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2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships: In the Record Books!

by Jonathan Greenberg and Cheryl Kirk

It was a poignant week at the USA Racquetball National Indoor Championships where 339 athletes competed at the Arizona State University Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe, Arizona. February 7-11 saw the Racquetball Family come together at ASU for the special privilege of hanging with our friends one more time in this treasured of venues for more than two decades.

We say “one more time” because ASU will soon be repurposing the upstairs area that currently provides the multiple courts that made it possible to host a national tournament. The downstairs courts will remain but won’t provide the needed number.

So read on for this recap of the event, and for a full look at the divisions and results, visit: Results: KWM Gutterman Presents the 2024 USA Racquetball National Indoor Championships (r2sports.com)

Starting with Stats...

Total players: 339

Male/female: 251/88

Divisions: 93

States: 32 of 50 (64%) – Top 8: Arizona 85, California 53, Texas 32, Colorado 22, Minnesota 16, Oregon 15,  Florida 14, Utah 12

U.S. Team Qualifying

All finalists (1st and 2nd) secured positions on the 2024-2025 U.S. National Adult Team, effective June 1, 2024. Rally scoring, adopted by the International Racquetball Federation in 2022, was used: “Best 3 games of 5 to 11 points, win by 2.” With an impressive turnout of teams in each of the Qualifying Doubles Divisions, here’s how the finals wound up:

Mixed Team Qualifying – Daniel De La Rosa/Hollie Scott def. Thomas Carter/Kelani Lawrence, 11-4, 13-11, 11-5  

2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships
Photo by: 2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships

Men’s Team Qualifying Doubles – Daniel De La Rosa/Sebastian Fernandez def. Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5   

2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships
Photo by: María Paz Riquelme

Women’s Team Qualifying Doubles – Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott def. Michelle De La Rosa/Erika Manilla , 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 15-13 

2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships
Photo by: María Paz Riquelme

Men’s Team Qualifying Singles – Daniel De La Rosa def. Jake Bredenbeck, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5

2024 National Singles Champion Daniel De La Rosa
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme

Women’s Team Qualifying Singles – Hollie Scott def. Erika Manilla 11-5, WBF (Injury)

2024 National Singles Champion Hollie Scott
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme
HIGHLIGHTS

Industry Leaders Gathering/Ladies Night Out

It was a chilly week in Tempe, and the weather was not cooperating on Thursday and Friday nights. We had to switch locations for our Industry Leaders Gathering and Ladies Night Out, and we want to thank Michael Burton of the Graduate Hotel for his flexibility in going above and beyond to help make these gatherings a success. Thank you's also go out to Terry Rogers and Cheryl Kirk for their help in planning these events as well as the Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast.

Ladies Night at the 2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships
Photo by: USA Racquetball

Annual Awards

At the Saturday morning breakfast at the Graduate Hotel, USA Racquetball President Stewart Solomon and Executive Director Mike Grisz recognized these deserving Annual Award winners for their outstanding competitive results:

Female Athlete of the Year – Erika Manilla
Male Athlete of the Year – Daniel De La Rosa
Peggy Steding Female Age Group Athlete of the Year – Marquita Molina
Bud Muehleisen Male Age Group Athlete of the Year – Tyrone Gilmore

Lifetime Achievement Award

The USA Racquetball Lifetime Achievement Award is not considered an annual award. Given only when special nominations are provided to the Hall of Fame Committee, the criteria* describe achievements outstanding in nature that have had a profound effect on fellow racquetball players. These contributions can be on a local level, regional, national, or a combination of all levels over a minimum of 35 years. The latter was certainly the case for Jack Hughes. Jack, who passed away in 2021, was recognized posthumously at the Saturday morning event in Tempe as a long-time player and contributor in many capacities. Terry Rogers, Jack’s lifetime partner and best friend, accepted the award with moving words of what Jack gave to the Racquetball family for over 50 years. *To learn more about the criteria of this prestigious award, visit https://www.usaracquetball.com/about/lifetime-achievement.

