2018 Pan American Championships Daily Blogs

March 23, 2018, 10:08 a.m. (ET)
BLOGS -- TEMUCO, CHILE
XXXI Pan American Racquetball Championship
March 23-31, 2018
written by Cheryl Kirk, Team Leader


Blog #10 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time 


Saturday Results -- The Finals!
Women's Singles: Rhonda Rajsich def. Paola Longoria (Mexico), 15-3, 14-15, 11-7 -- Gold medal
Men's Singles: Bobby Horn lost to Carlos Keller (Bolivia), 12-15, 15-5, 7-11 -- Silver medal
 
Women's Doubles -- Paola Longoria/Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) def. Ana Gabriela Martinez/Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala), 9-15, 15-1, 11-8
Men's Doubles -- Rodrigo Montoya/Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) vs. Conrrado Moscoso/Roland Keller (Bolivia), 13-15, 15-10, 11-6
 
Final Results (Gold, Silver; two Bronze)
Women -- Rajsich (USA), Longoria (MEX); Martinez (GUA), Salas (MEX)
Men -- Keller (BOL), Horn (USA); Montoya (MEX), Parrilla (MEX)
Women's Doubles -- Longoria/Herrera (MEX), Martinez/Rodriguez (GUA); Daza/Barrios (BOL), Munoz/Parada (CHI)
Men's Doubles -- Montoya/Beltran (MEX), Moscoso/Keller (BOL); Murray/Bousquet (CAN), Ugalde/Cueva (ECU)
 
Overall Country Results  
Women's Team Mexico, Guatemala, USA, Argentina
Men's Team - Mexico, Bolivia, USA, Canada
Overall - Mexico, Bolivia, USA, Guatemala
Challenger -- United States tied for 4th in the team standings -- the team was Tim Baghurst!


Coach Dave Ellis Wraps it Up
It’s closeout time here in Temuco, Chile. All of Team USA will be flying home Sunday. We leave in the afternoon/evening and get home almost an entire day later. It’s been great here, but all of us are looking forward to being home. 
 
Rhonda Rajsich led off the final competition with a match against LPRT #1 player Paola Longoria. This was a rematch of last year’s final. The results were the same, a tiebreaker win for our #1 singles player. Rhonda has taken her game to another dimension this week. She had a one-sided victory over top pro Maria Vargas earlier. In game one of this final, Rhonda was attacking, and there were many serves, weak returns, and subsequent rally-ending shots. To win the Pan American Championships two years in a row is a very impressive achievement, even for Team USA’s future Hall of Famer. 
 
Bobby Horn played Bolivia’s Carlos Keller in the Men’s Singles final. The first game was back and forth, with Keller taking the game. The second game was all Bobby with a score of 15-5. Keller is a deceptively good player with great lateral movement and lots of reach. He dominated the tiebreaker with an 11-7 win. 
 
Our team rules prevent alcohol consumption during the tournament. After closing ceremonies, we have a traditional “team toast” where we have a beverage of choice along with a few heartwarming moments. All mentioned the closeness of the group, our small team of four players and two staff members. Intercollegiate Champion Thomas Carter mentioned that this was very much an eye-opening experience for him, and he will dedicate himself to qualifying once again for international competition. Thomas loved the friendships made, and his smile was enjoyed by all at the tournament. It was acknowledged by all that Bobby, Janel, and Rhonda each have so much talent, and when they play, the word is passed throughout the club that one of them is on the court. Rhonda and Bobby received congratulations from all for their gold and silver medals. Of course, Brent Huff and Cheryl Kirk were all thanked numerous times for their incredibly dedicated support. This was my 21st international competition as Coach, and Thomas, Bobby, Rhonda, Janel, Brent, and the city of Temuco will all be remembered fondly. 


Question of the Day -- Penultimate Edition
It's Saturday, so...What's your Favorite Saturday Night Live skit?
 
Brent:  Will Ferrell as the cheerleader
Dave: Hans & Franz
Rhonda: Candygram (Jaws at the door)
Thomas: I’m On A Boat
Bobby: Jeopardy
Janel: Any of the skits with Justin Timberlake
Cheryl: Cowbell (Will Farrell and Christopher Walken)
 
Question of the Day -- Final Edition
After greeting family and pets, what's the first thing you will do when you get home?
 
Brent: Straight to work!
Rhonda: Funeral arrangements for my uncle (Note: RIP Robert Rajsich, we're so sorry, Rhonda)
Janel: School work. And work.
Dave: Junior class Monday evening.
Thomas: Take a nap then go practice!
Bobby: First thing I do when I get home is laundry and sleep because I have one day at home before I leave for another pro stop.
Cheryl: Take a nap. Wait...I'm already home. 


Thank You’s
The US Team Delegation wishes to deliver compliments and much gratitude to those who made this event so memorable:
 
The Local Organizing Committee, headed by Patricio Gatica Tagle, for putting on this very successful event. The work behind the scenes to host a tournament of this magnitude is extensive. Congratulations for a job very well done! From the hotel, to the awards, the closing party, the coordination, this experience was first class. 
 
Tournament Director Gary Mazaroff and the tournament staff (Francisco Kurzbard, Amanda Barletta de Kurzbard, Mauro Grandio, Pablo Berriel, and Maria De Los Angeles Sarria).
 
The referees, headed up by Gustavo Farell (USA), who came in from six countries (Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, and USA) to provide a quality experience for the players.
 
Pablo Fajre and Laura McCormick for bringing quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals action to viewers on the IRF Network, and Gary Mazaroff, Tim Baghurst, and Gustavo Farell for providing entertaining commentary.
 
The staff of Hotel Dreams who were friendly, efficient, and helpful. 
 
The shuttle drivers who worked many long hours transporting players back and forth between the club and the hotel.
 
The management and staff of the club Centro Deportivo G2 for providing a hospitable venue and environment for everyone.
 
USAR Official Apparel Sponsor Rollout Racquetball (Jonathan and Carolyn Clay) -- the US Team looked great in the Rollout 2017 Team USA apparel line. Go to http://wearrollout.com/product/team-usa-elevate-performance-crew-3/
to order what the team wears!
 
IRF sponsors E-Force and Gearbox and all of the other sponsors who contribute significantly to these international events. 
 
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 and fans to support the US Teams with their participation at international competitions.
 
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!
 
So it's time to say goodbye from the XXXI Pan American Racquetball Championships. The next edition of the Daily Blogs will commence in August when a full contingent of US athletes and staff members will travel to Cali, Colombia, for the XIX IRF World Championships.
 
Until then...
 
GOTEAMUSA!!  
 
-- Cheryl Kirk

Blog #9 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Friday, March 30, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time
 
Rhonda Rajsich def. Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 15-13, 15-10
Bobby Horn def. Andree Parrilla (Mexico), 15-13, 15-14
Challenger -- Tim Baghurst lost to Vladimir Siles (Bolivia), 13-15, 13-15 -- Bronze Medal
 
Coach Dave Summarizes the Day
What a wonderful day today for Team USA, wow, happy here. Rhonda led us off in her semifinal against Ana Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala. Gaby jumped out to an 8-0 lead with well-placed serves in both the back left and back right corners. It seemed like Rhonda did not bring the fire that she normally carries. Guess what, she hit a couple of solid shots and from then on it was a battle, with our gal winning the first game 15-13. The second game started off not quite as bad, but again, Gaby built a lead. Rhonda turned it on and played solidly, winning the second game and the match by a score of 15-10. Tomorrow we’ll have the rematch of last year’s final since Mexico’s Paola Longoria defeated teammate Samantha Salas in two games today. Rhonda handles her wins like a professional: “Thanks for the congrats, but I’m not done yet.”
 
