NewsUSA Racquetball News

Daily Blog from the 2024 XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships

by Cheryl Kirk

2024 Pan American Racquetball Championships Delegation
(Photo by USA Racquetball)
Blog #9
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Saturday, March 30, 2024

Greetings! Here’s one last Daily Blog to wrap up the Pan American Racquetball Championships that concluded in Guatemala City on Saturday.

TEAM USA – Saturday Match Results – Men’s Team Competition Finals -- USA vs. Mexico

Charlie Pratt def. Sebastian Hernández, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6, 11-8
Jake Bredenbeck lost to Rodrigo Montoya, 4-11, 6-11, 3-11
Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck lost to Montoya/Hernández, 7-11, 9-11, 3-11

After the Men’s and Women’s Team competition concluded, the final results were calculated and the Awards Ceremony (not live streamed this time) recognized the individual medalists and team competition winners.

Note: In IRF and PARC tournaments, semifinalists are both awarded 3rd place medals.

PARC Overall Results – Individual Awards

Men’s Open Singles

1st – Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)
2nd – Samuel Murray (Canada)
3rd – Jake Bredenbeck (USA)
3rd – Andrés Acuña (Costa Rica)

Women’s Open Singles

1st – María José Vargas (Argentina)
2nd – Carla Muñoz (Chile)
3rd – Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic)
3rd – Natalia Mendez (Argentina)

Men’s Open Doubles

1st – Gabriel Garcia/Andrés Acuña (Costa Rica)
2nd – Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (Canada)
3rd – Sebastián Hernández/Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)
3rd – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck (USA)

Women’s Open Doubles

1st -- María José Vargas/Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
2nd – Naomi Ros/Lexi York (USA)
3rd -- Carla Muñoz/Paula Mansilla Cid (Chile)
3rd -- Merynanyelly Delgado/María Cespedes (Dominican Republic)

Mixed Open Doubles

1st – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck (USA)
2nd – Juliette Parent/Coby Iwaasa (Canada)
3rd -- Carla Muñoz/Jaime Mansilla (Chile)
3rd – Natalia Mendez/Gerson Miranda (Argentina)

Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

PARC Team Competition Awards

Women’s Team

1st – Argentina
2nd – Dominican Republic
3rd – USA
3rd – Chile

Men’s Team

1st – Mexico
2nd – USA
3rd – Canada
3rd – Costa Rica

Combined Team (Overall)

1st – USA
2nd – Dominican Republic
3rd – Costa Rica
4th -- Canada

Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Congratulations to all of the countries for their efforts and results at the Pan American Racquetball

Championships!

Mail from Home, Last Installment

On Saturday/Sunday, we were happy to hear from Mike Grisz, Jen Meyer, Susan and Barry Hendricks, Gary Mazaroff, Gustavo Farell, Kendra Tutsch, Gail Cowley, Maureen Keough, Keith Calkins, Kit Lawson, Luke St. Onge, John O’Donnell, Jr., David Stob, and Sharron Bradford.

Thanks to everyone for your support of Team USA! Speaking of which...

Thank You’s

The U.S. Team Delegation wishes to deliver our heartfelt gratitude to those who made this event so truly memorable:

The Local Organizing Committee, headed by Dr. Estuardo Wer, for hosting this very successful event. The work behind the scenes to host a tournament of this magnitude is extensive. Congratulations to Erny Escobar and everyone on the staff for a job very well done! From the hotel to the transportation, the awards, the coordination, this experience was smooth and enjoyable.

Marta Garcia of Las Americas Exclusive Service for the friendly and reliable ground transportation from airport/hotel/airport.

The staff of the Clarion Suites Hotel for their welcoming hospitality, with a special shout-out to Jose Antonio at the front desk. His attitude of service and care was commendable.

