USA Racquetball News 2022 XXXIII IRF Worl...

2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships Blog

Dec. 02, 2022, 8:44 a.m. (ET)

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #10
Saturday, December 10, 2022
 
Arrivals on 11/30-12/1...practice...round robins...main draws...awards and medals received...shirts traded...photos taken...and in what seemed like a heartbeat, the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships is in the history books! But wait...we’re still here with more to tell. 
 
The very first congrats on this particular day go to David Mendoza (DJ’s dad), who stoically (actually, good naturedly) existed without his missing bag until...Friday night! It took eight days for the airline to get his bag to him. We assume it took its own sightseeing tour around Guatemala City in the interim. 
 
I’ll take congrats as well for writing perhaps the longest blog EVER in racquetball history. It’s not provable, but it’s highly likely.
 
So let’s talk Racquetball. Naomi, and Julia/Heather played their hearts out today and for their efforts earned Gold and Silver, respectively!
 
Day Eight Competition Results: Saturday
Naomi Ros, G16S def. Yanna Salazar (MEX)  FINAL
Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D lost to Rebecca Amaya Ardaya/Valeria Miranda Martinez (BOL)  FINAL

 

Girls U18 Silver Medalists & Coaches at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

USA Coach George Bustos presentes Naomi Ros with her gold medal at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Coach Tim Baghurst delivers his recap of the event below, but let’s not keep our loyal readers in suspense a moment longer!
 
IRF XXXIII World Junior Championships – Overall Results – Individual and By Country
On the medals stand last night and today at the Awards Ceremonies, the following U.S. Junior Team players claimed their rewards for their results here in Guatemala City:
 
TEAM USA Overall Results -- Individual -- WORLD CUP
G16S, Naomi Ros, GOLD
G16S, Ava Kaiser, BRONZE
B16D, Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, BRONZE
G16D, Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, BRONZE
G18D, Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein, SILVER 
G21S, Shane Diaz, BRONZE
G21D, Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, BRONZE
MX21D, Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, BRONZE
 
TEAM USA Overall Results -- Individual -- ESPRIT CUP
B10G, Alejandro Robles Picon, SILVER
B10W, Adrian Nelson, SILVER
B12R, Vaishant Mangalampalli, GOLD
G12D, Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, BRONZE
MX12D, Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, SILVER
B14G, Eshan Ali, BRONZE
B14B, Nathan Rykhus, BRONZE
B14R, Axel Lopez, GOLD
B14D, Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, BRONZE
G14D, Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, BRONZE
 
Overall Results -- Country Standings
When all points were tallied from the round robin/pool play phase as well as the main draws (single elimination phase), here’s how the countries fared. Team USA placed third in Esprit Boys, Girls, and Overall and the World Cup team also placed third in Boys, Girls, and Overall!
 
World Cup -- Girls
1. Mexico 
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Costa Rica
 
World Cup -- Boys
1. Mexico 
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Costa Rica
 
World Cup -- Combined
1. Mexico 
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Costa Rica

 

World Group Team & Coaches at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

World Team Wins Bronze Overall at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Esprit Cup -- Girls
1. Mexico
2. Bolivia
3. USA 
4. Costa Rica
 
Esprit Cup -- Boys
1. Mexico
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Ecuador
 
Esprit Cup -- Combined
1. Mexico
2. Bolivia
3. USA
4. Costa Rica
 
Great job, everyone! It was so exciting seeing you walk onto the court to take your places on the medals stand!
 
The Last QOTDs are Right Here, Right Now:
 
QOTD #1
What's your idea of a perfect day?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Nothing bad happening
Cody Elkins, 18:  A morning racquetball session, a night in the jacuzzi.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Fish with friends in the morning, play racquetball, then watch a movie while eating poke/sushi/seafood.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Play sports all day and eat good food.
Timmy Hansen, 19: Wake up, go to sunrise, make breakfast, take a nap, go to the dog park with Ziggy, stop at Publix to get food for dinner, go back to the beach and watch the sunset, go home and make chicken parm, watch a funny Adam Sandler movie and go to sleep.
Ava Kaiser, 17: Sleeping in, no school, heading to the beach with friends and enjoying water activities, and then downtown Stillwater for dinner on the river.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Playing video games and doing sports with my friends.
Chris Nelson, 10: Doing absolutely nothing
Adrian Nelson, 12: Playing video games all day
Paul Saraceno, 17: Just chilling with friends, watching anime, and eating some good food.
Annie Roberts, 20: I would have avocado bagel toast and chocolate almond milk, go to the gym with my boyfriend.  Then we would go on a hike in Oregon (preferably one with a waterfall). After that I would want to eat some tacos and Boba and finish the day off with a family game night.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Hanging out with friends someplace fun.
Montserrat Torres, 15: It really depends on what I am feeling because one perfect day could be waking up late, having a good breakfast, and just staying home and watching movies and shows.  But another example of a perfect day could be going out to dinner and going downtown walking around shopping.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Hanging out with friends teaching them how to play racquetball and drinking Jamba Juice.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Eating my favorite foods and playing basketball with my friends.
Aarya Shetty, 13: Sleeping or going to the shelter to play with cats.
Heather Mahoney, 18: go to the beach (play spike ball), hang with friends, eat a lot of food, and watch the sunset.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Nice weather, a good mood, and spending time with family or friends.
Leah Trejo, 13: Eating a delicious breakfast and go surfing then hang out with a friend and go eat dinner at a place with a beautiful view.
Julia Stein, 19: Spending time with my family and all my best friends.
 
Older ones, one more time...
Tim Baghurst:  Playing sports with friends with the energy to play all day.
Jen Meyer:  One spent creating memories with those I love.
Cheryl Kirk: No “deliverables” due...sleep as late as I want...go shopping...play racquetball...dinner out with hubby...watch medical shows or a movie I know ends well.
Kit Lawson: A day of no stress, solvable problems, with periods of physical movement and a sense of being right with the world. Ahhh...
 
QOTD #2
What accomplishment are you most proud of (besides making the U.S. Junior Team)?

Eshan Ali, 15: Finishing the holy Quran
Cody Elkins, 18: When I was in 7th grade, I won a ping pong tournament with 130 people in it and teachers were allowed to play as well.
Cole Sendrey, 16: I have started my own business!
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Esprit Male Athlete of the Year or Hazelton Awards.
Timmy Hansen, 19: Making my mom cry every time I leave to go back to college.
Ava Kaiser, 17: My bronze medal my first year of Worlds in 10 and under.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Running a 6:10 mile
Chris Nelson, 10: Winning the bike rodeo
Adrian Nelson, 12: Learning to swim
Paul Saraceno, 17: Achieving an unweighted 4.6 GPA
Annie Roberts, 20: In racquetball, the accomplishment that I am most proud of was when my high school girls team won the national team title at High School Nationals.  My individual accomplishments are great, but the team championship meant so much because we had all worked together at our different skill levels to be the best team for our senior year.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Being able to play a lot of sports and instruments.
Montserrat Torres, 15: I have always been a determined person in school and I always do good, accomplish my best, and get good grades.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Being a high honor student with a gold cord.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Getting on honor roll every year.
Aarya Shetty, 13: Getting good grades
Heather Mahoney, 18: Being able to go to school in Santa Barbara.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Winning 3 medals for gymnastics.
Leah Trejo, 13: Winning 1st place at a gymnastics state meet.
Julia Stein, 19: Bagging a nice, hilarious, hot boyfriend.
 
Older ones, one more time...
Tim Baghurst: Receiving my doctorate, representing England and USA, playing multiple sports successfully at a high level, speaking multiple languages.
Jen Meyer: Being able to retire early.
Cheryl Kirk: Being Director of the McDonald’s Olympic Food Service Team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and living to tell about it. 
Kit Lawson: Having become who I have become, with all the strengths and weaknesses, pros & cons.
 
Coach Tim Baghurst Wraps It Up
What a crazy, intense, fun, dramatic, and competitive eleven days. As I’ve mentioned previously, this is my fifth time attending the World Junior Championships but my first as a coach -- a head coach at that. No pressure then. *insert sarcastic smile* Nothing really prepares you for an event like this, although Team Leader Cheryl Kirk’s list of dos, don’ts, and what to bring certainly helps. Thanks, Cheryl, for being so organized and efficient, making sure that we have everything we need to be at our best as athletes and coaches. You really do make a huge difference to our contingent. I’ve spoken with other coaches here who are exhausted from having to handle all the day-to-day minutiae that comes with leading a team. Thank you from all of us! 
 
Speaking of thanks, I do want to say thank you to our assistant coaches and parents. Coaches do this for the love of the sport, helping kids, and often at their own personal expense. This group of coaches has been tremendous, and it has made my life so much easier to know that each player is cared for, loved, and well-coached. 
 
When I told fellow coaches that I was coming to Guatemala with Juniors and their parents/family, the typical response included something negative about parents and an eye roll or two. Such comments are often validated, as parents can sometimes be difficult, but not here this week! The USA contingent have been helpful, kind, supportive; they have represented our nation well in this multicultural environment. From providing donuts (the food kind) to others, to finding us food, to picking up trash, to appreciating the skills of opponents, this has been a very supportive group I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. Thank you for allowing us to do our job and being the support system that your athletes needed.
 
Finishing third in Esprit; third in World Cup; and third overall is a testament to our players. I truly believe we achieved more than we should have on paper, and I’m so proud of everyone, including players, parents, coaches, staff, donors, and supporters who helped to make that happen. 
 
Not attending last year hurt us, and with so many new players, there were some losses that came from inexperience and nerves, not from want of training. However, as a nation we cannot expect to continue to place in the top three if we do not develop more junior players consistently. We must keep training and developing more junior racquetball players to remain competitive. If Costa Rica brings 38 players, with the vast majority in the 10 and 12 age groups, who will be competing at the very top in five or seven years? If Bolivia and Mexico have a player in virtually every final in every division, how do we change the narrative? 
 
Anyone who knows me will know how much I hate losing. I’m so proud of third place here, but I want Gold for Team USA! I have ideas that I’m looking forward to discussing with USA Racquetball and other various people and organizations as we look to 2023 and beyond. Getting USA higher on the podium will take time, maybe years, and it’s time to start that process. I hope that you all will be part of it. 
 
Thank You’s
The US Junior Team Delegation wishes to deliver our gratitude to those who made this event so truly memorable:
 
The Host Country of Guatemala (Dr. Estuardo Wer, President) and the Local Organizing Committee, for hosting this very successful event. The work behind the scenes is extensive. Congratulations on a job very well done! Your service to the 11 countries who came to compete was efficient, friendly, and never to be forgotten. 
 
The management and staff of Domo Complejo for providing a first-class facility for this World Juniors competition. Also, we appreciate the club employees and volunteers who kept the entire racquetball area and the courts themselves clean throughout the event.
 
This event was supported by a seasoned staff led by IRF President Osvaldo Maggi (ARG). IRF staff members deserve so much gratitude and respect for their time and expertise. Mauro Grandio (Argentina), who expertly orchestrates so many of the behind-the-scenes details of IRF events, was joined at the tournament desk by Pablo Berriel and Adrian Macrino (Argentina). Marie Gomar (Guatemala) spent a lot of time there at the desk as well!
 
Pablo Fajre, Gary Mazaroff, and Gustavo Farell provided live streaming and excellent commentary for racquetball fans near and far. Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) and Kadim Carrasco (Bolivia) did a great job on the social media aspects of this event. 
 
Twenty-two referees from 11 countries were on hand to provide a quality experience for the players (see Blog #3 on Saturday 12/3/22 for their names and nationalities).
 
The staff of the Clarion Suites was friendly, efficient, and responsive to all requests. 
 
Thanks to Coach Jen Meyer and Marie Gomar for assistance above and beyond the call of duty. 
     
The parents and cheerleaders were present for every match, living every point as if they themselves were out there competing. 
 
IRF Sponsor, Gearbox (owner Rafael Filippini) who contributes significantly to these international events.
 
Rollout, the U.S. Junior Team Official Apparel Provider, who made the team’s uniforms available. 
 
Aimee Roehler, who stopped whatever else she might have been doing as soon as a blog and photos were ready for posting and who did a super job with social media visibility. 
 
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. 
 
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 Team USA is proud to be a member of the worldwide Racquetball family. We wish everyone a safe trip back home! 
 
Personal note: To my husband Kit Lawson who always supports me 100% and never more than now...you are my best friend! <3
 
Summary
"When you fight with all you have and commit to exceeding expectations, you don't need a trophy to be a champion." -- Unknown
 
The mark of champions is how they handle themselves, win or lose, as they pursue their dreams. Congratulations to all 28 champions on the U.S. Junior Team. USA Racquetball and the U.S. Team staff couldn't be prouder of this team and this delegation. A group of 72 people arrived together, visited, celebrated wins, lamented losses, and are leaving tomorrow as family. 
 
Until next time...GO TEAM USA!!
 
Post Message and Appeal from Cheryl (aka the blogger)
As we sign off from Guatemala City and return to our homes in the United States, I ask for a final word with all who love, enjoy, and appreciate Racquetball and what it brings to your lives, individually and collectively. 
 
The pandemic was hard, so hard, with its often-dire effect on businesses, organizations, really everyone. I’m sure you’ve seen the information sent out on Giving Tuesday describing the very significant difficulties USA Racquetball is having with operational and developmental expenses. Presently we’re mostly volunteer, at least for the time being, and we want nothing more than to continue to support Racquetball in the USA. We need your help, every one of you, with whatever amount makes sense. 
 
The “We Are Racquetball” infographic describes what USAR provides. 
 
