USA Racquetball News 2022 XXI IRF World C...

2022 XXI IRF World Championships Blog

Aug. 15, 2022, 10 a.m. (ET)

XXI IRF World Championships

Blog #10
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Saturday, August 27, 2022

After today’s closing coverage, it’s not over until it’s over! Read on for the second installment of Stewart Solomon’s Blog Within the Blog. You’ll find it just below the traditional GO TEAM USA!! closing of this blog. Enjoy!

The Team Competition finals matches took place today on the stadium streaming court, and another IRF World Racquetball Championships event is in the record books! This event is now officially back on schedule after being pre-empted by the pandemic.

The Awards Ceremony took place right after the conclusion of the last match, and here are the results for Team USA and the other countries who placed as well.

Team USA Medalists – Individual Competition

Rocky Carson – Silver
Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt -- Bronze

Men's Doubles Bronze Medalists Charlie Pratt and Sam Bredenbeck at the IRF World Championships

Team USA Medalists – Team Competition
Men’s Team – 3rd place
Women’s Team – 3rd place
Overall Team – 3rd place

Division Winners – Individual Competition
Men's Singles – Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
Women's Singles -- Paola Longoria (Mexico)
Men's Doubles – Daniel De La Rosa/Alvaro Beltran (Mexico)
Women's Doubles -- Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico)

Country Winners – Team Competition
Men's Team
1 - Mexico
2 - Canada
3 - USA
4 - Bolivia

Men's Team takes US Team Takes Bronze at the International Racquetball Federation World Championships

Women's Team
1 - Mexico
2 - Bolivia
3 - USA
4 - Argentina

Women's Team at the XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships

Overall Combined Team
1 - Mexico
2 - Bolivia
3 - USA
4 - Canada

US Team Takes Bronze at the International Racquetball Federation World Championships

Thank You’s
The US Team Delegation wishes to deliver our gratitude to those who made this event so truly memorable:

The Host Country of Mexico (Miguel Perea, President) and the Local Organizing Committee, headed by Fabian Parrilla, for hosting 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!

Staff members who deserve so much gratitude and respect as well for their time and expertise. Mauro Grandio (Argentina), who has and is expertly organizing so many of the behind-the-scenes IRF functions, was joined at the tournament desk by Pablo Berriel, Adrian Macrino, and Veronique Guillemette (all Argentina). Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) and Kadeem Carrasco (Bolivia) did a great job on the social media aspects of this event.

The referees from six countries who were on hand to provide a quality experience for the players (see Blog #3 on 8/20/22 for names and nationalities).

Pablo Fajre, Gary Mazaroff, Gustavo Farell, and Alexis Iwaasa for bringing many hours of live streaming for a solid seven days, Sunday through Saturday.

IRF Sponsor, Gearbox (owner Rafael Filippini) who contributes significantly to these international events.

IRF President Osvaldo Maggi and IRF Vice President Marcelo Gómez Pacheco for their leadership and dedication to Racquetball and its development around the world. Also, to Luke St. Onge and Keith Calkins whose earlier work set a solid foundation for the future.

USA Racquetball Director of Operations and National Teams Renée Isherwood for her considerable behind-the-scenes support such as booking flights, arranging insurance coverage for Team USA, and so much more.

To all the readers of this blog who helped Team USA feel the love from back home!

And... congratulations to each and every athlete and country delegation who placed in the standings as well as those who did not. Everyone represented their countries with honor and pride, and we are proud to be a member of the Racquetball family. We wish everyone a safe trip back home!

Michelle De La Rosa

Hollie Scott and Kelani Lawrence at the International Racquetball Federation World Championships

Team Dinner at the International World Championships

* Part II: Blog Within the Blog...Courtesy of Stewart Solomon

All good things....

It has been an amazing first experience at an IRF event. From watching riveting matches, to seeing teams supporting each other, to eating delicious food and meeting good people...all in all it was a successful trip.

On Friday night, a handful of us went to a burger place for dinner within walking distance of the hotel. The food had great flavor and the conversations were even better! With 80's throwback music in the background, I had the pleasure of chatting with Gustavo Farell who was the voice of many of the matches that were on the show court. We compared notes on what it takes to be a broadcaster and how each of us found our way to the sport of racquetball. After dinner, a few of us hung out in the hotel lobby and just talked about all things NOT racquetball. At one point there were enough quotes from the classic Ice Cube and Chris Tucker movie "Friday" that we probably re-enacted the entire movie.

Saturday morning, after watching all this amazing game play throughout the short week I was there, I finally got a chance to lace up my sneakers, put on a glove, and swing a racquet on one of the courts located at the amazing La Loma Centro Deportivo! First, I was able to hit around with Kevin who was from Texas but living in Mexico now. He has actually extended his stay one more night just to be able to get on the court and hit around. After we played singles, we hopped down and played doubles with coaches Malia and Jim as well as a member of Team India who flew in from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (my home state). After playing a few games of doubles, I stepped up to a challenge to play some singles with IRF referee Allan Chacon who was asking, "Who's next?" We played 6 games, and after a couple of hours of play at 6,000 feet above sea level, I was ready for breakfast!

Throughout the day I was honored to have some great conversations with multiple members of the team who happened to be around. The highlights of my trip were cheering on Team USA as well as getting to know many of the delegation on a personal level. My only regret is that I didn't go out earlier and have more time to spend with everyone on the trip!

The racquetball portion of the trip was rounded out by the awards ceremony. I was glad to have been asked by the IRF to help be a part of the ceremony and was lucky enough to hand the Women's Third Overall Team award to our very own Women's Team. I was so proud of the way the team came together and supported one another. I am hoping that we can have a strong showing of supporters for PARC in Chile at the end of March next year. For everyone who goes to support, the plan is to provide everyone inflatable boom sticks in Red, White and Blue!

Saturday night was capped off with a Team dinner which was sponsored by Keith Minor. A HUGE thanks to Keith for the delicious meal and his continued support of racquetball overall! We all enjoyed the ambiance, food, and drinks at Gran Central! The place looked amazing, and they had the food to match! I addressed the team, thanking them for their efforts, competition, and comradery. I explained how proud I was for how they played as my eyes began to well up with the sense of pride I had for them. After that, Team Captains Rocky and Rhonda addressed the team with similar words of praise and also gifted the team awards to Coach Jim, Coach Malia, and MVP Athletic Trainer Rodger.

After getting 2 hrs of sleep, I made it downstairs for the 4:00 am shuttle to the airport for my 6:30 am flight. For some reason they wouldn't allow me to bring my racquet onboard through security so instead, I gifted the racquet to the young man that was working security, letting him know that I expected him to use it to learn racquetball. Hopefully that's one more person being introduced to this great sport of ours!

While it was great to spend time with my second family, while traveling home I was looking forward to seeing my primary family: my wife and my son. It was an amazing trip, but alas, all good things must come to an end!