The Domo Complejo de Racquetball staff members, the many volunteers at the club, and the shuttle drivers who provided excellent service and hospitality. You did your country proud! And we’d like to especially thank the cleaning staff who were continually seeing to the cleanliness of the floors and walls of the courts as well as of the entire facility before, during, and after matches.

Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Marie Gomar deserves a very special thank you for the many things she did to help. What a blessing to have such a wonderful friend to help us navigate logistics and details on this 10-day trip!

Day 9 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Thanks to the team of leaders, broadcast team, desk staff, and referees from 10 countries:

Operations/Leadership: Osvaldo Maggi (Argentina), Mauro Grandio Buzeleh (Argentina), Marcelo Gómez Pacheco (CRC), Dean Schear (USA), Cheryl Kirk (USA)

Broadcast/Streaming/Social Media: Jose Cruz (Guatemala), Pablo Fajre (USA/Chile), Gustavo Farell (USA/Uruguay), Rafael Gatica (Chile), Gary Mazaroff (USA), Fernando Ruiz (Guatemala), Alberto Sánchez (Venezuela)

Desk Staff: Walter Capandegui (Argentina), Adrián Macrino (Argentina)

Referees: Jaime Martell (Mexico), Ricardo Gonzalez (aka Tucky Kravitz; Mexico), Iván Valdez (Mexico), María Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), Diana Aguilar (Mexico), Fabián Torres (Colombia), Francisco Gómez (Colombia), Roland Keller (Bolivia), Glenn Martineau (USA), and Daniel Maggi (Argentina).

IRF sponsor Gearbox who contributes significantly to these international events.

Uniform sponsor Nike APS, Kevin Cowley, and his team (see Blog #7) – thanks for the outstanding assistance!

Tom Travers for the donated use of a massage/treatment table so that Jules could properly treat our athletes.

Antonio Olivieri, USOPC Director of Security Operations, for his unwavering support of Team USA, not only during this event but over many years. We know you have our back!

IRF President Osvaldo Maggi and IRF Vice President Marcelo Gomez Pacheco for their leadership and dedication to Racquetball and its development around the world. Also to Luke St. Onge and Keith Calkins whose diligent earlier work set a solid foundation for the future.

Aimee Roehler who posted the Daily Blogs and photos as they were sent over and Alisa Burris who posted the Daily Blogs and photos each day to the Illinois State Racquetball Association’s Facebook page.

Blogs #1-4 listed the names of those who contributed on the GoFundMe page set up by Jake Bredenbeck to support the team. There are also some benefactors who gave financial support behind the scenes to one or more of the athletes individually. Thank you all so very much for the assistance you provided to Team USA. Racquetball Family takes care of its own! From donations large and small, to encouraging words, to positive comments from spectators watching online...all of these and more make us all so lucky to be a part of the best sport on the planet.

Team USA will look back on this experience as one we’ll always treasure.

The next Daily Blogs will be coming from the IRF World Championship in San Antonio, Texas, USA, in late August, and another set will be published in December with coverage of the U.S. Junior Team’s December trip to the IRF World Junior Championship back in Guatemala City.

Signing off with wishes to all for a great spring and summer. THANKS FROM TEAM USA!!

-- Cheryl Kirk

Blog #8
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Friday, March 29, 2024

TEAM USA – Friday Results – Team Competition

1.     Men’s Team -- #3 - USA vs. #6 Chile (Quarterfinals)

-Charlie Pratt def. Rafael Gatica , 13-11, 11-7, 11-4
-Jake Bredenbeck def. Jaime Mansilla, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11- 5

With two wins in the singles, there was no doubles match competed.

USA advanced to the semifinals vs. Costa Rica

 

2.     Men’s Team – USA vs. Costa Rica (Semifinals) 

-Charlie Pratt def. Gabriel Garcia, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9
-Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck lost to Gabriel Garcia/Andres Acuña,, 7-11, 9-11, 8-11
-Jake Bredenbeck def. Andres Acuña, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5

With two of three matches won, USA advanced to the finals. 

