Thursday, December 31, 2009
The 2009 Angel Tree Tournament has been an ERT Satelite Event. It is the first time ever that an AERA event has been sanctioned by the European Racquetball Federation (ERF). More information on the AERA and soon to come pictures from the 2009 Angel Tree Tournament will be available at www.racquetball-aera.com.
Finals and Finishers:
Mike Bowers (USA) def. James Johnson (USA) 15-8, 15-9
Mike Dufrene (USA) def. Peter Rakowski (POL) 15-10, 15-7
Kevin Comer (USA) def. Joey Gibbons (USA) 15-12, 15-8
James Montgomery (IRE) def. Walter Sauer (GER) 15-5, 15-7
Raymond Wilson (USA) def. Justin Humphrey (USA) 15-8, 15-10
Peter Rakowski (POL) def. Bobbie Breese (USA) 15-7, 15-2
James Johnson (USA) def. Chris D'avino (USA) 15-14, 15-8
Mike Bowers (USA) def. James Johnson (USA) 13-15, 15-8, 11-9
Yvonne Kortes (GER) def. Angela Burth (USA) 15-13, 15-14
Shelly Deousseau (USA) def. Rosi Wahl GER 15-1, 15-6
Jon Lanford looks like an average high school sophomore, but there's nothing average about him; Jon's the number-one-ranked fourteen-and-under racquetball player in the country. At the beginning, racquetball was just a hobby.
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"I play racquetball and I just started winning and so, it's just the high rate of success," said Lanford.
"He started hitting with the guys at the Bartley YMCA and he just slowly picked up the game, his momentum picked up," said his father Randy.
His momentum carried on because he took the sport more seriously. Jon spent countless hours improving his game.
"Whatever he sets his mind to and focuses on, he really can hit if out of the park," said the senior Lanford.
"I'm at the YMCA about four times a week for a couple hours," said Jon. "It takes a lot of practice and dedication like anything."
John's success hasn't come alone. Along the way, Jon worked with many coaches to reach his full potential. His coach at the YMCA, Elias Aguirre, said his job is to "help Jon perform better in his sport. He's becoming more competitive. Keep him stronger, keep him from getting injured, and overall make him faster."
There's no doubt Jon's a excellent racquetball player. Besides racquetball, he excels off the court in much more.
"Journalism and the yearbook stuff he loves so much is tremendous," said his father. "He's scored in the top 99 percent nationally in his mathematics side."
"I'm pretty set in what I do," Jon said. "I go to school, I come and do homework, come to the YMCA. It's just a way of life."
Even though he's the best in the nation, he has higher goals. Someday Jon wants to play for the US National Racquetball Team.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The depth of the teams and the quality of play continues to present a challenge to Team USA which logged across-the-board team wins to bring home the World Cup.
Rafa Fernandez, President of The Dominican Republic Racquetball Federation, offered outstanding leadership, planning and a local organizing committee that worked endless hours. IRF Tournament Director Gary Mazaroff also did an exceptional job, along with Usher Barnoff and Osvaldo Maggi, who arrived on site early each day and left late each night. Ron Grimes and Rachael Hall from E-Force were also on hand to make product available for the athletes
Rachel Smith first started playing racquetball when her older brother needed a doubles partner.
She was interested, so she gave it a try.
“I thought it was cool,” Smith said. “It was nerve-racking at first. The ball moves so fast. Once I got into it, it was fun.”
Now, the 19-year-old is a two-time USA Racquetball Colorado state champion, is on the Colorado State University-Pueblo club team and is ranked second in state in the women’s ages 19-24 division. She also made the junior Olympic team last year.
The Fruita Monument High School graduate is back home for Christmas, but is getting in some practice before she returns to school in a couple weeks.
She credits her experience in the Crossroads Fitness Center junior program for her success.
“I can play people my own age or I can play people above me and learn,” she said.
The program has more than 40 juniors, including boys 14-under state champion Zach Pellowski.
Pellowski has played racquetball since he was 4. He is currently ranked third in Colorado in the boys 14-under division.
“It runs in the family,” he said. “It’s different than regular sports in school.”
His grandma has been a certified teaching pro since long before he was born.
Carol Pellowski moved to Grand Junction five years ago and took over the program at Crossroads.
She says there are 275 adults and 40 junior members that play.
“What we found is parents are looking for a sport that they don’t have to pay a lot of money,” Pellowski said. “The kids like it and the next thing you know, the parents are out here with them.”
Case in point is 6-year-old Austin Brown.
He started playing four months ago with his parents at Canyon View Park’s handball courts.
The family found flyers offering lessons at Crossroads and have been playing since.
“We have one of the best junior programs in the state,” Pellowski said. “We have some that started at age 4 and up to the teens. They are grouped according to ability. There is a lot of instruction and play combined.