Speaking of rematches, today we had the same two players who battled it out in Chicago just a couple of weeks ago. I'm speaking of Bobby Horn and Andree Parilla. The match in Chicago was one-sided with Parrilla winning easily. This time, it was different. The scores in both games were back and forth with lots of lead changes. At 14, Bobby hit a crack ace serve to close out the first game. The second game was similar, although Andree was leading pretty much throughout. With Andree having numerous game points, Bobby stayed tough and soon he had a match point at 14 all. There was a racquet problem, however: Bobby had a broken string. Now, Bobby is very popular with the kids here in Temuco, having come here before to give clinics and lessons. He asked one of the kids sitting on the floor near the door,  “Which racquet should I use to get this match point and win the game?” Slightly startled, young Paula picked one of the racquets, and yes, Bobby scored point 15 to win the match!
 
Today’s results put Team USA into the two singles finals. Two tough matches await tomorrow. Again, fans, send us your best possible vibes and positive thoughts!
 
Featured Staff Member of the Day – Dave Ellis, Team USA Coach
"Pat Ellis Muñoz and I have now been married 47 years. We met teaching at a junior high school in Stockton, California. After knowing each other for a year, Pat begin to stalk me 'like a bloodhound,' and I couldn’t get away. She asked me to come over for dinner. I told her, 'No, I’d rather take you out for dinner.' We went out on the date, and we were married six weeks later. 
 
"Pat and I are the proud parents of son John (married to Jennifer) and grandparents of Julius, 15, and Jordan, 10. John was a professional racquetball player for 15+ years and continues to promote racquetball through his business, Pro Racquetball Academy. As a matter of fact, John has about 20+ tournaments scheduled each year. John, Jody Nance, Jose Diaz, Antonio Rojas, Jesse Rojas, Pat Ellis, Angel Galvan, Ricardo Diaz, Julius Ellis, Knox LaRue, and I work with juniors twice a week for 90 minutes each day. We have been averaging 40+ juniors on Mondays, the day that includes our “Starters." We’re now raising funds for a trip to the Junior Olympics in June (Des Moines, Iowa) for as many juniors as possible.
 
"Besides our junior classes, John and I have embarked upon the ambitious project of establishing junior racquetball programs throughout Northern California. We are supported by Reaching Your Dream Foundation (RYDF) of Danville, California. We use a two-phase presentation that has been well received now by eight different clubs. If you are interested, please email me at DAVEELLIS665@comcast.net.”  We call our efforts 'SOC,' which stands for 'Save Our Courts.'
 
"I hold a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of the Pacific and a Masters in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. I am particularly proud of my California State bilingual teaching credential. I taught Mathematics in both English and Spanish for 38 years at the high school level, from fundamentals to advanced placement calculus before retiring from teaching in 2006."
 
Dave’s other interests/hobbies? "Spanish and Italian languages, watching way too much Netflix, working out for at least an hour per day. I like to go dancing, but usually Pat and I just become couch potatoes in the evening. I love the NBA, and I’ve been watching it for 50 years."
 
Whom would you like to recognize for their support?" First and foremost, my family, Pat, John, Jennifer, Julius, and Jordan for all the support they give to our racquetball efforts. Secondly, I recognize the Team USA players, past and present, who have dedicated their time, energy, and effort into playing the game. The majority are professionals who take time away from the tours to represent our great country. Thirdly, I recognize our staff of Cheryl Kirk (Team Leader) and Brent Huff (Athletic Trainer) who are always ready, day or night, to give support to our delegation. I cannot overemphasize the contributions of these individuals. John Ellis, RO Carson, Debbie Tisinger, Mike Guidry, and David Horn have all served as Assistant Coaches in the past. Thanks go out to USAR supporters Larry Haemmerle, Jason Thoerner, and the entire USAR Board. Of course, infinite gratitude goes to Jonathan Clay and Rollout Racquetball for always keeping Team USA looking sharp. Last but not least, we’re so thankful for the many, many individual contributors who have funded player expenses (per diems), team dinners, equipment, etc., for our various delegations. RYDF particularly stands out in my mind. These people in the past and present have been lifesavers for Team USA."
 
Thoughts about coaching here in Temuco, Chile?  "Coaching Team USA is not as glamorous as it sounds. After all, it is a tournament, and the great majority of time is spent at the club and at the hotel. I arrived a day early, so I did have time to see some of the local sights. Thanks in no small part to the willingness of USA Racquetball to share and promote the sport in other countries, our competition is now very strong. Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Costa Rica all send very competitive delegations. Our present delegation, Rhonda Rajsich, Bobby Horn, Janel Tisinger, and Thomas Carter, have had their work cut out for them, and  they've played with pride and passion. I'm proud of this team."


Question of the Day
What is your favorite mantra/inspirational phrase/pearl of wisdom?
 
Janel: Is there enough evidence in your training to convict you of the goals that you claim to have?
Dave: Trying hard in racquetball doesn't mean hitting the ball harder. It's not over until it's over.
Thomas: Focus on the task at hand.
Brent: You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.
Bobby: The only thing you can control is you.
Rhonda: Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right.
 
Saturday -- The FInals! Sábado Gigante!
Catch the streaming tomorrow morning and cheer your hearts out for Rhonda and Bobby!
 
11:00 am Rhonda Rajsich vs. Paola Longoria (Mexico)
12:00 pm Bobby Horn vs. Carlos Keller (Bolivia)
 
Things move pretty quickly from here. After the last match has been completed Saturday afternoon, the medals ceremony takes place at the club. Then Team USA returns to the hotel for a final team meeting and the traditional team toast. At 8:00 pm, it's back to the Soccer Stadium (where opening ceremonies were held a week ago) to enjoy the closing party hosted by the Local Organizing Committee. In a difference from prior years, packing can be accomplished on Sunday morning since team members don't fly out until Sunday afternoon/evening.
 
This is the time when the US Delegation emerges from the cocoon of an 11-day trip and says, "Wow, it's almost over!" At the front end, it seems like it will be a long time until flights home, then all of a sudden it's Friday, and then Saturday, and it's over. What's left are memories for life. It's a pretty special experience.
 
Thanks to everyone for following the blogs over the last nine days. There will be one more blog either Saturday night or sometime Sunday describing the final day and the overall results before we say goodbye until next time.
 
GOTEAMUSA!!

Blog #8 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time
 
Thursday Results in Temuco
Rhonda Rajsich def. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 15-10, 15-5
Bobby Horn def. Pedro Castro (Canada), 15-7, 15-4
Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger lost to Carla Muñoz/Josefa Parada (Chile), 14-15, 2-15
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter lost to Nicolas Bousquet/Samuel Murray (Canada), 10-15, 4-15
 
Wednesday Challenger Division: Tim Baghurst vs. Jorge Rosales (Bolivia), 15-5, 15-11.
 
Tim won his match vs. Jose Luis Garate (Chile) today in two games.
 
Coach Dave Describes the Day
Today’s results might be called “The Good and The Bad." Tremendously good was Rhonda’s victory over Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina/Bolivia. Rhonda took it to her with her great shot making and consistency throughout. Rhonda’s serves to the backhand corner were money, to say the least. Throughout the rallies, she had Maria on the defensive the entire match.
 
Also good was Bobby’s victory over Pedro Castro of Canada/Chile. Bobby fell behind early in the first game, after which he dominated completely the rest of the match. Bobby was reading Pedro’s leanings and continued to hit well-placed shots for winners. It’s really fun to watch Mr. Horn when he’s playing so well.
 
Bad for Team USA was Thomas and Bobby’s loss to the Canadians. The Canadians played excellently, combining great wide angles with timely, precise pinches. The first game was close, the second wasn’t. Team Canada moved into the doubles semifinals.
 
Bad also for our team was Janel and Rhonda’s match with the Chileans. Actually it was our players against Carla Muñoz and a partner who scarcely participated. The two-on-one situation was confusing, with lots of hinders due to Carla trying to cover the entire court by herself. I must mention, however, that Carla took advantage of opportunities and ended rallies consistently throughout the match. It was a tough outcome for Team USA. 
 
Tomorrow, Rhonda plays Ana Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala. Bobby will be pitted against Andree Parrilla of Mexico in a rematch of their final at the IRT Pro Stop in Chicago two weeks ago. All right, Team USA Fans, let’s step up the good vibes please!