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Blog #9
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday Results Recap – Team Competition

USA vs. Guatemala - Quarterfinals

Men’s Team 

Rocky Carson def. Edwin Galicia

Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt def. Christian Wer Llerena/Edwin Galicia

Women’s Team 

Erika Manilla def. Gabriela Martinez (WBF)

Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott def. Gabriela Martinez/María Renée Rodriguez

USA vs. Mexico - Semifinals

Women’s Team

Rhonda Rajsich lost to Alexandra Herrera

Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott lost to Paola Longoria, Samantha Salas Solis

Men’s Team 

Alex Landa lost to Rodrigo Montoya

Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt def. Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa

Rocky Carson lost to Daniel De La Rosa

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Jim Durham’s Comments

This was Day #1 of the Team Competition of this event here at the IRF World Racquetball Championships, and it was the U.S. Team vs. Guatemala in the quarterfinal round.

GUATEMALA

Rocky Carson started us off against Edwin Galicia. Edwin has been playing well this week. He knocked off Daniel De La Rosa in an early round in the individual competition. Rocky was feeling the effects of two tough matches: his five-game war with Acuña and the four-game final match vs. Conrrado Moscoso. Despite a tired body, Rocky found enough to push Edwin around the court and get the win.  Sam Bredenbeck and Charlie Pratt were up next against the doubles pairing of Galicia/Jaime Mansilla. Pratt and Bredenbeck took care of business and won handily. Since we now had the “best of three” wins we needed to advance, Alex Landa did not have to play, and our men advanced to the semifinal round against Mexico. 

Rocky Carson vs. Guatemala Charlie Pratt and Sam Bredenbeck vs Guatemala

On the Women’s side, we started off with Gaby Martinez forfeiting to Erika Manilla to save herself for the doubles in the hopes of winning there and then hoping that María Renée Rodriguez would defeat Rhonda Rajsich. That was not to be as Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott played beautifully and took this match in dominating fashion. Kelani extended rallies and scored points with excellent Z serves, and Hollie put away a high percentage of setups. Rhonda did not have to play her match since we had our two victories. It was on to the semifinals for Team USA against the powerful Mexican team. 

MEXICO

Landa started us off, facing an injured and visibly hobbled Rodrigo Montoya. Landa couldn’t find his game or the spirit to compete, and Rodrigo took him down. That meant we had to win the doubles to stay alive. Sam and Charlie faced the veteran team of Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa for the second time this week. Sam in only his second trip as a U.S. Adult Team member would be battling the #1 IRT player and US OPEN reigning champion on the left side in the person of Daniel De La Rosa. Charlie was up against the player with the most world titles: Alvaro Beltran. The Mexicans started off hot, pinch killing their setups and flicking defensive shots to the ceiling, forcing Bredenbeck to shoot from 38 feet. Sam was blasting and Charlie was getting every pinch that was left up in the front court, but the Mexicans’ veteran savvy got them a two-game lead. The American duo made some veteran adjustments of their own. The Mexicans were leaving their pinches and kills up just a bit, and the Americans were picking them up and extending rallies that led to either Bredenbeck kills or skips by Alvaro and Daniel. You could see Sam and Charlie gaining momentum and confidence. Team USA was often dropping into an I-formation with Charlie putting the pressure on up front and Bredenbeck covering the wide angle passes and killing any defensive shots thrown up by Team Mexico.  Sam and Charlie dove, scrapped, and shot their way to victory in a tight five-gamer. A big win for sure! That set up a duel between Rocky Carson and Daniel De La Rosa. Carson was feeling the effects of a week of competition. The younger De La Rosa, not so much. Carson just couldn’t go like he wanted to, and this was De La Rosa in three. The Mexicans advance to the finals on Saturday, and Team USA must settle for third. 

Rhonda started against Alexandra Herrera, who is the second-ranked player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour. Rhonda was trying to keep Herrera reaching for passing shots and then clean up the weak returns. Herrera is deadly off the back wall, so Rajsich needed to keep the ball off of the back wall glass. Good drive serves and precise passes kept Rhonda in the match, but Alexandra was killing any errant ceiling ball and serving well. Rajsich fought and played well, but Herrera pulled this one out. 

Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott now had to beat the best women’s doubles team in the world to keep Team USA from being eliminated. This was an amazing five-game war. Lawrence was ranging all over the front court and Hollie was hanging back, shooting any defensive shot the Mexicans threw up. Scott was the best shooter on the court and Kelani’s wheels kept them in the points long enough for Hollie to get her chances. The USA duo played with heart and a clear desire to win and place Erika Manilla into a match with World #1 Paola Longoria, but they just couldn’t finish them off in the fifth, and like the Men’s Team, our Women’s team has to be satisfied with a third-place finish.

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Saturday: Last Day at the IRF World Racquetball Championships

Team USA will not compete tomorrow. Their results in the individual and team competitions have been solidified, and all will be celebrated in the Saturday evening Awards Ceremony that will cap off a week’s worth of hard work and achievements. 

For all who would like to watch the Saturday finals matches in San Luis Potosí, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships and choose either IRF Facebook or IRF YouTube*.

The Men’s Finals will be competed between Canada and Mexico at 1:00, 3:00, and possibly 5:00 (singles/singles/doubles). 

The Women’s Finals will take place between Bolivia and Mexico at 2:00, 4:00, and possibly 6:00 (singles/doubles/singles). 

Once the Team Competition matches have been concluded, there will be a short break before the Awards Ceremony when Gold/Silver/Bronze athletes will have their turn on the medals stand to celebrate their success. The ceremony will be live streamed per the above link.*

Be sure to check out Blog #10 tomorrow for a full report on final medals and awards for this World Championships.

PROUD OF YOU, TEAMUSA!!

Michelle De La Rosa

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Blog #8
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Thursday, August 25, 2022


Thursday Results Recap – Team USA
Men’s Open Singles Final: Rocky Carson (#1) lost to Conrrado Moscoso (#6; Bolivia), 11-8, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11

Final Division Standings – Individual Competition
Men's Singles
1st -- Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
2nd -- Rocky Carson (USA)
Semifinals -- Andres Acuña (Costa Rica), Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)

Women's Singles
1st -- Paola Longoria (Mexico)
2nd -- Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
Semifinals -- Stefanny Barrios (Bolivia), Alexandra Herrera (Mexico)

Men's Doubles
1st -- Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico)
2nd -- Roland Keller/Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
Semifinals -- Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt (USA), Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (Canada)

Women's Doubles
1st -- Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico)
2nd -- Valeria Centellas/Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
Semifinals -- Gabriela Martinez/María Renée Rodriguez (Guatemala), Michele Morissette/Frédérique Lambert (Canada)

Mixed Doubles
1st -- Rodrigo Montoya/Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico)
2nd -- Frédérique Lambert, Samuel Murray (Canada)
Semifinals -- Valeria Centellas/Diego Garcia (Argentina), Conrrado Moscoso/Jenny Daza Navia (Bolivia)

Jim Durham’s Comments
Today was “Finals Day” for draw play here in San Luis Potosí. The team competition begins tomorrow.

Rocky Carson was our finalist in the Men’s Singles division. Rocky faced Conrrado Moscoso of Bolivia who hadn’t lost a single game coming into the finals. Rocky had been winning with less than his A game all week, digging and competing like the champion that he is for every point, every game, every match. The Spanish word for warrior is guerrero and Rocky Carson is definitely a guerrero. The question was, could he take Conrrado out of his comfort zone and force him into errors that he hadn’t been making all week? Game #1 was a back-and-forth battle with both players trying to find their games. Rocky was pressuring the Bolivian into some errors with wide passes that kept him on the move along with intelligent strategic pinches. Rocky took the first, 11-8. Moscoso came out firing in the second with precise drive serves to Rocky’s backhand and follow-up pinch winners. When Carson could extend a rally beyond three or four shots, he won a high percentage of points. Moscoso shot well and Carson left a few too many balls off of the back wall. Moscoso took the second, 11-7. The same pattern continued in the third with Conrrado shooting well and Rocky fighting to extend rallies. Rocky was just a bit off, and Conrrado took advantage of every mistake. The third went to Conrrado, 11-4. In the fourth with Conrrado ahead 9-6, Rocky, playing with tremendous purpose and considerable grit, scored two points to get it to 9-8. Conrrado called a time out; he was feeling the Carson pressure. In the next point, Rocky got a ceiling ball setup that he blasted down the line. The Bolivian just managed to get his racquet under it and hit a perfect ceiling ball for a rally reset that led to a point and side out for Moscoso. The next rallies were intense. Carson crushed a forehand back wall setup crosscourt that Conrrado poked back and bottom boarded for the tenth point. He went with a high lob Z that Carson over-headed cross court (he’d been doing it beautifully the whole match). Moscoso retreated and blistered a flat rollout for the game and match, 11-8.

Now Team USA will reset and focus on the team competition. Wish us luck!

Team USA Match Schedule for Friday – Day #7
The team competition is formatted “best two out of three,” so if one team wins the first two matches, the third match will not be competed.

USA vs. GUATEMALA
Men’s Team
10:00 a.m. -- Rocky Carson vs. Edwin Galicia
11:30 a.m. -- Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt vs. Christian Wer Llerena/Edwin Galicia
1:00 p.m. -- Alex Landa vs. Juan Salvatierra

Women’s Team
10:45 a.m. -- Erika Manilla vs. Gabriela Martinez
12:15 p.m. -- Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott vs. Gabriela Martinez/María Renée Rodriguez
1:45 p.m. -- Rhonda Rajsich vs. María Renée Rodriguez

To view the draws, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships.

GO TEAM USA!!

Michelle De La Rosa

_____________________

Blog #7
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Blog Within the Blog
As mentioned in yesterday blog, USA Racquetball Board President Stewart Solomon arrived to attend his first IRF World Championships. When asked to offer thoughts for the blog, Stewart brought some insights and a great description of his first day in San Luis Potosí. You’ll find it just below* the traditional GO TEAM USA closing of this blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday Results Recap
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson def. Andres Acuna (Costa Rica), 8-11, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4
Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt lost to Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico), 10-12, 9-11, 7-11
 
Men's Singles semifinals featuring Rocky Carson vs. Andred Acuña at the 2022 XXI IRF World Championships
 
Men's Doubles Semifinals featuring MEX vs. USA at the 2022 XXI IRF World Championships

Jim Durham’s Comments

Team USA’s first semifinal match of the day pitted Rocky Carson against the hot Andres Acuña. Acuña has been on a winning streak. Last month, he won Gold at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, and the 2022 Outdoor Nationals at Marina Park, California. Acuña started fast while Rocky was just a little off. Every mistake Carson made Acuña was there stroking winners. Andres was ripping his back-wall setups with precision. Rocky was leaving his drive serve off of the back wall and Acuña was bottom boarding them. Carson battled and dug for every point, but Acuña was too good in the first two games, winning them 11-8, 11-7. In Game #3, Carson stopped leaving his drive serve off of the back wall and began hitting tight Z serves to Acuña’s backhand, forcing him to play the whole court. Carson took the third, 11-7. Acuña fought back in Game #4, finding his groove and again putting away the slightest of Carson’s errors. Rocky just kept grinding, extending rallies with the best stretch step the racquetball world has ever seen and scoring with flat-rolled backhand pinches. Acuña couldn’t quite sustain his near-perfect play, and Rocky took it 12-10. That set up a fifth game tiebreaker. Carson’s play elevated while Acuña seemed to tire a bit in the hot and humid court. Rocky seemed to gain strength. He hit a variety of Z serves that got him some skips and setups. That Z variety made the difference. Acuña could not time them out and take them with his forehand, which he wanted to do. Rocky kept the pressure on and took the game and match with an 11-4 win.

Charlie Pratt/Sam Bredenbeck took on one of the best doubles teams of all time, Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa in the other Team USA semifinal. Sam started out blasting backhand winners down the line, and Charlie looked spectacular, digging out every pinch that was left even slightly up. But spectacular doesn’t always win against the Mexicans, and that was the case in the first with Alvaro and De La Rosa taking a close one, 12-10. Daniel was shooting with his usual precision, and Alvaro was throwing up beautiful ceiling balls and forcing Sam to shoot from 38 feet. Sam was cranking, and Charlie was scraping everything off of the floor, but DLR/Beltran stayed steady and took it 11-9. Alvaro and Daniel continued their impressive play with Daniel putting away setups and Beltran playing great defense. The Americans couldn’t quite generate enough offense, and Mexico took Game #3, 11-7, to win the match.

Happy Birthday 🎶 to...
Darold Key! Darold made the trip to the World Championships to help care for his grandkids, Raelynn (5) and DJ (2), while Michelle and Daniel De La Rosa were competing. Given Darold’s very long history successfully coaching daughters Michelle and Danielle, we can be sure he was giving some sage advice to Michelle behind the scenes as well. Darold is a valued leader in Outdoor racquetball, and he and his wife Karen have contributed so much to the sport overall. Thank you, Darold, and we hope you had a great birthday here in San Luis Potosí!

Matches on Thursday – Day #6

Team Competition
Eight of the Men’s Teams and four of the Women’s Teams (Singles and Doubles) square off to represent their countries on Thursday to begin the 3-day Team Competition. This constitutes the last phase of this multi-format championships event. It’s “best two out of three,” so if one team wins the first two matches, the third match will not be competed.

Team USA’s Men’s and Women’s teams have byes, so their action will begin on Friday. Note that Mixed Doubles will not compete in this last phase of competition.

The Finals
While the Team Competition begins to heat up on Thursday, Court #2 (the streaming court) will be on fire with five finals matches. Of particular interest to Team USA:

4:00 p.m. – Men’s Open Singles Final: Rocky Carson (#1) vs. Conrrado Moscoso (#6; Bolivia)
Rocky is looking to bring home the 2022 World Champion gold medal to add to his collection of five (yes, five!) others over the course of his racquetball career! Good luck, Rocky!

Congratulations to the athletes/teams from Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Mexico who are also playing finals matches tomorrow. You can catch all of the finals on live streaming beginning at 3:00 p.m. CT.

3:00 p.m. – Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria (Mexico) vs. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
5:00 p.m. – Women’s Doubles: Samantha Salas Solis/Paola Longoria (Mexico) vs. Valeria Centellas/Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
6:00 p.m. – Men’s Doubles: Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) vs. Roland Keller/Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
7:00 p.m. – Mixed Doubles: Frédérique Lambert/Samuel Murray (Canada) vs. Rodrigo Montoya/Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico)

For updates and links to the draws and live streaming, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships.

 

GO TEAM USA!!
Michelle De La Rosa

 

* Blog Within the Blog...Courtesy of Stewart Solomon
 
Greetings from SLP! After arriving Tuesday on two hours of sleep and minimal food, I was thrust into meet and greet mode including a number of leaders from the various associations/federations spanning the Americas and the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. I was humbled every time my introduction to another international leader was met with appreciation that I was there on behalf of our association. Later, I represented the United States at the IRF World Congress. It was mentioned in the meeting that there are some countries that were unable to attend due to lack of financial support. I just want to take a moment to thank our benefactors and donors for their support that allowed us to send Team USA to compete.
 
I started off this morning enjoying some breakfast with Team Captain Rhonda Rajsich at her favorite breakfast spot. While enjoying some delicious local food and catching up on life in general, we were approached by a young girl and her mother. The mother mentioned her daughter had met Rhonda some time ago and had asked for a photo with Rhonda. It was amazing to witness this interaction, which is typically reserved for high-level celebrities, and to witness it happen with a racquetball player, from Team USA, in another country. 
 
From having attended and hosted pro stops in the U.S., there are many familiar faces here. But there is definitely a different feel around the competition. Fans and supporters aren’t here to cheer on an individual player; they are here for their country, their team. When one team member is finished playing, they switch into fan mode and support their teammates, looking to give back they energy they had just received moments earlier. I’ve never had the pleasure of attending the Olympics, but I feel like the same energy and comradery must be as palpable there as it is here.
 
The competitive spirit was fierce from our team today. Having missed most of the matches leading up to today, it was my first real opportunity to watch and support Team USA “live.” Rocky’s ability to hang tough and battle his way through his match was inspiring! As the momentum grew, the more charged up the team got outside the glass. The players tell me the courts are quite isolated from the sound outside, but I’d like to think we played a part in fueling his drive to victory. 
 
On the Doubles side, Charlie and Sam seemed to be going punch-for-punch with Team Mexico in the racquetball ring. It was rare that either team ever jumped out to a two-point lead. And while Charlie and Sam didn’t come out with a win, it was still a hard-fought battle and just seemed like a match that could have gone all 5 games with all games going into extra innings.
 
I ended the night with dinner at Charlie Pratt’s favorite taco restaurant, La Fragua, with Charlie, Coach Jim, Rodger, Rhonda, and Sam. The food was delicious, and I wouldn’t mind going back and sampling more options from their menu. After dinner we walked down the street to grab some delicious churros to fill our dessert stomachs that still had some room available. The churros from Churrería Porfirio definitely hit the spot!                     

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Blog #6
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Tuesday Results Recap
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson (#1) def. Carlos Keller Vargas (#8, Bolivia), 11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4
Men’s Singles: Alex Landa (#3) def. Juan Francisco Cueva (#14, Ecuador), 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5
Men’s Singles: Alex Landa (#3) lost to Conrrado Moscoso (#6, Bolivia), 3-11, 2-11, 3-11
Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla (#1) lost to Stefanny Barrios (#9, Bolivia), 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 7-11
Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich (#3) lost to Gabriela Martinez (#6, Guatemala), 10-12, 5-11, 11-7, 10-12
Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt (#4) vs. Yandy Espinosa/Maikel Moyet (#12, Cuba), 11-6, 11-10, 11-5
Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott (#3) lost to Valeria Centellas/Natalia Mendez (#6, Argentina), 8-11, 11-9, 20-18, 11-4
Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa (#3) lost to Frederique Lambert/Samuel Murray (#6, Canada), 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5

Jim Durham’s Tuesday Comments
The fourth day of competition here in San Luis Potosí Mexico marked the start of the single elimination draw. The results from draw play will determine seeding in the head-to-head team competition.

Rocky Carson and Alex Landa began the day. Rocky played the always-tough Carlos Keller Vargas. Carson won the first two games by moving Keller around and giving him few opportunities to set his feet. Trailing 10-7 in the third, Keller dug deep and came back to win. An energized Carson turned it on and finished the game and match in the fourth game.

Alex Landa took his first-round match against Juan Francisco Cueva in four games. Playing strategic racquetball, Alex controlled the rallies with great shot selection. Cueva served beautifully in Game #3 to get an 11-4 win. Alex came back in with determination in the fourth to win the game and match. Landa ran into Conrrado Moscoso in the quarters. Conrrado was playing at his peak, shooting from the back court with precision and serving photons to Alex’s backhand. Moscoso won in three.

Erika Manilla played Stefanny Barrios in the quarters. Barrios is the reigning PARC 2022 champion. She plays a smart and strategic game. She pinches well when she’s up front and plays the ceiling game well, also. Erika was determined, but Barrios did just enough to keep her off balance in Games #1 and #2. Erika used her powerful serves and down-the-line passes to keep Barrios reaching in Game #3, but Barrios got back to her methodical ways in Game #4 and took the match.

Rhonda Rajsich played Gabriela Martinez in the other women’s quarterfinal match. When Rajsich plays her one-wall passing game with precision, Gaby has a tough time with her. If Rhonda is off just a little, Gaby retrieves everything and puts away her offensive opportunities; that’s how the match played out. With Rhonda having to be precise and Gaby putting away Rajsich’s mistakes, Rhonda came close to extending the match to five games but lost a tough Game #4. Match to Martinez.

The Men’s Doubles quarterfinals featuring Charlie Pratt/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Tomas Oyhanart/Diego Garcia was a walkover. Sam was blasting winners from everywhere and Charlie was playing his usual intelligent game and getting to everything left up in the front court. Pratt and Bredenbeck for the win.

The Women’s Doubles quarterfinals had Hollie Scott/Kelani Lawrence battling Valeria Centellas/Natalia Mendez. Lawrence and Scott took the first game by playing solid ball from both sides. Lawrence was scoring with lob Z’s to Centellas with jams thrown in. In the second game, Valeria made some adjustments and handled the Z serves and the rally Z’s much better, leading to a win for the Argentinians. Game #3 was the longest of the tournament with each team missing multiple chances to put the match away. From 10-10 on there were enough long and dramatic rallies to fill an entire match. Finally, Centellas hit a winner for the game point: 20-18! Centellas/Mendez then took the fourth and the match.

The last match of the day was Mixed Doubles. Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa faced the tough Canadian team of Sam Murray/Frédérique Lambert. This was the only five-game match of the day for Team USA, and it was a good one. Both teams are crafty veterans with great shot selection and getting abilities. Lambert used a lob serve down the right-side glass effectively. Landa and Murray were the shooters, and they played stellar racquetball. Canada took this hard-fought match.

New Arrivals – They’re Here!
Recall that in Blog #2, we made a mysterious reference to more “cheerleaders” arriving to support Team USA. The suspense is over, and we’re so happy to welcome Stewart Solomon, USA Racquetball Board President, and Nancy and Victor Manilla (Erika’s mom and dad, of course) to the U.S. Delegation here in San Luis Potosí! They arrived on the same flight yesterday. Nancy and Victor had quite a time with flight delays trying to get from Denver to Dallas, and all three experienced a strange occurrence as the plane in Dallas, doors closed, was nearly ready to take off. The rear door was opened by catering staff thinking they still had to service the plane. Interesting, and it all had to be worked out before the flight could depart. But they’re all here now, safe and sound.
 
President of USA Racquetball Stewart Solomon showing support to the Coach of the Cuba National Team

 

Some of the IRF Delegation meeting with USA Racquetball President Stewart Solomon

Also on that same flight was Jerry J. Josey from South Carolina, an LPRT staff member in his spare time, who will be here the rest of the week supporting his wife, María Renée Rodriguez of Guatemala. Welcome!

IRF World Congress Held Tuesday Night
Delegates from the countries in attendance here met for the World Congress meeting held every two years at the IRF World Championships. The agenda included a financial report; a recap of the World Games last month that included appreciation to USA Racquetball for the use of the stadium court there; a future events update; and elections for regional vice president positions on the IRF Board of Directors. Joining President Osvaldo Maggi, Vice President Marcelo Gómez Pacheco, Secretary Cheryl Kirk, Treasurer Carlos Ruiz, and Secretary General Luke St. Onge are Miguel Perea (Mexico; North America VP), Estuardo Wer (Guatemala; Central America/Caribbean VP), Patricio Gatica Tagle (Chile; South America VP), Dr. Wangki Cho (Korea; Asia VP), Jimmy Gannon (Ireland; Europe VP), and Yuni Cobb (USA; Women’s VP).
 
Some of the IRF Delegation after their World Congress Meeting
 
Additionally, Paola Longoria joins the IRF Board as Elite Athlete representative, having been selected by an assembled Athletes’ Commission earlier in the event.

Match Schedule for Wednesday – Day #5
U.S. Men’s Team athletes will take to the courts in the semifinals, striving to secure a spot in the finals:

1:00 p.m. – Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson (#1) vs. Andres Acuna (#13, Costa Rica)
2:00 p.m. – Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt (#4) vs. Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Rosa (#1, Mexico)

After the individual portion of the World Championships is completed on Thursday, the Team Competition will begin and continue on through Saturday.

Notes from Michelle
We all played from the heart and held our heads up high today. We are proud to represent our country and give our all on the court for Team USA!

We got our athletic trainer, Rodger, on the court playing some racquetball today!! I think if we give him a year, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

We have been incredibly grateful to have Cheryl Kirk here with us, and we are sad to see her leave for home but wish her safe travels. She helps so much behind the scenes and with questions about IRF processes.

We look forward to cheering on our teammates on Wednesday and taking a day to recover before we get ready for team competition that begins on Thursday. All semifinal and final matches will be live streamed.

 

Danny De La Rosa enjyoying every last bit of his pasta.

 

The biggest cheerleader at the IRF World Championships, Raelyn De La Rosa

 
GO TEAM USA!!
Michelle De La Rosa

_____________________

Blog #5

XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Monday, August 22, 2022

 

Monday Results Recap
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson def. Diego Garcia (Ecuador), 11-3, 11-8, 11-6
Men’s Singles: Alex Landa def. Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8
Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich def. Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9
Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla def. María Paz Riquelme (Colombia),11-8, 11-4, 11-3
Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt lost to Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (Canada), 9-11, 9-11, 6-11
Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott def. María Renée Rodriguez/Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9
Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa def. Diego Garcia/Valeria Centellas (Argentina), 11-9, 11-9, 13-11

Jim Durham’s Comments
Our men started the day with Rocky Carson playing Diego Garcia and Alex Landa facing Edwin Galicia. Both won their matches playing solid professional racquetball like the tour veterans they are.

Our women’s singles took care of business in dominant fashion as well. In the Rhonda Rajsich vs. Cristina Amaya match, Amaya played well and forced Rhonda to play her trademark game of precise cross courts and down the lines to win. Erika Manilla upped her game and defeated María Paz Riquelme decisively.

 

Rhonda Rajsich facing off Colombia at the 2022 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, SL MEX     Erika Manilla facing off Colombia in the final day of competition at the 2022 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, SL MEX

 

Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt played the Canadian team of Samuel Murray/Coby Iwaasa, and it was a barn burner. Pratt and Bredenbeck played their best match of the tournament so far, but the Canadians were on fire and captured the win.

 

Men's Doubles action at the 2022 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, SL MEX

 

Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott took on María Renée Rodriguez/Gabriela Martinez, and they continued their stellar play. They won the first two, dropped the third, then found their game again and took Game #4 for the match.

Michelle De La Rosa/Alejandro Landa played the hard-hitting Diego Garcia and the tough Valeria Centellas. Michelle worked her way into this match and played her best racquetball of the tournament so far. They bested the Argentinians in three.

 

Mixed Doubles action at the at the 2022 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, SL MEX

 

The support and friendship team USA has for each other is fun to see and be around. They are truly a team and that is something to cherish.

 

Team USA cheering on the Mixed Doubles team at the IRF World Championships

 

Team USA cheering on the Men's Doubles action at the IRF World Championships

 

Team USA’s Secret Weapon -- Rodger Fleming
We are extremely fortunate for the presence, service, skill, and knowledge of Rodger Fleming, our athletic trainer. This is Rodger’s third trip with Team USA, the first being IRF Worlds last December in Guatemala City followed by The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, just last month.

Rodger’s background consists of 10 years in professional baseball. He has toured with a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician; worked on the set of “42” as an athletic trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) for a lead actor; supported Cirque Du Soleil performers from “Quidam” ... and much more. To say he is a master of his trade would be an understatement, and Team USA is the grateful recipient of Rodger’s care and expertise. He continues to fit in beautifully with the team here in San Luis Potosí.

Rodger holds a BA, Interdisciplinary Studies in Athletic Training from the University of Toledo. He owns Body Awareness Performance + Therapy in Macon, Georgia, a fitness recovery and wellness center. Find out more about Rodger and his business at bodyawarenessmacon.com. Also, check out his social media presence at Body Awareness Performance and Therapy on Facebook, @bodyawarenesstm on Instagram, and bodyawarenessga on Twitter.

Rodger is married to his high school sweetheart, Michelle, and they have a teenaged son, Chandler. Thank you, Michelle and Chandler, for loaning Rodger to Team USA for this 10-day trip!

Schedule for Tuesday – Day #4
And just like that we’re into the main draws of the individual portion of this World Championships! The results of the preliminary seeding matches (pool play/round robins) have positioned the top two players/teams from each pool into the higher draw (Open Playoff #1), while those who placed third and fourth in the pools will compete in the Open Playoff #2 draws.

For updates and links to the draws, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships. Each evening, the IRF posts the matches/times for the next day’s streaming on its Facebook page, International Racquetball Federation – IRF.

 

The streaming team at the 2022 IRF World Championships in San Luis Potosi, SL MEX

 

Team USA matches will all be played in the Open Playoff #1 draws. Here’s the schedule for Tuesday:

9:00 a.m. – Men’s Singles: Alex Landa (#3 seed) vs. Juan Francisco Cueva (#14, Ecuador)
11:15 a.m. – Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson (#1 seed) vs. the winner of the 9:00 a.m. match between Carlos Keller Vargas (#8, Bolivia) and Lee Connell (#9, Canada)
12:00 p.m. – Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla (#1 seed) vs. the winner of the 9:45 a.m. match between Carla Muñoz (#8, Chile) and Stefanny Barrios (#9, Bolivia)
12:00 p.m. – Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich (#3 seed) vs. the winner of the 9:45 a.m. match between Gabriela Martinez (#6, Guatemala) and Maria Muñoz (#11, Ecuador)
3:00 p.m. – Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt (#4 seed) vs. the winner of the 1:00 pm match between Tomás Oyhanart/Diego Garcia (#5, Argentina) and Yandy Espinosa/Maikel Moyet (#12, Cuba)
4:00 p.m. – Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott (#3 seed) vs. Valeria Centellas/Natalia Mendez (#6, Argentina)
7:00 p.m. – Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa (#3 seed) vs. Frederique Lambert/Samuel Murray (#6, Canada)

 

GO TEAM USA!!
Michelle De La Rosa

_____________________

Blog #4
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Sunday, August 21, 2022
 
Coach Jim Durham Describes Sunday Matches
Erika Manilla opened the day against María Muñoz of Ecuador. Erika’s power and precision were too much for María. Manilla was crushing bombs down both lines giving Muñoz very little chance to execute any offense. Erika’s game sharpened as the match progressed, and this one was all Manilla, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2. 
 
Alex Landa opened play for the men with a decisive win over Ramon De Leon of the Dominican Republic. Alex was all business in this one, and there was nothing De Leon could do to stop him. It was Landa in three games, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8. 
 
Rhonda Rajsich played well in her 10:45 match against Ana Lucia Sarmiento of Ecuador. She took a bit of time to hit her stride, but even when she was a little off, she managed to play a smart game that kept Ana Lucia off balance. Rhonda found a way to get the best out of herself and she cruised to victory, 11-5, 11-2, 11-2. 

 

Assistant Coach Malia Bailey and Rhonda Rajsich at the IRF World Championships.

 
Rocky Carson finished up the day’s singles play for Team USA with a win over Juan Francisco Cueva of Ecuador. Cueva played tough and forced Rocky to find his first-round game. The Ecuadorians are always tough well-coached competitors, and Juan plays a smart brand of racquetball. Carson is one of the best players in the world with five World Champion singles titles to his name. He was more than Juan could handle and battled to a decisive win, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2. 

 

Rocky Carson in pool play action at the IRF World Championships.

 
Hollie Scott/Kelani Lawrence started our doubles day against Carla Muñoz/Paula Mansilla (Chile) looking like the champions that they are. Muñoz is one of the top players on tour, and she played Scott tough on the left side. Mansilla is a game competitor, but Lawrence managed to get setups off of Mansilla’s returns to generate points. The third game was dramatic. With the Chileans holding a 9-6 lead, Hollie served out the match with some spectacular serve-and-shoot racquetball. The Americans took the match, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9. 
 
Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt played Christian Wer Llerena/Edwin Galicia (Guatemala) in the Men’s Doubles. Sam was serving bombs and Pratt was flat rolling his setups and using precise wide-angle passes to keep Galicia in the back court and off balance. Sam and Charlie played tough steady ball and won the match, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8. 

 

Men's Doubles Pool Play action at the IRF World Championships.

 
Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa faced Harumi Kajino/Michimune Kono in the last match of the day. Alex and Michelle settled into this match nicely, hitting crisp passes to keep the Japanese team scrambling. Michelle looked calm and powerful on the right, and World Champion Alex Landa was his usual crisp shooting self. They took this one in three games, 11-3, 11-8, 14-12. 

 

Day 4 of Mixed Doubles at the IRF World Championships

 
Tomorrow is the end of pool play. We’ve had a good start, and the team is well aware of the challenges ahead. We are intent on taking it one point at a time and getting a prime spot in the draws that starts Tuesday.
 
Sunday Results Recap
Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla def. María Muñoz (Ecuador), 11-6, 11-7, 11-2
Men’s Singles: Alex Landa def. Ramon de Leon (Dominican Republic), 11-5, 11-4, 11-8
Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich def. Ana Lucia Sarmiento (Ecuador), 11-5, 11-2, 11-2
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson def. Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador), 11-8, 11-9, 11-2
Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott def. Paula Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (Chile), 11-5, 11-8, 11-9
Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt def. Christian Wer Llerena/Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 11-4, 11-3, 11-8
Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa def. Harumi Kajino/Michimune Kono (Japan), 11-3, 11-8, 14-12
 
Fighting for Racquetball – Our Sport for Life
The past 2+ years have been rough, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on families, businesses, organizations, sports, schools, really everything. With financial burdens at every turn, USA Racquetball wants to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the countries who were able to send their teams and to players who are competing here on smaller teams or individually, many as a result of personal investment and sacrifice. We also wish to assure the players of the countries who couldn’t send teams this year that we are looking forward to the next time we can all be together again as a Racquetball family.
 
Live Streaming is LIVE!
Some WiFi issues were resolved throughout the day on Sunday that enabled live streaming to get started under the watchful eye of Pablo Fajre and via the commentary expertise afforded by Gary Mazaroff and Gustavo Farell. 

 

IRF Streaming Schedule for Monday, August 22, 2022

 
The IRF posts each day on its Facebook page, International Racquetball Federation – IRF, listing the matches and times for streaming the next day. You’ll find all you need to know here:  www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships.
 
It’s exciting to note that two Team USA matches will be live streamed **, one at 10:45 a.m. (Rajsich vs. Amaya of Colombia) and the other at 2:30 p.m. (Bredenbeck/Pratt vs. Iwaasa/Murray of Canada). Have fun, Team USA Fans!
 
Schedule for Monday – Day #3
10:00 a.m. – Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson vs. Diego Garcia (Ecuador)
10:00 a.m. – Men’s Singles: Alex Landa vs. Edwin Galicia (Guatemala)
** 10:45 a.m. – Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich vs. Cristina Amaya (Colombia)
12:15 p.m. – Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla vs. María Paz Riquelme (Colombia)
** 2:30 p.m. – Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt vs. Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (Canada)
3:30 p.m. – Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott vs. María Renée Rodriguez/Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
5:00 p.m. – Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa vs. Diego Garcia/Valeria Centellas (Argentina)

 

Indoor view of the La Loma Club, the host of the IRF World Championships.     LaLoma Indoor Pool

 

Hollie Scott, Danny De La Rosa, and Erika Manilla at the IRF World Championships.

 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
Michelle De La Rosa

_____________________

Blog #3
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Saturday, August 20, 2022

Coach Jim Durham kicks off this Saturday blog:

Day One of pool play got started with Rhonda Rajsich vs. Yurisleidis Araujo of Cuba. Rhonda played an excellent match and, except for a few skips in Game #2, she dominated play, hitting precise passes and effective pinches when she had Araujo behind her. Rajsich cruised to the win, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4. 

Rhonda Rajsich pre-match with Referee and Cuban player

Alex Landa played the ageless Fabian Balmori of Spain. Fabian played a strong first game. He served well and took advantage of Landa’s mistakes to take the first, 9-11. Landa began hitting more precise down the line passes, and his serve started to come alive in Game #2, which he won 11-3. Balmori played tough in the third but couldn’t generate enough offense and Landa took it 11-7. Game #4 was all Landa. He got his trademark drive serve working and won 11-3. Match to Landa. 

Charlie Pratt/Sam Bredenbeck (“Cham”) took on Jaime Mansilla/Diego Garcia to start their tournament. Charlie was shooting and scoring well early in the match. Sam’s photon drive serve was an effective point getter and the U.S. Men’s Doubles Team played strong to take the match in three, 11-2, 11-4, 11-6.

Sam Bredenbeck and Charlie Pratt on the court playing doubles Charlie Pratt and partner Sam Bredenbeck celebrate a win

Hollie Scott/Kelani Lawrence faced off against Maiko Sato/Naomi Wakimoto of Japan. The Japanese players were game competitors, but they were no match for the American duo. Scott was shooting well and scoring. Kelani was getting setups off of her serve and putting away weak returns. Lawrence and Scott took this one in convincing fashion, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.  

Kelani Lawrence give Hollie Scott a piggy back ride

The last match of the day pitted Michelle De La Rosa /Alex Landa against the Cuban team of Maikel Moyet/Yurisleidis Araujo. The Cubans’ game plan was to double serve to Michelle and isolate Landa on the left side. They used effective drive Zs to De La Rosa, and they played an extremely effective game of push/dinking balls back into the bottom board for winners. They took the first, 11-8. Team USA had to fight hard to win the second, 11-8. The Cubans were getting to anything that was not rolled out, forcing the Americans to hit perfect kills to get a point. That style earned Moyet and Araujo the win in Game #3, 11-5. Game #4 was tight all the way with the Cuban pair scrapping for every point and putting away their opportunities. Alex and Michelle had to dig deep in this one. Michelle found her wide-angle cross court to force the Cubans into the back court, and Landa’s service game was on. The U.S. duo dug for an 11-9 win. In the pivotal fifth game, Michelle started crunching her service returns with authority. Kills down the line and some superb wide-angle cross courts kept the Cubans out of the service box. Landa was putting his setups down, and the U.S. team took game and match, 11-3. 

Alex Land and Michelle De La Rosa play Mixed Doubles

Tomorrow our opponents will be tough, and the team is ready to roll. Their spirits are high. They are stellar mates who all pull for one another. Tune in to the USAR Facebook page to watch the action!

Michelle adds: Team USA is a very united team. We all support each other, and everyone showed up to watch each other play today. Everyone is so encouraging of their fellow teammates, and it makes me proud to be a part of Team USA!

Members of Team USA Cheer on their teammates from the stands

Saturday Results Recap

Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich def. Yurisleidis Araujo (Cuba), 11-4, 11-9, 11-4

Men’s Singles: Alex Landa def. Fabian Balmori (Spain), 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-2

Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt def. Jaime Mansilla/Diego Gatica (Chile), 11-2, 11-4, 11-6

Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott def. Maiko Sato/Naomi Wakimoto (Japan), 11-6, 11-7, 11-6

Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa def. Maikel Moyet/Yurisleidis Araujo (Cuba), 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-3

Format Correction from Friday’s Description

Yesterday in the blog, the format was described as “Best of 3 Games to 11 with the fifth game (as necessary) as win by two points. Only the fifth game is win by 2 points.”

This is not correct for IRF Worlds and IRF World Juniors – ALL games are “win by 2 points,” not just the fifth game. Apologies for the confusion!

Referees and Staff – You are Appreciated!

Yesterday we mentioned that 13 IRF referees are here to provide a consistent experience––as much as possible in a sometimes-challenging environment––for the 71 players here at IRF Worlds. They are:

Mexico: Ricardo Gonzalez (aka Tucky Kravitz), Jaime Martell, Diana Aguilar, Ivan Valdez, Alejandro Morales, Christian Longoria

Colombia: Fabian Torres (aka Potro), Francisco Gomez

Argentina: German Coppolecchia, Sebastian Digon

Chile: Alvar Yañez

Bolivia: Kadim Carrasco

Costa Rica: Allan Chacon

IRF Staff members deserve so much gratitude and respect as well for their time and expertise. Mauro Grandio (Argentina), who expertly organizes so many of the behind-the-scenes IRF functions, is joined at the tournament desk by Pablo Berriel, Adrian Macrino, and Veronique Guillemette (all from Argentina). Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) and Kadim Carrasco (Bolivia) are working on the media aspects of this event. As mentioned yesterday, Gustavo Farell, Gary Mazaroff, and Dean Schear (all from the United States) are lending their floor management expertise, and Gary will begin livestreaming commentary in the next day or so. 

Pablo Fajre has arrived on site, and his livestreaming expertise will share the experience for those who can’t be here “live” in San Luis Potosí. For updates and links, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships.

Schedule for Sunday – Day #2

10:00 a.m. – Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla vs. María Muñoz (Ecuador)

10:45 a.m. – Men’s Singles: Alex Landa vs. Ramon de Leon (Dominican Republic)

11:30 a.m. – Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich vs. Ana Lucia Sarmiento (Ecuador)

12:15 p.m. – Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson vs. Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador)

2:30 p.m. – Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott vs. Paula Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (Chile)

3:30 p.m. – Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt vs. Christian Wer Llerena/Edwin Galicia (Guatemala)

5:00 p.m. – Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa vs. Harumi Kajino/Michimune Kono (Japan)

GO TEAM USA!!

_____________________

Blog #2
XXI International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Friday, August 19, 2022

We are all settling in here in Mexico. Everyone is really excited for pool play to start tomorrow. Our team has enjoyed getting used to the courts and finding good places to eat. 

Coach Jim Durham adds: “Today was the last day of practice before the start of pool play on Saturday. The team was focused, and we had a good solid session. Rodger Fleming, our trainer, was busy keeping the players’ bodies ready for action tomorrow.  It looks like everyone has adjusted to the courts, the ball, and the altitude. Rocky and Erika have byes and everyone else plays.”