“The little kids games are handicapped, so some of them get two bounces or more depending on their skill level.”
The fitness center hosts a junior tournament and an adult tournament each year.
The first-ever junior-only state tournament is scheduled for Feb. 19-20.
Just one more thing. If you are going to play with a friend make sure not to take the shot if he happens to be in front of you or very close or vice versa. Don’t worry about losing the rally since you are just going to replay the point. If you see a regular player close to you ask him to explain the rules about hinders. Make sure you are wearing racquetball glasses for your protection before you play.
In addition and to close the argument, play at your pace. Have fun out there and enjoy yourself. If you live in the south Florida, already has a La Fitness or any other gym racquetball membership, and you liked what you saw on this article, talk to the racquetball director of your club and take some lessons. The lessons will expedite your learning curve and would get you to enjoy the game even more.
“Live Longer Playing Racquetball”
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The host country, Dominican Republic took the 7 th place on the men’s and 10 th place on the women’s. In the tournament 245 athletes from 16 different countries competed. The following countries participated on the tournament: Irlanda, Canadá, Estados Unidos, México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Puerto Rico and República Dominicana.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Irish Junior Team arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to compete in the 21st IRF World Junior Championships. The team consists of 9 girls and 8 boys. The Championships take place in the Centro Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte, 8 court facility in Santo Domingo from 15th - 20th December. The Irish Team is coached by Christy Slattery with Pat Keane as Assistant Coach.
Sixteen nations will compete comprising of 238 players in all. Teams
Girls Team - Majella Haverty(Castlebar), Donna Ryder(Newport), Ciara McManamon(Newport), Aisling Hickey(Rossmore), Elaine Murphy(Templederry), Kate Ryan(Rossmore), Edel Coonan(Kilkenny), Feena McManamon(Newport), Aisling Carey(Templederry)
Boys Team - Sean Keane(Fermoy), Joe Dillon(Kingscourt), Eoin Kearns(Touraneena), Conor Skehan(Touraneena), Darragh Carey (Templederry), Stephen Quinn(Rossmore),Padraig Carew(Rossmore), James Ryan(Rossmore)
You can follow the draws, rosters and results on this site.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Please note the basics of court positioning. Good court position will improve your reaction time and will allow more set ups in your favor. Like Kim mentioned, please try to turn your head and watch your opponents shot. By doing that you will increase your reaction time. You will have more time to get to the ball and more time to set your feet which will allow you to hit a much better shot.
Great summary about some of the basics n Racquetball. This brief video will help improve your game. Please note that the nice lady on the video (Kim Roy) also runs one of the best junior programs in the nation. If you know someone that would be interested, please get in touch with her so you can register the youngster for the next Florida junior camp.
Please note how top pro player in the world Jo shows the japanese player how to eliminate a "pause" on her movement from center court. The same concept can also be used for relocation to center court after drive serving or any high pace serve where time to relocate by the server becomes crucial.
Please note on this video how coach Winterton explain the importance of a good hip position prior to hitting the ball. In this case he also explains what is a jam serve and the foot steps to return it. The same foot steps and hip positions can be used to return any other kind of serve where we do not have too much time to set up. If you try the "jab" that he shows you will see how much easier wil be to get set for the return.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Racquetball is a sport that is similar to tennis. However, instead of playing outside, the game is played on a court where a rubber ball is hit off of a wall between two opponents. It is a very fast-paced game, and players involved need to be in very good physical shape.
The team meets two times a week, from 8 to 10 p.m. at Heathtrax in Warwick, due to the fact that RIC doesn’t have a facility with racquetball courts in it.
They have five meets a year in which they can play up to 15 to 20 teams, and so far have competed in two. The teams have played in tournaments in Allentown, Penn., Albany, N.Y., Woodbridge N.J., and at Penn State University.
In the first meet, RIC Racquetball finished an impressive third place overall. As for the second meet of the season, the results have not been available to view as of press time. However, club Secretary Jessica Shiel said, “I think we did better and placed higher than the previous tournament.”
The next meet is scheduled for the end of January. RIC students interested in this club sport can contact the club President Sherri Heard by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Kmieciak, Anchor Staff Writer
Monday, December 7, 2009
More information on Dutch Racquetball can be found at http://www.racquetball.nl/.
More information will be forthcoming at www.france-racquetball.org and/or www.paris-racquetball.org.
For more information on France Racquetball go to http://www.france-racquetball.org or http://www.paris-racquetball.org.
Kurtis Cullen of Brandon, Manitoba, won the men’s singles open title of the Happy Joe’s Open Racquetball tournament Sunday in Grand Forks.
Cullen defeated Andrew Babinchak of Grand Forks 15-9, 15-5 in the finals.
In the men’s singles A division, Darrell Davis of Regina, Sask., defeated Jason Johnston of Grand Forks 15-7, 15-7 to win the championship. In men’s singles B, Mitch Thorsen of Dalton, Minn., beat Patrick Cain of the Grand Forks Air Force Base 15-5, 15-12 to win the title.
In men’s singles C competition, Keaton Lausch of Fergus Falls, Minn., beat Matthew Orr of Grand Forks 15-9, 15-0 in the championship match.
Jeremy Olson of Grand Forks beat Paul Rokke of Fargo 13-15, 15-7, 11-6 to win the men’s 35-plus singles title.
In the men’s doubles open division, Cullen and Jen Saunders defeated Ryan Huderle and Curtis Huot 15-5, 12-15, 11-8 to win the title.
Mick Koski and Nicholas Moe beat Bob Bohm and Justin Bohm 15-6, 15-10 in the men’s doubles B-C division title match.
Friday, December 4, 2009
It’s to help fund the trip for Jordan Barth, 10. He is headed with the United States Junior team to the world junior racquetball championships Dec. 14-20 in the Dominican Republic. Barth qualified by winning the junior national title in his 10-11 age group last summer in Michigan.
Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-10. Children under 4 are free. For more information, contact Meadow Barth at 492-0174 or the Suburban Racquetball, Swim and Fitness Club at 251-3965.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
There wasn't much camaraderie from his teammates - because there weren't any.
Gahagan, the only member of the RIT team, registered for the tournaments, paid for his hotel and meals and drove back and forth to competitions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Albany. He'll do more of the same before the racquetball season ends in May.
"It's cool to be able to represent an entire university by yourself. But there is a lot of pressure too," says Gahagan, 18, of Parkton, Md.
Gahagan began playing racquetball when he joined a gym four years ago for exercise. He fell in love with the sport and began playing competitively in tournaments.
Born profoundly deaf, Gahagan wears hearing aids. Although sometimes he has trouble hearing what the referees are saying, he believes he has an advantage over his hearing opponents because he's accustomed to using his eyes more.
Since coming to RIT, he's on the courts every day in the Gordon Field House. "I try not to practice alone because it can get boring, but the majority of the time I practice alone because not a lot of people here play," he says. "We have six racquetball courts but I'm usually the only one practicing on them."
He was sidelined for a couple of weeks when he seriously bruised his hip while diving on the floor to return a ball. But Gahagan says racquetball normally isn't a hard game to play. The ball can only hit the floor once before needing to be returned.
Serious players can use geometry to give their opponent a difficult shot to return. And "kill shots" hit the wall so low, they are impossible to return.
"I've played 65-year-olds that have kicked my butt," he says. "It's a workout and you don't even know it's a workout. You're just having fun."
Jan Strine, an NTID faculty member who supports intercollegiate athletics and wellness for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT, was impressed with Gahagan after learning he was representing RIT on his own.
"To be self-motivated, to have the initiative to seek out a conference and get involved on his own, I think that's pretty ambitious," Strine says.
Gahagan would like to have several other students join the RIT team to compete against other colleges. "I'm doing it because I love the sport," he says.
Strine says the likelihood of racquetball ever becoming a varsity sport at RIT is remote because other colleges in RIT's Empire Eight conference don't have varsity racquetball teams. Still, it could be possible to have racquetball recognized as a club sport, with RIT providing some assistance for traveling if other members join.
And Strine added Gahagan's name to her list of other deaf athletes on campus, so he can be more involved with student athletes and attend their functions.
"He's a great kid and very ambitious," Strine says. "He is a racquetball fanatic. He is in love with the sport. It seems to be part of his identity, loving racquetball."
Gahagan has won most of his matches while representing RIT in conferences this fall, and even made it the quarterfinals in one tournament. None of the teams he has played against only have a single member.
This summer, he attended a racquetball training camp at the Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs. Most of his expenses have been paid by his family, and through sponsors such as Rollout Racquetball, which provides his jerseys, and Ektelon, a manufacturer of racquetball equipment.
"Without them, I don't know if I would play so much. I break a lot of racquets diving."
It may seem that racquetball is always foremost on his mind - and it usually is - but Gahagan insists school and his homework is a greater priority. "All I do is study and play racquetball," he says.
Gahagan, who decided to attend RIT because it is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, is a biomedical science major. The youngest of three brothers, Gahagan's mother died of cancer when he was 12. "That was a big driving force for me to want to be a doctor," he says.
His goal to be a physician may be high, but being the only member of a sports team is also ambitious.
"A lot of people have this set thinking that you can't do something because being deaf limits what you can do," he says. "Even if you are deaf or hard of hearing or have any disability at all, it's not impossible to do something."
Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf