39th Annual PapaNicholas IRT Shamrock Shootout

by Karen Grisz and Todd Boss

The IRT returned to Chicago for its annual visit to the Glass Court facility in Lombard. This is the 39th annual iteration of this event, for years hosted by the legendary Goeff Peters, now hosted by Dan Jaskier and the regular Chicago crew. This is the 9th year in a row that this event has been an IRT event. Thanks to everyone for putting on a great tournament! And thanks to PapaNicholas Coffee for its continued support.

The draw was extremely strong. Despite missing 3-time defending champion Daniel De la Rosa, 7th- ranked Sam Murray, and 10-ranked Lalo Portillio, we had a lot of internationals who rarely play the tour, but who had the opportunity to fly to the US a week before PARC to make rare US appearances. Bolivians Luis Aguilar, Jhonatan Flores, and Hector Barrios, although not (yet) household names, are all accomplished Junior worlds players and planned to make a statement.

Congrats to the IRT winners:

- Singles: Kane Waselenchuk
- Doubles: Andree Parrilla & Adam Manilla

Kane wins his 126th Tier1 event and looks like he's 100% back. Adam and Andree win their 2nd doubles title of the new season together and solidify their spot as the #1 doubles team on tour.

Papa Nicholas Shamrock Shootout
Photo by: International Racquetball Tour

Singles Recap

In the 32s: We got some surprise results.

Maybe not surprising, but Alan Natera advanced in the expected dog-fight over veteran Mexican WRT champ Alejandro Cardona 15-13, 15-8. John Goth upset a mid-teen ranked touring pro for the second straight event, this time topping Bolivian Kadim Carrasco in a tiebreaker to get to the round of 16 for the second event running. Jordy Alonso became just the second man to even take a game off a top-8 seed in the round of 32, stretching #4 Andree Parrilla to a tiebreaker. Robert Collins had to go 11-9 in the tiebreaker to advance past young Mexican Neito Oscar .

The biggest upset was #30 Jhonatan Flores upsetting #3 Jake Bredenbeck in two games, 15-5, 15-7. Flores is the reigning 18 and under world Junior champ from Bolivia, and there's a pretty good history of World 18 and under champions going on to big and better things in the sport.

Here's are some of the other past junior world 18 and under champions: Sebastian Hernandez, Erick Trujillo, Lalo Portillo, Mauro Rojas, Christian Longoria, Rodrigo Montoya, Mario Mercado, and Conrrado Moscoso. That list includes your current #1, #2, #10, and #12 players, along with a guy in Mercado who was a mainstay in the top 10 before stepping back this year.

In the round of 16s, several expected results included wins by Moscoso, Waselenchuk, and Montoya. Alan Natera beat Trujillo 15-7, 15-7. He earned his 3rd career quarterfinal.

Flores continued his run with a 15-7, 15-4 win over Robby Collins secure a quarter final matchup with Waselenchuk. #10 Thomas Carter pushed #7 Andres Acuna for a couple of games, then the Costa Rican pulled away 11-2 in the tiebreaker.

In the Quarters

- #1 Conrrado Moscoso handled Natera 15-6, 15-11.
- #4 Parrilla took out his doubles partner #5 Adam Manilla in a topsy turvy tiebreaker
- #6 Waselenchuk ended the Cinderella run of Flores, but not without him making it interesting. Final score: 15-3, 13-15, 11-7. The first game seemed to be butterflies of an 18-year old kid playing the best player the sport has ever seen. Game 2 saw Flores calm down and shock Kane to jump ahead 6-1, a score-line that included three straight aces for which barely moved. The tiebreaker was back and forth, and Flores got to about 7-8 when Kane blasted a backhand return of serve and ran the table to win 11-7. Great match; great showing from Flores.
- #7 Andres Acuna shocked the #2 seed Rodrigo Montoya in a tiebreaker to earn just his second ever career pro semi-final, 11-9 in the third.


In the Semis, the two expected finalists each advanced without much fanfare. Moscoso over Parrilla 15-12, 15-5; Kane over Acuna 15-4, 15-11.

In the Finals, Kane's serve was crisp and his shot selection was spot on, and he dominated the final. Final scores, 15-9, 15- 6 over Moscoso.

Doubles Recap

The doubles draw came down to the two top seeds. Trujillo is serving as an able replacement for Javier Mar, but the #2 seeds Montoya/Trujillo fell to #1 Parrilla/Manilla. The lefty-righty pair wins its second title of the season, while Parrilla has now captured all three pro doubles titles this season.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew.

Papa Nicholas Shamrock Shootout
Photo by: International Racquetball Tour