog reading, here's #10! Coaches Charlie and Jen offer stirring comments to cap off a great week in Minneapolis!

COACH CHARLIE PRATT SUMMARIZES THE 2017 IRF WORLD JUNIORS
The final day of World Juniors featured seven gold medal matches for team USA. It started off at 9:00 am with Sonya Shetty winning the 10 & Under singles in two games! Word of Sonya’s gold medal spread like wildfire throughout our Whatsapp group text. Congratulations, Sonya!

You could feel the excitement and energy in the group as we sat down to watch Heather Mahoney play her 12 & Under singles final on the main court. At Junior Nationals in Stockton, Heather placed 1st in 12 & Under singles, 2nd in 14 & Under singles, and 1st in 14 & Under doubles with partner Julia Stein. Heather had to decide which two divisions she wanted to play at Worlds, and she elected to play 14 doubles and 12 singles, a smart move in our opinion. It also put her in a unique position of being on both the Esprit and World Cup teams, bridging the gap between the two. Heather attended the World Cup training camp in Colorado Springs in August. As we all got to know Heather, our excitement for her chances in 12 & Under singles grew strong. She really helped us realize how important it is to support the Esprit team as well.

Heather is an absolute warrior! In all my years of playing racquetball, I’m not sure I have ever seen someone as young as her give so much in every point. Even at the training camp, she was one of the fittest and hardest workers, battling sore muscles, blisters, bruises, and more. Heather will probably set the record for most hours spent with our trainer Jody by the time she finishes juniors. The same was true for Junior Worlds. The coaches got word that Heather was having issues with her hip a couple weeks before the event. Not the best start, and a bit concerning. We kept a close eye on Heather, making sure she was healthy enough to play. Although she let us know of her injuries, she showed no signs of slowing down. In the entire tournament, I would not be surprised if she dove 100+ times -- more than all the other team players combined. Every match she came away with a new bruise or blister! Heather is an incredible athlete. For her, this tournament was about fighting through the pain each day. She played lights out in her finals match, winning in two games. The crowd was there in full swing, including almost the entire World Cup team. And yes, she dove at least 10 times in that match!

The next gold medal match was Akul vs Mexico’s #1 player. Akul is perhaps the most talented player I have ever seen at his age. At Junior Nationals, Akul won the 14 & Under singles, 14 & Under doubles with Antonio Rojas, and 16 & Under singles. The only person I can remember doing something like that is Jack Huczek, the greatest junior player of all time. Akul’s matches this week were unreal. He won his quarterfinal in an 11-9 tiebreaker, then his semifinal 11-10. It was absolutely exhausting watching those two matches, and as his coach, I wasn’t sure I could go through another. At the meeting the night before, coach Bobby told Akul to “stop playing with your food before you eat it.”  A great example of Bobby’s coaching style and overall personality. Akul took that to heart and played his best ball of the tournament, winning in two games. Such a proud moment for the team. Our first World Cup gold medal!

As many of you may know, USA Racquetball took a different approach to the coaching this year, allowing parents and private coaches who passed all the requirements to coach players alongside the USA Coaching staff. Among the private coaches was none other than Jim Winterton, a legend in our sport. Jim coaches Akul, and I was honored to be alongside him in multiple matches. These included the 11-9 and 11-10 wins earlier. We were both thrilled to capture the victory. At the same time, we couldn’t help but think how close we were to not seeing it happen -- the difference between one or two shots. Even in Akul’s semifinal, Akul hit a splat shot from 39 feet about an inch high for a rollout to get back in the box. Truly a game is inches, if not millimeters. We were both so grateful. When Akul came out of the court, he tracked down coach Bobby and said, “I didn’t play with my food this time!”

After Akul’s match was the Boys 12 doubles featuring Vedant Chauhan and Josh Shea vs. a very tough Mexican team. If there is one thing I am most excited about, it is the future of this US Team. We have some very talented players coming up the ranks in the 12's and 10's. Josh Shea lost his semifinal 11-9 to the winner of the division, and Vedant lost his singles to the other finalist in a tiebreaker. Nikhil Prasad also lost 11-10 to the defending world champion in the quarterfinals. Although it was a slightly disappointing finish to some of the singles matches, Team USA proved they are right there with everyone else. One or two shots were the difference in some of the matches. Josh and Vedant won their first game in the doubles final and were up in the second thanks to amazing play from Vedant. Mexico came back with a vengeance and took the second game to force a tiebreaker. Mexico’s strategy continued to work as they won the tiebreaker 11-5. A great run for Vedant and Josh and nothing to be disappointed about. Silver medal earned, and hopefully some motivation for their future. If they continue to train hard, I have no doubt they will soon be champions in singles and doubles. The future is bright!

Speaking of a bright future, Heather Mahoney and Julia Stein were up next in their final round robin match of the tournament. They played Canada, and the winner would receive a bronze medal. Heather and Julia played better every match of the tournament after a tough start in their round robin. The Canada team fought hard but were no match for the power of Julia and speed of Heather. USA won in two games to earn the bronze! I absolutely love the matchup of Julia and Heather: speed, power, fearlessness, and youth. Heather is still in 12s, and Julia in her bottom year of 14s. This is exciting for us as coaches: a bronze medal with another year in the division. Their nickname is now the Dream Team!

The day began to get busy with three USA matches at the same time. Our boys 14 & Under doubles featuring Akul and Antonio vs. Mexico gold medal match, then Daniel Rojas in his 18 &  Under final match, and the girls 16 & Under were playing for a silver against Mexico. As a coach, it was killing me not to be at everyone's match. I sat down with the Girls 16 against Mexico. Mexico was a tough team and won in two games, but a bronze medal for our 16 doubles team is a great finish, and I am super proud of Graci and Briana, especially considering it is their down year and first time playing together. It was an honor to coach them this week.

I was happy to find out that Akul and Tatoe won their final in two games. It wasn’t easy, but on paper it was a dominating performance by our 14 Boys all week, never dropping a game. About a month before Worlds, Tatoe flew out to New York from California to practice with Akul -- a special thanks to Reaching Your Dream Foundation for helping Tatoe with his flight. It was a long trip for young Tatoe and his first on his own. He was even a bit nervous a few days before the trip and said he might not go but found the courage to make the trip anyway. He and Akul spent six straight days practicing together, which proved to be the difference in doubles and certainly helped in singles. After Akul’s 11-9 and 11-10 victories, it’s hard to argue that the practice wasn’t crucial. I'm so proud of these boys. They show tremendous class, courage, and maturity for their age. Congratulations to Akul for his double gold, and to Tatoe for his first gold!

After the Girls 16 doubles and Boys 14 doubles, everyone piled in for Daniel’s 18 singles final. Daniel has never won gold at Worlds. It is his last year, and we wanted nothing more than to see his dream come true. Daniel continued to impress us all as the week went on. We all knew that he had everything it takes to win a title, but could he bring it all together for an entire tournament? I had no doubt that he was the best player there, but it’s not necessarily the best who wins, it is the one who can play well every game and every match. Daniel fought off two tiebreakers in the round of 16 and quarterfinal. His semifinal was against Mexico’s #1 player (who was the #1 seed in the tournament. Most people expected Daniel to stop there, but not this team, and certainly not Daniel. He won in two game -- a huge victory for him, described by people who know him well as ‘the best he has ever played.' He took that momentum into the finals, winning the first game 15-6. He was off to a great start in the second, 6-0, but I knew that his opponent, Eduardo Portillo from Mexico, was not going down without a fight. Eduardo battled back and they went point for point all the way to the end. Eduardo took a 14-12 lead and had multiple game points. Daniel stayed tough every point, a true testament to his mental strength and heart. He changed his serve at 13-14 to a simple lob to the backhand, which Portillo slammed into the ground. Daniel went back to the same serve at 14 all, got a ceiling ball set-up and buried it into the right corner for the victory! After a few leaps into the air, Daniel collapsed on the court (in a good way of course). His father and coaches rushed in and gave him big hugs. What an amazing moment! We could not be more proud of his victory, his performance, and the way he finished his junior career. But most of all, and we all agree on this, we are most proud of who Daniel has become. He is quite possibly the most humble and respectful champion this game has ever seen. Jody Nance made the statement that if they gave a sportsmanship award, Daniel would receive it. Daniel represents everything that is good in this sport and this team. As head coach, all I ask is that my players carry themselves respectfully. Above your performance, have respect for your opponents and the game. It means more than anything, and it is what people will remember you for. Daniel will not only be remembered for being a champion, he will be known for who he is. I am unbelievably honored to have had him on my team, even for just a year. What a year it was. Congratulations, Daniel! And thank you!

The nightcap was the Girls 18 doubles of our other team captain, Hollie Scott and partner Megan Carver. This team was in a double round robin, so they played each of the other teams twice. They first lost to Ecuador in a tiebreaker, then lost to Mexico in two games. They had a couple days off, then played Ecuador again, this time winning in two games which put them back in the second place position behind Mexico. They played Mexico directly after Daniel's match. At that point, Mexico had already sealed first place in that division, and USA had sealed second. So no matter the outcome, the results would stay the same. That knowledge did not stop our girls from playing their hardest and their best. We were packed in on the show court bleachers, live streaming, cowbells, clappers -- the energy was high! Mexico jumped out to an early lead, then Megan Carver hit a not-so-great lob serve to the forehand side, which the girl skipped into the floor. Coach Bobby looked at us like ‘that was interesting.' Megan served another not-so-good lob, same result, big skip. The game was starting to get closer and the coaches looked at each other and said ‘we can win this match.' A few points later we called a timeout, and Coach Bobby said to Megan and Hollie, ‘I know this sounds nuts, but I want you to serve really bad lobs to the forehand.' The girls laughed, but Bobby assured them that he was serious. We started to sense a buzz in the crowd, a different energy. It was the last match, and the result didn’t matter for the division or the team title, but we were there and we wanted to get a W! The match turned into a battle, going point for point and taking the first game 15-14! It was on! The crowd was into it, the players believed, and the coaches were having the most fun we’d had all week, mostly because there was zero pressure on the line, only our pride. The second game continued to be a battle. We cannot say enough about Megan Carver. Megan is actually in her bottom year of 16’s. She was in the court playing against the World Champion Monserrat Mejia, streamed live, huge crown, battling for every point and listening to everything the coaches were saying. She is a tremendous athlete. Our team went into the I-formation, with Hollie receiving all the serves. This was also the case at Junior Nationals. But this was not your normal I-formation. Usually an I-formation means one player is frustrated with the other. Not the case here. Hollie is just a more solid serve returner on both sides. But Megan is actually the faster player, making some amazing plays up front, hitting great shots on both sides. USA went down 13-9 and took a timeout. They refocused, got the serve back, got a few points, then Mexico got the serve again. We sided out again and scored the remaining points to win 15-13, taking the match. What a way to end it! Congratulations to Hollie and Megan for an absolutely outstanding match, tournament, and overall year. So honored to have them on our team.
Saturday went down as perhaps one of the most successful final days the USA has ever seen. With the exception of a few losses, we absolutely dominated the competition.

What a way to end an already amazing tournament! Mexico and Bolivia proved themselves better in the overall team competition -- hats off to them. Both countries are extremely impressive in all divisions. I was on the very first team to lose a World Championship to Mexico. We never got it back while I was on the team. It hurt a lot, especially at the time. I thought perhaps it was something we were doing wrong. In reality, the other teams just got better. They had to if they wanted the title. This was also the case this year. We are a great team, but Mexico and Bolivia are just better. I can live with that as coach. What I am most proud about is how our team carries itself and how close they have become over the last few months. Play hard, have fun, be respectful, be humble. They are, and they will continue to be. We took 3rd overall, we had some tough losses, we were not the better team. But on Saturday, the final day, on our home turf, it was our day. We finished the day with perhaps the most thunderous USA chant that racquetball has ever seen. All 40+ players and 50+ parents gathered together in the gym after the closing ceremonies and shook the building. It gave me chills.

I cannot thank the parents, kids, coaches, IRF, and USA Racquetball enough for everything. It was truly a special week. There was something in the air. The excitement of our home country, the community, the racquetball family. In all my years on the team I never felt anything like that. It’s hard to describe unless you were there, just an overall unity.

Thank you everyone for this amazing experience. I am one lucky coach. I told the team, ‘I might have many teams in my years, but I will only have one first team. One first Worlds. And this was it. I will remember this forever.'

See you all in Iowa for Junior Nationals next June. Go USA!!

COACH JEN MEYER RECAPS ESPRIT TEAM RESULTS
Wow! What an incredible week! First off, congratulations to Sonya Shetty, Ava Naworski, and Heather Mahoney for winning GOLD today! Sonya started us off with our first gold medal of the day and turned around an hour later and added another one! All three played amazing and had incredible mental games on their way to earning their World titles. Those World titles are extremely special and no one can ever take that accomplishment from them. It has been quite awhile since we won a Girls title for the Esprit Team, and they showed how it was done!

Our Esprit Boys team did an incredible job as well. Josh Shea, Vedant Chauhan, Bobby Singh, and Joseph Marshall all earned silver medals and helped us earn a 2nd place Boys title. As a team both the girls and boys placed 2nd overall! I couldn't be more proud of all of the Esprit players and their accomplishments at the World Championships.

As usual, this week went by incredibly fast, and throughout the tournament the all of our kiddos grew as athletes on and off the court. USA Racquetball can be so proud of the representation of Junior Team USA at the World Championships. Not many know the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and time it takes to compete at this level. It is inspiring to witness such attributes from young kiddos. They all played with heart, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of such an amazing group of people!

The athletes came prepared and gave their all, but that couldn't be done without their phenomenal parents. Throughout the tournament they were constantly asking if any of the coaches needed anything (food, water, run an errand, find another athlete). It was a gesture that made some of the hectic and busy times as coaches manageable throughout the day. It is no wonder the USA has a fabulous set of athletes with parents like that as role models. Truly unbelievable and appreciated from the bottom of my heart!

A big shout out to Cheryl Kirk and Renée Gundolff for EVERYTHING they do for us. The endless hours of behind-the-scenes work doesn’t go unnoticed. This trip couldn’t have been done without them, and we are thankful to have them on our team. Jason Thoerner was up and at the club for our first match of the day and stayed until the last match of the day, cheering everyone one on and keeping me sane when trying to make sure we had a coach on every match. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
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TEAM LEADER'S BLOG -- FOOTNOTE (I ALWAYS GET THE LAST WORD!)
Moving into 2018, there will be three US Team events -- two adult competitions (PARC and IRF Worlds) and of course IRF World Juniors later in the year. All three will be very expensive trips. I'm so proud of our US Teams -- what they bring to Racquetball and to the lives of those who compete and of those who pull for the team every time they compete. If you enjoy the excitement of following the US Teams like I do, I ask you to join me with whatever monetary support you feel you could provide in the coming months to the Team USA Challenge. Thanks for your consideration, and thanks for the reading the blogs and watching online. We at USA Racquetball wish you and your family the Happiest of Thanksgivings next week! We are thankful for YOU!

-- Cheryl Kirk



US Junior Team -- Blog #9
Saturday, November 11, 2017


Well, the XXIX IRF World Racquetball Championships is indeed in the record books. What a day, full of highs and lows, but mostly highs as the team celebrated the double Golds of Sonya Shetty and Akul Ramayani as well as an impressive amassing of Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in 22 divisions!
 
Coaches Charlie and Jen are preparing final comments, to be published tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon in the blog at www.usaracquetball.com. In the meantime, here we go...
 
First, Saturday's match results:
 
G12S -- Heather Mahoney def. Natalia Mita (BOL) (15-5, 15-4)
G10S -- Sonya Shetty def. Natalia Mendez (BOL) (15-0, 15-12)
C14S -- Cody Thomas (USA) lost to Andrew Gleason (USA) (0-15, 1-15)
C12S -- Alexander Gomez lost to Manuel Oyhanart (ARG) (2-15, 5-15)
C12S -- Krish Maini lost to Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI) (4-15, 6-15)
C12S -- Joshua Tramm (USA) lost to Caleb Marshall (USA) (4-15, 1-15)
B14S -- Akul Ramayani def. Sebastian Longoria (MEX) (15-10, 15-5)
G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril lost to Angela Veronica Ortega/Carolina Bonifacio (MEX) (9-15, 8-15)
G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski def. Zara Ximena Barraza/Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX) (15-3, 15-3)
G10D -- Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver lost to Ashly Arce/Ared Arce (CR) (2-15, 3-15)
G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney def. Riley Somerville/Juliette Parent (CAN) (15-8, 15-4)
B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea lost to Juan Carlos Picard/Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX) (15-8, 12-15, 5-11)
B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh lost to Eder Renteria Perea/Mauricio Gomez Paez (MEX) (0-15, 2-15)
G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew def. Thea Coleman/Sarah Ainsworth (IRE) (15-8, 15-12)
B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas def. Eduardo Portillo (MEX) (15-6, 15-14)
B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Tatoe Rojas def. Erick Trujillo/Sebastian Longoria (MEX) (15-12, 15-11)
G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo lost to Ana Laura Flores/Delia Alejandra Aguilar (MEX) (4-15, 2-15)
G18D -- Hollie Scott/Megan Carver def. Montserrat Mejia/Denisse Maldonado Munoz (MEX) (15-14, 15-13)
 


Awards Ceremonies
After the last match of the day was finished (Boys 18 Doubles), it was time for the Awards Ceremonies. Checklist -- results (check), country flags (check), medals and trophies (check), sound system (check), medals stands (check), national anthems (check), results (check). Listo! (That's Spanish for "ready!")
 
A crowd gathered in the gym next to the courts to view the festivities. After a bilingual welcome from Master of Ceremonies Marcelo Gómez, there was some special recognition delivered, first to John Wilinski, Life Time's National Racquetball Director, for his hard work in planning and delivering a first-class facility experience to the 200+ players in this event.
 
Luke St. Onge, also heavily involved in the planning and execution of the event, had to leave early for a family emergency, but that didn't stop the IRF Board of Directors from inducting Luke into the International Racquetball Federation Hall of Fame tonight. Cheryl Kirk presented, and Gary Mazaroff accepted on Luke's behalf. There in support of the induction were Estuardo Wer (Guatemala), Jack McBride (Canada), Marcelo Gómez (Costa Rica), Gustavo Farell (USA/Uruguay), Juan Manuel Gutierrez (Colombia), and Tim Baghurst (HOF Committee member). Osvaldo Maggi and Keith Calkins provided comments and video congratulations for Luke. Dean Schear is taking Luke's HOF award home to him in Colorado Springs.
 
Accepting for Luke, Gary said: "Luke St. Onge is one of the pioneers in our sport. His resume travels across six decades, and it includes a wealth of job descriptions, including venue manager, promoter, NGB Executive Director, Secretary General, and Visionary. Luke has passion, perseverance, and the sphere of influence to continue to drive our sport forward. His numerous contributions and his history in the sport make this induction beautifully appropriate, and we are happy to share this with the 13 delegations and all of the junior players at this World Juniors event. I accept this induction on Luke's behalf, and I know his heart will be happy to hear this news."
 
Congratulations, Luke St. Onge, on your induction into the IRF Hall of Fame!
 
Time for medals presentations! A big thank you to Aarya Shetty, Ishika Prasad, and Hannah Carver for their help in presenting the medals! Please see the overall results below and visit www.internationalracquetball.com for a look at the full draws. (Blogger's Note: FYI, the IRF awards bronze medals for both 3rd and 4th places.)



TEAM USA Overall Results -- Individual -- WORLD CUP
Girls 14 Singles -- Annie Roberts -- BRONZE
Boys 14 Singles -- Akul Ramayani -- GOLD; Antonio Rojas -- BRONZE
Girls 14 Doubles -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney -- BRONZE
Boys 14 Doubles -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Rojas -- GOLD
Girls 16 Singles -- Nikita Chauhan -- BRONZE
Girls 16 Doubles -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo -- BRONZE
Boys 18 Singles -- Mauro Rojas -- GOLD
Girls 18 Doubles -- Hollie Scott/Megan Carver -- SILVER
 
TEAM USA Overall Results -- Individual -- ESPRIT CUP
Girls 10 Singles -- Sonya Shetty -- GOLD
Boys 10 Singles Red -- Bobby Singh -- SILVER; Eshan Ali -- BRONZE
Boys 10 Singles Blue -- Angel Eden Galvan -- BRONZE; Joseph Marshall -- BRONZE
Girls 10 Doubles -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski -- GOLD; Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver (BRONZE)
Boys 10 Doubles -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh -- SILVER
Girls 12 Singles Red -- Arya Cyril -- SILVER; Camila Gomez -- BRONZE
Girls 12 Singles Blue -- Esha Cyril -- SILVER; Kareena Mathew -- BRONZE
Girls 12 Singles Gold -- Heather Mahoney -- GOLD; Ava Kaiser -- BRONZE
Boys 12 Singles White -- Benjamin Horner -- GOLD
Boys 12 Singles Red -- Vedant Chauhan -- GOLD
Boys 12 Singles Blue -- Gatlin Sutherland -- BRONZE
Boys 12 Singles Gold -- Josh Shea -- BRONZE
Girls 12 Doubles -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew -- BRONZE; Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril -- BRONZE
Boys 12 Doubles -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea -- SILVER; Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland - BRONZE
 
TEAM USA Overall Results -- Individual -- CHALLENGER CUP
Boys 10 Singles -- Taij Singh -- GOLD; Alexander Gomez -- SILVER; Caleb Marshall -- BRONZE; Joshua Tramm -- BRONZE
Boys 12 Singles -- Krish Maini -- SILVER; Taij Singh -- BRONZE
Boys 14 Singles -- Andrew Gleason -- GOLD; Cody Thomas -- SILVER; Armando Angel Perez -- BRONZE
 
Overall Results -- Country Standings
World Cup -- Girls
1. Bolivia
2. Mexico
3. USA
4. Canada
 
World Cup -- Boys
1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Bolivia
4. Ecuador
 
World Cup -- Combined
1. Mexico
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Ecuador
 
Esprit Cup -- Girls
1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Bolivia
4. Costa Rica
 
Esprit Cup -- Boys
1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Bolivia
4. Ecuador
 
Esprit Cup -- Combined
1. Mexico
2. USA
3. Bolivia
4. Costa Rica


Question of the Day -- What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now?
Dane Elkins -- Probably working, doing who knows what
Lukas Le -- Playing a lot more racquetball
Sahil Thakur -- Probably slaving away in college
Cayden Akins -- Programming
Mitchell Turner -- Working as an architect
Akul Ramayani -- Going to college
Antonio Rojas -- On the pro tour while being a real estate agent
Jordan Cooperrider -- Opening up my own vet hospital
Hollie Scott -- Owning 7 dogs
Megan Carver -- Playing professional racquetball
Briana Jacquet -- Being a pediatric surgeon and playing on the LPRT
Nikita Chauhan -- I think I will be pursuing a career as an architect or interior designer and will still playing racquetball, hopefully professionally. I can also guarantee that I will have a dog :)
Annie Roberts -- I want to be in college studying sports medicine and still competing in racquetball
Julia Stein - Either in med school or the LPRT
Heather Mahoney -- College, hopefully Olympics, still doing soccer
 
Vedant Chauhan -- I think I would still be playing racquetball and a lot of other sports 10 years from now.
Josh Shea -- Trying to play sports or coach before getting a more serious job
Joseph Marshall – Playing professional sport or helping animals
Angel Eden Galvan -- Going to college and playing Pro Racquetball.
Eshan Ali – In college playing racquetball
Ava Kaiser -- I will still be in college pursuing vet medicine degree.
Arya Cyril -- I think that I would be studying in medicine.
Esha Cyril -- Hopefully I will be doing residency in medicine.
Sonya Shetty -- I would be in a good college studying to be a doctor.
Ava Naworski -- Enjoying my senior year of college
Nikhil Prasad -- I will be getting my masters in computer science
Benjamin Horner -- Winning the US Open
Gatlin Sutherland -- Just out of college...looking for a job
Aidan Weller -- Getting a job
Bobby Singh -- Getting a degree in college
Advait Kartik -- I will be in my Engineering school!
Kareena Mathew -- Going to college or being a teacher
Camila Gomez -- Graduating from college
Adriana Perez – Playing some racquetball tournaments here and there and doing Crossfit still and getting paid to play music for the elderly in assisted living facilities
Ashlyn Carver -- Be getting into vet school
 
Andrew Gleason – Playing racquetball
Armando Angel Perez – Working as an IT manager
Cody Thomas – Playing pro racquetball; training juniors
Caleb Marshall – Still playing racquetball; sports
Joshua Tramm -- Working at Merchant and Gould [intellectual property law]
Alexander Gomez -- I will be in College


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 www.usaracquetball.com provides the opportunity for racquetball players to support the US Teams with their participation at international competitions.
 
The Local Organizing Committee, headed by John Wilinski (Life Time) and Luke St. Onge (IRF), for putting on this great event. The work behind the scenes to pull off a tournament of this magnitude is extensive.
 
The tournament staff (Francisco Kurzbard, Amanda Barletta de Kurzbard, Mauro Grandio, Pablo Berriel, and Maria De Los Angeles Sarria).
 
The referees, headed up by Carlos Cuadri (Argentina) and Gustavo Farell (USA), who came in from several countries to provide a quality experience for the players, including the happy gift that no player had to ref the next match!
 
Pablo Fajre and Laura McCormick for bringing quarterfinals, semifinals and finals action to viewers on the IRF Network, and Gary Mazaroff and Tim Baghurst for providing professional commentary.
 
The staff of the Hampton Inn & Suites and Embassy Suites who were friendly, efficient, and responsive to all requests.
 
The management and staff of Life Time Target Center for providing a first-class facility for this World Juniors competition.
 
The volunteers at Life Time who performed any task large or small to help the event run smoothly: TJ Beagan, Skip Lecy, Lilly Lecy, Cheryl Jones, Maymuna Yahyaha, Muhammad Yahyaha, Anil Yahyaha, Ahmed Yahyaha, Monica Wilinski, Sudsy Monchik, Vero Sotomayor, Steve Johnson, Cliff Swain, Paul Ryan, and Jonn Olson.
 
Brooke Magleby of doTerra for donating samples to the team to get them through the tournament. These were essential oil and lotion products to help with sore and tired muscles.
 
Rhonda Kimler who loaned Jody Nance two stim units and an ultrasound machine. She also received a box from me at her house, loaned us a tray for medals for the awards ceremonies, and brought me rice cakes!
 
Kit Lawson, the blogger's husband, who helped her (me) transcribe all of the Question of the Day responses on 10/31 so that I could just pull them a day at a time when writing from Minneapolis.
 
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. The coaching staff thanks you once again for the lunches that kept them fueled throughout the week!
 
Jason Thoerner and Renée Gundolff, USA Racquetball staff members, who assisted the team with multiple duties from coaching (Jason) to putting together results for the blog (Renée) to managing snacks and being available to help with various functions (like posting draws and helping at opening and closing ceremonies) on the IRF side of things. Renee said, "It has been a honor and privilege to be here as part of the delegation. Our athletes have trained so hard; to see them accomplish their personal bests and dreams is inspiring. Thank you to all of the parents for taking care of the coaches and staff all week."
 
USAR Official Apparel Sponsor Rollout Racquetball (Jonathan and Carolyn Clay) -- thanks for making the US Junior Team look so good!
 
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.
 
As Sunday dawns, families will be heading home to resume normal life. Speaking for the coaches and staff members, we have had a great time with this delegation -- one of the largest ever (136) and certainly one of the most considerate and enthusiastic we have experienced. Safe travels to all -- US Junior Team, you made everyone so proud!
 


Signing off from Minneapolis, and all that's left to be said is...
 
GREAT JOB, TEAM USA!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk

US Junior Team -- Blog #8
Friday, November 10, 2017
 


Greetings to all! Tomorrow on Veterans Day, we join our fellow Americans in honoring the sacrifices of all those who serve and have served. Thank you to all U.S. veterans! 
Please see the end of this Blog #8 for a little more information on Veterans Day.**
 
Brief weather report...as I write this, a dusting of snow has fallen on downtown Minneapolis, and the kids from the Central and South American are loving it! An observation: someone does need to teach Walking on Snow 101...
 
Coach Charlie Recaps the Day
Well, Akul almost gave Coach Pratt another heart attack. 11-10 win! All World Cup matches were played on the back courts 4-8 which created an unforgettable atmosphere. We were able to cheer for each other on three different courts at one time.
 
Nikita started us off at 10 am against the Mexican #1, falling short in two games. What a great tournament for Nikita! Bronze medal! Annie followed on the same court, playing Mexico's #1 in 14's. She fought hard, but it wasn't her day. This tournament brings the best players in the world, and although Annie is one of the best, you have to bring it every match, and you have to be the better player every time in an event that only gets harder.
 
Tatoe played the same time as Annie. He was doing very well, but his momentum faded as the match went on. He lost in two games to the #1 from Mexico. Akul went on shortly after Tatoe. His match was insane, and to save you all the drama, and myself a panic attack, I'll just give you the scores: 11-15, 15-14, 11-10. He was down 10-8. Akul plays Mexico's #1 tomorrow in the final.
 
Our team captain, Daniel, won his semifinal against Mexico's #1, Gerardo Franco. Daniel played phenomenally, described by his fellow Stocktonians as 'the best ever.' He won in two games and plays Mexico's #2 tomorrow in the final.
 
Tatoe and Akul won their doubles in two games against Ecuador. They play Mexico tomorrow in the finals.
 
The Girls 14 Doubles of Heather and Julia played their best racquetball of the tournament today. They played a very tough Mexican team, going point for point with great rallies, dives from Heather, and thunderous forehands from Julia. Despite their best effort, they lost in two games, but made their coaches very proud!
 
The Girls 16 Doubles played a tough Bolivian team and lost in two games. It was their first loss in the tournament and their round robin. They play for silver tomorrow against Mexico. Podium, nonetheless! We are also very proud of Briana and Graci!
 
Tomorrow concludes our tournament. What a week it has been! We have more finals matches in the Esprit divisions. Very proud of our younger players!
 
Let's go USA!!! GO FOR GOLD!!
 