Please know I’m not exaggerating, even for a second, when I say that if we don’t all step up NOW to do what we can, we’ll be looking in the rearview mirror someday wishing we had. 
Renew your membership, now, even if you don’t plan to play in a tournament right away. Or ever again. Make an investment in the sport. Make a tax deductible year-end donation. Make it a gift of gratitude for what racquetball has meant in your life. Make it a gift to those who have yet to discover Racquetball and all it can mean in so many ways. https://www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball

 

We Are Racquetball 1/2 page ad

 
I wish every one of you could have been here with us in Guatemala City to experience firsthand how special this all is. Put it on your bucket list! 
 
To all the readers of this blog who helped Team USA feel the love from back home, thank you, and we wish you a holiday season filled with love, good health, and meaningful time with family and friends. 
 
-- Cheryl Kirk

 


XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #9
Friday, December 9, 2022
 
Greetings! The Esprit Cup (10s, 12s, 14s) portion of this IRF World Juniors is complete, and the results are in the record books after the Awards Ceremony this evening. Tomorrow, the World Cup finals will be held, a total of 15 matches to be competed between 9:45 am and 1:30 pm. Two of those finals will include Team USA: Naomi Ros in the Girls 16 Singles and Heather Mahoney and Julia Stein in the Girls 18 Doubles! Both will be live streamed from the IRF’s website and also the IRF’s YouTube channel, at 9:45 am and 12:00 noon, respectively.

 

Espirit Team Conbined at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Afterward, the World Cup winners (1st through 4th, both individual and team competitions) will have their time on the medals stand, then all thoughts will turn to the final photos, the goodbyes, maybe a little shirt trading, and packing up for the trip to the airport the next morning/afternoon. 
 
Full results for both World Cup and Esprit will be reported in the final blog, but huge congratulations go to the Esprit medalists, and I’m so happy to announce that the U.S. Junior Esprit Team came in third in the Boys, Girls, and Overall Team competition. it was impossible not to beam with pride when our Team USA athletes stepped onto the medals stand. Tons of photos were taken (think: paparazzi) and we couldn’t be prouder of our 13 athletes who together comprise the Esprit Cup team. 

 

 
Day Seven Competition Results: Friday
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
ESPRIT CUP (14-, 12-, 10-)
Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G lost to Hermann Garcia (MEX)  FINAL  
Adrian Nelson, B12W lost to Matias Aldana (GUA)  FINAL 
Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R def. Jose Benalcazar (ECU)   FINAL  
Axel Lopez, B14R def. Orlando Josue Huyke Granados (COL)   FINAL  
Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D lost to Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga/Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL) FINAL  
 
WORLD CUP (21-, 18-, 16-)
Fri 11:15 am – Ava Kaiser, G16S lost to Yanna Salazar (MEX)     SEMIFINAL
Fri 11:15 am – Naomi Ros, G16S def. Krystin Salinas Vasquez (BOL)   SEMIFINAL    
Fri 1:30 pm – Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D lost to Cynthia Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)  SEMIFINAL 
Fri 2:15 pm – Shane Diaz, G21S lost to Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)  SEMIFINAL
Fri 2:15 pm -- Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D lost to Eder Renteria/Jorge Gutierrez (MEX) SEMIFINAL  
Fri 3:45 pm – Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D lost to Natalia Mita/Angelica Barrios (BOL)  SEMIFINAL
Fri 4:30 pm -- Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D lost to Diego Garcia / Martina Katz (ARG)  SEMIFINAL

 

Girls 16 & Under Singles Semifinals at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Mixed U21 at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Coach Tim Weighs in
On the eve of the last day of this tournament, Coach Tim Baghurst offers his perspective on the challenges of an event of this magnitude; rally scoring; and a call to action for Junior athletes to work hard with the goal of qualifying for the U.S. Junior Team next year.
 
It’s been a long week punctuated by highs and lows. Imagine spending 10-12 hours per day sitting, watching, and coaching, never leaving the racquetball facility. (And what a simply constructed but awesome facility!). Now repeat that process day after day after day. In total, the coaches will have spent over 100 hours in this club in the last 10 days. Cheryl, Jen, and I have been fortunate to have experienced these events several times or more. For others, this is a first-time experience that requires maturation. Coach, athlete, and parent rookies, for want of a better word, must learn to pace themselves, for the physical and mental rigors of this tournament are extremely high. Yet, we love it!
Those of you who have attended National Juniors or High School Nationals will understand the infectious buzz that junior racquetball players create in a facility. Now, amplify that noise and enthusiasm that junior athletes bring. It’s so fun to be here! As I write, empty courts are full of youth of varying nationalities, no longer in the draw, all playing together. Such activity gives me hope that racquetball is thriving, perhaps just not everywhere we want it to. But that’s for tomorrow.  
Much discussion has taken place this year regarding rally scoring. Delaney, our athletic trainer, told me last night how important catering to the media is in Track & Field, where logistical decisions are made based on the broadcast. I think the same is true for racquetball; gone are the days of two-to-three-hour marathons full of side outs. With rally scoring, this tournament has run relatively smoothly considering its size and the sheer number of matches competed each day. 
Rally scoring has also created close games. We have seen so many games won by two points. Normally, a tiebreaker draws a crowd. Now, the crowd gathers more often for those 9-9 games. Regardless of your opinion of rally scoring, it is a much more significant mental challenge for athletes. When every rally is a point, every shot matters more, and athletes must be switched on from the beginning. Timeouts must be more calculated and taken earlier than in “regular” scoring. Sure it’s hard to come back from a deficit, but it does happen and it’s hard to come back from a deficit in any scoring format.
For those junior athletes reading this who didn’t make the team, this is an event you should be desperate to attend. It’s unlike any other racquetball tournament in the world. Start training, and we’ll see you in June at the National Juniors qualifier!
Delaney's Take
Avid Daily Blog readers know that Delaney Farmer is our athletic trainer on this trip to the IRF World Juniors. If you missed Blog #4 last Sunday, you might want to go back and read about Delaney’s credentials and career. We have had nothing but compliments about his expertise and results with our athletes. What follows is Delaney’s perspective on working with the U.S. Junior Racquetball Team.
 
As a medical provider, I have been blessed to travel the world and work at various World and Junior World Championship events. This is my first with USA Racquetball, and it did not disappoint.
The energy, the emotion, the skills of all these young athletes is amazing. What I love seeing is our youth athletes from different parts of the world coming together to play the sport they love. Each country brings their passion for the game. Each athlete talks, laughs, smiles with each other regardless of any language barrier because they are here speaking the language of sport. Wins are euphoric, losses hurt, but the passion is constant.
One of my favorite things about traveling with a team and providing medical care is getting to work one-on-one with the athletes and helping them out with their niggles or nagging injuries. I get to learn who each player is and to know more about them, which makes it just that much more fun when watching them play. I always like to say, “I bring my A game so it can help bring their A game.”
On Thursday, we had a huge matchup between Heather/Julia (USA!) vs. the Mexican team who they had fallen to earlier in the week in pool play in four games. This time Team USA won it in four games and the crowd was chanting USA...USA...USA! In that final moment, that final point when Team USA won and everyone was chanting – it was truly thrilling. Those are the moments that are most memorable.
Thank you, USA Racquetball, for blessing me with the opportunity to work with your coaches, parents, and most importantly, your great athletes. They are a breath of fresh of air with their energy, passion, and their love of the sport.
A few Questions of the Day to go...here are two more.
 
QOTD #1
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Don’t compare yourself to others, just try to be the best version of yourself
Cody Elkins, 18: You control your destiny, nobody else does.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Hit to your opponent’s backhand and play every point to win.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: If you look good, you feel good.  If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, you look good.
Timmy Hansen, 19: Time goes by fast, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Ava Kaiser, 17: Work hard in everything you do, the rewards will follow.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
Chris Nelson, 10: Pray always, be humble and kind.
Adrian Nelson, 12: Be thankful and rejoice in God.
Paul Saraceno, 17: It’s not how many times you fail, but how many times you get back up.
Annie Roberts, 20: There’s a lot of good advice I have received, but one of my favorites recently is that what you put the most time and effort into should be bringing you the most joy.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: To not let others put you down for being unique.
Montserrat Torres, 15: You only live once and live life to your fullest.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Never forget where you came from.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: It doesn’t matter if you lose!
Aarya Shetty, 13: Hit the ball and win.
Heather Mahoney, 18: Live in the moment.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Life is too short to dwell on mistakes.
Leah Trejo, 13: Cherish every moment in life and live life to the fullest.
Julia Stein, 19: You won’t like everyone, so why do you expect everyone to like you?
 
Bonus Comments
Tim Baghurst: There are no fools who give what they cannot keep to gain what they cannot lose.
Jen Meyer: Be present because you are never guaranteed the next moment.
Cheryl Kirk: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Keep your promises. 
Kit Lawson: Dad, what’s the best way to make friends? He said, “Be genuinely interested in them.” He emphasized “genuinely.” It works!
 
QOTD #2
What is your favorite childhood memory?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Making friends
Cody Elkins, 18: A memory of me and my brother Dane on a hiking trip together…just the two of us.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Disneyworld!!!
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Getting a Butter Beer at Universal Studios.
Timmy Hansen, 19: Trips to Disney with my family or traveling to national tournaments and seeing the country with my dad.
Ava Kaiser, 17: Mall of America Underwater World with my grandparents. 
Benjamin Horner, 17: Learning to ride a bike.
Chris Nelson, 10: Being with my first puppy – Rocky!
Adrian Nelson, 12: Going to Disneyland!
Paul Saraceno, 17: I once hit a mini plastic golf ball over two trees at a local park with a baseball bat.
Annie Roberts, 20: Watching Sunday night football with my dad.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Playing Beyblades at daycare.
Montserrat Torres, 15: I have a lot of favorites, but I think it’s always been spending Christmas with my family.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: When my older brother would take us to the park and hangout.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: When I went to Universal Studios.
Aarya Shetty, 13: Playing music with my sister.
Heather Mahoney, 18: Decorating for Christmas with my family.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Spending time with my family in my backyard while there was really nice weather and everyone was in a good mood.
Leah Trejo, 13: Playing around with my friends at Junior Nationals in California.
Julia Stein, 19: My birth.
 
Bonus Comments
Tim Baghurst: Growing up in the jungles of West Africa
Jen Meyer: Building forts with my siblings and staying the night on our trampoline in the summer.
Cheryl Kirk: Deciding to lay down in the street in front of my house, stretched out with one arm on the curb, to see what it would feel like. My mom caught me, busted, big trouble. 
Kit Lawson: Living a Tom Sawyer-like outdoor lifestyle in the woods of North Carolina, ages 7 to 11.
 
Competition Day Eight – Saturday 
Finals Saturday looms for World Cup athletes, and we wish Team USA athletes Naomi, Julia and Heather good luck in their finals matches. As mentioned earlier, both matches are being live streamed from the IRF’s website and also the IRF’s YouTube channel.
 
9:45 am -- Naomi Ros, G16S vs. Yanna Salazar (MEX)  FINAL
12:00 pm -- Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D vs. Rebecca Amaya Ardaya/Valeria Miranda Martinez (BOL)  FINAL
 
What else could there possibly be to say but...
 
GO TEAM USA!!

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #8
Thursday, December 8, 2022
 
Can this week be just about over already? Please send good vibes and tons of good wishes to Junior Team USA as we’re nearing the end of competition here in Guatemala City. There are still two days of matches yet to go at these IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships. The coaches are busy getting ready to support the athletes in their semifinal and final matches on Friday (see the schedule at the end of this blog). You can look forward to comments from Head Coach Tim Baghurst and Athletic Trainer Delaney Farmer in tomorrow’s blog that will give some insights from their points of view. 
 
Let’s take a look at how Thursday unfolded...
 
Day Six Competition Results: Thursday 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
BOYS
Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G def. Atsunorki Jhon Salguero Hirosi (BOL) 
Eshan Ali, B14G lost to Sebastian Ruelas (MEX)  
Nathan Rykhus, B14B lost to Bismarck Pereira (BOL)  
Axel Lopez, B14R def. Leonardo Haro Perez (ECU)  
Timmy Hansen, B18S lost to Sebastian Hernandez (MEX)   
Cole Sendrey, B16S lost to Eder Renteria (MEX)
Benjamin Horner, B16S lost to Nicolas Iglesias (BOL)
Micah Farmer, B21S lost to Pepe Ramos (MEX)
Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D lost to Benjamin Garcia/Nicolas Galindo (MEX) SEMIFINAL  
 
GIRLS
Julia Stein, G18S lost to Paula Javiera Mansilla Cid (CHI)
Heather Mahoney lost to Micaela Meneses (BOL)
Ava Kaiser, G16S def. Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)  
Naomi Ros, G16S def. Cynthia Gutierrez (MEX)   
Shane Diaz, G21S def. Sofia Freer (CRI)   
Annie Roberts, G21S lost to Maricruz Ortiz (CRI) 
Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D lost to Lilia Farias/Miranda Barraza (MEX)  
Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D def. Ivanna Valderrama/Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX) 
Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D lost to Danna Portillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)  
Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D def. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Suniaris Rodriguez (CUB) 

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

MIXED 
Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D lost to María Angela Villacreses/Martin Carchi (ECU)
Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MXD12 def. Santiago Castillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX) 
Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D lost to Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra/Alex Sierra (GUA)
Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D def. Sofia Freer/Felipe Guillen (CRI) 

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
The Thursday version of the Questions of the Day are hereby served up for your reading pleasure:
 
QOTD #1
Would you rather go back in time or into the future? Where would you go?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Back in time, to Asia
Cody Elkins, 18: I would rather go back in time so I could bet on sports games.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Back in time and stay in Texas.  I know…boring.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: I would go temporarily 1,000 years into the future to see what life was like.
Timmy Hansen, 19: I would advance to the future a couple of years from now when I would be finishing school.
Ava Kaiser, 17: Back in time to see my parents when they were little kids.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Back to watch the “Dream Team” play in the Olympics.
Chris Nelson, 10: Future to Italy
Adrian Nelson, 12: Past in America
Paul Saraceno, 17: Back in time to give myself advice.
Annie Roberts, 20: I would want to go back in time to see how cool my parents were in high school.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: I would go into the future and visit somewhere technologically advanced.
Montserrat Torres, 15: I would rather go back in time to when I was maybe in the ages of 6-10 because I think those were some of the years I had the most fun and where there was nothing to worry about.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: I would go into the future to try and stop anything that ever tries to harm me in any way.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: I would go to the future to see what I have achieved.
Aarya Shetty, 13: I would go into the future to see what happens.
Heather Mahoney, 18: Back in time to the 80’s to experience the music, fashion, and all the different trends.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Into the future to see what my life will be like when I am older.
Leah Trejo, 13: I would go back in time to the first time I surfed.
Julia Stein, 19: Back in time. I would go to the Jurassic Era and see some dinosaurs because that would be sick.
 