Featured Player of the Day – Rhonda Rajsich
Rhonda Rajsich, of Phoenix, AZ (born and raised), has played racquetball for most of her life, having hit the courts under her father and godfather’s influence at the tender age of 2. Her occupation? She says with a smile, “Pro athlete, lover of life.” When she’s not playing the LPRT, she conducts racquetball and basketball lessons and clinics.
 
When asked about her most memorable moment in racquetball, Rhonda replied, “Winning the IRF Worlds in Ireland in 2008. I wasn’t supposed to be there and ended up winning the World Championship. That was my first World title, with the second in 2010 in Korea.” 
 
Rhonda thanks her sponsors: Rollout Racquetball, Racquetball Warehouse, Restrung Magazine, and 3WallBall. She wants to recognize her mother Deneen Thurow and her late father Dennis Rajsich for their lifelong support, and she also thanks Coach Jim Winterton, Trainers Travis Stoetzel, Jarrett East and Jim Walter, Brent Huff (US Team Trainer), Jeff Kettering (agent), Jason Bronson, Kristi Turner (massage therapist), Dr. Michael Leff (chiropractor), and Toni Delos Santos (mental coach).  Rhonda would also like to thank her real, true, unwavering friends: "You know who you are!"
 
Some of Rhonda's other interests/hobbies outside racquetball include basketball, training, playing outside, music/movies/shows, and eating. In answer to a recent question (What is your favorite childhood memory?), Rhonda reminisces, "Going to Disneyland and Huntington Beach with my parents.” 
 
Question of the Day
If you had to spend a month on a deserted island and could only take three items, what would they be? (People are not items; sadly, there is no WiFi.)
 
This question necessitated some clarification...a Whatsapp interrogation ensued...
 
Bobby: Will food be provided on the island? Or, are we getting dropped out of a plane like Survivor?
Cheryl: Basic food and water, but that's all. No ice cream.
Bobby: No housing?
Cheryl: Nooo... (rolling eyes emoji)
Bobby: Ok, I'll bring a knife, fishing pole, and shoes. No clothes, though. (cracking up emoji)
Cheryl: This is not Naked and Afraid. You can arrive fully clothed.
Bobby: Dammit. Can I bring a bin to put my clothes in?
Cheryl: If that's one of the three items.
 
Once we got that out of the way (with other team members looking in on Whatsapp), the answers started flowing in. (Blogger's comments in parentheses.)
Thomas: A tent, matches to start a fire, and deodorant since I might get pretty stinky after a month (Note: It's an island, there's an ocean, Thomas. You might get pretty salty.)
Bobby: My bed, a fishing pole still, and a toothbrush. (Note: Bobby, your dentist would be so proud.)
Brent: Knife, tent, shoes (Note: Brent will ALWAYS have shoes, really cool ones. Wonder if he would bring his new USA shoes?)
Cheryl: Matches, insect repellent, and a toss-up between concealer and mascara (for the rescue). Probably will regret no knife...
Dave: Generator, gasoline, heater (Note: Dave, it's a tropical island...)
Janel: Knife, tent, axe. (Note: I should re-think the knife.)
Rhonda: Flint, TRX straps, Wilson basketball (I would enjoy it more than a volleyball) (Note: LOL)
 
Letter From Home!
Good luck and Go Team USA from Junior Team USA! We are cheering for you from all over the country! Play with your hearts and leave it on the court. We are proud of you!
- Jen Meyer, US Junior Team Esprit Coach
 
Americans in Chile, continued...
Hey, Fran Davis is in the house, too, coaching Paola Longoria (Mexico). Shout out to Fran!
 
Friday -- Semifinals Action at PARC!
 
We're down to the wire. Tons of good luck to Rhonda and Bobby in their semifinals matches!

11:00 Rhonda Rajsich vs. Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
1:00 Bobby Horn vs. Andree Parrilla (Mexico)
1:00 Challenger -- Tim Baghurst vs. TBD
 
Reminder -- Live streaming is found at http://www.internationalracquetball.com/watch.html. The time in Temuco is one hour later than US Eastern.
 
GOTEAMUSA!!




Blog #7 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time
 
Wednesday's Results in Temuco
Thomas Carter lost to Kadim Carrasco (Bolivia), 14-15, 12-15
Rhonda Rajsich def. Jen Saunders (Canada), 15-6, 15-8
Janel Tisinger lost to Paola Longoria (Mexico), 5-15, 5-15
Bobby Horn def. Set Cubillos (Colombia), 15-9, 15-6
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter def. Enier Chacon Gomez/Maikel Mollet (Cuba), 15-2, 15-7
Rhonda/Janel BYE
 
8:00 pm Challenger Division: Tim Baghurst vs. Jorge Rosales (Bolivia)
Note: Tim Baghurst won all of his preliminary round robin matches in Challenger Men's 35+ and continues into the main draw as the 4th seed.
 
Coach Dave's Comments
Thomas Carter led us off today with a 9:45 am match. He was pitted against Kadim Carrasco of La Paz, Bolivia. Wow, what an exciting match! The first game was back and forth the entire time. With Thomas up 14-12 and serving, he had several chances for point number 15, but the game point eluded him. In the second game, Thomas walked on the court without his tether around his wrist, hit a ball that came towards him, and the result was a technical. Soon Thomas found himself down 7 to minus 1. Things got worse until late in the game with Thomas ending up with 12 points. Thomas has been a dedicated Team USA player,  and the experience here in Temuco will serve him well going forward. 
 
Rhonda played Jen Saunders of Canada, and our #1 was too much for the Canadian. She quickly won in two games. Janel's earlier results here brought her to a main draw first round against Paola Longoria. As the first game went on, Janel found her rhythm and scored some points. In the second, she jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Although there were many sideouts, Janel couldn’t stop Mexico’s top player.
 
Bobby played against Colombia’s Set Cubillos, and Set found himself in every part of the court. Bobby easily won in two games. Thomas and Bobby played the Cuban doubles team, and our guys were on their game. As we move through the tournament, Bobby and Thomas are reading each other better and better. This Coach was impressed with what he saw happening in the doubles competition. Team USA closed out this match in two action-filled, one-sided games.
 
Featured Player of the Day - David "Bobby" Horn
Born and raised in Stockton, California, and now playing out of Pleasanton, California, Bobby, 28, is a charter member of the "the 209." He is ranked #1 on the WRT and #10 in USA Racquetball's ranking system. His mother Michelle Horn, grandmother Anna Martin, sister Nichole Lossi, and nephew Kayden stay avidly tuned in to his racquetball career.
  
Bobby graduated from Cal State East Bay in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies (teaching) with a minor in Spanish. His hobbies include basketball, golf, playing cards with friends, and fishing. Additionally, "I do a lot of training, teaching, and spending time with my family."
 
How did you get started playing racquetball? “I started playing at 15 when I met teammate Jose Diaz at the gym. He pulled me onto the court, and I have played off and on since that day.
 
"I want to thank my entire team that has helped me get this far: my people in Stockton -- Dave and John Ellis, Jody Nance, Jesse Serna, and all the guys there who I grew up playing with. My current coach Jim Winterton. Also a shout-out to “The Donkeys” at home, I know they are always watching. I want to thank my friends in the East Bay area as well for their support and help to get to this point. Thank you to my sponsors who allow me to play this sport regularly: Gearbox Racquetball, Reaching Your Dream Foundation, Clubsport Pleasanton, Premium Properties, and FITLAB Solutions.
 
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to play for the USA at this event. Playing two events is always a tough task, but I’m ready to play my butt off and hopefully bring some hardware back for our team and our country. Go USA!”