 
Friday's Results at World Juniors
B10S Red -- Bobby Singh lost to Henry Pol (BOL) (6-15, 11-15)
G12S Red -- Arya Cyril lost to Carolina Bonifacio Siller (MEX) (11-15, 1-15)
G12S Blue -- Esha Cyril lost to Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) (8-15, 15-9, 2-11)
B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan def. Oscar Montejo (CR) (15-14, 15-9)
B12S White -- Benjamin Horner def. Guillermo Gutierrez (COL) (15-6, 15-5)
G12S -- Sonya Shetty def. Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX) (15-1, 15-10)
G16S -- Nikita Chauhan lost to Ana Laura Flores (MEX) (3-15, 3-15)
B14S -- Antonio Tatoe Rojas lost to Sebastian Longoria (MEX) (14-15, 6-15)
B14S -- Akul Ramayani def. Hector Orlando Barrios (BOL) (10-15, 15-14, 11-10)
G14S -- Annie Roberts lost to Guadalupe Griffin (MEX) (3-15, 9-15)
B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas def. Gerardo Franco (MEX) (15-10, 15-11)
G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski (USA) def. Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver (USA) (15-1, 15-2)
C14S -- Cody Thomas def. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI) (15-7, 8-15, 11-6)
B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland lost to Juan Carlos PIcard/Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX) (3-15, 9-15)
B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh def. Martin Carchi Cuesta/Joaquin Villacreses (ECU) (15-2, 2-15, 11-4)
G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew (USA) def. Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril (USA) (15-12, 15-7)
C14S -- Armando Angel Perez (USA) lost to Andrew Gleason (USA) (3-15, 2-15)
B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Tatoe Rojas def. Josue Bereo/Pablo Vera (ECU) (15-3, 15-12)
G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney lost to Guadalupe Griffin/Valeria Hernandez (MEX) (8-15, 9-15)
B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea def. Alejandro Cuellar Meneses/Jhonatan Flores (BOL) (15-8, 15-4)
G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo lost to Valeria Centellas Claros/Romina Rivero (BOL) (3-15, 1-15)
C12S -- Krish Maini (USA) def. Taij Singh (USA) (15-11, 15-2)
C12S -- Caleb Marshall (USA) lost to Alexander Gomez (USA) (15-9, 15-11)
 
Question of the Day -- If you suddenly had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?
Daniel Rojas -- Buy a house, pay car off, buy things for house
Dane Elkins - Invest it and live off $40,000/year (4% a year)
Lukas Le -- A racquetball facility
Sahil Thakur -- Probably myself, my family, and then college
Cayden Akins -- Invest a portion of it, buy some clothes, and a grand piano
Mitchell Turner -- Travel and pay my family's bills
Akul Ramayani -- Charity
Antonio Rojas -- Charity and house with cars
Jordan Cooperrider -- I would invest it till I get out of college and I can open up my own vet clinic.
Hollie Scott -- Invest it and make more money!!
Megan Carver -- Vacations
Briana Jacquet -- I would buy a house and save the rest.
Nikita Chauhan -- I would give it to charity since there are others who need it more than I do.
Graci Wargo -- A car and save the rest for college
Annie Roberts -- Buying a house in Pismo Beach (and a good lookin' surfboard)
Julia Stein -- Build my dream gym and hold tournaments
Heather Mahoney -- Bahamas/donate
 
Vedant Chauhan -- I would probably buy a nice car and give some to charity.
Josh Shea -- Dream house for family or dream car for future
Joseph Marshall -- $900,000 invested, $3000 toys, $95,000 to parents
Angel Eden Galvan -- I would pay off my parents’ house, would buy new cars and new iPhones for the family, would buy the best racquetball gear, go on trips and best of all, buy a huge home to shelter homeless children.
Eshan Ali – Give it to charity
Ava Kaiser -- Save for college, give to charity and buy my dream car a McLaren
Arya Cyril -- I would donate half to charity, use $250,000 to save up for education for my family, and then give the rest to a hospital.
Esha Cyril -- I would donate the money to charity and put the rest in my bank account to save.
Sonya Shetty -- I wouldn’t. I would keep it for college and bills.
Ava Naworski -- First, some saving for college. Then donate for programs to help people in need.  
Nikhil Prasad -- I would put it in my college savings.
Benjamin Horner -- A house with a lot of electronics
Gatlin Sutherland -- Save it, I don't like spending my own money
Aidan Weller -- Save it
Bobby Singh -- Football and racquetball gear
Advait Kartik -- I have spent many weekends working with folks at Skid Row, Los Angeles. They need the money much more than I do.
Kareena Mathew -- Desserts, and going to different places/traveling
Camila Gomez -- Clothes and college
Adriana Perez – I would donate 10% to the poor, 20% give to my family, 10% to priests, and the rest I would use to invest in my financial portfolio for my future.
Ashlyn Carver -- A dog and sports equipment
 
Andrew Gleason – One thing would be a racquetball court
Armando Angel Perez – Shoes, a car, and a house
Cody Thomas – College, racquetball equipment, a house, stocks
Caleb Marshall – House, car, toys, savings
Joshua Tramm – 10% of it to God; 10% of it to homeless people
Alexander Gomez -- College and to buy a house
 
Dr. Bud Visits World Juniors
As mentioned a couple of days ago, Dr. Bud Muehleisen, 86, Father of Racquetball and the first person ever to be inducted into the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame, arrived at Life Time Target Center today with his daughter Karen and friend Glenn Elvig.
 
We tried to take a brief tour before our scheduled meeting, but I think when you're Dr. Bud, you pretty much stand there and receive the adulation of the racquetball masses. Visitors at the bottom of the Life Time stairway included Cliff Swain, Sudsy Monchik, Jen Meyer, Scott and Gatlin Sutherland, Rhonda Kimler and Ava Kaiser, Mike and Andrew Gleason, and Jim Winterton. Later, Rich Carver and Robbie Collins had the chance to greet Dr. Bud. 
 
Our meeting included Marcelo Gómez (IRF Executive VP, PARC President, and President of the Costa Rican Racquetball Federation); Jack McBride (IRF Board - North America Regional VP and former Racquetball Canada President); Tim Baghurst (IRF Director of Media and Marketing); and myself (IRF and PARC Boards - Executive Secretary and USA Racquetball Board Officer). Dr. Bud's ideas about the future of our sport were insightful and made a big impression on all of us. We are happy to have videotaped the session and will share his points in a future communication.
 
Next for Dr. Bud was an online interview with Tim Baghurst. It was fun to watch Dr. Bud (Tim's first coach) and Tim sitting side by side with headsets while Dr. Bud explained how he got the name Father of Racquetball, how racquetball got its name, details on the famous matches vs. Paul Raber, what he's doing now, and what he thinks needs to change in racquetball for the future.
 
I'm trying to locate where you can view this interview and will report back in tomorrow's blog. For more about Dr. Bud, visit http://racquetballmuseum.com/fatherofrb.html or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud_Muehleisen.


Saturday at World Juniors -- The Finals!
This is it! Here's the last schedule (18 matches) before we wrap up this great event and return home to families, friends...and school!
 
9:00 -- G12S -- Heather Mahoney vs. Natalia Mita (BOL)
9:00 -- G10S -- Sonya Shetty vs. Natalia Mendez (BOL)
9:00 -- C14S -- Cody Thomas (USA) vs. Andrew Gleason (USA)
9:00 -- C12S -- Alexander Gomez vs. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG)
10:00 -- C12S -- Krish Maini vs. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI)
10:00 -- C12S -- Joshua Tramm (USA) vs. Caleb Marshall (USA)
11:00 -- B14S -- Akul Ramayani vs. Sebastian Longoria (MEX)
11:00 -- G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril vs. Angela Veronica Ortega/Carolina Bonivacio (MEX)
11:00 -- G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski vs. Zara Ximena Barraza/Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX)
11:00 -- G10D -- Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver vs. Ashly Arce/Ared Arce (CR)
12:00 -- G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Riley Somerville/Juliette Parent (CAN)
12:00 -- B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Juan Carlos Picard/Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX)
12:00 -- B12D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh vs. Eder Renteria Perea/Mauricio Gomez Paez (MEX)
12:00 -- G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew vs. Tea colean/Sarah Ainswort (IRE)
12:30 -- B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas vs. Eduardo Portillo (MEX)
1:00 -- B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Tatoe Rojas vs. Erick Trujillo/Sebastian Longoria (MEX)
1:00 -- G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo vs. Ana Laura Flores/Delia Alejandra Aguilar (MEX)
1:30 -- G18D -- Hollie Scott/Megan Carver vs. Montserrat Mejia/Denisse Maldonado Munoz (MEX)
 
Tomorrow night at this time, the XXIX IRF World Racquetball Championships will be in the record books! Medals and trophies will have been awarded, and players will be spending their last evening in each other’s company, realizing that this 8-9 day trip is nearly over.
 
Carpe diem (seize the day), US Junior Team players! Have fun, play hard, play fair!
 
Readers, be sure to tune in Saturday for free live streaming at www.internationalracquetball.com.
 
One more blog tomorrow night (or perhaps Sunday) with the final results from this IRF World Junior Championships!
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk
 
** Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. (Source: Wikipedia)

 


US Junior Team -- Blog #7
Thursday, November 9, 2017



Brrr..a chilly day in Minneapolis where the temperature barely touched 20 degrees F. As of this writing, it's 11 degrees, but wait! There's a heat wave on the way that will take us to 29 degrees tomorrow. Yay (covered and heated) Skyway! Weather report complete, on to racquetball...
 
Coach Charlie Summarizes 
Today was a pivotal day. We saw most of our team make an exit from the tournament. Sahil, Dane, Lucas, Jordan, Mitch, and Julian lost in their single elimination brackets. Briana and Hollie lost their singles but are still in doubles. Hollie and Megan beat Ecuador to seal at least a silver medal. Briana and Graci are undefeated so far in their round robin and have made it to the podium with two matches to go.
 
Annie Roberts started us off strong with a tiebreaker win over Canada to earn a spot in the semifinals. She plays Mexico's #1 player tomorrow. Nikita beat Canada's #1 in two very close games after being down 14-9 in the first game. She plays Mexico's #1 tomorrow in the semis also. Antonio (aka Tatoe) beat Bolivia's #2 player for the second time this tournament and plays Mexico's #1 in the semifinal tomorrow

Akul had an absolute barnburner match with Mexico's #2 player Erick Trujillo. He had match point several times in the second game, but Trujillo fought back from 11-14 to win 15-14 and force a tiebreaker. Akul was up 10-5 only to have Erick climb back to 9-10. Akul took a timeout and won the next two rallies to win 11-9. Another near heart attack for Coach Pratt. As excited as we were for the win, the sight of the exhausted, teary-eyed Trujillo was enough to put things into perspective. He played so hard and no doubt worked hard for this tournament, and I couldn't help but feel his pain as I myself have been in his shoes. Much respect to Erick, a true class act at such a young age. We have not seen the last of him.
 
Team Captain Daniel, won his quarterfinal against Set Cubillos in a tiebreaker. Set was actually in control most of the match, but Daniel scored the points when it was important. It is always hard watching single elimination in 18 & Under as you know it is, a lot of the time, their last match as a junior. You see it all come to an end. For Set, this was it. He's another class act who has a bright future. For now, he will no doubt reminisce about his journey. The same can be said for players such as Justus Benson, Kevin Vazquez, Wayne Antone, and Erika Manilla. It is hard to know what the future holds after juniors, but the only way to find out is to keep playing. Keep competing. This game is a part of us all and has so much to offer, perhaps not financially but for the glory, the friendships, the family. And that's what it's all about. That has never been as apparent as this event, with the support we have seen from everyone, our racquetball family. I am here to tell you, as coach of this team, that the best days are in fact in front of you. Keep your racquets close by. The journey has just begun.
 
See you all tomorrow! Go USA!!
 
Thursday's Results at World Juniors
G12S Blue -- Esha Cyril def. Andrea Reyes (GUA) (15-11, 15-9)
G12S Blue -- Kareena Mathew lost to Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) (3-15, 2-15)
G10S -- Ava Naworski lost to Natalia Mendez (BOL) (6-15, 11-15)
G10S -- Sonya Shetty (USA) def. Adriana Perez (USA) (15-0, 15-1)
B10S Blue -- Angel Eden Galvan lost to Ricardo Izquierdo (COL) (6-15, 15-7, 8-11)
B10S Blue -- Joseph Marshall lost to Alvaro Guillen (CR) (14-15, 13-15)
G12S -- Ava Kaiser lost to Natalia Mita (BOL) (9-15, 15-14, 8-11)
G12S -- Heather Mahoney def. Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX) (15-10, 15-12)
G12S Red -- Arya Cyril def. Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU) (15-3, 15-12)
G12S Red -- Camila Gomez lost to Carolina Bonifacio Siller (MEX) (2-15, 6-15)
B12S White -- Benjamin Horner def. Jose Pablo Caceres (GUA) (15-12, 11-15, 11-5)
B10S Red -- Bobby Singh def. Joaquin Villacreses (ECU) (15-3, 15-7)
B10S Red -- Eshan Ali lost to Henry Pol (BOL) (1-15, 11-15)
B12S -- Josh Shea lost to Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX) (15-12, 7-15, 9-11)
B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan def. Dongjin Woo (KOR) (15-4, 15-2)
B12S Blue -- Gatlin Sutherland lost to Ezequiel Subieta (BOL) (15-14, 7-15, 0-11)
C14S -- Krish Maini lost to Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI) (2-15, 15-14, 6-11)
C14S -- Cody Thomas def. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG) (15-11, 15-13)
C14S -- Armando Angel Perez def. Andres Matamoros (CR) (15-11, 9-15, 11-10)
C14S -- Andrew Gleason def. Edgar Arroyo (CR) (15-0, 15-1)
G16S -- Nikita Chauhan def. Cassie Prentice (CAN) (15-14, 15-13)
G16S -- Briana Jacquet lost to Stefanny Angelica Barrios (BOL) (6-15, 4-15)
B14S -- Antonio Rojas def. Adrian Mauricio Jaldin (BOL) (15-1, 15-11)
G14S -- Annie Roberts def. Juliette Parent (CAN) (15-10, 14-15, 11-4)
C12S -- Krish Maini def. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG) (15-3, 12-15, 11-10)
B14S -- Akul Ramayani def. Erick Trujillo (MEX) (15-7, 14-15, 11-9)
G18S -- Hollie Scott lost to Stefanny Angelica Barrios (BOL) (15-5, 11-15, 5-11)
G18S -- Jordan Cooperrider lost to Montserrat Mejia (MEX) (9-15, 3-15)
B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas def. Set Cubillos (COL) (15-13, 6-15, 11-3)
B18S -- Dane Elkins lost to Eduardo Portillo (MEX) (7-15, 7-15)
B16S -- Sahil Thakur lost to Liam Zahaed Evangelista (MEX) (13-15, 13-15)
G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo def. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Nathalia Rafaela Pinero (ECU) (15-14, 8-15, 11-5)
B10D -- Angel Eden Galvan/Eshan Ali lost to Jose Carlos Saldana/Henry Pol (BOL) (4-15, 3-15)
B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh def. Sayid Rodriquez/Aaron Bustamente (CR) (15-3, 15-9)
G10D -- Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver lost to Zara Ximena Barraza/Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX) (1-15, 5-15)
G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski lost to Ashly Arce/Ared Arce (CR) (13-15, 12-15)
B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland def. Antonio Sanchez/Oscar Montejo (CR) (14-15, 15-12, 11-5)
B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea def. Juan Pablo Rodriguez/Duvan Torres (COL) (15-4, 15-11)
G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril def. Thea Coleman/Sarah AInsworth (IRE) (15-1, 15-3)
G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew lost to Jimena Gomez/Tamara Brenes (CR) (11-15, 15-10, 8-11)
B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Rojas def. Felipe Guillen/Victor Daniel Segura (CR) (15-5, 15-9)
G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney lost to Maricruz Ortiz/Sofia Freer (CR) (12-15, 8-15)
B16D -- Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh lost to Oscar Elias Nieto/Sebastian Fernandez (MEX) (5-15, 8-15)
G18D -- Hollie Scott/Megan Carver def. Maria Jose Munoz/Ana Lucia Sarmiento (ECU) (15-11, 15-7)
B18D -- Mauro Daniel Rojas/Lukas Le lost to Gerardo Franco/Eduardo Portillo (MEX) (0-15, 9-15)
C12S -- Joshua Tramm (USA) lost to Taij SIngh (USA) (1-15, 0-15)
C12S -- Caleb Marshall lost to Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI) (0-15, 2-15)
 
Shout Out to Minnesota Fans
Rhonda Kimler (aka Ava Kaiser's mom) has told us that she has spotted many faces from the Minnesota racquetball community at Life Time Target Center this past week. These fans have taken off work to come and cheer on Junior Team USA (there might have been one or two school kids in the mix as well!). Thanks, Minnesota fans!


What's a Kid To Do?
John Wilinski (Life Time National Racquetball Director) and the staff and volunteers have dedicated one entire basketball gym here at Life Time Target Center for the purpose of giving players, siblings, and parents a place to hang out between matches and play other sports (ARE there other sports??). Designated areas for ping pong, basketball, and pickleball are perpetually populated -- it's a fun and active space right next to the tournament desk.
 
Proud of Our Jody, Proud of Team USA
Today Sofia, one of the Costa Rican players, injured her knee during a match vs. Mexico. Dr. Jody Nance, Team USA's athletic trainer and assistant coach, was immediately on the scene to assist her, assessing the injury and taping the knee.
She was just great, putting the young player and her coaches at ease with her kind and caring ways. This is the spirit of Team USA. Yes, winning matches is one priority, but when someone needs help, we will help. The health and safety of all players is most important above all.
 
Life Lessons Learned Here
When you're at an event like World Juniors, the days go on (and on) with lots and lots of racquetball. But every once in awhile, a scenario develops that reminds us that there's a lot more going on here than just racquetball. Overheard, coach to the stronger player, during a timeout, in a painfully lopsided match: "Let him play. Serve to his forehand so he can play some rallies and have a little court time." At the conclusion of the match, the weaker player left the court smiling, and this touched my heart.
 
