March Madness Update 2014
“Paola Longoria Wins 3 Tournaments….NJ, FL, & CA”
“Rocky Carson makes it to the Finals of FL”
“Taylor Knoth wins the NW Open Championship”
“Jordan Cooperrider Beats the #6th LPRT Player in the World”
“Wayne Antone makes it to the Finals of the High School National Championships”
My “Adult Championship Racquetball Team” led by Rocky Carson and Paola Longoria, both had tournaments in March gearing up for their Pro-Nationals in May.
Rocky Carson bounced back strong in the IRT Tier 1 Spring Break Pro-Am, March 7-9, in Tampa, FL. Rocky made it to the finals after beating Daniel Delarosa in the quarter-finals in 5 games and Charlie Pratt in the semi-finals in 3 straight games. The stage was set with the finals on Sunday featuring Rocky Carson against Kane Waselenchuk, but Kane was on fire and beat Rocky in 3 straight games. Kim Roy, the tournament director, did an outstanding job.
Rocky was not on his game in the finals, so he said he was going to head home to work hard for the Ektelon In-Shape Open in Stockton, CA in May.
Rocky is still currently ranked as the No. 2 IRT player in the world.
Paola Longoria’s domination of the LPRT rolled on at the New Jersey Open, March 7-9. With 19 of the top 20 ranked players on the LPRT, Paola dominated the field only dropping a single game in the entire tournament. The win in New Jersey is Paola’s 30th consecutive tournament victory on the LPRT. Her consecutive match-winning streak now stands at 120 after her success in the Garden State.
Just 2 weeks later, March 21-23, Paola won her 31st consecutive tournament when she won the Great Balls of Fire event in Miami, FL. Paola cruised through the draw winning four matches in the tournament to push her consecutive match-winning streak to 124.
This weekend Paola won yet another LPRT Pro Stop that was held in conjunction with the CA/NV Regionals in Reseda, CA. Once again she won all 5 matches she played. The finals proved to be the most grueling match as she played against her rival and the #2 pro player in the world, Rhonda Rajsich. Paola was fortunate enough to stay mentally tough and won in 4 games. Rhonda came out strong serving well and shooting everything and took the 1st game. The IRT Network commentators thought it looked like Paola’s win streak might be over, but we proved them wrong as we regrouped and adjusted her game plan. The win in California is Paola’s 32nd consecutive tournament victory on the LPRT and is her 129th consecutive match-winning streak.
Paola has not lost a match internationally or on the professional tour since May of 2011 and is still currently ranked the No. 1 player in the world.
Taylor Knoth was finally able to take a day off from school/work and come up to the Northwest Open in Bellingham, WA, March 14-16. The field was jam packed with Jimmy Lowe, Jeff Stark, Josh Hungerford, and many more. It was great to see him again on the courts hitting killer drive serves, ripping pass shots down the line, hustling to run down balls from everywhere on the court, and just play mentally tough and focused which resulted in winning the Northwest Open Pro Division.
Next tournament up for Taylor is USA Racquetball Regional Championships in April.
My “Junior Championship Racquetball Team”
Jordan Cooperrider, HEAD Penn junior sensation, also played March 21-23 in the Great Balls of Fire event in Miami, FL. In Miami Jordan upset the No. 6 ranked player in the world in the tournament’s first round. Just weeks before, Jordan won her second consecutive Florida State Singles Championship in the Women’s Open Division and also won the Women’s Open Division in the IRT Tier 1 Spring Break Pro-Am, March 7-9, in Tampa, FL.
It was a great few tournaments for Jordan who shows so much promise in the months to come getting ready for the USA Racquetball Regional Championships in April and Jr. Nationals in Denver, CO in June.
Wayne Antone, 15 years old, took 2nd Place in the 2014 USA Racquetball National High School Championships in Portland, OR February 28-March 1. 40 high schools from across the country competed for coveted gold medals in singles and doubles divisions. Wayne, represented Churchill High School in Eugene, OR, and played in singles only as he was the only person from his school that attended the tournament.
It was a great tournament for Wayne who shows so much promise in the months to come getting ready for the USA Racquetball Regional Championships in April and for the Jr. Nationals in Denver, CO in June.
Connor Laffey, 18 years old, took a little time off after the Junior World Championships in Bolivia to focus on his first year of college, but is now getting ready for the USA Racquetball Regional Championships in April and for the Junior Nationals in Denver, CO in June.
Rocky Carson and Paola Longoria both have a very busy spring. Rocky is getting ready for Stockton, CA and Portland, OR, both in May, and Paola for Reseda, CA this weekend, San Antonio, TX in April, and Herndon, VA in May.
***All IRT and LPRT Tier 1 and Grand Slam events are streamed live on the IRT Network***
Enjoy your journey to your “championship game,” like my “championship team.”