Bobby Receives Mail from Home
Dear Bobby, Good luck in Chile. ... I look forward to seeing you in Minnesota and I’ll try to be the towel kid in Minnesota.
From Illinois towel kid Freddy Conforti, age 9, Wheaton, Illinois
 
(Blogger's Note: Freddy and several other kids did towel duty for the pro matches at the Shamrock Shootout Tier 1 Pro Stop in Lombard, Illinois, over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Bobby gained a few new fans due to his rapport with the kids there. Freddy, wearing Bobby's hat, took a globe to school to tell his classmates about racquetball, Bobby, and Chile.)
Question of the Day
What will you miss about being here when you leave?
Rhonda: the hotel and the pretty blue-eyed dog on the way to the club
Brent: the food
Dave: the double showerhead in the hotel room
Bobby: the people at the club
Thomas: the whole experience
Janel: the hotel and hanging out with my teammates
 
Americans in Chile
In addition to the US Team Delegation you've come to know and love through these daily blogs, there are a number of other Americans at this event in Temuco as well. Tim Baghurst (OK), Gustavo Farell (TX), Gary Mazaroff (NM), Dean Schear (CO), and Luke St. Onge (CO) all have roles with the IRF. Laura McCormick (CA) works with Pablo Fajre on streaming (beginningtomorrow!), and Tom Travers (FL) coaches the team from Guatemala.
 
The "four gringos" (Gary Mazaroff, Gustavo Farell, Dean Schear, and Tim Baghurst) ventured out of Temuco on Tuesday to visit Pucón*. Of the trip, Tim commented, " Pucón reminded me a lot of Wales with the rolling hills and sheep." Gary added, "We rented a car from Andres Gomez (a great value), named the car Great Wall, and bonded over good food, beverages, and termas (hot springs)." Note: See the scenic photos that accompany this blog.
*Travelogue, Part II: Pucón (population approx. 21,000) is a town in central Chile's Lake District, lying on Lake Villarrica overlooked by the snow-capped Villarrica volcano. An adventure tourism hub, it's renowned for access to hiking trails, water sports, white-water rafting and kayaking as well as skiing and snowboarding. The surrounding terrain ranges from lakeside beaches to temperate rainforest. Natural hot springs are found in nearby forested valleys.

Everybody Loves a Good Meeting (?)
For some, it's not all just "fun and games" in Temuco, unless they live for meetings. Besides the Coaches meeting, the Referees meeting, and the IRF and PARC Executive Board meetings, the PARC General Assembly was convened Tuesday evening at 8:00 pm. Delegates representing each country in attendance were there, including Dave Ellis representing the USA. The agenda covered minutes approval, financials, and various other update reports such as Women's Development, Anti-Doping Program, Sponsorships, and Events. PARC President Marcelo Gómez (Costa Rica) and IRF President Osvaldo Maggi (Argentina) each addressed the group as well. The General Assembly takes place each year as part of the Pan American Racquetball Championships, wherever the event is located.



Thursday -- The Action Heats Up!
11:00 Rhonda Rajsich vs. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)
1:00 Bobby Horn vs. Pedro Castro (Canada)
2:00 Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger vs. Carla Muñoz/Josefa Parada (Chile)
4:00 Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter vs. Nicolas Bousquet/Samuel Murray (Canada)
 
Catch live streaming Thursday (quarterfinals), Friday (semifinals), and Saturday (finals):
 
Draws are available for viewing at:
 
GOTEAMUSA!!

Blog #6 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time
 
Question of the Day, Part I
Team USA, what did you do on your day off?
Brent: Worked out, went to the mall with Coach, read, napped, dinner, resuming player treatments in the evening.
Dave: Slept in until 7:30, worked out for 45 minutes, breakfast with Tom Travers and friends, took clothes to a lavandería, hung out in the lobby with strong WiFi signal, went with Brent to the mall, bought snacks, picked up laundry, nice nap befitting an innocent person, attended IRF General Assembly.
Bobby: Woke up, took laundry, went to the pool, went to lunch with Thomas, went to hit, retrieved laundry, dinner, rested up for tomorrow.
Thomas: Ate a big breakfast and hung with Bobby all day. We went to the pool, dropped off laundry, got a great lunch, and went to the club for a short practice.
Janel: Woke up, breakfast, went back to sleep, worked, watched movies, went to Mercato for empanadas, went to the mall, came back to hotel and watched more movies, and I'm sure dinner in a bit and Brent will work on us.
Rhonda: Had breakfast, did laundry, watched movies, quick lunch then quick mall trip and now more movies.
 
Question of the Day, Part II
To this blogger's great delight, high-performing coach Dave Ellis came up with this question and nearly everyone had answered practically before my head came off the pillow this morning...
 
What are your three favorite television shows?
 
Dave Ellis: Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men
Brent: Big Bang TheoryHow I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men
Janel Tisinger: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story 
Rhonda Rajsich: Big Bang Theory, Law & Order, Suits
Thomas Carter: Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Bobby Horn: Game of Thrones, Prison Break, Jessica Jones
Cheryl Kirk: Blacklist, Code Black, The Good Doctor
 
Dave even went on free-day walkabout and garnered some international participation as well!
 
Shai Manzuri (Argentina): Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, La casa de papel (aka Money Heist) from Spain
Christine Richardson (Canada): How I Met Your Mother, Blacklist, Friends
Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala): This Is Us
 
Warm Thanks for US Team Support!
The racquetball community in the United States and around the world benefits to an enormous degree on sponsorships and donations from those who regard this sport as an important part of their own lives and one that is worthwhile to the lives of others.
 
At USAR National Doubles in Tempe last month, Team Behind the Team shirts were given to anyone who made a US Team donation of $25+, and many appeared in photos congratulating the winners. Following is a list of individuals who participated (not to be considered all-inclusive!): Chris Poucher, Cheryl Jones, Cheryl Bird, Leo Vasquez, Keith Minor, Terry Rogers, Cindy Gilbert, Wendy Miller, Ann Draudt, Mel West, Robert Frazier, Harold Jagoda, Kim Randolph, Mike Lippitt, Francine Davis, Jonathan Clay, Joe Silius, Enrique Magana, Tiffany Bowen, Paris Geiser, Rick Betts, Cindy Tilbury, John Provan, Rod Southwood, Janet Scheffer, P.R. Olson, Sharan and Rod Mooney, Madeline Melendez, Renée Gundolff, Dennis Chandler, Damian Zamorano, Bob Sullins, Jake Ryan, Mark Lobo, John Puccio, Robert Lattanzio, Richard Aal, Nidia Funes, Burke Ivey, David Piper, Thomas Travers, Stewart Solomon, Carl Stafford, Jerry Northwood, Susan Mueller, Al Muranaga, Debra Bryant, Dave Ellis, Pat Ellis, and Steve Watts.
 
Coming Soon! So, a number of the folks named above are in the photos that will grace the cover of the next Racquetball magazine issue and page 14 as well. Take a look inside on pages 3 and 4 for the long and heartwarming list of people who donated to the Team USA Challenge in 2017.
 
Thanks to everyone and to those who have made donations through the Team USA Challenge, R2 Sports donations via events, the PARC Travel Registry, referee fees at National Doubles, states and individuals who supported the US Junior Team's trip last November, et al. -- you are all appreciated more than you will ever know!
 
If you would like to contribute to the US Team and US Junior Team, please go to https://www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball/programs/team-usa/team-usa-challengeEvery bit helps!

Letter from Home!
Great start for Team USA - - keep up the good work - - GO TEAM USA!! - - NOT going to say Good Luck, just PLAY WELL!!
-- John O'Donnell, Jr., Champaign, IL
 
Wednesday -- The Main Event! Miércoles - ¡el evento principal!
 
9:45 Thomas Carter vs. Kadim Carrasco (Bolivia)
11:30 Rhonda Rajsich vs. Jen Saunders (Canada)
11:30 Janel Tisinger vs. Paola Longoria (Mexico)
1:30 (potential match) Thomas Carter vs. Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) after a win at 9:45 am
2:30 Bobby Horn vs. winner of Set Cubillos (Colombia) and Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina)
5:30 pm Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter vs. Enier Chacon Gomez/Maikel Mollet (Cuba)
Rhonda/Janel BYE
 
For the final four days of competition, the format becomes single elimination. Every player from every country competing here in Chile wants a place in the finals -- the atmosphere will be electric! 
 