Consideration for others through examples set by coaches and parents begin to form principles that are the basis for a lifetime of making a difference. It's thinking beyond the competition itself to realize that memories here (good or bad) will last a lifetime.
 
A coach (like Charlie Pratt) who emphasizes sportsmanship as key in this very special World Juniors experience is standing for something that will serve our players well in their coming years, both in sports competition and in their personal and professional lives. The satisfaction that will come from doing the right thing starts here.
 
Racquetball is "A Sport for Life" in so very many ways.
 
Question of the Day -- What's the nicest thing you ever did for someone?
Blogger's Note: Love these answers -- there's a lot to be proud of here. Read on...
 
Dane Elkins -- Tutoring someone late at night for free
Lukas Le -- Hold up on a full swing avoidable
Sahil Thakur -- Help them through difficult times
Cayden Akins -- Donated a prize to someone after winning the tournament
Mitchell Turner -- Took care of my mom when she was sick
Akul Ramayani -- I found my grandma's ring that fell down the drain.
Antonio Rojas -- Gave a homeless man $20 and bought him food
Jordan Cooperrider -- For my best friend's 17th birthday party, I surprised her
Hollie Scott -- Giving someone my last piece of food -- I love food! If I give you my last fry, I love you a lot!
Megan Carver -- I volunteer at Northwest Harvest and package food for the local food banks.
Briana Jacquet -- I saw a kid that was getting bullied, and I intervened.
Nikita Chauhan -- Donated a meal and blankets to an orphanage on my 14th birthday.
Annie Roberts -- Teach them how to play racquetball
Heather Mahoney -- Every year I miss my friend's birthday because I'm at Worlds, so I always get her something from there.
 
Vedant Chauhan -- Spending a lot of time with my granddad.
Joseph Marshall – Stopped younger brother from running in front of a car
Angel Eden Galvan -- Helped a friend get up when he tripped and fell on his arm.
Eshan Ali – I helped someone who got hurt
Ava Kaiser -- Playing cribbage monthly with a paralyzed senior citizen.
Arya Cyril -- Fought for my friends' rights if they were not able to stand up [for themselves]. I also bought everyone pizza at school.
Esha Cyril -- Donating and giving food to orphans in India.
Sonya Shetty -- I had helped out at the homeless shelter that one of my classmates lived in.
Nikhil Prasad -- I stood up for a kid who was bullied for not being good at basketball.
Benjamin Horner -- Making a miniature chair for an elderly person that collects them.
Gatlin Sutherland -- Backed a friend knowing I could get in trouble, too.
Aidan Weller -- I helped a special needs classmate for a year.
Bobby Singh -- Gave food at the homeless shelter
Advait Kartik -- Four years ago, I saw a kid who had been playing all by himself. Nobody was playing with him. I went over invited him to play a game of four square. He agreed and it was smiles all over!
Kareena Mathew -- Me and my friend made and donated $400 to a refugee camp
Camila Gomez -- Gave my Christmas presents to the orphanage kids.
Adriana Perez – Give someone a hug when they really needed it and make myself available when someone needs a friend to talk to.
Ashlyn Carver -- Volunteer at Northwest Harvest for a food drive and package food up
 
Andrew Gleason – Helped my mom after her knee surgery during the night when my dad was gone from home
Armando Angel Perez – I told someone they were beautiful when they themselves did not think they were.
Cody Thomas – Give them food when they are hungry
Caleb Marshall – Handing out cards at nursing homes
Alexander Gomez -- Give presents to the orphanage kids
 
Question of the Day, Part II
Blogger's note: In an effort to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest blog in history, here's a bonus QOTD...
 
If you could have lunch with anyone (living) who would it be?
Daniel Rojas -- Kobe Bryant
Dane Elkins -- Donald Trump, it would be quite the story
Lukas Le -- Kane Waselenchuk, I have questions for him
Sahil Thakur -- Gordon Ramsay
Cayden Akins -- Roger Federer
Mitchell Turner -- Trump
Julian Singh -- Chris Pratt
Akul Ramayani -- Gael Monflis
Antonio Rojas -- Eric Thomas
Jordan Cooperrider -- Channing Tatum
Hollie Scott -- Rihanna, because she's amazing and hopefully we would become besties
Megan Carver -- Tom Holland
Briana Jacquet -- Serena Williams
Nikita Chauhan -- Oprah Winfrey since she had a very tough childhood and yet she has so much determination to become the person she is today.
Annie Roberts -- Cheryl Kirk!
    Blogger's note: I did not pay Annie to say this, but I'm definitely springing for lunch!
Julia Stein -- Eric Berry
Heather Mahoney -- Selena Gomez
 
Josh Shea -- Derek Jeter
Joseph Marshall – Lebron James
Angel Eden Galvan -- Stephen Curry
Eshan Ali – Kane Waselenchuk
Ava Kaiser -- Author Erin Hunter
Arya Cyril -- Grant Gustin.
Esha Cyril -- Zayn Malik.
Sonya Shetty -- Bill Gates, because he could give me business ideas.
Ava Naworski -- Michelle Obama
Nikhil Prasad -- Sundar Pichai (Google's CEO)
Benjamin Horner -- Russell Wilson
Gatlin Sutherland -- Grandpa
Aidan Weller -- Mike Trout
Bobby Singh -- Peyton Manning
Advait Kartik -- John Lewis, a civil rights leader
Kareena Mathew -- Tobin Heath
Camila Gomez -- Michelle Obama       
Adriana Perez – My friends
Ashlyn Carver -- Carrie Underwood
 
Andrew Gleason – Ethan Bates
Armando Angel Perez – The Rock, Dwayne Johnson
Caleb Marshall – Mr. Alex from church
Joshua Tramm -- My mom
Alexander Gomez -- Kane Waselenchuk
 
Private Coaches are in the House (Part III)
Hey, look who I found -- busy times here! The remaining five private coaches shared some info about themselves for our loyal blog readers:
 
Fran Davis
City/State: Brooklyn, New York; reside in Seattle, Washington
Number of years in racquetball: 30+
Family/Pets: Partner and son / Teacup Yorkie, Brenstein
Day Job: Professional RB Coach
Thoughts about being here: I love international team competition because of the cheering and excitement of the countries/players/spectators.
 
Elaine Dexter
City/State: Pleasanton, CA
Number of years in racquetball: 35 years
Family/Pets: 1 lovely daughter; 2 cats
Day Job:Full time ClubSport Pleasanton; part-time (1 day) accounting
Thoughts about being here:Fun seeing players from Ireland and Korea!!
 
Eric Jacquet
City/State: Scottsdale, Arizona
Number of years in rball: 30+
Family/Pets: Family in Texas except for Briana. German Shepherd named Kato.
Day job? In the medical field
Thoughts about being here: A great privilege
 
Ken Stone
City/State: Pleasanton, CA
Number of years in racquetball: 35 years in racquetball
Family/Pets: 1 lovely stepdaughter; 2 cats
Day Job: IBM software engineer
Thoughts about being here: Great seeing the kids play basketball, pickle ball, ping-pong together wearing their country uniforms.
 
Cliff Swain
City/State: Boston, Massachusetts
Number of years in racquetball: Playing and coaching since 1979
Family: Happily married with a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
We have an Australian Shepherd dog and two cats.
Day job: My day job is primarily spending time with my family. I also own a Racquet company and a real estate company (Cliff Swain Realty).
Thoughts about being here: Being at the Junior Worlds is one of the coolest experiences of my racquetball life. During my own career, I started playing pro at a very young age, and we were not allowed to play the great amateur events that I only could read about. So this is an extra-cool experience for me. Working with such great hardworking athletes as Ava Kaiser, Hollie Scott and Dane Elkins is a complete honor for me!


Officials (aka Referees) -- Working Long Days!
Thanks so much to the officials and staff members who traveled from the USA, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia to provide a professional experience for the 13 countries that are competing here in Minneapolis: Carlos Cuadri (ARG), Gary Mazaroff (USA), Gustavo Farell (USA), Frank Alongi (USA), Rick Mattson (CAN), John Halko (CAN), Linda Ellerington (CAN), Ricardo (Tucky) Gonzalez (MEX), Jaime Martell (MEX), Ivan Valdez (MEX), Eleni Guzman (MEX), Alejandro Morales (MEX), Marco Hidalgo (USA), German Coppolecchia (ARG), Sebastian Digon (ARG), Franco Capandegui, (ARG), Dean Schear (USA); Mauro Grandio (ARG), Pablo Berriel (ARG), Amanda Kurzbard (ARG), Francisco Kurzbard (ARG), Angeles Sarria (COL)
 
Friday (Already??) -- Match Schedule
 
9:00 -- B10S Red -- Bobby Singh vs. Henry Pol (BOL)
9:00 -- G12S Red -- Arya Cyril vs. Carolina Bonifacio Siller (MEX)
9:00 -- G12S Blue -- Esha Cyril vs. Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
10:00 -- B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan vs. Oscar Montejo (CR)
10:00 -- B12S White -- Benjamin Horner vs. Guillermo Gutierrez
10:00 -- G12S -- Sonya Shetty vs. Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX)
10:00 -- G16S -- Nikita Chauhan vs. Ana Laura Flores (MEX)
11:00 -- B14S -- Antonio Tatoe Rojas vs. Sebastian Longoria (MEX)
11:00 -- B14S -- Akul Ramayani vs. Hector Orlando Barrios (BOL)
11:00 -- G14S -- Annie Roberts vs. Guadalupe Griffin (MEX)
12:00 -- B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas vs. Gerardo Franco (MEX)
12:00 -- G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski (USA) vs. Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver (USA)
12:00 -- C14S -- Cody Thomas vs. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI)
1:00 -- B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland vs. Juan Carlos PIcard/Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX)
1:00 -- B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh vs. Martin Carchi Cuesta/Joaquin Villacreses (ECU)
1:00 -- G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew (USA) vs. Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril (USA)
1:00 -- C14S -- Armando Angel Perez (USA) vs. Andrew Gleason (USA)
2:00 -- B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Tatoe Rojas vs. Josue Bereo/Pablo Vera (ECU)
2:00 -- G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Guadalupe Griffin/Valeria Hernandez (MEX)
2:00 -- B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Alejandro Cuellar Meneses/Jhonatan Flores (BOL)
3:00 -- G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo vs. Valeria Centellas Claros/Romina Rivero (BOL)
3:00 -- C12S -- Krish Maini (USA) vs. Taij Singh (USA)
3:00 -- C12S -- Caleb Marshall (USA) vs. Alexander Gomez (USA)
 
Twenty-three matches tomorrow, beginning at 9:00 am and ending at approximately 5:00 pm. Good luck to all who are still playing, whether in the round robins or in the semifinals of the main draws!
 
To each and every player, win or lose, you are giving or have given your all on the court. We couldn't be prouder of our Junior Team USA players!
 
Matches will be streamed throughout the day tomorrow (Friday) and on Saturday as well...visit www.internationalracquetball.com to view.
 
GO TEAM USA!!


US Junior Team -- Blog #6
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 Team USA Players
Coach Charlie Weighs In
What a day! The 12 & Under girls started us off with some exciting matches and the energy was high from the start. The main draws started today which brings a different feel to the tournament. It's like the first day all over again. Nerves were present. But these players are showing the passion to fight for every point all the way through. Many of the matches went smoothly, but some were as close as it gets.
 
Boys 16's and 18's were amazing. Cayden lost a tough two-gamer, 14-15, 12-15. That's it for Cayden, but we are extremely proud of him and the way he competed. Cayden is a class act, and we have enjoyed every minute having him on this team. He is also hilarious.
 
Sahil played right afterward and won in a very tough tiebreaker after dropping the first game. His opponent was playing very well, but Sahil kept his composure and continued to play smooth and steady, winning 11-7.
 
Next up was Dane vs Bolivia. Wow, what a match! Dane dropped the first game 15-13 after some tough rallies that could have gone either way. He continued to fight hard and won the second, 15-8. He was up big in the breaker 10-4, but the Bolivian fought back to 6-10. He took a timeout, but the Bolivian was not done, scoring three more to make it 9-10. We called one more timeout, which was a good move. Dane got the serve back and won the match 11-9. He almost gave Coach Pratt a heart attack.
 
Daniel played the same time as Dane and dropped the first game, 15-12. He was also down big in the second but went on a huge scoring run to win 15-10. The tiebreaker was all Daniel as he showed everyone the highest-level racquetball this tournament has seen, possibly ever. It was pro level and near perfection. Such a great end to a crazy day.
 
We finished by eating some Charlie Pratt Approved Salads, courtesy of the parents, who I cannot thank enough for all the support. This tournament is far from over, but I know when it is, I am going to miss everyone terribly. It is truly special to be a part of this group. They are making USA Racquetball and their country proud. On to tomorrow. It is going to be awesome! Go USA!!

2017 Team USA Parents and Players
Wednesday Results
G12S -- Ava Kaiser (USA) def. Esha Cyril (USA) (15-5, 15-6)
G12S -- Heather Mahoney def. Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) (11-15, 15-10, 11-3)
G10S -- Adriana Perez (USA) def. Ashlyn Carver (USA) (15-6, 15-5)
G14S -- Julia Stein lost to Sofia Freer (CR) (1-15, 2-15)
G12S -- Kareena Mathew lost to Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX) (2-15, 1-15)
G12S Red -- Arya Cyril def. Jimena Gomez (CR) (15-7, 15-7)
G12S Red -- Camila Gomez def. Tamara Brenes (CR) (15-3, 15-8)
G14S -- Annie Roberts def. Kelly Ann Ryan (IRE) (15-1, 15-1)
B10S Red -- Bobby Singh def. Taein Woo (KOR) (15-3, 15-10)
B10S Red -- Advait Kartik lost to Joaquin Villacreses (ECU) (2-15, 14-15)
B10S -- Angel Eden Galvan lost to Eder Renteria Perea (MEX) (5-15, 2-15)
B10S -- Joseph Marshall lost to Mauricio Gomez Paez (MEX) (13-15, 15-8, 6-11)
B10S Red -- Eshan Ali def. Colman Moloney (IRE) (15-11, 5-15, 11-7)
C12S -- Alexander Gomez lost to Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI) (15-3, 15-0)
B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan vs. Victor Daniel Segura (CR) (15-5, 15-8)
B12S White -- Benjamin Horner def. Adrian Elizondo (CR) (15-5, 15-2)
C12S -- Taij Singh (USA) def. Caleb Marshall (USA) (15-4, 15-6)
C12S -- Joshua Tramm lost to Manual Oyhanart (ARG) (0-15, 0-15)
B12S -- Nikhil Prasad lost to Juan Carlos Picard (MEX) (12-15, 15-13, 10-11)
B12S Red -- Aidan Weller lost to Oscar Montejo (CR) (15-12,12-15, 1-11)
B12S Blue -- Gatlin Sutherland def. Adrian David Carchi Cuesta (ECU) (15-11, 15-8)
G18S -- Jordan Cooperrider def. Daniela Herrera (COL) (15-1, 15-0)
B12S -- Josh Shea def. Einer Andre Loza (BOL) (15-6, 15-8)
G16S -- Nikita Chauhan def. Jazmin Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) (15-7, 15-0)
B14S -- Antonio Tatoe Rojas def. Jack Kearney (IRE) (15-0, 15-0)
G16S -- Briana Jacquet def. Nathalia Rafaela Pinero (ECU) (15-7, 15-2)
G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski (USA) def. Ashlyn Carver/Adriana Perez (USA) (15-0, 15-1)
B16S -- Cayden Akins lost to Ian Bernard Frattinger (CAN) (14-15, 12-15)
B14S -- Akul Ramayani def. Nathan Jauvin (CAN) (15-6, 15-1)
B16S -- Sahil Thakur def. Sean Sauve (CAN) (13-15, 15-7, 11-7)
B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas def. Juan Francisco Cueva (ECU) (12-15, 15-10, 11-1)
B18S -- Dane Elkins def. Bryan Zambrana (BOL) (13-15, 15-8, 11-9)
B16D -- Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh def. Jack Hanrahan/Odhran Moloney (IRE) (15-0, 15-1)
 
Question of the Day
If you could travel back in time three years and visit your younger self, what advice would you give?
 
Daniel Rojas -- Enjoy your opportunities
Lukas Le -- Keep on pushing, everything will get better and continue on over time.
Sahil Thakur -- Please stop procrastinating
Cayden Akins -- Try harder for a better GPA
Mitchell Turner -- Use your backup camera
Akul Ramayani -- Wish I had annoyed my sister more.
Antonio Rojas -- Be good in school and save money for the future
Jordan Cooperrider -- Work harder on school work
Hollie Scott -- Never stop working for what you want
Megan Carver -- Stop doubting yourself, take racquetball more seriously
Briana Jacquet -- Don't waste time on things or people that aren't beneficial to growing your life.
Nikita Chauhan -- I would tell myself to not care what others think about me, to just be myself.
Graci Wargo -- To not care what people think and be yourself and focus on yourself.
Annie Roberts -- Don't worry about how other people are doing things or achieving because I am different from others
Julia Stein -- Make good memories with my friends; take racquetball more seriously.
Heather Mahoney -- Train hard, work hard, do well in school. Have fun with life.
 
Vedant Chauhan -- Enjoy elementary school as much as I can, since afterwards it isn’t nearly as fun.
Joseph Marshall – There will be difficult teachers but there will be lots of fun.
Angel Eden Galvan -- Work my hardest to listen to my parents better.
Eshan Ali – Try harder
Ava Kaiser -- Work hard and always try your best, because someday it will pay off
Arya Cyril -- I would tell myself to not let people influence you and not let them take advantage of you.
Esha Cyril -- I would tell myself to start racquetball earlier.
Sonya Shetty -- Try to talk to my parents a bit more.
Nikhil Prasad -- Just have fun until 6th grade
Benjamin Horner -- To always give 100% in all you do.
Gatlin Sutherland -- If you go through the effort to do your homework, might as well turn it in.
Aidan Weller -- Do not slack off
Bobby Singh -- Start playing football
Advait Kartik -- Go slow and wait – things always work out in the end!
Kareena Mathew -- Don't give up when you make a mistake or there is a setback.
Camila Gomez -- To be less shy
Adriana Perez – Do more racquetball and find a gym that is kid friendly. And get MORE pencils and erasers for drawing
Ashlyn Carver -- Start helping around the house more
 
Andrew Gleason – Not to break racquets and getting mad isn’t good. At the end of the game you are just going home for cookies and milk.
Armando Angel Perez – Do not be afraid to take risks
Cody Thomas – I would tell myself to practice more days in the week
Caleb Marshall – Don’t be stupid; be wise.
Alexander Gomez -- To be smart

2017 Team USA Coaches
Private Coaches are in the House (Part II)
In an earlier blog, I mentioned that for the first time, USA Racquetball has introduced a program that invites private coaches (who work with the players year 'round) to come to World Juniors and support their students. I caught up with a few of them today...so we can get to know them better!
 
Anwar Ali
City/State: Union City, CA
Number of years in racquetball: About 20
Family: Married, two daughters (16 and 18) and son Eshan (10)
Day job: Auto parts sales
Thoughts about being here: Having a great time seeing world-class junior players. Really enjoying coaching!
 
Brian Ancheta
City/State: Gresham, Oregon
Years in racquetball: 27
Family: Wife Tami, sons Brady (19) and Chase (13)
Day job: Athletic club manager/racquetball director
Thoughts about being here: Love being around the kids and other coaches.
 
Dean Baer
City/State: Long Island, New York 
Years in racquetball: over 20 years playing
Family: Father of two (11 and 14); 7 brothers/2 sisters (2 brothers play racquetball, plus one brother lives in Minneapolis!)
Day job: Business owner -- Baer Financial Services
Thoughts about being here: I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity. Being here is overwhelming at times. It’s so exciting to see the kids play.  
 
Brian Dixon
City/State: Petaluma, CA
Years in Racquetball: 45 -- started playing at 9 years old and have been coaching kids since 1998
Family: Significant other Carol, parents Dick and Lilo
Day Job: In mortgage business since 1988; Reverse Mortgages since 2008
Thoughts about being here: Amazing seeing all the players from different countries finding their "common language." Lots of lifelong friendships are being created.
 
Jim Winterton
City/state: New River, Arizona
Number of years in rball: 50+!
Family/pets: Son Colin and his wife Sarah...two grandchildren -- Cooper (14 months), Abby (5 years) -- my wife, Ann, and four cats!
Day job: Pro at Life Time Scottsdale, Owner of WintertonRacquetball.Com -- online racquetball cyber coaching
Thoughts about being here: Love the intensity and dedication of the parents and junior athletes! My first IRF event in 9 years and first junior IRF event in 18 years! Fun working with this coaching staff! Thanks Charlie and Coaches for having us!
 
Announcement -- Racquetball Royalty Scheduled to Visit World Juniors
Dr. Bud Muehleisen, 86, Father of Racquetball and the first person ever to be inducted into the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame, will be at Life Time Target Center this Friday!
 
Dr. Bud will meet with racquetball leaders to impart some thoughts on the future of our sport, and he will be interviewed via live streaming at some point in the afternoon. Dr. Bud is excited and looking forward to watching some junior matches with his daughter Karen who will accompany him.
 
From Wikipedia: 'Dr. Bud' Muehleisen has sometimes been called the most influential man in racquetball. He began playing paddleball in 1962, won four national titles, then took up paddle rackets in 1969, edging out [Charlie] Brumfield to win one of the first national championships in the sport that would become racquetball.
 

2017 Team USA Sponsors

Sponsors Rock!
From an IRF perspective, we could never adequately thank these World Juniors sponsors for their support of this event and all its players: Rollout, Penn, E-Force, Sprint, Rollga, Reaching Your Dream Foundation, Life Time, and USA Racquetball.
 
From the US Junior Team side of things, we thank Jonathan Clay of Rollout for his support of the US Junior Team as our Official Apparel provider. It's not easy outfitting 46 players across the country in the correct sizes, but Jonathan, along with Renée Gundolff at USAR, made it happen!
 
On to Thursday
The event goes quickly from here! A record number of matches will be played tomorrow, and the families are pitching in to keep the coaches and staff well nourished. A Qdoba order form went around today for lunch tomorrow...what would we do without our delegation parents?
 
Here's tomorrow's schedule -- what a day it's going to be! Send good vibes, please, as these young players represent you and the US of A:
 
9:00 -- G12S Blue -- Esha Cyril vs. Andrea Reyes (GUA)
9:00 -- G12S Blue -- Kareena Mathew vs. Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
9:00 -- G10S -- Ava Naworski vs. Natalia Mendez (BOL)
9:00 -- G10S -- Sonya Shetty (USA) vs. Adriana Perez (USA)
9:45 -- B10S Blue -- Angel Eden Galvan vs. Ricardo Izquierdo (COL)
9:45 -- B10S Blue -- Joseph Marshall vs Alvaro Guillen (CR)
9:45 -- G10S -- Ava Kaiser vs. Natalia Mita (BOL)
9:45 -- G12S -- Heather Mahoney vs. Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX)
9:45 -- G12S Red -- Arya Cyril vs. Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU)
9:45 -- G12S Red -- Camila Gomez vs. Carolina Bonifacio Siller (MEX)
10:30 -- B12S White -- Benjamin Horner vs. Jose Pablo Caceres (GUA)
10:30 -- B10S Red -- Bobby Singh vs. Joaquin Villacreses (ECU)
10:30 -- B10S Red -- Eshan Ali vs. Henry Pol (BOL)
11:15 -- B12S -- Josh Shea vs. Luis Alberto Rentaria Perea (MEX)
11:15 -- B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan vs. Dongjin Woo (KOR)
11:15 -- B12S Blue -- Gatlin Sutherland vs. Ezequiel Subieta (BOL)
11:15 -- C14S -- Krish Maini vs. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI)
12:00 -- C14S -- Cody Thomas vs. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG)
12:00 -- C14S -- Armando Angel Perez vs. Andres Matamoros (CR)
12:00 -- C14S -- Andrew Gleason vs. Edgar Arroyo (CR)
12:00 -- G16S -- Nikita Chauhan vs. Cassie Prentice (CAN)
12:00 -- G16S -- Briana Jacquet vs. Stefanny Angelica Barrios (BOL)
1:00 -- B14S -- Antonio Rojas vs. Adrian Mauricio Jaldin (BOL)
1:00 -- G14S -- Annie Roberts vs. Juliette Parent (CAN)
1:00 -- C12S -- Krish Maini vs. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG)
1:45 -- B14S -- Akul Ramayani vs. Erick Trujillo (MEX)
1:45 -- G18S -- Hollie Scott vs. Stefanny Angelica Barrios (BOL)
1:45 -- G18S -- Jordan Cooperrider vs. Montserrat Mejia (MEX)
2:30 -- B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas vs. Set Cubillos (COL)
2:30 -- B18S -- Dane Elkins vs. Eduardo Portillo (MEX)
2:30 -- B16S -- Sahil Thakur vs. Liam Zahaed Evangelista (MEX)
3:15 -- G16D -- Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo vs. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Nathalia Rafaela Pinero (ECU)
3:15 -- B10D -- Angel Eden Galvan/Eshan Ali vs. Jose Carlos Saldana/Henry Pol (BOL)
3;15 -- B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh vs. Sayid Rodriquez/Aaron Bustamente (CR)
3:15 -- G10D -- Adriana Perez/Ashlyn Carver vs. Zara Ximena Barraza/Maria Fernanda Trujillo (MEX)
3:15 -- G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski vs. Ashly Arce/Ared Arce (CR)
4:00 -- B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland vs. Antonio Sanchez/Oscar Montejo (CR)
4:00 -- B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Juan Pablo Rodriguez/Duvan Torres (COL)
4:00 -- G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril vs. Thea Coleman/Sarah AInsworth (IRE)
4:00 -- G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew vs. Jimena Gomez/Tamara Brenes (CR)
5:00 -- B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Antonio Rojas vs. Felipe Guillen/Victor Daniel Segura (CR)
5:00 -- G14D -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Maricruz Ortiz/Sofia Freer (CR)
6:00 -- B16D -- Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh vs. Oscar Elias Nieto/Sebastian Fernandez (MEX)
6:00 -- G18D -- Hollie Scott/Megan Carver vs. Maria Jose Munoz/Ana Lucia Sarmiento (ECU)
7:00 -- B18D -- Mauro Daniel Rojas/Lukas Le vs. Gerardo Franco/Eduardo Portillo (MEX)
7:00 --- C12S -- Joshua Tramm (USA) vs. Taij SIngh (USA)
7:00 -- C12S -- Caleb Marshall vs. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI)
 
Holy cow, 47 Team USA matches on Thursday! Coaches and players, eat your Wheaties for breakfast, and let's get ready to rumble!
 
GO TEAM USA!!

US Junior Team -- Blog #5
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
 
Coach Charlie Speaks on the Day...
"We had another very strong day today, closing out an already very successful three days of pool play. First off, thank you so much to the parents for all their support! Thank you to our outstanding coaching staff, private coaches included, for never missing a beat and showing no signs of slowing down. We love coaching this team!! Draws came out and we are waiting for a few more. This team is prepared to bring everything to the table tomorrow. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this tournament has just begun. Let's bring it!! Go USA!!"

Team USA Players
 
Tuesday's Results -- Nicely Done, TEAM USA!
C10/12S – Taij Singh (USA) def. Alexander Gomez (USA) (15-11, 15-10)
C10/12S – Krish Maini (USA) def. Joshua Tramm (USA) (15-0, 15-0)
G10S – Sonya Shetty def. Ared Arce (CR) (15-1, 15-2)
G10S – Ava Naworski (USA) def. Ashlyn Carver (USA) (15-7, 15-7)
G10S – Adriana Perez lost to Maria Trujillo (MEX) (0-15, 1-15)
B10S Red – Bobby Singh def. Denis Riordan (IRE) (15-8, 15-0)
B10S Red – Advait Kartik def. Sayid Rodriguez (CR) (15-1, 15-11)
C10/12S – Caleb Marshall lost to Manuel Oyhanart (ARG) (0-15, 3-15)
B12S – Josh Shea def. Bruno Vasquez (ECU) (15-9, 15-5)
B12S -- Nikhil Prasad def. Ezequel Subieta (BOL) (15-5, 15-2)
B12S – Gatlin Sutherland lost to Keegan O’Gorman (IRE) (10-15, 15-12, 6-11)
B12S – Red -- Aidan Weller def. Adrian Elizondo (CR) (15-3, 15-7)
B12S -- Red -- Vedant Chauhan def. Edgar Arroyo (CRC) (15-2, 15-0)
B12S Red – Benjamin Horner lost to Oscar Montejo (CR) (1-15, 9-15)
G14S – Annie Roberts def. Aoife Beckett (IRE) (15-0, 15-1)
B14S – Akul Ramayani def. Tomas Oyhanart (ARG) (15-2, 15-4)
G16S – Nikita Chauhan def. Aranxa Anguizola (CR) (15-1, 15-1)
G16S – Briana Jacquet def. Josefina Toro (CHI) (15-0, 15-1)
G18S – Hollie Scott def. Alexis Iwaasa (CAN) (15-12, 15-7)
G18S – Jordan Cooperrider lost to Ana Gabriela Martinez (GUA) (10-15, 9-15)
B14S – Tatoe Rojas vs. Namwoo Lee (KOR) (15-5, 15-12)
B16S – Cayden Akins def. Odhran Moloney (IRE) (15-7, 15-1)
B18S – Daniel Rojas def. Sergio Ortega (HON) (15-12, 15-5)
G12D – Esha Cyril/ Arya Cyril lost to Aguilar/Reyes (GUA) (14-15, 15-4, 2-11)
 
G12D – Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew lost to Ortega/Bonifacio (MEX) (8-15, 1-15)
C14S – Cody Thomas def. Edgar Arroyo (CR) (15-4, 15-7)
B18S – Dane Elkins def. Marco Sarmiento (HON) (15-10, 15-9)
B10D – Angel Galvan/ Eshan Ali def. Riordan/Moloney (IRE) (13-15, 15-8, 11-8)
C14S – Krish Maini (USA) lost to Andrew Gleason (USA) (2-15, 1-15)
C14S – Armando Angel Perez lost to Benjamin Vivar Correra (CHI) (11-15, 4-15)
B16S – Sahil Thakur def. Tae Hwa Jeong (KOR) (15-9, 15-6)
B12D – Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea def. Gomez/Elizondo (CR) (15-0, 15-1)
B12D – Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland def. Rodriguez/Torrez (COL) (15-7, 15-14)
G16D – Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo def. Barrantes/Anguizola (CR) (15-4, 15-0)
G18D – Hollie Scott/Megan Carver lost to Meija/Maldonado Munos (MEX) (4-15, 12-15)
B18D – Lukas Le/Daniel Rojas def. Cubillos/Cardona (COL) (15-13, 15-6)

Team USA Players
TLC from the Delegation
"Grateful" can only begin to describe how the coaches and staff feel about the parents and grandparents who bring so much. Starting with getting the players themselveshere (physically and financially), this group of people is beyond special. The World Cup Team has the gift of multiple parents (and a few organizations like Oregon and Illinois) who donate funds for their meals each evening after a long day of competition. Then, the parents bring it in and serve it! Warm thanks to Sue Cooperrider who is the leader of this effort.
 
The match schedule is so intense for the US Junior Team Coaches that they have virtually no time to take a break and get something to eat. All it took was one coach appearing a little undernourished and this whole effort went viral! The WhatsApp chat went crazy with parents writing to say they would bring various items for the coaches. No one is going hungry, not even Charlie-the-vegan and Bobby-the-gluten-free-guy.
 
Snacks are plentiful. Bobby got his peanut butter and Qdoba for lunch...I got rice cakes! (Market tip: Buy stock in Jif and Quaker Foods.) All anyone has to do is whisper what they might like and it materializes warp speed. "I'm going to Target...do you need anything?" is a common phrase overheard.
 
Nicole Tramm (who lives locally) has offered to take laundry home!
 
We are grateful for everyone's kind words, their courtesy, their enthusiasm, and their teamwork. Junior Team Delegation -- you are Simply The Best!

Team USA Parents
Question of the Day
In keeping with tonight's theme of gratitude...
 
What is the best gift you have ever received? Why was it so special?
 
Dane Elkins -- My car: a little bit more freedom
Lukas Le -- Free lessons from my first coach in Texas because it allowed me to focus on just playing racquetball rather than money
Sahil Thakur -- My parents are my best gifts since they have raised me to be who I am and give me even more gifts.
Cayden Akins -- A signed racquet from Kane after the match where I was the towel boy
Mitchell Turner -- Friendship
Akul Ramayani -- A pair of shoes
Antonio Rojas -- My mom and dad, they've always been by my side and kept me strong
Jordan Cooperrider -- Received: Razor phone for Christmas. Gave: iPad to my dad.
Hollie Scott -- Milo, my first dog. He was my baby!
Megan Carver -- My own room, I no longer have to share a room with my sister.
Briana Jacquet -- I know this may sound corny, but...life. The greatest gift I have ever received is my wonderful life.
Nikita Chauhan -- My dog, Simba, because it was a surprise and was probably one of the best days of my life when my parents surprised us with him as I’ve wanted a dog for 13 years!
Julia Stein -- A big map so I can keep track of where I've been
Heather Mahoney -- A stringer because I wanted it really badly and my parents got it for me
 
Vedant Chauhan -- A dog, because he is basically another member of our family.
Joseph Marshall – Being able to travel many places most kids don’t get the opportunity to visit.
Angel Eden Galvan -- Life, because without life I would have never learned to play racquetball.
Eshan Ali – My PS4, because I wanted one for a long time
Ava Kaiser -- My phone, because I worked hard to earn it and proved I was responsible
Arya Cyril -- A song that my friend wrote for my birthday. It was special because she wrote it just for me, so that we were the only ones who could understand it.
Esha Cyril -- Family, friends, education, and sports. My family and friends are the ones who make me laugh, smile and love. Education and sports are things lots of people throughout the world don’t have, and I appreciate them.
Sonya Shetty -- The best gift that I have ever received was a necklace with a tiger claw. It was important because it belonged to my ancestors.
Ava Naworski -- My family adopted a little Dog named Olly. That was the best present for all of my family and for Olly, too.
Nikhil Prasad -- Trip to Hawaii because it was on my birthday
Benjamin Horner -- WII. It is an electronic.
Gatlin Sutherland – Pendleton…my Dachshund
Aidan Weller -- A cat, because it is my friend.
Bobby Singh -- Extra racquetball training because it will help me in Worlds
Advait Kartik -- Legos – a train set. It was special because I love Legos and Trains!
Kareena Mathew -- My dog, because she is always there to cheer me up
Camila Gomez -- My doggies. I love dogs.
Adriana Perez – My guitar. Because I like to play music and make a joyful noise.
Ashlyn Carver -- My iPad Mini, because now I can actually communicate with others not face to face if I need something.
 
Andrew Gleason – Black powder pistol from my Grandpa. He made it 35 years ago.
Armando Angel Perez – New racquets because I was asking for them for a long time and my parents surprised me by getting them when I least expected.
Cody Thomas – Donations to help me go to Worlds; special because of the experience
Caleb Marshall – Lego sets
Joshua Tramm -- My Kindle Fire XD tablet, Jesus Christ, and my family because they are all so special!
Alexander Gomez -- Wii-U console because I like playing video games
 
Lowdown on the Coaches
Who are they? Where do they come from? How long have they been in racquetball? So many questions...
 
Charlie Pratt -- Head Coach
City/State: Portland, Oregon
Years playing and/or involved: 25
Family: My amazing wife Ceci
Rank on tour: #16 on IRT (behind Robbie?! and Bobby?!)
Day job: Personal trainer/nutritionist
 
Jen Meyer -- Esprit Coach
City/State: Fruita, Colorado
Years playing and/or involved: 30 years playing and 14 years coaching
Family: Parents Becky and Dave, Dallas and Donna; Sister and Family: Amy, David, Lucy, and Abby; Brother and Family: Drew, Kathy, Ryan, and Casey
Day job: 4th grade teacher for my day job :) "A big hello to Meyerwood Kiddos back home!"
 
Jody Nance -- Athletic Trainer/Assistant Coach
City/State: Lodi/Stockton, California
Years playing and/or involved: more than 30 years (28 years coaching)
Family: Son Logan (22), daughter Jordan (18), boyfriend Jim
Pets: Koda (Yorkie), Princess Lola (Shih Tzu), four cats - Flash/Sophie/Candy/Bebe
Day job: Home Health Physical Therapist / Instructor University of the Pacific Physical Therapy Program
 
Robbie Collins -- Assistant Coach
City/State: San Jose, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii
Years playing and/or involved: 17 years playing
Family: Randy (dad), Marian (mom), Jamissa (girlfriend)
Rank on tour: #15 IRT
Day job: Pro racquetball!
 
Bobby Horn -- Assistant Coach
City/State: Stockton, California
Years playing and/or involved: 28
Family: Grandma Ana, mother Michelle, sister Nichole
Rank on tour: Ranked #1 WRT/#12 IRT
Day job: Racquetball
 
Wednesday Match Times -- The Main Event!
The coaches are in place...the support team is at the ready...the players are rarin' to go! So let's do this...33 matches Wednesday. Blog readers, please send all of your good vibes to the US Junior Team players representing the United States of America!
 
10:30 -- G12S -- Ava Kaiser (USA) vs. Esha Cyril (USA)
10:30 -- G12S -- Heather Mahoney vs. Anna Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
10:30 -- G10S -- Adriana Perez (USA) vs. Ashlyn Carver (USA)
11:15 -- G14S -- Julia Stein vs. Sofia Freer (CR)
11:15 -- G12S -- Kareena Mathew vs. Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX)
11:15 -- G12S Red -- Arya Cyril vs. Jimena Gomez (CR)
11:15 -- G12S Red -- Camila Gomez vs. Tamara Brenes (CR)
12:00 -- G14S -- Annie Roberts vs. Kelly Ann Ryan (IRE)
12:00 -- B10S Red -- Bobby Singh vs. Taein Woo (KOR)
12:00 -- B10S Red -- Advait Kartik vs. Joaquin Villacreses (ECU)
12:45 -- B10S -- Angel Eden Galvan vs. Eder Renteria Perea (MEX)
12:45 -- B10S -- Joseph Marshall vs. Mauricio Gomez Paez (MEX)
12:45 -- B10S Red -- Eshan Ali vs. Colman Moloney (IRE)
12:45 -- B12S -- Alexander Gomez vs. Benjamin Vivar Correa (CHI)
1:30 -- B12S Red -- Vedant Chauhan vs. Victor Daniel Segura (CR)
1:30 -- B12S White -- Benjamin Horner vs. Adrian Elizondo (CR)
1:30 -- B12S -- Taij Singh (USA) vs. Caleb Marshall (USA)
1:30 -- B12S -- Joshua Tramm vs. Manual Oyhanart (ARG)
2:15 -- B12S -- Nikhil Prasad vs. Juan Carlos Picard (MEX)
2:15 -- B12S Red -- Aidan Weller vs. Oscar Montejo (CR)
2:15 -- B12S Blue -- Gatlin Sutherland vs. Adrian David Carchi Cuesta (ECU)
3:15 -- G18S -- Jordan Cooperrider vs. Daniela Herrera (COL)
3:15 -- B12S -- Josh Shea vs. Einer Andre Loza (BOL)
3:15 -- G16S -- Nikita Chauhan vs. Jazmin Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
4:00 -- B14S -- Antonio Tatoe Rojas vs. Jack Kearney (IRE)
4:00 -- G16S -- Briana Jacquet vs. Nathalia Rafaela Pinero (ECU
4:45 -- G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski (USA) vs. Ashlyn Carver/Adriana Perez (USA)
5:30 -- B16S -- Cayden Akins vs. Ian Bernard Frattinger (CAN)
5:30 -- B14S -- Akul Ramayani vs. Nathan Jauvin (CAN)
6:30 -- B16S -- Sahil Thakus vs. winner of match between Sean Sauve (CAN) and Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)
7:15 -- B18S -- Mauro Daniel Rojas vs. winner of match between Giovani Mendoza (ARG) and Juan Francisco Vueva(ECU)
7:15 -- B18S -- Dane Elkins vs. Bryan Zambrana (BOL)
7:15 -- B16D -- Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh vs. Jack Hanrahan/Odhran Moloney (IRE)
 
GO TEAM USA!!


US Junior Team -- Blog #4Coaches and Players
Monday, November 6, 2017
 
Monday in Minneapolis was jam packed with Team USA action. But first, let's take a step back and enjoy Coach Charlie Pratt's comments from late last night (after the blog was published). Matches ran until 11:30 pm, and while (nearly) everyone was hitting the hay, Charlie had a few things to say:
 
"Sunday, my first day as coach, was one of the craziest days of racquetball in my life! These kids are battling so hard! I think we had more tiebreakers than two-gamers. We had an 11-10 win by Sahil, the silent assassin. Esha won her match 11-9. Annie started us off with a tiebreaker win in her USA Team debut. Cayden caught the ball on match point and forgot he wasn't playing with this buddies back in Texas. My favorite part is seeing how fit our players are for this event. They really put the time in, and it shows. The energy, enthusiasm, and overall team spirit filled Life Time Target Center for 14+ hours. Our supporting cast has our backs constantly. Go USA!"
 
US Junior Team USA -- Monday's Results
G10S -- Sonya Shetty def. Andrea Martinez (MEX) (15-0, 15-3)
G10S -- Ava Naworski def. Sophia Argandona (BOL) (15-13, 15-6)
G10S -- Adriana Perez lost to Ashley Arce (CR) (2-15, 6-15)
G10S -- Ashlyn Carver lost to Zara Barraza (MEX) (2-15, 0-15)
G12S Red -- Arya Cyril def. Sarah Ainesworth (IRE) (15-13, 15-0)
B12S -- Benjamin Horner lost to Alejandro Cuellar (BOL) (11-15, 15-12, 5-11)
B10S -- Joseph Marshall def. Denis Riordan (IRE) (15-14, 15-1)
B10S -- Angel Galvan def. Colman Moloney (IRE) (15-12, 12-15, 11-2)
B10S -- Advait Kartik lost to Marco Vedia (BOL) (3-15, 0-15)
B10S -- Eshan Ali lost to Eder Renteria Perea (MEX) (5-15, 0-15)
B12S -- Josh Shea def. Jose Caceres (GUA) (15-4, 15-5)
B12S -- Nikhil Prasad def. Dong Jin Woo (KOR) (15-4, 15-3)
C10S -- Taij Singh lost to Benjamin Vivar (CHI) (3-15, 2-15)
C12S -- Joshua Tramm lost to Alexander Gomez (USA) (9-15, 5-15)
C12S -- Caleb Marshall (USA) lost to Krish Maini (USA) (4-15, 2-15)
G14S – Julia Stein lost to Juliette Parent (CAN) (5-15, 10-15)
G14S -- Annie Roberts def. Riley Sommerville (CAN) (15-5, 15-6)
G16S – Nikita Chauhan def. Chaeen Yun (KOR) (15-3, 15-3)
G16S – Briana Jacquet def. Melissa Barrante (CR) (15-0, 15-0)
B14S – Tatoe Rojas def. Diego Fernando Gatica Negroni (CHI) (15-3, 15-2)
B14S – Akul Ramayani def. Jaime Mansilla (CHI) (15-4, 15-3)
G18S -- Hollie Scott def. Daniela Herrera (COL) (15-4, 15-1)
C14S -- Krish Maini lost to Andres Matamoras (CR) (15-14, 6-15, 6-11)
G10D -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski lost to Arce/Arce (CR) (13-15, 15-4, 6-11)
G10D -- Ashlyn Carver/Adriana Perez lost to Barraza/Trujillo (MEX) (2-15, 0-15)
C14S -- Andrew Gleason def. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG) (15-0, 15-0)
B18S – Mauro Rojas def. Rafael Ignacio Gatica Negroni (CHI) (15-1, 15-0)
G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril def. Gomez/ Brenes (CR) (15-4, 15-11)
G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew lost to Aguilar/ Reyes (GUA) (12-15, 15-10, 2-11)
B18S – Dane Elkins def. Jose Julian Salvatierra (GUA) (15-4, 15-3)
B10D -- Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh def. Huyke/ Huyke (COL) (15-3, 15-7)
B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea def. Hanrahan/O’Gorman (IRE) (15-7, 15-2)
C14S -- Armando Angel Perez (USA) lost to Cody Thomas (USA) (15-11, 4-15, 2-11)
B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland def. Flores/ Cacares (GUA) (15-3, 15-14)
G14D – Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney lost to Rivero/Meneses Cuellar (BOL) (2-15, 11-15)
B14D – Akul Ramayani/Tatoe Rojas def. Perez/Rosil (GUA) (15-2, 15-0)
B16D – Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh lost to Flores Guerrero/ de Janon (ECU) (15-14, 11-15, 5-11)
 
2017 Ashlyn and AdrianaAshlyn and Adriana -- Doubles Spirit!
Adriana Perez and Ashlyn Carver are doubles partners in the Girls 10 Doubles division. Each was signed up for Girls 10 Singles and thought they were all set. But then the tournament draw master wrote to ask if they would play doubles as well (there were only three teams signed up, and IRF really wanted a fourth). Ashlyn said yes right away, but Adriana (who has NEVER played doubles before, anytime, anywhere) wanted to sleep on it. The next morning, Armando Perez, Adriana's father, announced, "My daughter woke up this morning saying, 'Yes!'"
 
What a great attitude! What a trouper! Adriana will remember all of her life that she played her first-ever doubles match at the 2017 World Juniors. She and Ashlyn are beginning to gel as a team, and they have the support of Jason Thoerner, Jody Nance, Esprit Coach Jen Meyer, and, of course, their parents, to help them every step of the way!
 
Question of the Day
Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
 
Daniel Rojas -- Respect
Dane Elkins -- Having a goal or purpose because something can't be useful unless it helps toward something
Lukas Le -- My communication skills
Sahil Thakur -- I feel like the idea of working in groups will be the most useful when an adult.
Cayden Akins -- Patience
Mitchell Turner -- Work ethic
Akul Ramayani -- Learning how to balance school and racquetball
Antonio Rojas -- Humbleness
Jordan Cooperrider -- How to cook
Megan Carver -- Speaking Spanish
Briana Jacquet -- Nothing is given to you. If you want success, you have to work for it.
Nikita Chauhan -- To not worry too much and that you learn from your mistakes. Everything will work out at the end.
Annie Roberts -- I think learning how to be organized and self-motivated will really help me later in life.
Julia Stein -- Learning how to study and managing time
Heather Mahoney -- Math
 
Vedant Chauhan -- One thing that would be useful to have when I am an adult is the character trait of perseverance because I can pick myself up when I fall down.
Joseph Marshall -- Math
Angel Eden Galvan -- Math, Science, and Spanish because many jobs require it.
Eshan Ali -- Technologist
Ava Kaiser -- Science because I plan to be a veterinarian, and I will have to take a great deal of science classes in college
Arya Cyril -- Methods of time management, leadership, and be nice to others.
Esha Cyril -- Hard work, compassion, time management and aiming for the stars while keeping your feet on the ground.
Sonya Shetty -- How to negotiate a deal because then I will be able to get a better price for items.
Ava Naworski -- How to make a website
Nikhil Prasad -- Computer programming
Benjamin Horner -- Learning stretching exercises for P.E.
Gatlin Sutherland – I don’t know, I’m only 12.
Aidan Weller -- English
Bobby Singh -- Learning math
Advait Kartik -- Talent and skill can take you only so far. It's only practice and consistency that makes you winner!
Kareena Mathew -- How to be responsible and organized
Camila Gomez -- I’m learning that you have to always be positive. That’s going to help me reach my goals and face problems when I am an adult.
Adriana Perez -- Music
Ashlyn Carver -- Math, with learning decimals
 
Andrew Gleason – How to handle money wisely
Armando Angel Perez – Understanding computer code
Cody Thomas -- Math
Caleb Marshall -- Math
Joshua Tramm -- Math
Alexander Gomez -- I think Math will help me when I’m an adult.
 