Hall of Fame Induction

Attendees at the Saturday morning breakfast at the Graduate Hotel saw three new members inducted into the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame:

Jeff Stark (Amateur Athlete, Class of 2023)
Jack Huczek (Professional and Amateur Athlete, Class of 2024)
Jim Easterling (Contributor, Class of 2024)

All three Hall of Fame inductees were in attendance alongside friends and family, and all gave heartfelt acceptance speeches chronicling their lives and racquetball journeys.

For more information on these three inductees, visit:

USA Racquetball | USA Racquetball Announces 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships
Photo by: María Paz Riquelme

A WHOLE LOTTA GRATITUDE

Operations of National Indoor Championships were described by many as smooth, friendly, and efficient. Music to our ears!

USA Racquetball is grateful to the sponsors, staff, and volunteers (aka the Racquetball Family). Each and every one contributed in their own unique and special way!

Indoor Nationals Sponsors: KWM Gutterman (Presenting Sponsor), Penn, Gearbox, Frank Hotels, Tempe Tourism, Fix My Racquet, Racquet X Team Dovetail

USA Racquetball Staff: Jonathan Greenberg, Karen Grisz, Mike Grisz

Event Staff: Tom Fuhrmann, Nidia Funes, Cheryl Kirk, Bill Milbach, Carrie Reitmeier, Sandy Rios, Terry Rogers, Stewart Solomon, Cindy Tilbury, Slemo Warigon, Kristin Wattz

Referees are unsung heroes! They were instrumental in keeping the tournament on time and providing a fair experience. Some stepped up many times to help as well as to earn some significant cash to help defray the cost of their trip or to make a donation to the U.S. Team.

Streaming: Pablo Fajre arrived Wednesday and streamed U.S. Team Qualifying matches for the next four days. Commentators adding texture to the on-court action included Fran Davis, Richard Eisemann, Cody Elkins, Tucker Elkins, Karen Grisz, Sudsy Monchik, Jack Huczek, Naomi Ros, Sam Schulze, Cole Sendrey, Kevin Sendrey, Brennen Jennings, Carrie Reitmeier, Sandy Rios, Khyathi Velpuri, and...more!

Social Media: Aimee Roehler (ABR Communications, LLC) managed the event’s social media presence for USA Racquetball before, during, and after the tournament. U.S. Junior Team member Naomi Ros provided additional event presence on Instagram Stories.

Photography and videography coming out of this event is spectacular and so very valuable when used in many ways to showcase this great sport of Racquetball. Warm thanks to Maria Paz (aka Maripa) Riquelme for her creativity and ingenuity in producing images that contain “forever memories.”

Rodger Fleming, much respected by U.S. Team athletes, was on site to provide support for elite players and amateurs alike. Rodger is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Athletic Trainer, and Corrective Exercise Specialist in Macon, Georgia. https://www.bodyawarenessmacon.com.

EMTs on duty for the entire event were appreciated for their expertise with several on-court situations that were happily not life-threatening.

Printed On Site was in Tempe producing the tournament shirts for players. They also have a line of high-quality shirts, tanks, and hoodies that can be customized with the tournament logo. More information about Printed On Site can be found at https://printedonsite.com.

Thanks to Phil Carter (Assistant Director of Special Events/Facility Operations) and the excellent staff at the ASU Sun Devil Fitness Complex for their immediate assistance whenever a need arose.

Lifetime Members and Hall of Famers in attendance – thank you! 

Warm thanks go to Jim Hiser and Bruce Adams for their expertise in creating the Hall of Fame video presentations for each of the three inductees.

Players and Spectators – We appreciate every one of you who competed, supported, or were just there with us at this very special event.

USA Racquetball Lifetime Members in Tempe, AZ
Photo by: Cheryl Kirk

USA Racquetball Board President Stewart Solomon said, “Congratulations to all the champions from our first National Championship of 2024! And a big thank you to all the players that made the event so successful. This was my second trip to a USA Racquetball event at ASU and it continued to be an amazing experience! With such a strong showing of support, it's a very positive sign of things to come this year.”

Executive Director Mike Grisz added, “USA Racquetball is ecstatic about the success of the National Indoor Championships in Tempe. Great turnout, fantastic Adult Team Qualifying, on time throughout the event. It was a needed gathering of our racquetball community. Watch for the announcement on next year’s location!”


2024 KWM Gutterman National Indoor Championships

40 photos

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