From The Others
Tim Baghurst: Back in time
Brett Elkins: Go back in time
Jen Meyer: Into the future a few years because I hope I have learned life lessons that will guide me towards a happy, fulfilled, and wonderful life.
Kit Lawson: Back. Total do-over, at least in terms of understanding personal potential at a much younger age. 
Cheryl Kirk: Both! To the past to learn, to the future to discover. (Blogger’s note: It’s my blog, I can choose both. Sometimes life isn’t fair.)  
 
QOTD #2
What's the most beautiful place you've ever been?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: The botanical garden in Oahu
Cody Elkins, 18: Hershey Park in PA was incredible!
Cole Sendrey, 16: Bahamas for sure! That water is crystal clear and the reefs were amazing.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Our church’s Temple
Timmy Hansen, 19: Aruba
Ava Kaiser, 17: Lake Tahoe, NV and La Jolla, CA
Benjamin Horner, 17: Hawaii
Chris Nelson, 10: Smokey Mountains
Adrian Nelson, 12: Omaha
Paul Saraceno, 17: Lake Arrowhead
Annie Roberts, 20: Oregon! I am a little biased…but the forests, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches in my home state are among the most beautiful out there.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: A place with low light pollution to see the stars.
Montserrat Torres, 15: I think that other than Mexico we already know that it can have very beautiful places. For me it would be Hawaii.  I just loved being there and it’s such a beautiful place and they always have perfect weather.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Carmel
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Iowa
Aarya Shetty, 13: Hawaii
Heather Mahoney, 18: Rainforest in Costa Rica
Sarah Bawa, 13: Nice, France
Leah Trejo, 13: Breckenridge, Colorado
Julia Stein, 19: Michigan
 
From the Others
Tim Baghurst: Untouched jungle
Jen Meyer: Anywhere next to the ones I love
Marie Gomar: Snowshoeing in Breckenridge, Colorado, after a blizzard: 48 in. of fresh, flaky, snow
Kit Lawson: Has to be Maui, Hawaii. I knew when I saw the glorious sights that I wouldn’t be able to actually remember the beauty. I can only remember telling myself that. 
Cheryl Kirk: On an airplane from Chicago to Tokyo, flying over wild terrain in Alaska as the sun was coming up 
 
VOLCANOES!
Yesterday’s blog mentioned several activities enjoyed by the families here in Guatemala (besides racquetball). 
 
One of the most meaningful and exciting attractions for both local and international visitors that Guatemala has to offer are its 37 volcanoes. The three active volcanoes, Pacaya, Fuego, and Santiaguito, are different in their level of difficulty given the time and effort needed to hike them.
 
For instance, in one hour, one can hike up Volcán de Pacaya to see the views of other volcanoes. The hike up Pacaya is on a trail of volcanic sand through a rain forest. Once high enough, volcanic lava rocks take over the landscape. The crater can be seen at a close distance with beautiful views of Volcán de Agua and Volcán de Fuego in the distance. Lava flows and explosions have been common, although Pacaya has been dormant for the past year.
 
Fuego is a different story. It gets the most attention, because its explosions are the most frequent (every 30 seconds to one minute). However, it takes two days to hike it, including camping to watch Fuego’s explosions late into the night and then viewing the sunrise. This is not an undertaking for everyone!
 
Last Monday, Paul Saraceno and his dad Frank took the somewhat arduous hike up Pacaya. Photos posted with the blog on usaracquetball.com include gorgeous views behind them and roasting marshmallows in the heat of the crater. Overheard from Paul in the first 15 minutes of the climb: “Are we almost to the top yet? How much farther? Dad, you should rest.”  
 
For more info, including a description of the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in June 2018, visit https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/fuego.html.
 
Thanks to Marie Gomar for her help in this description of Guatemala’s volcanoes!

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Blog #8 Photos from the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Competition Day Seven – Friday – 12 matches
All Central Time 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
ESPRIT CUP (14-, 12-, 10-)
Fri 9:45 am -- Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G vs. Hermann Garcia (MEX)   FINAL 
Fri 9:45 am -- Adrian Nelson, B12W vs. Matias Aldana (GUA)  FINAL
Fri 9:45 am -- Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R vs. Jose Benalcazar (ECU)   FINAL
Fri 10:30 am -- Axel Lopez, B14R vs. Orlando Josue Huyke Granados (COL)   FINAL
Fri 2:15 pm -- Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D vs. Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga/Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL) FINAL
 
WORLD CUP (21-, 18-, 16-)
Fri 11:15 am -- Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Yanna Salazar (MEX)     SEMIFINAL
Fri 11:15 am -- Naomi Ros, G16S vs. Krystin Salinas Vasquez (BOL)   SEMIFINAL
Fri 1:30 pm -- Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D vs. Cynthia Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)  SEMIFINAL
Fri 2:15 pm -- Shane Diaz, G21S vs. Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)  SEMIFINAL
Fri 2:15 pm -- Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D vs. Eder Renteria/Jorge Gutierrez (MEX) SEMIFINAL
Fri 3:45 pm -- Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D vs. Natalia Mita/Angelica Barrios (BOL)  SEMIFINAL
Fri 4:30 pm -- Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D vs. Diego Garcia / Martina Katz (ARG)  SEMIFINAL
 
You may have noticed that the schedule is split into World Cup and Esprit Cup categories rather than Boys/Girls/Mixed. That’s because as this tournament nears completion, there will be two Awards/Medals Ceremonies. The first will be Esprit Cup tomorrow (Friday) after the last Esprit matches are over. On Saturday, finals for World Cup divisions will be competed, ending in another Awards Ceremony, this time for World Cup.
 
Good luck to all of our athletes competing tomorrow!
 
GO TEAM USA!!

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #7
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
 
Sandy Rios, of Kerrville, Texas, who like many of us wears multiple hats in this sport, has added U.S. Junior Team Assistant Coach to her list of roles in racquetball. It’s her first time at a World Junior Championships; let’s hear what she thinks about it so far...
 
Wow, it’s hard to believe that we have been here a week, and we still have three full days of play. We have had our share of ups and downs, but I am so excited with the play of our Junior athletes. Even more than that, I am proud of the incredible sportsmanship displayed by all of them, from calling skips on themselves, to compassion and true concern when an opponent became injured during play. I have seen new friendships begin and old ones renewed. We have watched these 28 athletes, old and new members alike, come together and gel as a team. As a newcomer to the rank of coach, I was a bit worried that connecting with so many new players would present a problem, but I no longer have that doubt. When I was asked to coach a player whose assigned and familiar coach was already assigned to another, I felt as though I was back in college taking a final exam. But I listened to my athlete, she listened to me, and she forged ahead with a 3-0 victory. I passed!!
 
I can’t say enough about the tournament itself. From the volunteers who are manning the desk, the incredibly hard working staff at the club who tirelessly keep the courts and facility clean, the highly respected crew of referees, and the amazing people who have set up food booths right outside the club doors to feed us -- the IRF and the Guatemalan Association have done an amazing job of making us feel welcome.
 
It’s difficult to really share just how rewarding it is for me to have been asked to help with this year’s team,  but I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be here. I am so impressed by each and every one of these athletes, and I am inspired to do even more for them and for the juniors who aren’t here. I have enjoyed every minute of every 12-14 hour day and look forward to the same until the plane leaves the ground early this next Sunday morning, three more joyous days from now.
 
GO TEAM USA!
 
Day Five Competition Results: Wednesday 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
BOYS
Chris Nelson, B10R lost to Arturo Gonzalez (MEX)
Eshan Ali, B14G def. Mario Andrés Huyke Granados (COL)
Nathan Rykhus, B14B def. Thomas Quezada (ECU)
DJ Mendoza, B18S lost to Nathan Jauvin (CAN)
Timmy Hansen, B18S def. Alex Sierra (GUA)
Benjamin Horner, B16S def. Asher Pocsai (CAN)
Cole Sendrey, B16S def. Martin Carchi (ECU)
Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R def. Fernan Alvarado (CRI)
Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D lost to Alfredo Santiago Borja Arevalo /Nicolas Pol (BOL)
Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D def. Luis Lopez/Yordi Navarijo (GUA)
Assuan Castaneda/Micah Farmer, B21D lost to Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid / Diego Gatica (CHI)
Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D def. Thomas Quezada/Joaquin Benalcazar (ECU)
Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D lost to Jose Subieta Asin/Luis Aguilar (BOL)

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships   Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
GIRLS (9 matches)
Elizabeth Denler, G14S lost to Lilia Farias (MEX)
Andrea Perez Picon, G14S lost to Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde (BOL)
Heather Mahoney, G18S def. Jimena Rodriguez (CRI)
Aarya Shetty, G12S lost to Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL)
Julia Stein, G18S def. Samira Ferrer Marcilli (CUB)
Annie Roberts, G21S def. Ana Lucia Sarmiento (ECU)
Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D def. Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde/Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)
Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D def. María Laura Villacreses / María Angela Villacreses (ECU)
Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D lost to Angelica Villaroel Garzon/Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)
 
MIXED 
Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D lost to Giuliana Faeth/Alvaro Guillen (CRI)
 
Here we go again – QOTDs!
 
QOTD #1
What item would you grab first if your house was on fire (besides people, pets, or electronics)?
Eshan Ali, 15: My jacket
Cody Elkins, 18: A picture of me and my girlfriend.
Cole Sendrey, 16: My fishing gear and my racquetball bag. Then I would go back for my mom, sister, and dog. Dad is on his own.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: My treasure chests
Timmy Hansen, 19: Jewelry or money
Ava Kaiser, 17: Key chain collection, my medals, photos, and souvenirs from my travels.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Weights
Chris Nelson, 10: Passport
Adrian Nelson, 12: Food
Paul Saraceno, 17: Probably my keys
Annie Roberts, 20: My chocolate almond milk
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Ellie, my stuffed elephant
Montserrat Torres, 15: My teddy bear that I have had for like 15 years now.  It has always been there with me and has a lot of sentimental value to me.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: My shoes
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: My valuables 
Aarya Shetty, 13: The plants I grow
Heather Mahoney, 18: All my records and Steve Lacy posters
Sarah Bawa, 13: A blanket so I don’t get cold.
Leah Trejo, 13: My stuffed animal monkey I have had since I was in 2nd grade.
Julia Stein, 19: I would grab my box of important things that has pictures and important jewelry.
Older People Weigh In
Tim Baghurst:  Lock box with all of our important papers followed by tub of photo albums and keepsakes
Jen Meyer: The book my grandma filled out about her life and our family before she passed away.  It includes photographs, family recipes, etc. from generations of our family.
Marie Gomar: A jacket!
Cheryl Kirk: A lockbox that contains essential items like $$, important documents, passport, and old family photos. Plus, my Christmas stocking that my mom filled for 60 straight years. And my purse. 
Kit Lawson: The big TV! My meds!! My money jar! Kidding...I would absolutely grab a full length coat & cozy shoes. (Blogger’s note: We have a money jar??).
 
QOTD #2
If you could have lunch with anyone living, who would it be?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Luka Doncic
Cody Elkins, 18: I would have a conversation with Putin as he is evil and would be fascinating to speak to.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Luka Doncic
Nathan Rykhus, 14: An apostle
Timmy Hansen, 19: Mark Cuban
Ava Kaiser, 17: My mom and dad
Benjamin Horner, 17: Jason Tatum
Chris Nelson, 10: Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid author)
Adrian Nelson, 12: Dave Pelkey (Dog Man author)
Paul Saraceno, 17: Shaq
Annie Roberts, 20: Allyson Felix
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Emma Watson
Montserrat Torres, 15: The Weeknd because I like his music and find him to be an interesting person
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Jordan Poole
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Steph Curry
Aarya Shetty, 13: Gordon Ramsey
Heather Mahoney, 18: Steve Lacy
Sarah Bawa, 13: Kamala Harris
Leah Trejo, 13: Nailea Devora
Julia Stein, 19: I would have lunch with my mom because I love my mom.
 
Older People Weigh In
Tim Baghurst: I don’t know. I’ve thought about this a lot. There are too many but no one stands out.
Brett Elkins: With all of my family at the beach.
Jen Meyer: I feel like there is never enough time to slow down and truly connect, so I would have lunch with anyone I love.
Marie Gomar: Shakira!
Cheryl Kirk: Lots of people, but first, my husband Kit, at a place where we could take our dog Heidi, also. (That could be a challenge.)
Kit Lawson: Tough one...not a politician, not a do-gooder, not a sports person...who’s left? Blogger, are you available for lunch?
 
Sightseeing and Burning the Devil
Yep, you read that right...continue on...
 
Lest anyone think this trip has been just a hotel/club/hotel existence, I’m happy to report that a number of families have taken advantage of free time (although not much of it!) to squeeze in a dinner out or to arrange an excursion to a volcano, or the zoo, or La Antigua, an historical site founded in 1543 (see below*). 

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
The Horner family visited Antigua several days ago, and the Steins and the Mahoneys went today. Melodese Mahoney comments, “We were fortunate to be there during the Burning of the Devil celebration and saw many dressed up, live music and some dancing in the streets, fireworks, etc.”

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships  Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Wow, Burning of the Devil?? This is not as unsetting as it might initially sound. It’s a day of celebration here in Guatemala that occurs on December 7th each year, specifically at 6:00 pm. It began in the 16th century as a preamble for Christmas festivities. It is a celebration of triumph of good over evil, a symbolic spiritual cleansing in which trash (in past times) was burned in a bonfire. The symbolism in burning trash in a bonfire represented getting rid of impurities by taking out useless things from the home. In modern times, Guatemalans choose more to accomplish this concept using a devil piñata to avoid contaminating the environment. (Bloggers note: Thanks to Marie Gomar for the explanation of this celebratory day.)

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
* Antigua Guatemala(Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtiɣwa ɣwateˈmala]), commonly known as Antigua or La Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala known for its centuries-old architecture and ruins. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring Spanish Baroque-influenced buildings. 
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigua_Guatemala
 
Those who perhaps haven’t yet had the chance to venture out a bit have consoled themselves with donuts (the kind you eat) that keep materializing in growing quantities at the club. They’re really yummy, and they are turning into a cultural experience that fosters both new friendships and increased calorie consumption. Hey, you only live once. 

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Back to racquetball...holy cow, it’s Day Six, and all 10 courts are heating up. Countries are cheering and chanting, and my Apple watch keeps reminding me that sound levels are exceeding 90 decibels. Well, yeah. 

 

Wednesday at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Let’s check out the lineup for Thursday!
 
Competition Day Six – Thursday – 23 matches
All Central Time 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
BOYS (9 matches)
Thurs 10:30 am – Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G vs. Atsunorki Jhon Salguero Hirosi (BOL) SEMIFINAL
Thurs 11:15 am – Eshan Ali, B14G vs. Sebastian Ruelas (MEX)  SEMIFINAL
Thurs 11:15 am – Nathan Rykhus, B14B vs. Bismarck Pereira (BOL)  SEMIFINAL
Thurs 11:15 am – Axel Lopez, B14R vs. Leonardo Haro Perez (ECU)  SEMIFINAL
Thurs 12:00 pm – Timmy Hansen, B18S vs. Sebastian Hernandez (MEX)
Thurs 1:30 pm – Cole Sendrey, B16S vs. Eder Renteria (MEX)
Thurs 1:30 pm – Benjamin Horner, B16S vs. Nicolas Iglesias (BOL)
Thurs 2:15 pm – Micah Farmer, B21S vs. Pepe Ramos (MEX)
Thurs 3:00 pm – Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D vs. Benjamin Garcia/Nicolas Galindo (MEX) SEMIFINAL
 
GIRLS (10 matches)
Thurs 12:00 pm – Julia Stein, G18S vs. Paula Javiera Mansilla Cid (CHI)
Thurs 12:00 pm – Heather Mahoney vs. Micaela Meneses (BOL)
Thurs 1:30 pm – Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
Thurs 1:30 pm – Naomi Ros, G16S vs. Cynthia Gutierrez (MEX)
Thurs 2:15 pm – Shane Diaz, G21S vs. Sofia Freer (CRI)
Thurs 2:15 pm – Annie Roberts, G21S vs. Maricruz Ortiz (CRI)
Thurs 3:00 pm – Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D vs. Lilia Farias/Miranda Barraza (MEX)  SEMIFINAL
Thurs 3:00 pm – Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D vs. Ivanna Valderrama/Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX) SEMIFINAL
Thurs 3:45 pm – Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D vs. Danna Portillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Thurs 4:30 pm – Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D vs. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Suniaris Rodriguez (CUB)
 
MIXED (4 matches)
Thurs 4:30 pm – Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D vs. María Angela Villacreses/Martin Carchi (ECU)
Thurs 5:15 pm – Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MXD12 vs. Santiago Castillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Thurs 5:15 pm – Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D vs. Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra/Alex Sierra (GUA)
Thurs 6:00 pm – Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D vs. Sofia Freer/Felipe Guillen (CRI)
 
It’s Thursday already! Note that we have a number of athletes in the semifinals of their divisions already, and there are a good number more who are one match win away from a semifinal spot!
 
Live streaming continues Thursday through Saturday for select assigned matches. Please check the International Racquetball Federation home page for links and schedules. That information is also available on the USA Racquetball Facebook page. 
 
GO TEAM USA!

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

Guatemala City, Guatemala

 

Blog #6

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

 

Assistant Coach Jen Meyer of Fruita, Colorado, who has been on far more World Junior Championships trips than the rest of the staff put together (19), offers her perspective on some Tuesday matches:

 

After not being able to participate in the Junior World Championships the last few years due to Covid, it has been amazing seeing our international racquetball family again. The connections made on and off the court are something I hold near and dear to my heart over the years!

 

I want to start off by saying I couldn’t be prouder of our kiddos! With each and every day, they better their games and leave their hearts on the court. Yesterday I watched Nathan play Costa Rica and was so impressed with the racquetball being played and the sportsmanship from both athletes. They showed passion and love for the game through their play! It was inspiring and amazing! 

 

We had more examples of that today when Ava was down 8-4 and came back for the win; Micah playing phenomenal against Bolivia and having coaches in the crowd saying they wanted their athletes to watch him play as an example of what to do during a match; seeing Alejandro hit smooth and consistent shots against Mexico; Heather and Julia fist pumping; Axel working hard every point; Timmy digging deep during doubles and Heather flying around the court to take Bolivia to five games…the list truly could go on and on, and these are only a few examples from just today. 

 

You can imagine the intensity and excitement here at the club! I wish it were something you could feel through a blog, but we could never do it justice! We ended the day with a team meeting and talking about what the next step of the tournament looks like as we enter the straight draws tomorrow. 

 

Team USA is ready to give their all as we move forward, and I can assure you the racquetball community in the United States can be proud of each and every one of our athletes!

 

Timmy Hansen, Heather Mahoney, Julia Stein & Coach Jen Meyer at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Day Four Competition Results: Tuesday 

First name listed is Team USA athlete

B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed

Numbers are age divisions

S = Singles, D = Doubles

G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)

 

BOYS (4 matches)

Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G def. Leonardo Grande (MEX)

Axel Lopez, B14R def. Sebastian Coto (CRI)

Micah Farmer, B21S def. Adrian Jaldin Lobo (BOL)

Cody Elkins, B21S lost to Diego Garcia (ARG)

 

GIRLS (8 matches)

Sarah Bawa, G12S lost to Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)

Aarya Shetty, G12S def. Leah Trejo (both USA)

Andrea Perez Picon, G14S def. Isabella Wer (GUA)

Elizabeth Denler, G14S def. Montserrat Torres (both USA)

Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D lost to Lilia Farias/Miranda Barraza (MEX)

Ava Kaiser, G16S def. Jimena Gomez (CRI)

Naomi Ros, G16S def. Chloe Gauvin (CAN)

Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein, G18D def. Jimena Rodriguez/Jessie Vargas (CRI)

 

MIXED (4 matches)

Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D def. Santiago Castillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)

Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D lost to Sebastian Ruelas/Miranda Barraza (MEX)

Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D def. Jazmin Aguilar/Byron Rosil (GUA)

Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D lost to Luis Aguilar/Rebecca Amaya Ardaya (BOL)

 

Mixed 18 & Under Doubles at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

It’s that time again...

 

QOTD #1

What is the most rewarding or fulfilling thing you have ever done?  

 

Eshan Ali, 15: Finish the holy Quran

Cody Elkins, 18: Running every day because it taught me to battle through pain.

Cole Sendrey, 16: Making true friends, not fake ones.

Nathan Rykhus, 14: Winning Nationals

Timmy Hansen, 19: Moving away to college because it has taught me many responsibilities and how to become more independent.

Ava Kaiser, 17: Volunteering for National Honor Society and Tutoring in Math and Spanish.

Benjamin Horner, 17: Getting saved (becoming a Christian)

Chris Nelson, 10: Giving a gift to a classmate who moved from a poor country.

Adrian Nelson, 12: Packing shoeboxes for Samaritan Purse Christmas gifts to children across the world.

Paul Saraceno, 17: Applying for my Associates degree before I graduate high school.

Annie Roberts, 20: Working with and teaching kids. I have had multiple opportunities to teach racquetball, swim lessons, or work in a preschool and there is always something so special about teaching kid’s new skills that they can have for the rest of their lives.

Elizabeth Denler, 14: Cliff Jumping

Montserrat Torres, 15: Graduating 8th grade and just because able to know that chapter of my life is done. It was a little sad at first, but now that I look back I see all the fun memories I got to make.

Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Making Team USA or winning the US Open.

Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: I hit a half-court shot in a basketball game!

Aarya Shetty, 13: Volunteer at a retirement home.

Heather Mahoney, 18: Athletics:  Working toward my goal to earn a world title and earning 4!

Sarah Bawa, 13: Finishing helping my grandma bake something that was very complicated and time consuming.

Leah Trejo, 13: Do something kind for someone.

Julia Stein, 19: Over this past summer I worked as a nurse’s aide in a hospital med-surg floor. One of the patients called me her best friend and I felt really good about myself.  (She was violent with the other nurses haha).

 

Others...

Tim Baghurst:  I was the first person in my family to go to college.

Jen Meyer:  Being someone that I hope my family, students, athletes, nieces and nephew can look up to in a positive way.

Cheryl Kirk: Protesting in front of a “pet shop” that sold puppy mill puppies––hot, cold, rain, or shine––until we shut them down. 

Kit Lawson (blogger’s husband): A trick question, right? Why, marrying [the blogger] of course. (I also enjoyed downhill skiing.)

 

QOTD #2

If you could live in any other country for two years, where would you go?

 

Eshan Ali, 15: Switzerland

Cody Elkins, 18: Greece because I hear it is beautiful and the food is great.

Cole Sendrey, 16: Bahamas

Nathan Rykhus, 14: Italy because they have cool tourist destinations and good food.

Timmy Hansen, 19: Greece

Ava Kaiser, 17: Switzerland

Benjamin Horner, 17: Mexico

Chris Nelson, 10: Italy

Adrian Nelson, 12: France

Paul Saraceno, 17: Japan

Annie Roberts, 20: Somewhere on a beach of any South American country.

Elizabeth Denler, 14: Ireland

Montserrat Torres, 15: Venice, Italy because it looks like such a beautiful place…like no other.

Andrea Perez Picon, 14: France

Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: France

Aarya Shetty, 13: Vietnam

Heather Mahoney, 18: Italy

Sarah Bawa, 13: Japan

Leah Trejo, 13: Italy

Julia Stein, 19: Probably Sweden

 

Others...

Tim Baghurst: New Zealand

Brett Elkins: Greece in Eos

Jen Meyer: Italy

Delaney Farmer: England (London)

Cheryl Kirk: I’d choose to stay home. Nothing against all of the other countries, I just love my home. 

Kit Lawson: I think maybe Italy. It would take most of a couple of years to fully experience the culture & history. (Blogger’s note: We’re not going.)

 

MAIL FROM STATESIDE

USA Racquetball State Association Presidents Dan Horner (Iowa), Cheryl Kirk (Illinois), Gary Mazaroff (New Mexico), and Sandy Rios (Texas) are here in Guatemala at World Juniors. We’re happy that five of our compadres have sent greetings from home...

 

Good luck to all players and coaches as you begin the medal rounds. Thanks for all you do. Wish I was there! – Brian Ancheta (Oregon)

 

Wishing all of the juniors well from down south!

-- Bob Frazier (Alabama)

 

Hello Team USA!! Greetings from New England! I hope you are having a great time in Guatemala representing our country and making lasting memories and friendships you'll never forget!! Play hard!

-- Stewart Solomon (Massachusetts)

 

Hello from back home! We are proud to have all of you (players, coaches, and families) represent us. This is a week you will remember for the rest of your lives. Keep making memories and the most of every moment. Have fun and good luck! GO TEAM USA!

-- Dan Whitley (Missouri)

 

I am enjoying following the USA Junior Team. You are giving it your all and your hard work and dedication show. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!

-- Terry Rogers (California/Nevada)

 

Andrea Perez Picon and Alejandro Robles Picon at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Father & Son - The Mendozas at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Competition Day Five – Wednesday (23 matches)

All Central Time 

First name listed is Team USA athlete

B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed

Numbers are age divisions

S = Singles, D = Doubles

G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division)

 

BOYS (13 matches)

Wed 10:30 am – Chris Nelson, B10R vs. Arturo Gonzalez (MEX)

Wed 11:15 am – Eshan Ali, B14G vs. Mario Andrés Huyke Granados (COL)

Wed 11:15 am – Nathan Rykhus, B14B vs. Thomas Quezada (ECU)

Wed 12:00 pm – DJ Mendoza, B18S vs. Nathan Jauvin (CAN)

Wed 12:00 pm – Timmy Hansen, B18S vs. Alex Sierra (GUA)

Wed 1:30 pm – Benjamin Horner, B16S vs. Asher Pocsai (CAN)

Wed 1:30 pm – Cole Sendrey, B16S vs. Martin Carchi (ECU)

Wed 1:30 pm – Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R vs. Fernan Alvarado (CRI)
Wed 3:00 pm – Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D vs. Alfredo Santiago Borja Arevalo /Nicolas Pol (BOL)

Wed 3:00 pm – Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D vs. Luis Lopez/Yordi Navarijo (GUA)

Wed 3:45 pm – Assuan Castaneda/Micah Farmer, B21D vs. Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid / Diego Gatica (CHI)

Wed 3:45 pm – Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D vs. Thomas Quezada/Joaquin Benalcazar (ECU)

Wed 4:30 pm – Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D vs. Jose Subieta Asin/Luis Aguilar (BOL)

 

GIRLS (9 matches)

Wed 10:30 am – Elizabeth Denler, G14S vs. Lilia Farias (MEX)

Wed 10:30 am – Andrea Perez Picon, G14S vs. Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde (BOL)

Wed 12:00 pm – Heather Mahoney, G18S vs. Jimena Rodriguez (CRI)

Wed 12:45 pm – Aarya Shetty, B12S vs. Angelia Villaroel Garzon (BOL)

Wed 12:45 pm – Julia Stein, G18S vs. Samira Ferrer Marcilli (CUB)

Wed 2:15 pm – Annie Roberts, G21S vs. Ana Lucia Sarmiento (ECU)

Wed 3:00 pm – Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D vs. Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde/Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)

Wed 3:45 pm – Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D vs. María Laura Villacreses / María Angela Villacreses (ECU)

Wed 3:45 pm – Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D vs. Angelia Villaroel Garzon/Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)

 

MIXED (1 match)

Wed 4:30 pm – Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D vs. Giuliana Faeth/Alvaro Guillen (CRI)

 

2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Live streaming is up and running, thanks to Pablo Fajre and commentators Gary Mazaroff and Gustavo Farell. Please check the IRF home page for links and schedules at www.internationalracquetball.com.

 

The LiveStream Commentators at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

It’s hard to believe that Wednesday of the tournament has arrived already, but there’s still a lot more to come! Team meetings (Esprit Cup and then World Cup) were held this evening where Coach Tim talked strategy and the importance of keeping notes on matches and competitors just played. Afterward, the athletes received their player bags (tournament shirt, water bottle, and bag tag) and presumably turned in for a good night’s sleep. At 9:45 pm. Right. 

 

Hey, thanks for reading, please send good thoughts and encouraging vibes to our Junior athletes, and...

 

GO TEAM USA!!

 

-- Cheryl Kirk

 


  

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #5
Monday, December 5, 2022
 
U.S. Junior Team Assistant Coach George Bustos of San Antonio, Texas, kicks off Blog #5 in with comments on Day Three of competition:
 
As a first-time coach for the U.S. Junior Team, I've been asked, "What do you think of this tournament so far?” Wow, 12-14 hour days so far and they still go by fast. It's incredibly exciting and, to be honest, I’m not sure where I'm getting my energy from. Maybe the various cups of coffee that several people bring to me to keep me going throughout the day. I see many helping coaches, staff, and parents by providing water, beverages, snacks, food, etc. Everyone on this trip is coming together and helping, and that's what I've noticed the most.  
 
I also see a great bunch of kids who are playing their hearts out.. The GRIT, the training, the discipline, the tenacity are exhibited in their hustle...their respect for their opponents...the way they listen to their coaches, parents, and their fellow players. It's magical for me being a first timer. This is AMAZING!
 
I know when my head hits the pillow, I'm out. But once the morning comes, I'm so excited to start my day with our great TEAM USA. So far we've seemed to be loose and laughing during our morning breakfast. And what a joy it is, especially with the memes. I am grateful and blessed to have such an amazing team this year, and we are finally here after some disappointment during the Covid crisis.  
 
There is still a lot of tournament left as single elimination matches begin tomorrow and Wednesday. Most players had a chance to dial in given the three days of pool play. All teams are good, and there are no easy matches. Players, it's time to stay focused and have no regrets when taking your shots. Have faith in yourself and listen to your coaches. Focus on execution and your breathing! Trust your instincts and your training. Leave it all on the court! 
 
NO REGRETS!!

 

Shane Diaz & Coach George Bustos at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Day Three Competition Results: Monday 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division)
 
BOYS (14 matches)
Chris Nelson, B10R def. Julian Quinde Bravo (ECU)
Adrian Nelson, B12R lost to Joseph Cevallos (ECU)
Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R def. Matias Pedro Garavito Campos (BOL) 
Axel Lopez, B14R def. Mathias Zeledon (CRI)
Eshan Ali, B14G def. Sebastian Terrazas Tapia (BOL)
Nathan Rykhus, B14G lost to Alvaro Guillen (CRI)
Cole Sendrey, B16S def. Orlando Josue Huyke Granados (COL)
Benjamin Horner, B16S def. Ruben Igor (CHI)
Cody Elkins, B21S lost to Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)
DJ Mendoza, B18S lost to Alex Sierra (GUA)
Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D lost to Gustavo Gabriel Cordova Soria/Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga (BOL)
Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D lost to Eder Renteria/Jorge Gutierrez (MEX)
Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D def. Josue Farfane Enriquez/Bismarck Pereira (BOL)
Assuan Castaneda/Micah Farmer, B21D lost to Diego Garcia/Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)

 

Coach Jen & Cody Elkins at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli and Coach Peña at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Cole Sendry at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
GIRLS (14 matches)
Montserrat Torres, G14S def. Ared Arce Berroteran (CRI)
Andrea Perez Picon, G14S lost to Miranda Barraza (MEX)
Ava Kaiser, G16S def. Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU)
Annie Roberts, G21S def. Valeria Hernandez (MEX)
Shane Diaz, G21S def. Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)
Aarya Shetty, G12S def. Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Leah Trejo, G12S lost to Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)
Sarah Bawa, G12S lost to Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL)
Julia Stein, G18S def. Abigail Solano (CRI)
Heather Mahoney, G18S def. Samira Ferrer Marcilli (CUB)
Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D lost to Maria Laura Villacreses/Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU)
Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D lost to Danna Portillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D lost to Valeria Hernandez/Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)
Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D lost to Rebecca Amaya Ardaya/Miranda Martinez (BOL)

 

Heather Mahoney & Coach Tim Baghurst at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Girls Singles action at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Annie Roberts & Coach Baghurst at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

 
MIXED (2 matches)
Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D def. Juan David Zea Cueva/Maria Laura Villacreses (ECU)
Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D lost to Nicolas Galindo/Andrea Martinez (MEX)

 

Vaishant Aarya at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Abraham & Anway at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

 

 
 
Back by popular demand...Questions of the Day!
 
QOTD #1
What's your dream job?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Software developer
Cody Elkins, 18: Therapist while playing full time on the pro tour.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Commercial Real Estate (like my dad), but I don’t want to work with him. 😊
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Not sure
Timmy Hansen, 19: Corporate Lawyer
Ava Kaiser, 17: Cardiovascular Surgeon
Benjamin Horner, 17: Movie reviewer
Chris Nelson, 10: Engineer – Mechanical and cyber security
Adrian Nelson, 12: Doctor
Paul Saraceno, 17: Professional Racquetball Player
Annie Roberts, 20: Pediatric Occupational Therapist 
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Psychologist or an artist
Montserrat Torres, 15: Forensic Psychologist
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Pro racquetball player and a mechanic that specializes in cars.
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Streamer
Aarya Shetty, 13: Psychiatrist 
Heather Mahoney, 18: I want to make an impact on environmental issues while also traveling to various parts of the world.
Sarah Bawa, 13: A lawyer
Leah Trejo, 13: Forensic scientist 
Julia Stein, 19: Microbiologist or Immunologist. I am still deciding.
 
And from some others...
Tim Baghurst: I think I have it.
Jen Meyer: Teaching and Coaching…how lucky am I? 😊
Cheryl Kirk: Something with the FBI or law enforcement
 
QOTD #2
Do you have pets? If not, what pet would you like?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: I would like to have a kitten.
Cody Elkins, 18: I would love a pig.
Cole Sendrey, 16: My dog, Trixie.  She is not the brightest dog, but she loves me.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: No, but I would get a pug because they are cute and lazy!
Timmy Hansen, 19: I have a puppy named Ziggy who just turned 1.
Ava Kaiser, 17: I have 2 turtles and 2 ducks, but the ducks are Mallards so they flew south.
Benjamin Horner, 17: No, but a lizard would be cool.
Chris Nelson, 10: Labrador Retriever
Adrian Nelson, 12: Cat
Paul Saraceno, 17: I have a dog. His name is Chico and he is a maltese chihuahua mix.
Annie Roberts, 20: Yes!  I have a chihuahua named Mini.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Yes, I have a dog named Basil and a beta fish named Jack.
Montserrat Torres, 15: No pets, but I would like a Doberman.
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 horse
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: 2 dogs (Yogi and Coco), 1 cat (Joy) and 1 horse (Betty)
Aarya Shetty, 13: Yes, a cat and a dog.
Heather Mahoney, 18: I have a dog named Cali and a cat named Mittens.
Sarah Bawa, 13: I have a hamster named Remi.
Leah Trejo, 13: I have a dog named Max.
Julia Stein, 19: Yes, I have two dogs.  A small one (Daisy) and a big one (Ollie).
 
And from some others...
Tim Baghurst: I have a dog, Hershey, and a bunny, Hokie, but they are not really mine.
Brett Elkins: Nope! Love cats, but the family is highly allergic even to non-allergic pets.
Jen Meyer: No pets, but if I did I would have a dog.
Cheryl Kirk: We have a dog, Heidi (15-lb. Shih Tzu/Poodle/Chihuahua/Min Pin mix). She loves people but not dogs. She tries to attack the two sweet Bernese Mountain Dogs three doors down. 

HOTEL
The Clarion Suites is arguably one of the best hotels we’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in. Eleven days is a long time (although it passes more quickly than one might imagine). Happily, the spacious suites with a living area separate from the bedroom/bathroom reminds one more of an apartment than a hotel room. It’s clean and relatively quiet (unless you’re directly underneath the workout room). The restaurant serves a hot buffet breakfast with made-to-order eggs, plantains (shoutout to Charlie Pratt), and a variety of breads and rolls. 
 
It’s easy to forget it’s the Christmas season until we notice the pretty tree in the hotel lobby as well as the several-stories-tall spectacular tree in the downtown square area with lights that change and a Gallo logo (big rooster head) on top. Gallo es una cerveza muy popular en Guatemala! “Gallo is Guatemala’s oldest continually produced beer, dating back to 1896. It is also the most famous beer in the country and has become a part of Guatemalan popular culture.” - Wikipedia 
 
(Blogger’s note: Never say you didn’t learn anything useful from these blogs.)
 
Competition Day Four – Tuesday –16 matches
All times are Central Time
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division), B = Blue (dropdown division), W = White (dropdown division)
 
BOYS (4 matches)
Tues 10:30 am – Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G vs. Leonardo Grande (MEX)
Tues 11:15 am – Axel Lopez, B14R vs. Sebastian Coto (CRI)
Tues 3:00 pm – Micah Farmer, B21S vs. Adrian Jaldin Lobo (BOL)
Tues 3:00 pm – Cody Elkins, B21S vs. Diego Garcia (ARG)
 
GIRLS (8 matches)
Tues 10:30 am – Sarah Bawa, G12S vs. Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)
Tues 10:30 am – Leah Trejo, G12S vs. Aarya Shetty (both USA)
Tues 12:00 pm – Andrea Perez Picon, G14S vs. Isabella Wer (GUA)
Tues 12:00 pm – Elizabeth Denler, G14S vs. Montserrat Torres (both USA)
Tues 1:30 pm – Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D vs. Lilia Farias/Miranda Barraza (MEX)
Tues 1:30 pm – Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Jimena Gomez (CRI)
Tues 1:30 pm – Naomi Ros, G16S vs. Chloe Gauvin (CAN)
Tues 3:45 pm – Heather Mahoney/Julia Stein, G18D vs. Jimena Rodriguez/Jessie Vargas (CRI)
 
MIXED (4 matches)
Tues 3:45 pm – Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D vs. Santiago Castillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Tues 3:45 pm – Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D vs. Sebastian Ruelas/Miranda Barraza (MEX)
Tues 4:30 pm – Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D vs. Jazmin Aguilar/Byron Rosil (GUA)
Tues 5:15 pm -- Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D vs. Luis Aguilar/Rebecca Amaya Ardaya (BOL)

 

Trainer Tim Delaney & Athletes at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Boys Singles action at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
So tomorrow and Wednesday begin the second phase of the tournament, with many divisions going to playoff rounds/single elimination. Use this link to go straight to the Event Divisions page: https://www.r2sports.com/website/division-list.asp?TID=40015&sortBy=defaultOrder
 
FYI...a problem with WiFi/Internet connections may make live streaming difficult. Please check the IRF home page at www.internationalracquetball.com. When streaming becomes achievable, the website will contain more information.
 
Thanks for all of the good wishes and attention being given on social media to these deserving athletes. As Coach George said, they are playing their hearts out for their country and their fans!
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk
 
P.S. Wishing Jenni Mazaroff (Gary’s exponentially better half) a very Happy Birthday on Tuesday, 12/6! 


XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #4
Sunday, December 4, 2022
 
Assistant Coach Abraham Peña reflects on the first two days of competition and the future of the U.S. Junior Team:
 
It’s an amazing opportunity to be an assistant coach for the USA at this year’s World Junior Championships. Having been an athlete my entire life, it is so different being a coach. In fact, I still vividly remember my first experiences of the World Junior Championships as a 13-year-old athlete. Many, many years later, I am so excited to be back helping players achieve their very best on the court and in life.
 
I witnessed a lot of quality matches both yesterday and today. While the results on the scoreboards are not always what we want, what excites me is the potential I see in our athletes. I firmly believe that IF we provide the right support and training to our team, we will see great results in the years to come. We have to remember that some of these athletes could be playing for the USA at the World Junior Championships for another 10 years! Of course, this requires the effort of many: coaches, the association, the parents, but most of all the players. They have to want this success all year and train for it like many other juniors in other countries do.   
 
I just love the passion and desire our athletes are showing on the courts, and I hope this energy continues to the end. I am so happy for this opportunity and thankful to be part of this unique team.
 
Let’s go, TEAM USA!

 

Mixed Doubles Coaching at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Day Two Competition Results: Sunday 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
 
BOYS 
Alejandro Robles Picon, B10S def. Julian Quinde Bravo (ECU)
Benjamin Horner, B16S lost to Hernan Ruiz Michel (BOL)
Cole Sendrey, B16S def. Oscar Montejo (CRI)
Micah Farmer, B21S lost to Hector Barrios (BOL)
Cody Elkins, B21S lost to Adrian Jaldin Lobo (BOL)
Timmy Hansen, B18S lost to Luis Aguilar (BOL)
DJ Mendoza, B18S lost to Juan Jose Tapia Zuniga (BOL)
Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D def. Carlos Ceballos Tello/Leonardo Haro Perez (ECU)
Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D lost to Jose Subieta Asin/Luis Aguilar (BOL)
Assuan Castañeda/Micah Farmer, B21D lost to Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid/Diego Gatica (CHI)
 
GIRLS 
Montserrat Torres, G14S lost to Isabella Wer (GUA)
Elizabeth Denler, G14S lost to Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde (BOL)
Ava Kaiser, G16S lost to Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
Naomi Ros, G16S lost to Krystin Salinas Vazquez (BOL)
Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D lost to Jamileth Sipac/Isabella Wer (GUA)
Leah Trejo, G12S lost to Larissa Faeth (CRI)
Sarah Bawa, G12S lost to Sarah Solano Badilla (CRI)
Julia Stein, G18S lost to Jazmin Aguilar (GUA)
Heather Mahoney, G18S lost to Ivanna Valderrama (MEX)
Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D lost to Angelica Villaroel Garzon/Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)
Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D def. Cynthia Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)
Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D def. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Fabiana Landy (ECU)
Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D lost to Ivanna Valderrama/Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX)

 

2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
MIXED 
Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D lost to Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga/Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL)
Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D lost to Jorge Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)
Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D lost to Hector Barrios/Angelica Barrios (BOL)
Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D lost to Jamileth Sipac/Yordi Navarijo (GUA)

 

Mixed Doubles at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
DELANEY IN THE HOUSE
The U.S. Junior Team Delegation is happy to welcome Delaney Farmer, LAT, LMT, ATC as our Athletic Trainer here at the IRF World Junior Championships. He is a dual credentialed healthcare provider with 15 years in the field of Athletic Training and 25 years as a Massage Therapist. Delaney runs his own massage practice, PRM Sports Therapy, and works as an Athletic Trainer at Lake Washington High School (Home of the Kangaroos) just outside of Seattle, Washington. He also spends time working with USA Track & Field, USA Diving, and USA Ultimate during the summer months when he is not working at the high school. Delaney finds enjoyment in being creative with photography, graphic designs, and creating fun objects with his laser.

 

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Delaney just found out last Friday that he is a recipient of the Harmon Brown Award, an annual award bestowed by U.S. Track & Field to recognize individuals who have excelled in their service to the association in the areas of sports medicine and sports science. Congratulations, Delaney!

 

Athletic Trainer Delaney Farmer was the recipient of the Harmon Brown Award

 
Check out Delaney’s website at www.PRMsportstherapy.comThis is his first time traveling with USA Racquetball, and we couldn’t be more pleased with his knowledge level; service to our athletes; friendly and approachable style; and sense of humor!
 
On to eagerly anticipated Questions of the Day...

 

2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
QOTD #1
What's the one food you could never bring yourself to eat?
 
Eshan Ali, 15: Spinach
Cody Elkins, 18: Dog
Cole Sendrey, 16: Anchovies or sardines.  YUCK!!!
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Bitter melon
Timmy Hansen, 19: Alligator
Ava Kaiser, 17: Raw meat and seafood
Benjamin Horner, 17: Brussel Sprouts
Chris Nelson, 10: Beets
Adrian Nelson, 12: Cheese
Paul Saraceno, 17: Nothing. Gotta try everything once and find out.
Annie Roberts, 20: Raw Fish
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Tongue of any animal
Montserrat Torres, 15: Oysters or caviar
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Mushrooms
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Honey, every time I eat it I almost throw up!
Aarya Shetty, 13: Cranberries
Heather Mahoney, 18: Tomatoes or any citrus
Sarah Bawa, 13: Eggplants
Leah Trejo, 13: Maggot cheese (Blogger’s note: What???)
Julia Stein, 19: Meatballs
 
Bonus Answers
Tim Baghurst: I don’t know, I haven’t found one yet.
Brett Elkins:  Meat, since I am vegan
Jen Meyer: Anything still alive
Cheryl Kirk: Anything that had parents
 
QOTD #2
If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Eshan Ali, 15: My mom’s chili because it’s good
Cody Elkins, 18: I would eat seitan as it is great for protein.
Cole Sendrey, 16: It would be poke because it is like sushi, but even better!  
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Mom’s homemade pizza and breadsticks because they are the best!
Timmy Hansen, 19: Chicken alfredo because it’s just so damn good!
Ava Kaiser, 17: Subway because it has protein, carbs, fats, and whole grains.
Benjamin Horner, 17: Tacos because of the different toppings and I don’t get tired of them.
Chris Nelson, 10: Tuna sandwich – it is plain and tasty
Adrian Nelson, 12: Sushi – mild flavor
Paul Saraceno, 17: Steak because steak is amazing!
Annie Roberts, 20: Carne Asada street tacos!!
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Indian food because it is the best!
Montserrat Torres, 15: Enchiladas because it is my favorite food and I love how my mom makes them!
Andrea Perez Picon, 14: Acai bowls because I really enjoy eating them!
Alejandro Robles Picon, 11: Ice cream!
Aarya Shetty, 13: Soup
Heather Mahoney, 18: Pasta because there are so many different types of pastas to eat.
Sarah Bawa, 13: Pizza because it has multiple toppings and flavors, but tastes good.
Leah Trejo, 13: Pho a Vietnamese soup because I love soups and it has a variety of tasty ingredients.
Julia Stein, 19: Chipotle – It is so diverse and I could make so many different types of bowls and I have eaten it very often for the past years and every first bite is just as good as my first ever bite.
Bonus Answers
Tim Baghurst: Rice or potatoes
Jen Meyer: Raspberries
Cheryl Kirk: Vegetable lasagna
 
Competition Day Three – Monday – 30 matches
All Central Time 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
G = Gold, R = Red (dropdown division)
 
BOYS (14 matches)
Mon 9:00 am – Chris Nelson, B10R vs. Julian Quinde Bravo (ECU)
Mon 9:00 am – Adrian Nelson, B12R vs. Joseph Cevallos (ECU)
Mon 9:00 am -- Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12R vs. Matias Pedro Garavito Campos (BOL) 
Mon 9:45 am – Axel Lopez, B12R vs. Mathias Zeledon (CRI)
Mon 10:30 am – Eshan Ali, B14G vs. Sebastian Terrazas Tapia (BOL)
Mon 10:30 am – Nathan Rykhus, B14G vs. Alvaro Guillen (CRI)
Mon 12:00 pm – Cole Sendrey, B16S vs. Orlando Josue Huyke Granados (COL)
Mon 12:00 pm – Benjamin Horner, B16S vs. Ruben Igor (CHI)
Mon 12:45 pm – Cody Elkins, B21S vs. Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)
Mon 2:15 pm – DJ Mendoza, B18S vs. Alex Sierra (GUA)
Mon 3:45 pm – Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D vs. Gustavo Gabriel Cordova Soria/Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga (BOL)
Mon 3:45 pm – Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza, B16D vs. Eder Renteria/Jorge Gutierrez (MEX)
Mon 4:30 pm – Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D vs. Josue Farfane Enriquez/Bismarck Pereira (BOL)
Mon 4:30 pm – Assuan Castaneda/Micah Farmer, B21D vs. Diego Garcia/Tomas Oyhanart (ARG)
 
GIRLS (14 matches)
Mon 9:45 am – Montserrat Torres, G14S vs. Ared Arce Berroteran (CRI)
Mon 10:30 am – Andrea Perez Picon, G14S vs. Miranda Barraza (MEX)
Mon 11:15 am – Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU)
Mon 12:45 pm – Annie Roberts, G21S vs. Valeria Hernandez (MEX)
Mon 12:45 pm – Shane Diaz, G21S vs. Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)
Mon 1:30 pm – Aarya Shetty, G12S vs. Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Mon 2:15 pm – Leah Trejo, G12S vs. Luciana Rico Hossen (BOL)
Mon 2:15 pm – Sarah Bawa, G12S vs. Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL)
Mon 3:00 pm – Julia Stein, G18S vs. Abigail Solano (CRI)
Mon 3:00 pm – Heather Mahoney, G18S vs. Samira Ferrer Marcilli (CUB)
Mon 3:45 pm – Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D vs. Maria Laura Villacreses/Maria Angela Villacreses (ECU)
Mon 3:45 pm – Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D vs. Danna Portillo/Danna Hernandez (MEX)
Mon 3:45 pm – Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D vs. Valeria Hernandez/Mafer Gutierrez (MEX)
Mon 5:15 pm – Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D vs. Rebecca Amaya Ardaya/Miranda Martinez (BOL)
 
MIXED (2 matches)
Mon 5:15 pm – Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D vs. Juan David Zea Cueva/Maria Laura Villacreses (ECU)
Mon 6:00 pm -- Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D vs. Nicolas Galindo/Andrea Martinez (MEX)
 
As we were leaving the club tonight, guess who arrived? Pablo Fajre with all of his streaming equipment!
Sometime tomorrow or Tuesday, live streaming will begin from here in Guatemala City. Check www.internationalracquetball.com for the schedule over the next six days!
 
Signing off this evening and eager for tomorrow to arrive...
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk
 
P.S. A shout-out to my dear friend Sharron. For her, December 5th each year is a day filled with memories of loss and love.

 
XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #3
Saturday, December 3, 2022
 
Greetings to all!
 
Head Coach Tim Baghurst, after this first day of competition, offers these comments on Day One here in Guatemala City:
 
It was a long but enjoyable day for Team USA’s coaching staff. We took the first bus to the facility at 8 am and were on the last bus back at 8 pm. Those 12 hours were crammed with drama. From heartbreaking five-game losses to exhilarating comeback wins, the courts were full of the buzz of a World Junior Championships. 
With many of our players experiencing Worlds for the first time, this was a true test of whether training had paid off and whether each athlete could compete on the world stage with the very best. I’ve been attending the World Junior Championships since 2015, and I can categorically state that I’ve never seen the talent level so high. Gone are the days of easy matchups in the pool play. Rather, players must battle through what might be tried and tested athletes, some who have been playing on this stage every year for over a decade (crazy to think about!).
Our team is negatively affected by the U.S. having missed the 2021 edition of this tournament; our seeding suffered, and we now must face less-than-favorable draws. This means we are often pitted against perennial powerhouses Bolivia and Mexico in early matches, making it difficult to attain favorable seeding in the elimination brackets. Some of our players fared well today, whereas others have struggled to match the quality of other nations. This is to be expected in a tournament featuring the very best in the world.
That being said, the coaching staff were impressed with the attitude and effort of our players throughout the day, and there was much cheering and many “USA” chants reverberating around the facility. What we saw and loved was the commitment and effort to represent the flag they wear well. It is hard not to be proud of players who give their all, even when the chips are down. A huge shout-out to the parents, who have been nothing but positive and encouraging of their players and have allowed us to do our job without interference. We have a tremendous team here who care about nothing more than representing the USA well.
I believe that our first day of competition has served as an eye-opening experience for many of our athletes. They now see firsthand the talent on display outside of the U.S., and as round robins continue for most divisions, nerves will settle and the quality of their play will improve. This is a young team with respect to experience at this level, and we will continue to see them grow throughout this week and I hope in the months and years to come. Each match, each win and loss, only serve to help develop these young players on and off the court. Thanks to you all for being a part of it.

Juniors at the 2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

Competition Day One – Saturday Results
Results reported in these blogs throughout the tournament will be Win/Lose. Scores are available at https://www.r2sports.com/website/division-list.asp?TID=40015&sortBy=defaultOrder.
 
BOYS 
Axel Lopez, B14S lost to Andrés Huyke Granados (COL)
Eshan Ali, B14S def. Sebastian Coto (CRI)
Nathan Rykhus, B14S def. Juan Jose Zapata Banguera (COL)
Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G def. Kerman Garcia (MEX)
Chris Nelson, B10G lost to Alejandro Vishnia (CRI)
Benjamin Horner, B16S def. Alex Gonzalez (GUA)
Cole Sendrey, B16S lost to Jose Caceras (GUA)
Micah Farmer, B21S lost to Pablo Vera (ECU)
Cody Elkins, B21S lost to Josue Bermeo (ECU)
Adrian Nelson, B10S lost to Ian Guth (CRI) 
Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12S lost to Nicola Pol (BOL)
Timmy Hansen, B18S, injury forfeit to Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid (CHI)
DJ Mendoza, B18S, def. Josue Garrido (ECU)
Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D def. Lautaro Cufre/Vicente Acuna (ARG)
Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza B16D def. Tomas Quezada/Joaquin Benalcazar (ECU)
Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D lost to Luis Renteria/Sebastian Hernández (MEX)
Assuan Castañeda/Micah Farmer, B21D def. Andrew Matamoros/Adrian Elizondo (CRI)
Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D def. Santiago Vega/Lautaro Cornejo (ARG)
 
GIRLS 
Montserrat Torres, G14S lost to Lilia Farias (MEX)
Elizabeth Denler, G14S, def. Guiliana Faeth (CRI)
Andrea Perez Picon, G14S lost to Andrea Marquez (MEX)
Ava Kaiser, G16S lost to Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
Naomi Ros, G16S, def. Andrea Reyes (GUA)
Annie Roberts, G21S lost to Marina Katz (ARG)
Shane Diaz, G21S def. Suniaris Rodriguez (CUB)
Aarya Shetty, G12S, lost to Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)
Leah Trejo, G12S lost to Maria Laura Villacreses (ECU)
Sarah Bawa, G12S lost to Danna Portillo (MEX)
Julia Stein, G18S lost to Micaela Meneses (BOL)
Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D def. Florencia Villazon Chalco/Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
 
MIXED (4 matches)
Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D lost to Marcelo Garcia Sanchez/Larissa Faeth (CRI)
Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D def. Andrea Reyes/Jose Caceras (GUA)
Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D def. Christian Pocsai/Ofelia Wilscam (CAN) 
Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D def. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Josue Bermeo (ECU) 

 

2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Competition at the 2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships  Competition at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships  2022  XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Division Types Explained!
Depending upon the number of entries in each division (Boys/Girls in Singles/Doubles/Mixed Doubles divisions by Age), the divisions were organized into the most appropriate format: Olympic Format, Pool Play, or Round Robin. 
 