Blogger's Note: Wise beyond their years!
 
Team USA PlayersTuesday's Match Schedule
Tomorrow is the last day for round robin pools, then the competition intensifies as we head into the medal rounds Wednesday through Saturday. Here's tomorrow's schedule:
 
9:00 – C10/12S – Alexander Gomez (USA) vs. Taij Singh (USA)
9:00 – C10/12S – Krish Maini (USA) vs. Joshua Tramm (USA)
9:00 – G10S – Sonya Shetty vs. Ared Arce (CR)
9:00 – G10S – Ava Naworski (USA) vs. Ashlyn Carver (USA)
9:00 – G10S – Adriana Perez vs. Maria Trujillo (MEX)
9:45 – B10S Red – Bobby Singh vs. Denis Riordan (IRE)
9:45 – B10S Red – Advait Kartik vs. Sayid Rodriguez (CR)
9:45 – C10/12S – Caleb Marshall vs. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG)
10:30 – B12S – Josh Shea vs. Bruno Vasquez (ECU)
10:30 – B12S -- Nikhil Prasad vs. Ezequel Subieta (BOL)
10:30 – B12S – Gatlin Sutherland vs. Keegan O’Gorman (IRE)
11:15 – B12S Red – Aidan Weller vs. Adrian Elizondo (CR)
11:15 – B12S – Vedant Chauhan vs. Edgar Arroyo (CRC)
11:15 – B12S Red – Benjamin Horner vs. Oscar Montejo (CR)
12:00 – G14S – Annie Roberts vs. Aoife Beckett (IRE)
12:00 – B14S – Akul Ramayani vs. Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)
12:45 – G16S – Nikita Chauhan vs. Aranxa Anguizola (CR)
12:45 – G16S – Briana Jacquet vs. Josefina Toro (CHI)
12:45 – G18S – Hollie Scott vs. Alexis Iwaasa (CAN)
1:30 – G18S – Jordan Cooperrider vs. Ana Gabriela Martinez (GUA)
2:15 – B14S – Tatoe Rojas vs. Namwoo Le (KOR)
3:15 – B16S – Cayden Akins vs. Odhran Moloney (IRE)
4:00 – B16S – Sahil Thakur vs. Tae Hwa Jeong (KOR)
4:00 – B18S – Daniel Rojas vs. Sergio Ortega (HON)
4:45 – G12D – Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril vs. Aguilar/Reyes (GUA)
4:45 – G12D – Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew vs. Ortega/ Bonifacio (MEX)
4:45 – C14S – Cody Thomas vs. Edgar Arroyo (CR)
4:45 – B18S – Dane Elkins vs. Marco Sarmiento (HON)
4:45 – C14S – Armando Angel Perez vs. Benjamin Vivar Correra (CHI)
5:30 – B10D – Angel Galvan/Eshan Ali vs. Riordan/Moloney (IRE)
5:30 – C14S – Krish Maini (USA) vs. Andrew Gleason (USA)
6:30 – B12D – Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Gomez/Elizondo (CR)
6:30 – B12D – Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland vs. Rodriguez/Torrez (COL)
6:30 – G16D – Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo vs. Barrantes/Anguizola (CR)
6:30 – G18D – Hollie Scott/Megan Carver vs. Meija/Maldonado Munos (MEX)
8:00 – B18D – Lukas Le/Daniel Rojas vs. Cubillos/Cardona (COL)
 
Thirty-six matches tomorrow...good luck, US Junior Team!
 
GO TEAM USA!!

US Junior Team -- Blog #3
Sunday, November 5, 2017
 
Howdy from Minneapolis where the weather is hovering in the low 30's with no snow in the forecast until Saturday. Mysteriously, it was dark by 5:00 pm (with a wind chill of 100 below F., lol, jk), but what did Team USA care? They were heating up the courts at Life Time all day and all evening. 

Here are the results from Day 1:
 
G = Girls, B = Boys, C = Challenger Boys, Number = age division, S = Singles, D = Doubles
 
G10S - Sonya Shetty def. Bolivia (15-2, 15-4)Anwar and Eshan Alo
G10S - Ava Naworski def. Mexico (15-10, 15-6)
G10S - Ashlyn Carver lost to Bolivia (1-15, 5-15)
G12S - Camilla Gomez def. Ireland (15-2, 15-5)
C14S - Joshua Tramm lost to Chile (7-15, 0-15)
B10S - Advait Kartik def. Colombia (15-5, 15-3)
B10S - Eshan Ali def. Colombia (15-3, 15-2)
C10S - Taij Singh lost to Argentina (10-15, 6-15)
C12S -Krish Maini def. Alexander Gomez (15-0, 15-4)
B12S - Vedant Chauhan lost to Bolivia (15-8, 12-15, 0-11)
G14S - Julia Stein lost to Bolivia (3-15, 3-15)
G14S - Annie Roberts def. Bolivia (15-10, 14-15, 11-2)
G12S - Arya Cyril lost to Mexico (4-15, 6-15)
B12S - Gatlin Sutherland def. Costa Rica (15-2, 15-8)
B12S - Aidan Weller lost to Mexico (6-15, 7-15)
C14S - Andrew Gleason def. Costa Rica (15-0, 15-1)
G16S - Nikita Chauhan def. Canada (15-13, 15-9)
G16S - Briana Jacquet def. Canada (15-5, 15-2)
G12S - Heather Mahoney def. Korea (15-2, 15-3)
G12S - Ava Kaiser def. Ireland (6-15, 15-3, 11-0)
G12S - Kareena Mathew def. Costa Rica (15-12, 12-15, 11-4)
G12S - Esha Cyril def. Mexico (6-15, 15-13, 11-9)
B14S - Antonio Rojas def. Bolivia (15-13, 15-6)
B14S - Akul Ramayani def. Costa Rica (15-2, 15-2)
G18S - Jordan Cooperrider lost to Bolivia (3-15, 2-15)
G18S - Hollie Scott def. Mexico (15-6, 15-3)
B16S - Cayden Akins lost to Costa Rica (12-15, 15-14, 5-11)
B18S – Dane Elkins def. Costa Rica (15-8, 15-13)
C10S - Armando Angel Perez def. Costa Rica (15-4, 15-6)
B16S - Sahil Thakur def. Costa Rica (15-13; 14-15, 11-10)
G10D - Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski def. Mexico (6-15, 15-7, 11-10)
G10D - Ashlyn Carver/ Adriana Perez lost to Costa Rica (2-15, -1-15)
B12D - Vedant Chauhan/ Josh Shea def. Bolivia (15-4, 15-3)
B18S - Daniel Rojas def. Costa Rica (10-15, 15-3, 11-4)
B10S - Bobby Singh lost to Colombia (9-15, 15-9, 4-15)
B10D - Angel Galvan/Eshan Ali lost to Costa Rica (8-15, 12-15)
C14S - Cody Thomas lost to Chile (14-15, 15-8, 3-11)
B12D - Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland lost to Bolivia (9-15, 14-15)
G14D - Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney def. Ireland (15-0, 15-5)
B14D - Akul Ramayani/Tatoe Rojas def. Bolivia (15-7, 15-10)
G16D - Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo def. Canada (13-15, 15-3, 11-3)
B16D - Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh lost to Bolivia (8-15, 10-15)
B10D - Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh def. Bolivia (2-15, 15-13, 11-9)
G18D - Hollie Scott/Megan Carver lost to Ecuador (15-7, 6-15, 8-11)
B18D - Daniel Rojas/Lukas Le def. Costa Rica (15-11, 15-11)
 
Cody ThomasHappy Birthday to Cody!
Last month here in Minneapolis at the US OPEN, I spoke by phone first with Angel Galvan and then with Cody Thomas of Stockton, California. They were trying to see if there was a way to get Cody to Minneapolis to experience World Juniors and celebrate his November 5th birthday surrounded by those who play the sport he loves. Would it be possible for him to have hotel accommodations? Yes, with the Rojas family, no problem! Would he want to play the Challenger division if he's coming all this way? He did, and he is! Cody turned 15 today, and he played a very respectable match against Benjamin Vivar (Chile), 14-15, 15-8, 3-11. I caught up with Cody to get his take on his 15th birthday: "World Junior Racquetball Championships was a great way to spend my 15th birthday. I like meeting people from different countries. I lost my match, but I have another good friend thanks to racquetball. Day 2 tomorrow, good luck to everyone!"
 
 
Parents, Grandparents, Siblings = Cheerleaders!
The other day I mentioned the impressive number of family members who are here supporting the 46 players on the US Junior Team. It's so cool that you can't walk 10 feet at the club without running into someone from Team USA! Warm gratitude goes to these folks who are contributing time and resources so that our players can have an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives:
 
Wendy Akins, Anwar Ali, Kadambari Beelwar, Richard Carver, Debbie Carver, Hannah Carver, Kirti Chauhan, Anuj Chauhan, Susie Clark, Sue Cooperrider, Daryl Cooperrider, Dimple Cyril, Patrick Cyril, Brett Elkins, Bruce Elkins, Eric Jacquet, Angel Galvan, Rod Guadalupe, Mike Gleason, Becky Gleason, Francisco Gomez, Christina Gomez, Dan Horner, Melissa Horner, Zane Horner, Ved Kartik, Rhonda Kimler, Rick Kaiser, Loc Le, Louann Le, Louise Le, Liam Le, John Mahoney, Melodese Mahoney, Hardy Marshall, Kristy Marshall, Prem Mathew, Matt Naworski, Nicole Naworski, Armando Perez, Regina Perez, Parag Prasad, Pendem Prasad, Atul Ramayani, Bryan Roberts, Danielle Roberts, Mauro Rojas, Ashween Sahni, Mr. Bob Santoro, Alyssa Serio, Alanna Shea, Beth Shea, Dave Shea, Aarya Shetty, Shrinivas Shetty, Baljinder Singh, Jennifer Singh, Nikhil Singh, Salil Singh, Adam Stein, Archana Sudamalla, Kartik Sundram, Scott Sutherland, Nicole Tramm, Frances Turner, Tim Turner, Gary Wargo, Kathleen Wargo, George Weller, and Anna Zachariah.

Team Parents
Private Coaches are in the House!
This year, USA Racquetball is introducing a program for the first time that invites private coaches (who work with the players year 'round) to come to World Juniors and support their students. Required was completion of SafeSport training, a background check, and CPR and USAR-IP certification. These ten coaches are: Anwar Ali, Brian Ancheta, Dean Baer, Fran Davis, Elaine Dexter, Brian Dixon, Eric Jacquet, Ken Stone, Cliff Swain, and Jim Winterton. Welcome to all!
 
Question of the Day!
The US Team players (all of whom are out of school this week) were cruelly compelled to put their heads back into academia to answer this question:
 
What is your favorite subject; least favorite subject?
 
World Cup
Daniel Rojas -- Chemistry; Math and English
Dane Elkins -- Physics; Physics (you love it and you hate that you don't understand it)
Lukas Le -- English; Math
Sahil Thakur -- Physics (engaging and interesting); English (too much writing)
Cayden Akins -- Calculus; Physics
Mitchell Turner -- Physics; English
Akul Ramayani -- Science; History
Antonio Rojas -- English; World History
Jordan Cooperrider -- Math; History
Hollie Scott -- My fav is science! I hate English! I was never good at creative writing.
Megan Carver -- Spanish; Language Arts
Briana Jacquet -- Biology; Math
Nikita Chauhan -- Psychology and Physics; Literature
Graci Wargo -- Psychology; Trigonometry
Annie Roberts -- Science; Math
Julia Stein -- Chemistry, Geometry; Literature
Heather Mahoney -- PE; English
 
Esprit Cup
Vedant Chauhan -- Lunch; History
Josh Shea -- Social Studies; English
Joseph Marshall – Science; English
Angel Eden Galvan -- Science; English
Eshan Ali – Math; Writing
Ava Kaiser -- Math; English
Arya Cyril -- P.E.; History
Esha Cyril -- Biology; History
Sonya Shetty -- Math; Spanish
Ava Naworski -- I love Math! 
Nikhil Prasad -- Science; History
Benjamin Horner -- US History; French
Gatlin Sutherland -- Gym; Music
Aidan Weller -- Latin; Math
Bobby Singh -- Math; P.E.
Advait Kartik -- Favorite: Math
Kareena Mathew -- Science; Social Studies
Camila Gomez -- Spanish; Science
Adriana Perez – Favorite: Science, Art and Musical studies
Ashlyn Carver -- Math and Art; Social Studies
 
Challenger Cup
Andrew Gleason – Algebra; English
Armando Angel Perez – Computers; History
Cody Thomas – Spanish; AP European history
Caleb Marshall – PE; Music
Joshua Tramm -- Favorite: lunch break
Alexander Gomez -- Math; History
 
Monday's Match Schedule
9:00 – G10S -- Sonya Shetty vs. Andrea Martinez (MEX)
9:00 – G10S -- Ava Naworski vs. Sophia Argandona (BOL)
9:00 – G10S -- Adriana Perez vs. Ashley Arce (CR)
9:00 – G10S -- Ashlyn Carver vs. Zara Barraza (MEX)
9:00 – G12S -- Arya Cyril vs. Sarah Ainesworth (IRE)
9:00 – B12S -- Benjamin Horner vs. Alejandro Cuellar (BOL)
9:45 – B12S -- Joseph Marshall vs. Angel Galvan
9:45 – B10S -- Advait Kartik vs. Marco Vedia (BOL)
9:45 – B10S -- Eshan Ali vs. Eder Renteria Perea (MEX)
10:30 – B12S -- Josh Shea vs. Jose Caceres (GUA)
10:30 – B12S -- Nikhil Prasad vs. Dong Jin Woo (KOR)
11:15 – C10S -- Taij Singh vs. Benjamin Vivar (CHI)
11:15 – C10S -- Josh Tramm vs. Alexander Gomez
11:15 - C12S -- Caleb Marshall vs. Krish Maini
11:15 – G14S – Julia Stein vs. Juliette Parent (CAN)
12:00 – G14S -- Annie Roberts vs. Riley Sommerville (CAN)
12:00 – G16S – Nikita Chauhan vs. Chaeen Yun (KOR)
12:45 – G16S – Briana Jacquet vs. Melissa Barrante (CR)
2:15 – B14S – Tatoe Rojas vs. Diego Fernando Gatica Negroni (CHI)
2:15 – B14S – Akul Ramayani vs. Jaime Mansilla (CHI)
2:15 -- G18S -- Hollie Scott vs. Daniela Herrera (COL)
3:15 -- C12S -- Krish Maini vs. Andres Matamoras (CR)
4:00 – G10S -- Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski vs. Arce/Arce (CR)
4:00 – G10S -- Ashlyn Carver/Adriana Perez vs. Barraza/Trujillo (MEX)
4:00 – C14S -- Andrew Gleason vs. Manuel Oyhanart (ARG)
4:00 – B18S – Mauro Rojas vs. Sergio Ortega (HON)
4:45 -- G12D -- Esha Cyril/Arya Cyril vs. Gomez/ Brenes (CR)
4:45 – G12D -- Ava Kaiser/Kareena Mathew vs. Aguilar/ Reyes (GUA)
4:45 – B18S – Dane Elkins vs. Jose Julian Salvatierra (GUA)
5:30 -- C10D -- Joseph Marshall/ Bobby Singh vs. Huyke/ Huyke (COL)
5:30 – B12D -- Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Hanrahan/O’Gorman (IRE)
5:30 – C14S -- Cody Thomas (USA) vs. Armando Angel Perez (USA)
6:30 – B12D -- Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland vs. Flores/ Cacares (GUA)
6:30 – G14D – Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Rivero/Meneses Cuellar (BOL)
7:15 – B14D -- Akul Ramayani/Tatoe Rojas vs. Perez/Rosil (GUA)
 
Will There be Streaming?
Yes, streaming is alive and well, coming to you from Court 1 at World Juniors.
Through Wednesday, Tim Baghurst is posting live video on the IRF's Facebook page: International Racquetball Federation - IRF. Then on Thursday the baton passes to Pablo Fajre and Laura McCormick who will stream quarterfinal, semifinal, and finals matches through Saturday(Note to Laura McCormick: heard you were stuck in a hotel elevator for an hour today and then calmly went to work out in the gym. You're tough!)
 
The Team is ready for Day 2!
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 


2017 Team USA

US Junior Team -- Blog #2
Saturday, November 4, 2017    
 
Greetings from Minneapolis! What a fortunate turn of events that, after a jam-packed day, the time changes tonight and we are afforded an extra hour of rest!
 
Before Opening Ceremonies this afternoon, the entire delegation arrived at the club at 5:00 pm for group photos. After a spirited exhibition match involving Mauro Rojas (the dad) competing in handball vs. two Mexican junior racquetball players, we commandeered Courts 1 and 2. The World Cup players went to Court 1, the Esprits to Court 2, and the Challenger players were on deck outside Court 2. With everyone's cooperation, we got those three shots, then we combined the World Cup and Esprit players for another, and finally the Challenger players joined for a mega shot. But wait...the parents...and the grandparents! It was another organized effort by all concerned to grab a photo of these folks who have made it possible (in so many ways) to have this team together here at World Juniors. Missions accomplished! And yes, it WAS nearly as chaotic as it sounds -- in a good way!
 
Opening Ceremonies
2017 Team Opening Ceremonies
The festivities began just after 6:00 pm with the Parade of Nations where all 13 countries participating marched in one at a time to stirring Olympic music. Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, and the USA (last as host country) are in the house!
 
After the Color Guard entered and U.S. National Anthem was played, several individuals delivered comments to the audience -- Marcelo Gómez (Master of Ceremonies), Cheryl Kirk (USAR), John WIlinski (LIfe Time), Ron Grimes (E-Force), Ms. Li Fu (President, China Racquetball Federation), and Osvaldo Maggi (President, International Racquetball Federation.
 
The Athletes' Oath was read by Daniel Rojas with Hollie Scott (USA Junior Team Captains), and Gustavo Farell administered the Officials' Oath to the referees. Brief entertainment was provided, and then it was time for President Osvaldo Maggi to declare the tournament officially open.
 
A World Cup team meeting ended the day for the US Junior Team, and it was time for bed (and an extra hour of sleep!) before competition begins on Sunday. But before we take a look at Sunday's match schedule, this is a good time to introduce the wildly popular...

2017 World Cup Team
Question of the Day!
 
What is your favorite food; least favorite food?
 
World Cup
Daniel Rojas -- Least favorite: fish
Dane Elkins -- Avocado sushi roll; Whole wheat bread
Lukas Le -- Steak; Anything spicy
Sahil Thakur -- Croissants; Eggplant
Cayden Akins -- Pasta; Broccoli
Mitchell Turner -- Fish tacos; Tomatoes
Julian Singh -- Favorite: bagel, lox, and cream cheese
Akul Ramayani -- Pizza; Eggs
Antonio Rojas -- Taco Truck tacos; none
Jordan Cooperrider -- Sushi; Pizza
Hollie Scott -- My fav is pozole! Least fav is fruit cups...eww.
Megan Carver -- Favorite: Mashed potatoes
Briana Jacquet -- Gumbo; Tofu
Nikita Chauhan -- I have a lot of favorite foods: chocolate, pasta, mac and cheese, pizza, and tacos. My least favorite food is plain vegetables and rice (with no flavor)
Graci Wargo -- Acai bowl; Mushrooms
Annie Roberts -- Grilled cheese; Seafood
Julia Stein -- Sushi; Meatballs
Heather Mahoney -- Pasta; Tomatoes

2017 Esprit Team
 
Esprit Cup
Vedant Chauhan -- Anything my mom cooks; Banana
Josh Shea -- Brownies; Tuna and peanut butter
Joseph Marshall – Shrimp; Chitterlings
Angel Eden Galvan -- Pizza; Salad
Eshan Ali – Chili; Asparagus
Ava Kaiser -- Seafood; Sweet potato fries
Arya Cyril -- Hot wings; Peas
Esha Cyril -- Tacos, salads, and my mom’s Indian food; Sushi and any type of soup.
Sonya Shetty -- Pho; Brussels sprouts
Ava Naworski -- Mexican food; I do not enjoy asparagus. 
Nikhil Prasad -- Most desserts; Bitter gourd (karela)
Benjamin Horner -- Favorite: Pizza from Tropical Smoothie; Least: Broccoli
Gatlin Sutherland -- Brats; Hamburger Helper
Aidan Weller -- Chicken tenders; Clams
Bobby Singh -- Paneer/Hot dogs
Advait Kartik -- Favorite: Chicken 65
Kareena Mathew -- Ribs; Clams or oysters
Camila Gomez -- Pasta; Seafood
Adriana Perez – Birria (Mexican goat stew); Sweet potatoes
Ashlyn Carver -- Mac 'n' Cheese; Tomatoes

2017 Challenger Team

Challenger Cup
Andrew Gleason – Lasagna; Spaghetti
Armando Angel Perez – Poke; Cheesy potatoes
Cody Thomas – Favorite is Chinese; no least favorite
Caleb Marshall – Strawberry shake with whipped cream and a cherry; Grapefruit
Joshua Tramm -- Favorite: crab
Alexander Gomez -- Chicken wings; Avocado
 
Stop by tomorrow...there will be a new Question of the Day each day of this event to help readers get to know the US Junior Team off the court as well as on!
 
Eric & The Snake -- A DetourThe Snake
On the evening of Wednesday, November 1st, Eric and Briana Jacquet were packing to leave Phoenix for World Juniors. Eric was loading up the car when he noticed a neighbor "frozen in fear." A baby rattlesnake was on the sidewalk. The lady whispered, "Snake." Eric is well informed on snakes (apparently) and told her and others gathering around that the snake was just trying to keep warm on the sidewalk. To save the snake from impending death via bystanders, Eric got a bucket and scooped it in. He and another neighbor took her truck and went to fire and rescue facilities looking for guidance. No one would help until someone told him to just drive out to the desert and release it. So they did. It hissed once, turned its back (kind of), and slithered away. The End.
Blogger's Note: Kudos to Eric -- why kill a creature when you don't have to? Great job!
 
Sunday’s Schedule – Competition Begins!
The 45 matches scheduled for the first day will have the coaches sprinting from court to court! Thank goodness we have ten private/parent coaches supporting Team USA (more on that tomorrow). For those reading this blog who are not die-hard racquetball enthusiasts, here’s a key to some of the abbreviations you’ll be seeing throughout the week:
 
G = Girls
B = Boys
C = Challenger Boys
Number = age division
S = Singles
D = Doubles
BYE = No match today
 
For Sunday, here's the lineup:
 
9:00 – G10S - Sonya Shetty vs. Bolivia
9:00 – G10S - Ava Naworski vs. Mexico
9:00 – G10S - Ashlyn Carver vs. Bolivia
9:00 – G12S - Camila Gomez vs. Ireland
9:00 - C14S - Joshua Tramm vs. Chile
9:45 - B10S - Advait Kartik vs. Colombia
9:45 – B10S - Eshan Ali vs. Colombia
9:45 - C10S - Taij Singh vs. Argentina
9:45 – C12S -Krish Maini vs. Alexander Gomez
10:30 – B12S - Vedant Chauhan vs. Bolivia
10:30 – G14S - Julia Stein vs. Bolivia
10:30 – G14S - Annie Roberts vs. Bolivia
11:15 – G12S - Arya Cyril vs. Mexico
11:15 – B12S - Gatlin Sutherland vs. Costa Rica
11:15 – B12S - Aidan Weller vs. Mexico
12:00 – C10S - Andrew Gleason vs. Costa Rica
12:00 - G16S - Nikita Chauhan vs. Canada
12:00 – G16S - Briana Jacquet vs. Canada
12:45 – G12S - Heather Mahoney vs. Korea
12:45 – G12S - Ava Kaiser vs. Ireland
12:45 – G12S - Kareena Mathew vs. Costa Rica
12:45 – G12S - Esha Cyril vs. Mexico
1:30 - B14S - Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas vs. Bolivia
2:15 – B14S - Akul Ramayani vs. Costa Rica
2:15 - G18S - Jordan Cooperrider vs. Bolivia
2:15 - G18S - Hollie Scott vs. Mexico
3:15 - B16S - Cayden Akins vs. Costa Rica
4:00 – C10S - Armando Angel Perez vs. Costa Rica
4:00 - B16S - Sahil Thakur vs. Costa Rica
4:45 - G10D - Sonya Shetty/Ava Naworski vs. Mexico
4:45 – G10D - Ashlyn Carver/Adriana Perez vs. Costa Rica
4:45 - B12D - Vedant Chauhan/Josh Shea vs. Bolivia
4:45 - B18S - Mauro Daniel Rojas vs. Costa Rica
5:30 - B10S - Bobby Singh vs. Colombia
5:30 – B10D - Angel Galvan/Eshan Ali vs. Costa Rica
5:30 – C10S - Krish Maini vs. Argentina
5:30 – C10S - Cody Thomas vs. Chile
6:30 – B12D - Nikhil Prasad/Gatlin Sutherland vs. Bolivia
6:30 - G14D - Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney vs. Ireland
7:15 – B14D - Akul Ramayani/Antonio (Tatoe) Rojas vs. Bolivia
7:15 - G16D - Briana Jacquet/Graciana Wargo vs. Canada
7:15 – B16D - Mitchell Turner/Julian Singh vs. Bolivia
8:00pm - B10D - Joseph Marshall/Bobby Singh vs. Bolivia
8:00pm – G18D - Hollie Scott/Megan Carver vs. Ecuador
8:00pm – B18D - Mauro Daniel Rojas/Lukas Le vs. Costa Rica
 
Pick your favorite players, watch your clocks, and send good vibes for Team USA -- results tomorrow evening!

FYI...the draws and results can be viewed at www.internationalracquetball.com: Events & Rankings/Live Events/Draws, then choose Round Robins. 

Back tomorrow night...
 
GO TEAM USA!!

-- Cheryl Kirk

P.S. A shout out to Kelsy and Lex Dowd who are here watching Benjamin Horner compete...and spending their first wedding anniversary at World Juniors!


US Junior Team Blog #1
Friday, November 3, 2017

2017 team training
 
Welcome to the first of nine (or ten, if you're lucky) Daily Blogs that are designed to make you feel like you're right here in Minneapolis with the 46 players representing the USA at the IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships.
 
The temperature is presently in the low 30's F. with a wind chill of at least (I believe) 12 degrees below zero. (Just kidding. But it's nippy.) A picturesque snow fell this afternoon, delighting a number of young players who had never seen it before. I kind of liked it, too, and I'm from Central Illinois. First glimpse of the season...
 
Many of the US Junior Team Delegation arrived Thursday afternoon and evening with the rest today and into this evening. Extended practices took place twice at our host venue, Life Time Target Center in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis (where the US OPEN was held just last month).
 
There are 46 players, 8 staff members, and an impressive number of parents/siblings/friends in the delegation. I think it's a record -- 136 the current count! I’ll be recognizing the latter in tomorrow’s blog.

 
Without further ado, introducing the US Junior Team players and staff!
 
WORLD CUP (18)
 
Boys Singles
18 & Under -- Mauro "Daniel" Rojas (CA), Dane Elkins (CA)
16 & Under -- Sahil Thakur (CA), Cayden Akins (TX)
14 & Under -- Akul Ramayani (NY), Antonio Rojas (CA)
 
Boys Doubles
18 & Under -- Mauro "Daniel" Rojas (CA) / Lukas Le (TX)
16 & Under -- Mitchell Turner (OR) / Julian Singh (CA)
14 & Under -- Akul Ramayani (NY) / Antonio Rojas (CA)
 
Girls Singles
18 & Under -- Jordan Cooperrider (FL), Hollie Scott (WA)
16 & Under -- Briana Jacquet (AZ), Nikita Chauhan (CA)
14 & Under -- Annie Roberts (OR), Julia Stein (PA)
 
Girls Doubles
18 & Under -- Hollie Scott (WA) / Megan Carver (WA)
16 & Under -- Briana Jacquet (AZ) / Graciana Wargo (FL)
14 & Under -- Julia Stein (PA) / Heather Mahoney (CA)
 
ESPRIT (20)
 
Boys Singles
12 & Under -- Vedant Chauhan (CA), Josh Shea (NY), Benjamin Horner (IA), Nikhil Prasad (CA), Gatlin Sutherland (MT), Aidan Weller (TX)
10 & Under -- Joseph Marshall (TN), Angel Eden Galvan (CA), Eshan Ali (CA), Advait Kartik (CA), Bobby Singh (CA)
 
Boys Doubles
12 & Under -- Vedant Chauhan (CA) / Josh Shea (NY), Nikhil Prasad (CA) / Gatlin Sutherland (MT)
10 & Under -- Angel Eden Galvan (CA) / Eshan Ali (CA), Joseph Marshall (TN) / Bobby SIngh (CA)
 
Girls Singles
12 & Under -- Heather Mahoney (CA), Ava Kaiser (MN), Arya Cyril (CA), Esha Cyril (CA), Camila Gomez (CA), Kareena Mathew (OR)
10 & Under -- Sonya Shetty (CA), Ava Naworski (CA), Ashlyn Carver (WA), Adriana Perez (CA)
 
Girls Doubles
12 & Under -- Arya Cyril (CA) / Esha Cyril (CA), Ava Kaiser (MN) / Kareena Mathew (OR)
10 & Under -- Sonya Shetty (CA) / Ava Naworski (CA), Adriana Perez (CA) / Ashlyn Carver (WA)
 
CHALLENGER (8)
 
Boys Singles
14 & Under -- Andrew Gleason (IA), Krish Maini (WI), Armando Angel Perez (CA), Cody Thomas (CA)
12 & Under -- Krish Maini (WI)
10 & Under -- Alexander Gomez (CA), Caleb Marshall (TN), Taij Singh (CA), Joshua Tramm (MN)
 
STAFF
Charlie Pratt (OR/FL) – Head Coach
Jennifer Meyer (CO) – Assistant Coach (Esprit)
Jody Nance (CA) – Trainer/Assistant Coach
David "Bobby" Horn (CA) -- Assistant Coach
Robert "Robbie" Collins (HI/CA) -- Assistant Coach
Cheryl Kirk (IL) – Team Leader
 
ESPRIT POINT EARNERS
 
You may have noticed some of the names bolded in the Esprit roster above. The IRF stipulates that up to six singles players and up to two doubles teams can compete in each of the Esprit divisions -- Boys and Girls 12- and 10- singles and doubles. However, each country must designate two singles players and one doubles team as "point earners," i.e. their results will count toward the Esprit Cup Overall Team Championship. Of course, we greatly value our "non-point earner" players as well -- this is great experience for the future. Everyone will be competing with USA on their backs, and this is a source of considerable pride for each team member.
 
STATS 101
 
So let's list the States represented: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin.
Thirteen in all, plus staff members hailing from Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois...over 30% of the U.S. States are represented here at World Juniors!

 
COMMUNICATION -- WhatsApp
 
We’re loving this app – it’s so efficient for delegation communication. I set up a group chat before we left, and from a coach and team leader perspective, it's great for getting information across throughout the entire trip, starting with early details, to travel communication (keeping track of arrivals, etc.), to hotel information, and on into the busy week ahead. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be on everyone (especially me!) if we didn’t have this technology. It's all about me...
 
Mañana...Sabado (Saturday)
 
Saturday will be another busy day! Morning courts are reserved for Team USA players who haven’t had the chance to practice yet or who want to get in a little more time.
 
At the 12:00 noon Coaches' meeting, policies and procedures will be imparted, and at the end of the meeting come the long awaited...DRAWS! Everyone will find out what the first three days of competition will look like. Exciting times!
 
Opening Ceremonies will commence at 6:00 pm. at Life Time, and the US Junior Team World Cup and Esprit Cup players will enter last, an Olympic-tradition nod of respect to the host country.
 
Play commences on Sunday morning, and over the next week, these blogs will carry news on match schedules and results, streaming information, and fun question features to help you get to know our players OFF the courts as well. Stay tuned, and…
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk