February began in classic style with members of my “Championship Team” fairing well in their events and interviews.
Rocky Carson became the 2012 National Doubles Champion for the 6th time in his career, 5X with Jack Huczek and now 1X with Ben Croft. The tournament was held at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ February 8-11. This was the first time Rocky and Ben decided to team up and it proved to be deadly. With Rocky’s brilliant leftside play and Ben’s crushing forehand and diving ability they cruised through the tournament only losing 1 game. Their toughest match came in the semi finals against Charlie Pratt and Tony Carson in which they went to a tiebreaker with them. It actually looked like Rocky and Ben might lose as they were down 1-6 in the breaker; at that point Rocky and Ben called a time out, we regrouped and made a few adjustments and they never looked back. Using great serves and incredible shots Rocky and Ben scored 10 points to Charlie’s and Tony’s 1 point and won 11-7 which put them in the finals against Chris Crowthers and Shane Vanderson. Unfortunately Shane was injured and never was able to give 100% and Rocky and Ben proved to be too strong for their opponents. This victory not only gave them the title of National Doubles Champions, but also they are now members of the US National Racquetball Team and will be representing the US at the World Championships in Bolivia this summer.
Rocky Carson also played in the Salt Lake City, UT and San Diego, CA, IRT Pro Stops and took 2nd and finished in the semi-finals respectively. Unfortunately having a sinus infection for 4 weeks had an adverse affect on his playing, but he will be back strong for the Tampa, FL event March 8-11.
Paola Longoria continued her undefeated 2011/2012 WPRO season by winning the WPRO Cincinnati Pro Stop. Not only did she win the Pro Singles Division she won the Pro Doubles Division with Kerri Watchel and the Pro Mixed Doubles Division with her boyfriend, Jansen Allen. What an incredible feat winning all 3 Pro Divisions she entered…a testiment to her being one of the most mentally and physically tough players on tour.
Paola Longoria was appointed a position on the Mexican National Racquetball Team and will represent Mexico in both the Central American Games in Chile this Spring and the World Championships in Bolivia this summer.
Paola Longoria’s next WPRO Pro Stop will be in Denver, CO, March 9-11.
Taylor Knoth couldn’t get away from school for the Salt Lake City, UT, IRT Pro Stop, but was able to enter the San Diego, CA, IRT Pro Stop. In the Pro Qualifying Division he ran up against a tough opponent and lost in 4 to Alex Landau, but bounced back and made it to the finals of the Open Division. Taylor’s next event will be the National Intercollegiate Championships in Tempe, AZ at ASU, March 27th-31st.
Sharon Jackson played in the 2012 National Doubles Championships and finished in the quarter finals in both the Women’s Qualifying and Mixed Open Divisions.
Sharon Jackson continues to show promise on the WPRO Tour by qualifying at the WPRO Cincinnati Pro Stop before losing to the #3 ranked player in the world, Kerri Wachtel, in 4 games. Sharon’s next event will be the National Intercollegiate Championships in Tempe, AZ at ASU, March 27th-31st.
Jordan Cooperrider, my Jr. Superstar who is the 2011 National and World Girls 12 and Under Champion, was interviewed by CBS Channel 10 news in Tampa, FL see this link http://www.wtsp.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1448785281001
Lexi York, another Jr. Superstar just won the 2012 H.S. National Championships in Portland, Oregon in February.