Boys 10, 12, and 14 Singles are competing in Olympic Format where first-round losers in the Gold go to the Red division (and then on to the White division if they lose again), second-round losers in the Gold go to the Blue division. They all continue to compete in these “dropdown” divisions, which affords more match play and yields medals as well!
 
The Girls 10 Doubles and Girls 12 Doubles are each a double Round Robin (everyone plays everyone else twice).
 
The rest of the divisions (25) are all played in Pool Play format, with competition divided into smaller round robins for initial play. Once those are complete, a single elimination playoff division is formed to determine the medalists at the end of this next week.  
 
Appreciation for IRF Referees and Staff
Twenty-two referees from 11 countries traveled here to support the IRF at this World Juniors event. The IRF has continually improved over a number of years from the time that losing players were required to referee the next match. These skilled individuals attended an update session on Friday right after the coaches’ meeting. We’re grateful for their support and hard work!
 
Thanks to Sebastian Digon (ARG), Daniel Villarroel (BOL), Koko Keller (BOL), Kadim Carrasco (BOL), John Halko (CAN), Daniel Smith (CAN), Alvaro Yañez (CHI), Fabian Torres (COL), Pacho Gomez (COL), Merynanyelly Delgado (DOM), Ramon De Leon (DOM), Maria Paz Muñoz (ECU), Francisco Cuevas (ECU), Alejandro Morales (MEX), Christian Longoria (MEX), Lilo Aguilar (MEX), Ivan Valdez (MEX), Jaime Martell (MEX), Tucky Kravitz (MEX), Miguel Santiago (PUR/USA), Jehyson Franco (GUA), and Fernando Perez (GUA).

 

IRT Referees & Staff at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
The referees and all attendees are in turn supported by a seasoned staff led by IRF President Osvaldo Maggi (ARG). They are: Mauro Grandio, Pablo Berriel, and Adrian Macrino (all from ARG) as well as Gary Mazaroff. Dean Schear, and Gustavo Farell (all from USA), and Marie Gomar (GUA). Pablo Fajre (CHI) will arrive on Sunday to set up for live streaming beginning late Monday or Tuesday.

 

Tournament Desk at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Alexis Iwaasa (CAN) and Kadim Carrasco (BOL) are working to publicize the event via their social media and graphics expertise. Visit the International Racquetball Federation on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Questions of the Day
QOTD #1
What's your Why? Why do you play racquetball?
 
Cody Elkins, 18: I play racquetball for my brother. He went missing two years ago and everything I accomplish I dedicate to him.
Cole Sendrey, 16: I play racquetball for the adrenaline rush and the speed of the game.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Family and friends. I also want to win Worlds!
Timmy Hansen, 19: I play racquetball because I love the thrill of competing in a sport that not many play, I have been in love with the game since I started.
Ava Kaiser, 17: It’s a great workout and the amazing friendships over the years.
Benjamin Horner, 17: The people I meet and the competition because I am very competitive.
Chris Nelson, 10: For fitness and competition
Adrian Nelson, 12: For focus and calmness
Paul Saraceno, 17: I play racquetball because it is such a fun and fascinating sport and I hope to make it more popular again.
Annie Roberts, 20: Racquetball is where I feel like I am the best version of myself and where I can use the gifts that God has given me. What keeps me going is the community and relationships that God has given me and the results of hard work and training I can see on the court.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Because it is fun!
Montserrat Torres: It can be fun to play and it also has helped me become a little less shy.  And I like meeting new people!
Andrea Perez Picon: I love the feeling of being on the court!
Alejandro Robles Picon: I love the sport!
Aarya Shetty, 13: The community and the sport itself.
Heather Mahoney, 18: I love how fast the game is and all the friends and memories I have made over the years of playing.
Sarah Bawa, 13: I play because of the speed and the technique of the game.
Leah Trejo, 13: It is my escape from my problems and I have a love for this sport that I don’t feel about any other sport.
Julia Stein, 19: I play racquetball because the feeling of when I rollout a shot or hit a crack ace is euphoric.
 
Staff and Parents’ Corner
Tim Baghurst: I love the competition, the feeling of hitting a perfect shot, and the responsibility that, whether you win or lose, it’s on you.
Brett Elkins: It gives me endorphins and I can play with my son (not competitively any longer). My claim to fame is being first place in the same league since I avoided him most nights and was more consistent.
Jen Meyer: Meeting and creating lifelong friendships with people from all over the world.
Cheryl Kirk: Fitness, competition, community, achievement (sometimes!). And, it supports my chocolate habit. 
 
QOTD #2
If you could have a conversation with someone from history, who would it be?
 
Cody Elkins, 18: Hitler because as a Jew, I would want to see the hatred he had in real life.
Cole Sendrey, 16: Kobe Bryant to ask about his mindset and intensity.
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Jesus Christ
Timmy Hansen, 19: Jordan Belfort
Ava Kaiser, 17: Abe Lincoln or George Washington
Benjamin Horner, 17: Bill Russell
Chris Nelson, 10: Jonas Salk
Adrian Nelson, 12: George Washington
Paul Saraceno, 17: Jesus
Annie Roberts, 20: Selena Quintanilla or Whitney Houston. I don’t think I could choose.
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Bob Ross
Montserrat Torres: Pablo Picasso. I would ask him what truly inspired his artwork.
Andrea Perez Picon: God
Alejandro Robles Picon: Kobe Bryant
Aarya Shetty, 13: Jon Benet Ramsey
Sarah Bawa, 13: Picasso
Leah Trejo, 13: Anne Frank
Julia Stein, 19: Ruth Bader Ginsburg duh
 
Staff and Parents’ Corner
Tim Baghurst: King Solomon from the Bible.
Brett Elkins: Winston Churchill. I was going to say Albert Einstein, but I probably wouldn’t understand him.
Jen Meyer: Dalai Lama
Cheryl Kirk: Alexander Hamilton
 
Competition Day Two – Sunday – 24 matches
All Central Time 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
 
BOYS (11 matches)
Sun 10:30 am – Alejandro Robles Picon, B10S vs. Julian Quinde Bravo (ECU)
Sun 10:30 am – Nathan Rykhus, B14S vs. Alvaro Guillen (CRI)
Sun 12:00 pm – Benjamin Horner, B16S vs. Alex Gonzalez (GUA)
Sun 12:00 pm – Cole Sendrey, B16S vs. Oscar Montejo (CRI)
Sun 12:45 pm – Micah Farmer, B21S vs. Hector Barrios (BOL)
Sun 12:45 pm – Cody Elkins, B21S vs. Adrian Jaldin Lobo (BOL)
Sun 2:15 pm – Timmy Hansen, B18S vs. Luis Aguilar (BOL)
Sun 2:15 pm – DJ Mendoza, B18S vs. Juan Jose Tapia Zuniga (BOL)
Sun 4:30 pm – Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D vs. Carlos Ceballos Tello/Leonardo Haro Perez (ECU)
Sun 4:30 pm – Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D vs. Jose Subieta Asin/Luis Aguilar (BOL)
Sun 4:30 pm – Assuan Castañeda/Micah Farmer, B21D vs. Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid/Diego Gatica (CHI)
 
GIRLS (13 matches)
Sun 9:45 am – Montserrat Torres, G14S vs. Isabella Wer (GUA)
Sun 10:30 am – Elizabeth Denler, G14S vs. Adriana Noelia Blacutt Conde (BOL)
Sun 11:15 am – Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
Sun 12:00 pm – Naomi Ros, G16S vs. Krystin Salinas Vazquez (BOL)
Sun 1:30 pm – Elizabeth Denler/Andrea Perez Picon, G14D vs. Jamileth Sipac/Isabella Wer (GUA)
Sun 2:15 pm – Leah Trejo, G12S vs. Larissa Faeth (CRI)
Sun 2:15 pm – Sarah Bawa, G12S vs. Sarah Solano Badilla (CRI)
Sun 3:00 pm – Julia Stein, G18S vs. Jazmin Aguilar (GUA)
Sun 3:00 pm – Heather Mahoney, G18S vs. Ivanna Valderrama (MEX)
Sun 3:45 pm – Sarah Bawa/Aarya Shetty, G12D vs. Angelica Villaroel Garzon/Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)
Sun 3:45 pm – Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D vs. Cynthia Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)
Sun 3:45 pm – Graci Wargo/Shane Diaz, G21D vs. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Fabiana Landy (ECU)
Sun 5:15 pm – Julia Stein/Heather Mahoney, G18D vs. Ivanna Valderrama/Angela Veronica Ortega Sabido (MEX)
 
MIXED (4 matches)
Sun 5:15 pm – Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D vs. Pablo Ignacio Lagos Asturizaga/Angelica Villaroel Garzon (BOL)
Sun 6:00 pm – Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D vs. Jorge Gutierrez/Yanna Salazar (MEX)
Sun 6:00 pm – Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D vs. Hector Barrios/Angelica Barrios (BOL)
Sun 6:45 pm – Montserrat Torres/Axel Lopez, MX14D vs. Jamileth Sipac/Yordi Navarijo (GUA)
 
So it’s a wrap for Day One! On to Day Two where Junior Team USA will put first-day jitters in the rearview mirror and enter the courts with confidence and continuing spirit. We’re so proud of this team!
 
GO TEAM USA!!

 


  

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #2 
Friday, December 2, 2022
 
Welcome to Blog #2, and let’s begin with some good old-fashioned gratitude for assistance and kindness on the eve of the start of competition:
 
Warm thanks goes from Team USA to Tom Travers for donating a treatment table for the use of Delaney Farmer, our athletic trainer, at the club.
 
We’re grateful to Sabath Trejo (Leah’s dad) for taking team photos with a REAL camera. He did a great job!
 
Marie Gomar is an always-gracious host, from assisting with arrivals at the airport, to helping procure water and snacks for the coaches’ rooms, to translating at the coaches meeting. She goes out of her way to help us and the other countries’ delegations. 
 
Jen Meyer put a lot of time last week into compiling the QOTD responses by question from athletes’ individual documents. It was a big job and saved this blogger TONS of time. Thank you, Coach Jen!
 
Practices and Meetings and Photos – Oh My!
In a nutshell, this headline is the description of Friday for the U.S. Junior Team Delegation. It was morning and afternoon practice for the athletes, interspersed with several IRF and U.S. Junior Team meetings.

 

Coaches Meeting at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
The athletes and some family members met at 5:30 (Esprit Cup) and 6:00 (World Cup) for a brief review of tournament details, uniform rules, etc., presented by Head Coach Tim Baghurst. After that, everyone went down to the hotel lobby to find a place for group photos. We did, in the hotel restaurant (the décor of which is NOT what you find in your average restaurant). Team photo, team with staff, team with all coaches, parents, and a good number of smaller groups and selfies were accomplished with a minimum of angst and gnashing of teeth. 
 
All players and Coaches at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Parents at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Junior Team Delegation at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

US Staff & Coaches at the 2022 XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

The coaches meeting at noon, attended by the head coaches and delegates of the 11 countries* competing here, provided general information about the tournament, e.g., water, meals, services, live streaming, schedule, transportation, format, medals/awards, seeding, appeals...and the draws! 
 
* The countries, their abbreviations and number of athletes from each stack up this way:
Argentina (ARG, 7); Bolivia (BOL, 34); Canada (CAN, 7); Chile (CHI, 5); Colombia (COL, 3); Costa Rica (CRI, 38); Cuba (CUB, 2); Ecuador (ECU, 24); Guatemala (GUA, 15); Mexico (MEX, 33); United States (USA, 28). That’s 196 in all, and it adds up to 650 matches over the course of the next 8 days. 
 
Now we have the match schedules for the first three days of competition, and we’re ready to roll! Read on...
 
Competition Day One – Saturday – 35 matches!
All Central Time 
First name listed is Team USA athlete
B = Boys, G = Girls, MX = Mixed
Numbers are age divisions
S = Singles, D = Doubles
 
BOYS (18 matches)
Sat 9:45 am – Axel Lopez, B14S vs. Mario Andrés Huyke Granados (COL)
Sat 9:45 am – Eshan Ali, B14S vs. Sebastian Coto (CRI)
Sat 10:30 am – Nathan Rykhus, B14S vs. Juan Jose Zapata Banguera (COL)
Sat 11:15 am – Alejandro Robles Picon, B10G vs. Kerman Garcia (MEX)
Sat 11:15 am – Chris Nelson, B10G vs. Alejandro Vishnia (CRI)
Sat 12:00 pm – Benjamin Horner, B16S, vs. Alex Gonzalez (GUA)
Sat 12:00 pm – Cole Sendrey, B16S, vs. Jose Caceras (GUA)
Sat 12:45 pm – Micah Farmer, B21S vs. Pablo Vera (ECU)
Sat 12:45 pm – Cody Elkins, B21S vs. Josue Bermeo (ECU)
Sat 1:30 pm – Adrian Nelson, B10S vs. Ian Guth (CRI)
Sat 1:30 pm – Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12S vs. Nicola Pol (BOL)
Sat 2:15 pm – Timmy Hansen, B18S vs. Jaime Nicolas Mansilla Cid (CHI)
Sat 2:15 pm – DJ Mendoza, B18S, vs. Josue Garrido (ECU)
Sat 3:45 pm – Alejandro Robles Picon/Vaishant Mangalampalli, B12D vs. Lautaro Cufre/Vicente Acuna (ARG)
Sat 3:45 pm – Cole Sendrey/DJ Mendoza B16D vs. Tomas Quezada/Joaquin Benalcazar (ECU)
Sat 4:30 pm – Timmy Hansen/Paul Saraceno, B18D vs. Luis Renteria/Sebastian Hernández (MEX)
Sat 4:30 pm – Assuan Castaneda/Micah Farmer, B21D vs. Andrew Matamoros/Adrian Elizondo (CRI)
Sat 5:15 pm – Eshan Ali/Nathan Rykhus, B14D vs. Santiago Vega/Lautaro Cornejo (ARG)
 
GIRLS (13 matches)
Sat 9:45 am – Montserrat Torres, G14S vs. Lilia Farias (MEX)
Sat 10:30 am – Elizabeth Denler, G14S, vs. Guiliana Faeth (CRI)
Sat 10:30 am – Andrea Perez Picon, G14S vs. Andrea Marquez (MEX)
Sat 11:15 am – Ava Kaiser, G16S vs. Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)
Sat 12:00 pm – Naomi Ros, G16S, vs. Andrea Reyes (GUA)
Sat 12:00 pm – Annie Roberts, G21S vs. Marina Katz (ARG)
Sat 12:45 pm – Shane Diaz, G21S vs. Suniaris Rodriguez (CUB)
Sat 1:30 pm – Aarya Shetty, G12S, vs. Luciana Illanes Quenta (BOL)
Sat 2:15 pm – Leah Trejo, G12S vs. Maria Laura Villacreses (ECU)
Sat 2:15 pm – Sarah Bawa, G12S vs. Danna Portillo (MEX)
Sat 3:00 pm – Julia Stein, G18S vs. Micaela Meneses (BOL)
Sat 3:00 pm – Heather Mahoney, G18S vs. Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
Sat 4:30 pm – Ava Kaiser/Naomi Ros, G16D vs. Florencia Villazon Chalco/Natalia Mendez Veizaga (BOL)
 
MIXED (4 matches)
Sat 5:15 pm – Aarya Shetty/Vaishant Mangalampalli, MX12D vs. Marcelo Garcia Sanchez/Larissa Faeth (CRI)
Sat 6:00 pm – Naomi Ros/Cole Sendrey, MX16D vs. Andrea Reyes/Jose Caceras (GUA)
Sat 6:00 pm – Timmy Hansen/Heather Mahoney, MX18D vs. Christian Pocsai/Ofelia Wilscam (CAN) 
Sat 6:00 pm – Shane Diaz/Micah Farmer, MX21D vs. Ana Lucia Sarmiento/Josue Bermeo (ECU)
 
World Championships Scoring 
Rally scoring will be used, which means that a point is scored on every rally whether the rally winner was the server or the receiver. 
 
The format will be Best 3 Games of 5, all to 11 points, all win by 2 points. In other words, the first player/team to win three games is the match winner. If one player/team wins the first three games in a row, the match is over. If they split with the opponent(s), two games each, they go to a tiebreaker fifth game. 
 
Competition Divisions and Awards
Singles and Doubles will be competed in all age divisions and now include Mixed Doubles (added by the IRF this year). Medals will be awarded (Gold, Silver, Bronze) as will Overall, Boys, and Girls Team trophies. The Team competition is divided into two overall age categories: World Cup (21 & Under, 18 & Under, and 16 & Under) and Esprit Cup (14 & Under, 12 & Under, and 10 & Under).
 
“QOTDs”
Now it’s time to re-introduce this wildly popular Daily Blog feature called Question(s) of the Day! So many were questions were asked, and we only have nine more blogs to go, so we’ll go with two per day. The players came up with great answers – enjoy!
 
QOTD #1
Three words to describe you would be _________, _________, and ________.
 
Cody Elkins, 18: Persistent, tough minded, unflappable
Cole Sendrey, 16: Funny, smart, intense
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Busy, hardworking, dependable
Timmy Hansen, 19: Adventurous, caring, respectful
Ava Kaiser, 17: Kind, out-going, intelligent
Benjamin Horner, 17: Athletic, Christian, and fun
Chris Nelson, 10: Kind, thoughtful, smart
Adrian Nelson, 12: Handsome, respectful, fast
Paul Saraceno, 17: Outgoing, hilarious, caring
Annie Roberts, 20: Happy, motivated, bagel-lover
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Caring, friendly, loyal
Montserrat Torres: Joyful, optimistic, happy
Andrea Perez Picon: Competitive, strong, and determined
Alejandro Robles Picon: Competitive, smart, athletic
Aarya Shetty, 13: Studious, honest, overachiever
Heather Mahoney, 18: Determined, kind, hungry
Sarah Bawa, 13: Tenacious, outgoing, adventurous 
Leah Trejo, 13: Interesting, calm, and fun
Julia Stein, 19: Competitive, passionate, hilarious
 
Staff and Parents Weigh In
Tim Baghurst: Drive, curious, worker
Brett Elkins: Perseverant, hard-working, loyal
Jen Meyer: Friendly, caring, loving
Cheryl Kirk: Organized, animal-loving, focused
 
QOTD #2 
What is your favorite word in Spanish?
Note: Translations available on Google Translate 😊  
 
Cody Elkins, 18: Bebes
Cole Sendrey, 16: Que paso or vamos!!
Nathan Rykhus, 14: Hola
Timmy Hansen, 19: k lo k
Ava Kaiser, 17: El melocoton
Benjamin Horner, 17: Universo
Chris Nelson, 10: Hola
Adrian Nelson, 12: Como esta
Paul Saraceno, 17: Beso
Annie Roberts, 20: Otorinolaringologo
Elizabeth Denler, 14: Perro
Montserrat Torres: Te Amo. I just like how it sounds because it sounds really sweet.
Andrea Perez Picon: Vamos!
Alejandro Robles Picon: Vamos!
Aarya Shetty, 13: No
Heather Mahoney, 18: Yo tengo hambre
Sarah Bawa, 13: Ninos
Leah Trejo, 13: Belleza 
Julia Stein, 19: Pantuflas
 
Staff and Parents Weigh In
Tim Baghurst:  Maestro (teacher)
Brett Elkins:  Margarita (a joke…not much into alcohol). It would be “Hola” because it is a fun word.
Jen Meyer:  Hola…that’s where it all starts! 😊
Cheryl Kirk: Estacionamiento (parking lot). I just like the way it rolls off the tongue.
 
So, Saturday will be a full day of matches from mid-morning through early evening. Live streaming will begin on Facebook and the IRF YouTube Channel either Monday afternoon or Tuesday (more on that later), and you can view the draws and results throughout each day at https://www.internationalracquetball.com/xxxiii-irf-world-junior-racquetball-championships/.
 
Check back here tomorrow for a report on Competition Day One as well as a list of Sunday’s matches.
 
Thanks for tuning in, and...
 
GO TEAM USA!!

 

XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Guatemala City, Guatemala
 
Blog #1 -- INTRO
Thursday, December 1, 2022
 
Greetings from Guatemala City where 28 U.S. Junior Team athletes have arrived (or soon will arrive) to compete in the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships, December 2-10, 2022. These athletes qualified to play at the USA Racquetball National Junior Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, in June 2022. 
 
The players who will compete here in Guatemala represent 8 states: California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Oregon. They include, in order of their age divisions:
 
WORLD CUP
21 & Under
Assuan Castañeda, Florida (Doubles)
Shane Diaz, Texas (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Cody Elkins, California (Singles)
Micah Farmer, Texas (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Annie Roberts, Oregon (Singles)
Graci Wargo, Florida (Doubles)
 
18 & Under
Timmy Hansen, Florida (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Heather Mahoney, California (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
DJ Mendoza, Texas (18 Singles/16 Doubles) 
Paul Saraceno, California (Doubles)
Julia Stein, Ohio (Singles/Doubles)
 
16 & Under
Benjamin Horner, Iowa (Singles)
Ava Kaiser, Minnesota (Singles/Doubles)
Naomi Ros, Texas (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Cole Sendrey, Texas (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
 
ESPRIT CUP
14 & Under
Eshan Ali, California (Singles/Doubles)
Elizabeth Denler, Minnesota (Singles/Doubles)
Axel Lopez, Illinois (Singles/Mixed)
Andrea Perez Picon, California (Singles/Doubles)
Nathan Rykhus, California (Singles/Doubles)
Montserrat Torres, Illinois (Singles/Mixed)
 
12 & Under
Sarah Bawa, California (Singles/Doubles)
Vaishant Mangalampalli, California (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Adrian Nelson, Texas (Singles)
Alejandro Robles Picon, California (12 Doubles/10 Singles), California
Aarya Shetty, California (Singles/Doubles/Mixed)
Leah Trejo, Texas (Singles)
 
10 & Under
Chris Nelson, Texas (Singles)
 
U.S. JUNIOR TEAM STAFF 
Head Coach – Tim Baghurst (Florida)
Team Leader – Cheryl Kirk (Illinois)
Assistant Coaches – George Bustos (Texas), Jennifer Meyer (Colorado), Abraham Peña (South Carolina/Mexico), Sandy Rios (Texas)
Athletic Trainer – Delaney Farmer (Washington)
 
Let’s segue for a minute to share some early news and anecdotes about the delegation...
 
Birthday Guys
Friday, December 2, marks the birthdays of two members of the U.S. Junior Team Delegation. Athlete Chris Nelson of San Antonio, Texas, hits double digits as he prepares to compete in the 10 & Under Singles division beginning Saturday. USAR Hall of Famer Tim Hansen of Wellington, Florida, celebrates the anniversary of his birth that occurred roughly 50 years before Chris was born. We grabbed a photo of the two this evening, and it’s a keeper. Happy Birthday, Chris and Tim!

 

Birthday Guys Chris Nelson & Tim Hansen at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Note: Sending birthday wishes to Luke St. Onge, IRF’s Secretary General, whose birthday is also 12/2!
 
Raffle Drawing Announcement
Many of the athletes took the opportunity to participate in selling raffle tickets to help raise funds for their trip to the World Junior Championships. They sent their tickets in to Team Leader Cheryl who did the honors of selecting the winner of the $500 prize. (Note from Cheryl: Well, actually, to honorably execute the drawing, I went next door to ask my neighbor and friend Maureen Keough––who has no connection to racquetball whatsoever––to do the honors. She reached in and pulled out the winning ticket...drum roll, please...)
 
Congratulations to Rosco Halsey of Olathe, Kansas! When Rosco found out he won the prize, he immediately suggested some ways that his prize can be used to support Junior Racquetball development. Not a surprise, and thank you for your generosity, Rosco!
 
Special Recognition for Benjamin
Something really fun happened to Benjamin Horner as he began his trip with his parents Dan and Melissa this morning in Des Moines. All of a sudden, just before the plane departed for Chicago O’Hare en route to Houston and then on to Guatemala City, a photo appeared on his phone of...his Head bag in the cargo hold of their airplane! Tyler Peterson (a racquetball player!) who works at DSM and spotted Benjamin’s bag while loading luggage. Tyler went the extra mile and let the flight crew know that they had a star in their midst. An announcement was made to let the passengers know of this very special person on board. Applause erupted on the early-morning flight!

 

Tyler Peterson who spotted Benjamin Horner's bag and made sure he received special recognition on his flight.   Benjamin Horner's bag at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Flight Frustration
San Antonio athletes Shane Diaz, DJ Mendoza, and Naomi Ros, along with U.S. Junior Team Assistant Coaches George Bustos and Sandy Rios and “cheerleaders” Joe Hall and David Mendoza, toughed out a frustrating situation when their AA flight was canceled in San Antonio on Wednesday due to mechanical problems. No flight to DFW, no connection to Guatemala City. At first it sounded like they wouldn’t arrive until Friday noon, but thanks to Joe’s assistance, they should be arriving any minute (as this was written) at 11:00 pm Thursday. A good night’s sleep will have them in prime condition to get some practice in before matches begin on Saturday!
 
Family and Coaching Support
The U.S. Junior Team Delegation will total 72 once everyone has arrived in Guatemala! Family members, friends, and two private coaches* will also be there in support of the Team. And, six parents** will do double duty as coaches for their own players and others, alongside the U.S. Junior Team Coaches. 
 
They are: Anwar Ali**, Marian Bala*, Waseem Bawa, Kadambari Beelwar, Hilda Collazo, Ron Denler, Brett Elkins, Stephen Farmer, Adriana Galicia, Joe Hall, Tim Hansen**, Sarah Hansen, Felix Hernandez*, Dan Horner, Melissa Horner, Rhonda Kimler, Jesus Lopez Jr., John Mahoney, Melodese Mahoney, Sameer Mangalampalli**, David Mendoza, Safiya Nelson, Solomon Nelson, Danielle Roberts, Imelda Rocio Robles, Sarah Rykhus, Steve Rykhus**, Jonathan Sanchez-Simancas, Frank Saraceno, Kevin Sendrey, Adam Stein, Adolfo Jairo Torres**, Claudia Torres, Sabath Trejo, Maria Elena Vazquez, Gary Wargo**, and Kathleen Wargo.

 

Athletes, Coaches, and Family at the airport - XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
For the Fans Back Home...
It’s so important to the U.S. Junior Team Delegation that the love is felt from home! To help everyone back in the States feel like they’re right there courtside, the following will be offered: 
 
1.     The Daily Blog, accompanied by plenty of photos posted on the USA Racquetball website.
2.     Social media posts from the staff as well as the families and the athletes themselves.
3.     Live streaming provided by the IRF for quarterfinals, semifinals, finals, (and the Awards Ceremony on December 10th), for fans from participating countries including the USA.
 
Be sure to visit www.internationalracquetball.com to keep up with the draws and see how your favorite players are doing!
 
Players got some good practice in today at Domo Complejo de Racquetball, the 10-court host club. Tomorrow’s blog will contain more background on the tournament (format/scoring, etc.) before matches begin on Saturday. Each day for the next nine, you’ll see match outcomes and schedules for the coming day. 

 

View of the racquetball club in Guatemala City, Guatemala at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships  Stretching before practice at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships  Practice during the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 

Arriving at the XXXIII IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

 
Follow along with us, here we go...
 
GO TEAM USA!!
 
-- Cheryl Kirk