Kelani Lawrence, Rocky Carson and Hollie Scott

Fifteen countries for a total of 71 players will be competing for a coveted World Champion designation: Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United States.

Coaches and Delegates Meeting/Referee Meeting

As mentioned yesterday, the Coaches and Delegates met at La Loma Centro Deportivo al mediodía (at 12 noon). The format is Best 3 Games of 5, all to 11 points, with the fifth game (as necessary) as win by two points. 

In other words, the first player/team to win three games to 11 points is the match winner. If one player/team wins the first three in a row, the match is over. If they split with the opponent(s), two games each, they go to a tiebreaker fifth game. Only the fifth game is “win by 2 points.”

Rally scoring will be used, which means that a point is scored on every rally, by the winner of the rally, whether the rally winner was the server or the receiver. 

Coaches and Delegates Meeting

The Official Referees (Arbitros) met at 2:00 pm to discuss the week ahead. Thirteen referees from various countries are here, and yesterday two additional meetings were held for referees with the objective of reviewing recent rules and format modifications that went into practice just this year (i.e., rally scoring format and appeals rule change). For referees not at PARC in Bolivia this spring, these sessions will help to create consistency throughout this event. 

Referee Meeting

Americans in San Luis Potosí

Gustavo Farell (Texas), Cheryl Kirk (Illinois), Gary Mazaroff (New Mexico), and Dean Schear (Texas) are here in support of the IRF and all countries in attendance. 

US Delegation Cheerleaders are Darold Key; Raelynn and D.J. De La Rosa; and three more secret arrivals early next week. Who might they be? In order to create unbearable suspense and bring you back to the blogs every day...we’ll get back with you on that.

Schedule for Saturday

Seven U.S. Team members take the courts tomorrow to get the preliminary round robins going:

10:45 am – Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich vs. Yurisleidis Araujo (Cuba)

11:30 am – Men’s Singles: Alex Landa vs. Fabian Balmori (Spain)

2:30 pm – Men’s Doubles: Sam Bredenbeck/Charlie Pratt vs. Jaime Mansilla/Diego Gatica (Chile)

3:30 pm – Women’s Doubles: Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott vs. Maiko Sato/Naomi Wakimoto (Japan)

5:00 pm – Mixed Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa/Alex Landa vs. Maikel Moyet/Yurisleidis Araujo (Cuba)

(Rocky Carson and Erika Manilla as first seeds have byes tomorrow.)

Helpful Info

The time zone here is the same as U.S. Central time (CDT).

Draws are available for viewing through R2Sports at:

https://www.r2sports.com/website/division-list.asp?TID=39914&sortBy=defaultOrder

Livestreaming will begin Sunday or Monday on the IRF YouTube channel or the IRF Facebook page. For updates and links, visit www.internationalracquetball.com/xxi-world-racquetball-championships. In the meantime, there may be some unofficial (but very sincere) fans in attendance doing some live posting on Facebook...so be sure to check throughout the day!

GO TEAM USA!!

_____________________

Blog #1
2022 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Thursday, August 18, 2022

 

Greetings from San Luis Potosí, where the entire U.S. Team Delegation has arrived as of Thursday. Team members will compete here in Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles over the next week against a number of other countries (North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Asia).

Introducing the U.S. Team Delegation
Let’s meet the Dream Team for this ten-day event!

Rocky Carson, California: #1 Singles
Alejandro (Alex) Landa, Texas: #2 Singles/Mixed Doubles
Sam Bredenbeck, Minnesota: Doubles
Charlie Pratt, Oregon: Doubles

Erika Manilla, Colorado: #1 Singles
Rhonda Rajsich, Arizona: #2 Singles
Kelani Lawrence, Virginia: Doubles
Hollie Scott, Texas: Doubles
Michelle De La Rosa, Arizona: Mixed Doubles

Supporting our U.S. Team Athletes:
Jim Durham, California: Head Coach
Malia Kamahoahoa Bailey, Virginia: Assistant Coach
Rodger Fleming, Georgia: Athletic Trainer
Michelle De La Rosa, Arizona: Team Leader (double duty!)

View of the Courts at the Host Club: La Loma Centro Deportivo

 
A Few Words from Coach Jim Durham
It was an excellent day for Team USA. The whole team arrived and were able to get a good two hours of practice at the La Loma Centro Deportivo, an amazing facility. First class all the way. The courts are fast because of the 6,000 ft. altitude.

The athletes elected Rhonda Rajsich and Rocky Carson as Team Captains, and they both addressed the team with some inspiring words. Rocky emphasized the importance of maintaining routines and Rhonda reminded everyone how special a World Championship is and the importance of being a team.
 
Erika Manilla and Rocky Carson practicing singles at the XX1 IRF World Championships  Our doubles teams of Charlie Pratt/Sam Bredenbeck and Hollie Scott/Kelani Lawrence getting some practice time in.

A group of players and Cheryl Kirk went to Costco for water and other supplies. The usual staples were procured: PBJ, bread, bananas, oranges, chocolate, water, lots of water, and more chocolate. I’m sure it won’t last ten days.

We had a quick team meeting and everyone split for dinner. The local restaurant scene is hopping and good eats were had by all. A group of us went to a local taco place, La Fragua, that was spectacular.

Tomorrow the pools will be announced, and we can begin preparing for specific opponents.

After a day of practice, the Men's Team enjoy an evening of together for dinner.

Tacos was the meal of choice for the Men's Team on Thursday evening.

Speaking of Costco...
Daniel De La Rosa was kind enough to chauffeur Michelle, Hollie, Charlie, Cheryl, and his mom Gloria over to Costco about 15 minutes from the hotel. This was an entertaining trip that began with the challenge of realizing they required masks but didn’t have any available. After some deliberation and sadness outside the door, Charlie took charge and walked over to Home Depot, grabbed a handful (thank you, Home Depot!), and the expedition continued. Inside, it was a lot like herding cats with associated banter and calling out across aisles, and the job got done in the end. Loading the vehicle was a successful game of Tetris, and waiting back at the hotel to help unload were Jim, Rocky, and Sam. The first U.S. Team success of this trip is in the record books!

Michelle De La Rosa and Hollie Scott at Costco buying supplies for the trip.

Charlie Pratt, Hollie Scott, and Daniel De La Rosa putting masks on before entering Costco.

What’s Next?
Friday’s schedule will be a busy one! While our athletes have their second practice scheduled at 3:00 pm, the Coaches and Delegates meeting will begin at 12:00 pm at La Loma Centro Deportivo where a great deal of information about the event will be given, especially the draws/match schedules for the first phase of competition.

Matches will begin on Saturday, and we can’t wait for Team USA to swing into action! Ending with the traditional phrase, and feeling the support from the States...

GO TEAM USA!!

Michelle De La Rosa

Athletic Trainer Rodger Fleming and Alex Landa arrive in Mexico!

Women's Singles Player Erika Manilla is ready to go at the XXI IRF World Championships!

A beautiful sunset in San Luis Potisi, Mexico.I