2018 National Junior Olympics Conclude

July 19, 2018, 4:22 p.m. (ET)

Ricardo Diaz and Briana Jacquet Win Gold
Earn One-Year Appointments to Team USA

More than 250 medals were awarded to the best junior racquetball players in the country as the final matches of the 2018 USA Racquetball National Junior Olympic Championship concluded in Des Moines, Iowa. With appointments to the Junior National Team and a chance to compete at the 2018 IRF Junior World Championships on the line, more than 500 matches were fiercely contested over the five-day tournament.

The Girls 10 and Under Doubles division was won by Mollie Hansen of Hudson, IA, and Jordan Ellis of Stockton, CA. Hansen was the first of the Iowa Racquetball Association’s contingent of six Hansens to ever qualify for the Junior National Team. “The best part of Junior Olympics is hanging out with my friends from other states.” A family sport for the Hansen clan, they even built a racquetball court on their dairy farm.

With racquetball in her blood and playing since she was four years old, Jordan Ellis is the daughter of former National, World and Pan Am Games champion John Ellis, and granddaughter of National Team Head Coach Dave Ellis. “I’m pretty excited to have made the Team in my first opportunity. It feels pretty good.”

Nikhil Prasad (Fremont, CA) qualified for the Junior World Championships in every division in which he played, taking the gold in Boys 12 and Under singles and Boys 12 and Under doubles and the silver in Boys 14 and Under singles, losing to Timmy Hansen, 15-13, 15-5. Only allowed to compete in two divisions at the Junior World Championships, Nikhil has opted to play in the Boys 12 and Under singles and doubles. As the third-place finisher in the Boys 14 and Under singles, Andrew Gleason will fill the second player position. Gleason and Hansen will also represent the U.S. as the Boys 14 and Under doubles pairing in San Louis Potosí, Mexico.

The Girls 18 and Under doubles played a round robin format, culminating with a three-way tie. Determined by the number of games won and lost, Hannah and Megan Carver (Spokane, WA) were named champions when Elyse Duffie (Ballwin, MO) and Erin Slutzky (Chesterfield, MO) defeated Briana Jacquet (Scottsdale, AZ) and Graciana Wargo (Clearwater, FL), earning themselves the silver medal.

Sunday’s Boys 18 and Under singles match pitted doubles partners Dane Elkins (Los Angeles, CA) and Ricardo Diaz (Stockton, CA) against each other, with Diaz winning 15-6, 15-3. Both will play singles and doubles at the upcoming Junior World Championships.

With over 140 participants from 20 states competing, the championship awarded All-American certificates to those who finished in the semifinals of Boys and Girls singles divisions (10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, 18U) and to the finalists in the Boys and Girls doubles divisions (10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, 18U). To view all match results, click here.

This year’s International Racquetball Federation Junior World Championships will be held in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, in November. You can be a part of the Team Behind the Team! Consider a donation to the USA Racquetball Team Challenge, where all donations over $100 will be matched by our generous benefactors. All funds raised go toward direct athlete support. Pledge your tax-deductible donation today.