GOTEAMUSA!!

Blog #5 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Monday, March 26, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time Zone
 
Monday's Results
Janel Tisinger def. Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-3, 15-2
Rhonda Rajsich lost to Carla Muñoz (Chile), 10-15, 15-12, 6-11
Thomas Carter def. Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala), 15-13, 11-15, 11-9
Bobby Horn def. Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 15-6, 11-15, 11-1
Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger def. Cristina Amaya/Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-12, 15-11
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter def. Set Cubillos/Andres Gomez (Colombia), 15-4, 15-11
 
Challenger Division -- Tim Baghurst vs. Juan Carlos Gonzalez (Chile) -- results tomorrow!


Coach Dave Wraps Up Phase I
All in all, this was a solid day for Team USA. Janel started and did a number on Josefa Parada from Chile, defeating her 15-3, 15-2. Janel is playing with determination that might have been missing from earlier matches. The results are very positive. Rhonda drew Carla Muñoz from Chile. The match was a real battle with the tiebreaker going back and forth. Rhonda played tough and was competing solidly. It was the absolutely the best that I’ve ever seen Carla play, but should they meet in the semifinals, I like Rhonda’s chances.
 
Thomas has also developed a determination. Both Thomas and Bobby played two very competitive players from Guatemala. Both matches went tiebreaker. Thomas defeated Juan Salvatierra 11-9, while Bobby won 11-1 over Edwin Galicia. 
 
In the women’s doubles, Rhonda and Janel took a solid two-game victory over Colombians Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros. Janel started a bit tentative but then found that “little bit of anger.” After that, she hit shot after shot for winners. Rhonda played a steady left side, forcing the Colombians to make numerous adjustments, none of which worked.
 
Thomas and Bobby also battled it out with the Colombian men’s doubles team of Set Cubillos and Andres Gomez. The match was one-sided with our guys closing it out in two. Southpaw Thomas dominated the left side with his big forehand. Bobby proved way too much talent on the right.
 
Tuesday brings Team USA a much-desired day off from going to the club. I say this even though several have mentioned going there for some extra practice. Personally, I play to enjoy a relaxing time here at the very nice hotel in which we’re staying.
 
Tonight, the day before the day off, was special, as we had our mid-tournament team dinner. Several of the group had eaten there the previous evening and liked it so much that they selected the restaurant Il Mercato as the site. All enjoyed the sumptuous food along with the good service. As is our custom, we do an activity called “stroking." Each person selects at random a teammate. Then everyone takes a turn saying positive things, or “strokes,” about the person selected. With a group of only 6, the activity was light hearted, with much humor being interspersed with the strokes.
 
Featured Staff Member of the Day – Brent Huff
Brent Huff of St. Charles, Illinois, is our US Team Athletic Trainer/Massage Therapist. He holds a Masters degree in Sports Medicine from the US Sports Academy and possesses 18 years’ experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer with the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association). Brent also holds certifications as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator with the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), Holistic Lifestyle Coaching with the CHEK Institute (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology), and is also licensed as a Massage Therapist (AMTA).
 
In his capacity as Team Athletic Trainer/Massage Therapist, Brent provides everything from prevention to assessment to emergency care. Rehab services for athletes and on-site coverage for athletic events are part of his repertoire as well. His experience encompasses everything from “little kids to professional athletes.”
 
Brent is a Wilson and Rollout Racquetball sponsored player who took up the sport 30+ years ago. He was the recipient of the 2016 USA Racquetball Joe Sobek Outstanding Contribution Award.
 
"It’s a privilege and an honor to make the trip with the US Team again. It's an opportunity to work with the best racquetball athletes in the world and to put my professions to use in a sport that’s my passion and my hobby as well."
 
Question of the Day
If you could have dinner with anyone alive today, who would it be?
 
Brent Huff: Michael Jordan
Dave Ellis: Bill Clinton
Bobby: My mom, or Tiger Woods (Bobby thought he couldn't name a family member, which was actually NOT a rule, Dave! Explain that to Pat...)
Rhonda: Angie Harmon
Thomas: Tom Brady
Janel: Danny Elfman
Cheryl: Billy Joel
 
Letters from Home!
Congrats on a hard fought weekend and look forward to seeing what TEAM USA brings to the court this week. We're thinking about all of you - best of luck!
- Scott Fish, Portland, OR
 
Mantra from Italian Nonna -- FOCUSED AND CENTERED, LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES, CRUSH AND DESTROY (the ball, of course). Go team go USA USA 
- Joanne Pomodoro, Boston, MA
 
We at RYDF wish you the very best of luck.  Please stay safe and healthy.  Go Team USA.
- Mike Lippitt, Danville, CA
 
My thoughts are with the whole team, including players, coaches, and staff as you progress in this tough event. You represent a great country and we are proud of your efforts. Keep getting stronger as the long week passes. Meet new friends and give 100% at all times. Go USA
- Keith Calkins, Penn Valley, CA

 
Martes en Temuco (Tuesday in Temuco)
As Dave mentioned, tonight (Monday) the US Team Delegation enjoyed the traditional team dinner on this eve before the free day on Tuesday, an anticipated and well-deserved rest for everyone in the middle of a pretty long trip. Tomorrow's blog will chronicle how team members spent their free day, and the schedule for Wednesday will be included as well!
 
Have fun, TEAMUSA!!

Blog #4 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time Zone
 

 

Sunday Results
Janel Tisinger def. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 15-5, 15-9
Rhonda Rajsich def. Maria Regla Viera Gonzales (Cuba), 15-4, 15-3
Thomas Carter lost to Maikel Mollet (Cuba), 14-15, 15-5, 9-11
Bobby Horn def. Enier Chacon Gomez (Cuba), 15-2, 15-6
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter def. Carlos Medrano/Marco Sarmiento (Honduras), 15-1, 15-6
BYE Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger
 
Challenger Division -- Tim Baghurst def. Geovanni Quintanilla (Chile) in a tiebreaker.
P.S. Update: Tim won his match yesterday vs. Mauricio Torrez (Bolivia), 15-4, 15-2
 
Coach Dave Weighs In
Team USA had more success today with a determined Janel. She was inspired, and after falling significantly behind early in the match -1 to 5 (uniform technical), she scored the next 16 points to win the first game 15-5. She stayed tough and closed out the match in two games. Rhonda “routined” her Cuban opponent, winning easily in two.
 
Thomas Carter ran into Maikel Mollett of Cuba, and the match was another down-to-the-wire affair. Thomas got nipped in the first game, 14-15, won the second 15-5, and then lost 11-10 in the tiebreaker. Bobby Horn was too much for Enier Chacon Gomez, also of Cuba. Bobby went to slop/garbage serves and was the beneficiary of lots of weak returns. He easily closed it out in two.
I saw something during Bobby's match that I’d never seen before over 44 years of racquetball. Gomez stepped on a weak spot, and the boards cracked underneath his foot. Check out the photo as there was actually a small “pothole” in the court. The two moved to an adjacent court and finished the match. Carpenters were quickly summoned, and within two hours, the floor was as good as new.
 
Bobby and Thomas played Honduras in the doubles, and were hitting on all cylinders.  The match went quickly as Team USA closed it out in two games. 
 
Featured Player of the Day – Janel Tisinger
Janel Tisinger, 35, hails from Simi Valley, CA (born and raised). Her parents started her into racquetball at the tender age of 4. She comes by her racquetball talent naturally – her mother, Debbie Tisinger-Moore, is a USAR Hall of Famer with scores of titles to her name. Janel says, “My mom has been a great coach to me. She gave me the talent and drive to play this sport. She guided me in the right direction.”
 
Some of Janel’s other family members include brother Devyn, sister Avree (both younger), niece Harley, and her uncle Jonathan Dunn who is one of her doubles partners and has assisted in her training. And, let’s not forget her two eight-year-old cats Weasley and Spongebob!
 
Big news! Janel is recently engaged! In her own words, "I have been planning to move to Utah, and I met T. Ledkins on one of my trips out there to plan my move. I knew the moment I met him he was gonna be my husband. We got engaged recently and are planning a wedding for the end of the year."Congratulations to the happy couple!
 
A Pro Kennex, Rollout Racquetball, and 3wallball.com sponsored player, Janel is a self-employed massage therapist. She likes to train nearly every day. 
 
In addition to her many accomplishments in indoor racquetball (including current world champion in women's doubles with partner Aimee Ruiz), Janel is currently the #1 ranked women’s outdoor pro. Her career achievements in outdoor include numerous titles in women's pro singles and doubles as well as mixed pro doubles at the 3wallball Outdoor World Championships and the WOR Championships.
 
Janel's hobbies include photography and singing. She takes vocal lessons and calls singing “one of my greatest passions.” She loves to do anything that involves being creative. 
 
When asked how she feels about being in Chile with the US Team, Janel responded, “I feel very blessed and honored to be here representing the team. I hope I can play my best and represent my country in an honorable way.”
 
From a Fan...
USAR Board Member Joanne Pomodoro writes in with an encouraging message for Team USA:
Proud of you all...wish I could root you on in person. 
Sending cheers, support, and positive energy your way! xo from Boston 
 
Question of the Day
What do you want to be remembered for (other than racquetball)?
 
Bobby: I want to be remembered for doing something that will change someone or people's lives.
Dave: As a good husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, coach, person, and patriot -- a person who loved to make others happy, smiling, and laughing.
Thomas: I want to be remembered as someone who always gave his best effort, whether it be sports, work, family, etc.
Brent: To be able to get more people to truly understand their health and wellness more than they think they do...outside of just wanting a quick pill, injection, surgery, etc.
Cheryl: Kindness. Made a difference in the lives of humans and animals. Especially donkeys (that's for you, Bobby).
Rhonda: To change lives for the better.
Janel: Blogger's note: MIA. No doubt off basking in her Featured Player of the Day status! It's a heady experience...
 
Monday Schedule
As each division's pool play rounds conclude Monday, draw configurations will be blindly chosen. Tomorrow night we'll get the main draws that will tell us what life will look like Wednesday through Saturday, AFTER a well-deserved day off on Tuesday! But here's how tomorrow looks for Team USA:
 
10:30 #7 Janel Tisinger vs. #19 Josefa Parada (Chile)
11:30 #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs. #17 Carla Muñoz (Chile)
1:00 #4 Thomas Carter vs. #16 Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala)
2:00 #2 Bobby Horn vs. #14 Edwin Galicia (Guatemala)
3:00 #2 Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger vs. #8 Cristina Amaya/Adriana Riveros (Colombia)
5:00 #2 Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter vs. #8 Set Cubillos/Andres Gomez (Colombia)
 
Challenger Division -- 9:45 pm #5 Tim Baghurst vs. #13 Juan Carlos Gonzalez (Chile)
 
Streaming Info
Official streaming begins March 29th at 9 am EST. Visit www.internationalracquetall.com for more information! Unofficial streaming is available on Facebook by going to the International Racquetball Federation page. Tim Baghurst plans to begin tomorrow about 12 noon Temuco time (11:00 am ET).
 
GOTEAMUSA!!  We are behind you all the way!


Blog #3 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time Zone
 
Greetings, Everyone!
 
There are twelve countries competing in Temuco: Argentina,Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. This is the first time this PARC event has been competed in Chile since 2012 where it was held in Temuco as well.
 
Therefore, we interrupt this blog(ue) for a brief travelog(ue) on this great destination.
 
Officially named the Republic of Chile, this is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west*. It borders Peruto the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan FernándezSalas y Gómez,Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.
 
* Chile's territorial shape is among the world's most unusual. From north to south, Chile extends 2,653 miles, and yet it only averages 110 miles east to west.[Blogger's note: for some perspective, the horizontal width of the United States is approximately 2,680 miles.]
 
CurrencyChilean peso
Population17.5 million
PresidentSebastián Piñera
Distance from Chicago, IL, to Temuco, Chile: 5,646 miles (Why Chicago? It's my blog...)
Altitude: 1,181' above sea level
Population of Temuco: 240,000
 
Now to the Subject at Hand -- Racquetball!
 
Team USA Results -- Day One
Janel Tisinger lost to Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 0-15, 15-11, 8-11
Rhonda Rajsich def. Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia), 15-5, 15-4
Thomas Carter lost to Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador), 6-15, 13-15
Bobby Horn def. Christian Chavez (Ecuador), 15-7, 15-10
Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger lost to Jenny Daza/Angelica Stefanny Barrios (Bolivia), 10-15, 15-5, 10-11
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter lost to Jose Daniel Ugalde/Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador), 15-3, 12-15, 7-11
 
Challenger Division -- #5 Tim Baghurst vs. #4 Mauricio Torrez (Bolivia) -- results tomorrow


Coach Dave's Comments on Competition Day One
Saturday was a frustrating day at the 2018 Pan American Championships, although there were two high points. Rhonda played solidly against a tough Colombian, Maria Paz Requelme, defeating her 15-5 and 15-4. Moving well on the court with excellent anticipation, Rhonda kept Maria on the defensive throughout the match. Maria wanted to crowd her, but Rhonda played through, brushing Maria with her racquet several times. Bobby played Ecuador’s young Christian Chavez. The first game was one-sided in Bobby's favor. The second seemed to be also, but Christian made a run towards the end of the match to make his point total respectable. Final scores, 15-7, 15-10.
 
We had some tough luck, losing three tiebreakers and one very close two-game match. Janel played against Cristina Amaya from Colombia. Starting very slow, she had to eat a not-so-tasty donut in the first. Now warmed up, Janel won a close second game and then lost a very competitive tiebreaker. Thomas Carter drew Ecuador’s Jose Daniel Ugalde, and it was a battle. There were many long and exciting rallies. Thomas had a nice lead, but “Topo” worked his way back to win in two, 15-6, 15-13. Thomas said, “I sure let him off the hook.” 
 
Janel and Rhonda drew a tough Bolivian team, and the match immediately started with controversy. There is a rule in place that doubles teams have to warm up wearing exactly the same uniforms. At the coaches’ meeting, there was some confusion as to whether this rule still applied. As Rhonda had her gray warm up pants on and Janel didn’t, that was a technical. Then it was pointed out that as Janel had a different warm-up jacket (no USA on the back) this was another technical. Thus our ladies started out with a -2 to 0 score. Frustration contributed to a first-game loss. Rhonda and Janel were solid in game two and won easily. The tiebreaker was back and forth with Bolivia winning 11-10.
 
Thomas and Bobby won their first game 15-6 against Ecuador, and it seemed like the match would be no contest. With the USA taking a lead in the second game, right side player Ugalde began hitting crack aces off the left sidewall. Not only that, but he was killing his set-ups consistently as well. Ecuador won the second game 15-13 and the tiebreaker 11-7. 
 
We’re back at it tomorrow with renewed energy!
 
Before signing off, here are a few interesting observations about the hotel:
·       Our three Team USA rooms are all on the same floor, close together.
·       There is no ice machine near the rooms.  You must call the front desk and they promptly deliver it to your room.
·       You need your room key to operate the elevator. You also need your room key to turn on the electricity and air conditioning on when you enter your room.
·       At the mall, there is an ice cream shop called Bravisimo. Check out the dessert that Bobby, Thomas, and Janel shared tonight!
·       Things in Chile are not cheap compared to most other Latin American countries. 
 
Question of the Day
Where is your favorite place in the world?
 
Bobby: Easy one. Grandma's house  <3
Janel: Mine is so special I will not say the name of it. But it's a place in the Sequoias with lots of redwoods. I've camped there two weeks every summer, every year, since I was born.
Rhonda: Tabacón Resort, Costa Rica
Dave: In Stockton, California, with Pat, John and family, and with 40 years of racquetball friends.
Brent: Grandparents' house on my mom's side, drinking and having fun with my family.
Thomas: Wherever my friends and family are.
Cheryl: Home with my husband and critters; also, any racquetball court
 
Here's another blog feature heralded with much anticipation:
 
Featured Player/Staff Member of the Day
Tonight's player is Thomas Carter, 2017 Intercollegiate Champion.
 
Education: Bachelors degree in Finance from Baldwin Wallace University, May 2017
 
Occupation: "Now that I’ve graduated from college, I’m playing racquetball full time. On top of playing, I also teach lessons, camps, and do online video analysis for racquetball players across the country."
 
Ranking on tour: #20 IRT
 
Family: "Mom Marcy, dad Adam, younger brother Joseph, and younger sister Julia. My dad and sister also play racquetball."
 
How did you get started playing racquetball? "My dad got me into racquetball when I was about 9 years old. My brother and I would be banging the ball around in the court while my sister, who was about 4 years old at the time, would sit in the back corner with goggles and a racquet in front of her to protect herself. Playing racquetball started out as something fun to do and slowly became my favorite sport."
 
Other interests/hobbies? "Hanging out with friends, trying new food."
 
Whom would you like to recognize for their support? "So many people have helped me along the way. My parents have always been incredibly supportive of me, along with my coach, Jim Winterton. I’d like to thank them for all that they’ve done for me. I’d also like to thank my sponsors, E-Force and Laserfibre for the great gear and great strings."
 
How does it feel to be competing with USA on your back at PARC in Chile? "I am ecstatic for the opportunity to represent my country in Chile. This is my first time on Team USA, so this whole experience is new to me. I will be playing my hardest every day and also just enjoying the moment."
 
Shout-Out to Sponsors
We'll be recognizing more folks here in the blog as this event progresses, but up front, USA Racquetball and Team USA extend sincere gratitude to Rollout (Jonathan Clay) for the excellent uniforms he provides as Official Apparel Sponsor for the US Team. Thanks also to Reaching Your Dream Foundation (Mike Lippitt, California) and John Puccio of Arizona, both of whom made very generous donations last month to the Team Behind The Team initiative to help fund this trip to Chile. We also thank the 2018 Team USA Challenge benefactors who have pledged significant amounts to match any donations over $100: Usher Barnoff, Rick Betts, Kit Lawson, Mike Lippitt, Chris Poucher, and Jason Thoerner. More later in these blogs, and please know that the US Team deeply appreciates all support!
 
Sunday Schedule
10:30 #7 Janel Tisinger vs. #18 Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica)
11:30 #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs. #20 Maria Regla Viera Gonzales (Cuba)
12:15 #4 Thomas Carter vs. #21 Maikel Mollet (Cuba)
1:00 #2 Bobby Horn vs. #23 Enier Chacon Gomez (Cuba)
5:00 #2 Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter vs. #11 Carlos Medrano/Marco Sarmiento (Honduras)
BYE Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger
 
Challenger Division -- 6:00 #5 Tim Baghurst vs. #12 Geovanni Quintanilla (Chile)
 
Streaming Update -- preparations are still underway for match coverage on Facebook. With some logistics pending, hopefully some live coverage will be available soon!
 
To check out the full results of this event, go to: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qlqdiqyczwf0h8g/AACcM4Wfln3yR3vBDnfmpJT-a?dl=0
 
Weather forecast tomorrow in Temuco -- 66 degrees F. and sunny. Temps in the 70's F. and sunny skies are forecasted all next week. Nice!
 
Hasta mañana! GOTEAMUSA!!






Blog #2 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
Friday, March 23, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time Zone
 
*** IRF Event Update ***
At the Coaches meeting this afternoon, it was announced that the 2018 IRF World Championships will be competed in Cali, Colombia, August 10-18. The 2018 IRF World Junior Championships will take place back in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, November 11-17, the site of the 2016 World Juniors.
 
Coach Dave Ellis Reports on Day Two 
There was lots of rain last night, which continued throughout the day. Team USA met the 8:30 am van to be at the club at 9:00 am where two courts were reserved for one hour. Bad luck hit with one of the two courts closed due to a leaky ceiling. The team made do as best they could with just one court. Bobby and Thomas used it for 20 minutes with Janel and Rhonda checking in for their 20 as well. Finishing off the hour, Bobby and Thomas played doubles, clicking together just fine. All in all, it wasn’t too bad a thing to limit practice the day before play begins. This is especially true as all four are playing two events.
 
Arriving back at the hotel, all took advantage of the fact that breakfast continued until 11 am. For some of the group, it was a second trip, thus constituting both breakfast and lunch. Coach Dave pulled out the team meeting agendas and spent roughly 30 minutes going through the items. High school teacher that he was, Coach gave oral quizzes at the end. The team did well!
 
The benefit of doing the team meeting and lunch at the same time was that the “travel-tired team” could get additional rest before opening ceremonies in the evening.
 
The Coaches Meeting at noon addressed the following topics:Drug testing, particularly the players’ responsibilities; transportation logistics between the hotel and club; doubles teams can warm up in different clothing but must be the same for the competition; must warm up with eye guards and wrist tether in place; forfeit time – 10 minutes after the scheduled time; players have the right to rest at least one hour between matches.
 
This afternoon at 4:30 saw Team USA in the hotel lobby. Shortly thereafter we joined other delegations back to the club grounds. Opening Ceremonies took place in a large room overlooking a soccer stadium. The ceremonies contained many remarks of gratitude and concluded after about 45 minutes. Rather than wait for the bus, the Team decided on the 15-minute walk back to the hotel. But wait...Rhonda's favorite Temuco restaurant, Oregon, was open, and that was quickly selected as the site for an evening meal. 
 
Sad News
Just as the Opening Ceremonies were beginning, Rhonda received notification that her uncle, Robert Rajsich, passed away today following a battle with cancer. Robert was Dennis Rajsich's youngest brother. Please join the US Team Delegation in offering heartfelt condolences to Rhonda and her family.


Question of the Day, Part II
On a follow-up from yesterday's question...If you did get that $3 million for giving up electronics for three months, what would you spend it on?
 
Dave: I'd build a multi-court facility in order to have international tournaments in my hometown of Stockton, California, aka "Racquetball Landia."
 
Rhonda: I'd spend 1/3 on helping people and donating, then invest 1/3, then play with what's left. [Blogger's note: yes, part of that investment would be in Apple.]
 
Brent: Donate 1/3, buy my dream car (Lamborghini), invest in a beer company, move someplace warm.
 
Thomas: I'd build a court in my back yard, donate half of what's left, then invest the rest.
 
Bobby: Buy houses for my family. Build a racquetball gym.
 
Janel: I would pay off debts. Invest. Take care of any health issues. Help out family. Buy a house. And travel.


Saturday -- It's Time!
The tournament schedule will be round robin Saturday-Monday to determine main round seeding, a free day on Tuesday, then the main draws beginning on Wednesday and ending with finals on Saturday 3/31. Team USA is pumped and ready to go! Here's tomorrow's schedule...send lots of good vibes south to Chile for Team USA!
 
10:30 #7 Janel Tisinger vs. #6 Cristina Amaya (Colombia)
11:30 #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs. #8 Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia)
12:15 #4 Thomas Carter vs. #9 Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador)
1:00 #2 Bobby Horn vs. #11 Ecuador Christian Chavez (Ecuador)
3:00 #2 Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger vs. #5 Jenny Daza/Angelica Stefanny Barrios (Bolivia)
4:00 pm #2 Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter vs. #5 Jose Daniel Ugalde/Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador)
 
Challenger Division -- 9:45 pm #5 Tim Baghurst vs. #4 Mauricio Torrez (Bolivia)
 
Streaming
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GOTEAMUSA!!
 

Blog #1 -- Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC), Temuco, Chile
March 22, 2018
Time in Temuco, Chile: One hour later than US Eastern Time Zone
 


Greetings from Temuco, Chile (and Naperville, Illinois), where the entire US Team has arrived as of today (actually Coach Dave Ellis hit the ground yesterday, figuratively speaking). I mention Naperville because for the first time since 2011, the team leader had to sit this trip out <big sniffle>. However, the Daily Blogs must go on, and so they shall.
 
Without further ado, introducing the US Team Delegation:
 
David "Bobby" Horn, California: #1 Singles
Thomas Carter, Pennsylvania: #2 Singles
Bobby Horn/Thomas Carter: Doubles
 
Rhonda Rajsich, Arizona: #1 Singles
 
Janel Tisinger, California: #2 Singles
Rhonda Rajsich/Janel Tisinger: Doubles
 
Dave Ellis, California -- Head Coach
Brent Huff, Illinois -- Team Trainer
 
Coach Dave Ellis will regale us with comments each day...
...and here's his account of his first day in Temuco (considerately submitted in the third person):
 
Coach Dave arrived in Temuco on Wednesday, and he arrived at the hotel at about 2:15 pm. After gaining entrance to his room, he remembered that none of his electrical plugs would work. Here the plugs use 2 or 3 prongs. In a state of near panic with his cell phone dying, he went in search of a store that sold adapters. Thank goodness Cheryl thought of this and sent nine adapters with Brent. After a grueling 26-hour trip, door-to-door, Coach Dave went to sleep at 7:30 pm and slept like the innocent person he is [blogger's edit: wishes he were] until 6:30 am the next morning.
 
On Thursday, Dave was up early to buy food and water for the team. He walked about three blocks from the hotel and then spent an hour looking for essential team supplies. One of the grocery baggers helped him locate a taxi. Upon later exploration, he found another supermarket in a small shopping center only a block away. In that center, there is also not one, but two, laundromats. Lavandarias are very important for athletes who are here playing for ten days (including practice).
 
A few interesting facts:
At the supermarkets, when you buy fruit, you have to take it to a designated place to have it weighed.  It’s not weighed at the cash register like we’re used to in the States.
 
They don’t have bags readily available at the supermarkets.
 
Bottled water is fairly expensive. Supposedly, Chilean tap water is safe to drink. The probability of it having strange bacteria is pretty high, however. We’re not taking chances.
 
The breakfast at the hotel is quite ample and it's complimentary.
 
The shuttles to and from the hotel and club are up and running. They are available every half hour, which is nice.
 
Dave spent a couple of hours talking with Dean Schear (Colorado), who is now in charge of the IRF's anti-doping program. Topics of conversation were adapters, junior racquetball development, previous international tournaments, and laundry. Dave says his Spanish is coming in really handy, having had a chance to converse with various hotel personnel. At the front desk, there have been Leonardo, Charlotte, Carolina, and Juan. Conversation with bellhops Juan, Hugo, and Jorge has been humorous. The topic of pachangas (parties) came up and each bellhop warned Dave about the other two.
Dave Ellis, Part II, Thursday Afternoon In Temuco
Once everyone (except Bobby, see below) had arrived and gotten settled, next was a trip to the local mall where currency was converted ($1 USD = 600 Chilean pesos) and lunch was consumed in the food court. Nap time, and then on to practice at 6:00 pm. As Bobby had not yet arrived, Brent substituted for him in a doubles match with the ladies.
 
After practice, Brent, Rhonda, Janel, Thomas, and Dave walked to a nearby restaurant. After they ordered, Bobby notified them that he had finally arrived, and he went to the restaurant to meet them. The US Team Delegation was complete!  
 
Bobby's Not-So-Excellent Adventure, aka Travel Nightmare
Bobby Horn's entire journey from SFO (San Francisco) to ZCO (Temuco) was, as he eloquently described it, "a full-on nightmare." Looking for blog content and wanting to give him something to do, the blogger asked him to keep a complete account of the debacle, promising him he would be labeled a hero and get lots of sympathy. This seemed to resonate...
 
Setting the stage, there ended up being four legs to the journey (vs. the original three) -- San Francisco to Los Angeles; Los Angeles to Lima, Peru; Lima to Santiago, Chile; Santiago to Temuco, Chile. In Bobby's own words:
 
Wednesday, 3/21/18
6:30 am in Northern California: Woke up to find out my original flight was cancelled.
 
7:00 am: Renée Gundolff [USAR staff] was able to get American Airlines to book me on the next flight out on United Airlines.
 
9:15 am: Get to the airport to check in at United to find an hour-long wait due to weather delays.
 
10:15 am: Get to the desk to find that United has a confirmation code for me but no ticket number resulting in me walking over two terminals to handle it with American Airlines.
 
10:50 am (10 minutes before I was supposed to take off): AA cancels my United flight and puts me on a flight 6 hours later.
 
11:30 am: Go eat breakfast at the farthest terminal possible.
 
12:30 pm: Check bags and go through security.
 
1:30-3:30 pm: Nap on the airport floor where I proceed to drool all over myself because I was so sleepy.
 
4:00 pm: Late lunch including delicious chicken curry and white rice.
 
5:00 pm: Flight to Los Angeles is delayed!!! You have to be kidding me. Flight was scheduled to leave at 5:15.
 
5:50 pm: Board flight to LA where I will have at least 2-hour layover.
 
9:42 pm: Boarded plane at LAX headed for Lima.
 
A number of hours later, maybe 8:00 amThursday morning 3/22/18: Two-hour layover in Lima, but I don't get off of the plane.
 
3:30 pm -- Land in Santiago. Go through immigration and then try to check my bags back onto the flight to Temuco, but they have me on record leaving on the original flight yesterday morning and didn't know I had been cancelled.
 
4:30 pm -- They give me a new ticket and bag tickets.
 
5:00 pm -- Waiting at the gate to board flight to Temuco. Almost there!!!
 
7:45 pm -- Land in Temuco and shuttle to the hotel. Put my bag upstairs and meet the team for dinner.
 
10:20 pm -- Hotel room workout because the gym is closed. :-(
 
Roughly 36 hours, give or take, haha.
 
Blogger's note: See what I mean? And Bobby is smiling in the photo at dinner. And we have a video of him doing pushups in his room. Mental toughness, exemplary attitude!
Now, on to...
 
Question of the Day
You know you were hoping for this. Might as well get going out of the gate (pardon the expression, Bobby) on this wildly popular feature! While the US Team members were traveling (for a long time), they were asked to contemplate the answer to this very difficult question:
 
No cell phone, no Facebook, no computer access, no Wifi for 3 months and you get $3 million. Could you do it? (Disclaimers: You can't do it for one month and get $1 million. And, this is a rhetorical question, not an offer.)
 
Turns out it was not that tough a question after all...
 
Bobby: I could do it for 5% of that!
Brent: For sure!
Dave: Ready and willing!
Thomas: Easy money, Cheryl.
Janel: Easy, easy, easy!!! Yes, I could and would do that. No question!
Rhonda: Piece of cake.
 
That last answer was a shocker, given that Rhonda should be honorary CEO of Apple. She has Apple everything. They know her by face and name. They become giddy when she walks into the Apple store. When quizzed further on this, Rhonda did allow for the fact that since she is the face of Apple, her fee would be tripled in doing so.
 
Fair enough.
 
Preview of Day Two -- First Friday in Temuco
Practice for the team will commence at 9 am Friday. On the administrative side of things, the Coaches' meeting will take place at 12 noon, followed by a Referees' meeting. The US Team will get together for a short briefing before the Opening Ceremonies that will take place at 6:00 pm in the auditorium of the main soccer stadium near the club. Once the festivities are over, it will be an early night since competition will commence at 9 am Saturday morning (Temuco is same as US Eastern time +1 hour, so 8:00 am in New York, e.g.) Saturday morning.
 
So, welcome to the PARC 2018 Daily Blogs. For the next 10 days, I'll be sending results, news, anecdotes, player profiles, and more, all designed to help you, the reader, feel like you're there with the US Team Delegation in Temuco.  Wish you (we!) could all be there...racquetball players do love an audience!
 
GO TEAM USA!!