______________________________________

1.     Women’s Team -- #4 USA vs. #5 Canada (Quarterfinals)

-Lexi York def. Juliette Parent, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6
-Michelle Key def. Danielle Ramsay, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10

With two wins in the singles, there was no doubles match competed.

USA advanced to the semifinals vs. Argentina.

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

2.     Women’s Team – USA vs. Argentina (Semifinals)

-Lexi York lost to Natalia Mendez, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11
-Lexi York/Naomi Ros lost to Natalia Mendez/Maria Jose Vargas, 4-11, 5-11, 5-11

With wins in the first two matches, the third match was not competed. 

Argentina advanced to the finals.

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Athlete of the Day – Jake Bredenbeck

Age: 32
City/State: Stillwater, Minnesota
Rank on Tour: 3
Age when started playing Racquetball: 4-1/2 years old
Sponsors: ODISI Apparel, Gearbox, KWMGuttermanWhat does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC?  “Competing with USA on my back means everything. It is one of the best things we as athletes get to do. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity.

“A huge thank you to my parents for supporting me in all I do. They are the reason I started to play racquetball, and they continue to support me today. I wouldn't be who I am or where I am in life without them. I would like to thank everyone who donated to support us athletes to do what we love, representing the best country on earth.”

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Staff Member of the Day – Me (Team Leader Cheryl Kirk)

Age: 68, a number I’m exceedingly grateful for
City/State: Naperville, IL
Rank on Tour: LOL. But yes, I still compete!
Sponsors (if applicable): Christopher “Kit” Lawson
How old were you when you started playing Racquetball? 21, in 1977
What does it mean to you to support Team USA at PARC?: I’m proud to support this delegation here in Guatemala City, and success will mean making sure that nothing slipped through the cracks, that the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed, that all the athletes and staff had to think about was the competition itself. 

Indulge me for a minute...specifically, what role does this "team leader person" serve before and during an international trip? For a start, see to travel and hotel arrangements, ground transportation, division entries submitted, communication with the USOPC and the in-country U.S. Embassy, uniforms ordered and in hand, information on all aspects of the trip provided to attendees and their emergency contacts...and so on. As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”

Once at the destination, coaches’ meeting attendance nets information on the operations of the tournament and on the competition draws. A trip to the store ensures a good start to the competition with plenty of water as well as (usually) peanut butter, jelly, bread, crackers, a few sweets, bananas, apples, etc.

What happens on a daily basis? The athletes and coaches know and execute the schedule for the day. The team leader attends most or all of the matches, taking photos and recording scores because...The Daily Blog is written every evening, requiring results, match schedules for the next day, streaming information, and anything else she can think of to write about. Like this topic, for example.

There’s one more important detail that must be provided daily. It’s “the bag.” “The bag” contains lots of snacks at the beginning of the day with the number diminishing throughout the day at a rate directly proportional to the number of people in the building (athletes, coaches, spectators). It used to be that the snacks were brought just for Team USA, but how could one miss the opportunity to create connections and make friends via the magic of “the bag”? Fun-size candies (Twix, Reese’s Cups, 3 Musketeers), Welch’s Fruit Snacks, little bags of trail mix...it’s extremely satisfying to see smiles and return visits to The Bag. This one happens to be a Lululemon bag, and I’ve included its photo in recognition of its ambassadorship. 

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Lastly, a team leader must (apparently) drag around a much larger wheeled bag that contains everything she can think of that might be needed...like mosquito repellent, over-the-counter medications that do not contain WADA banned substances (look it up), tissues, the American flag on Awards Day, little toys (this time, rubber duckies) for kids, extra writing instruments...I bring up that last one with joy and a photo. Our Canadian buddy (and blogger extraordinaire) Evan Pritchard approached semi-mournfully asking if I had a pen since all of his had at the same time run out of ink (really, wow). I was glad to pull a pen out of my bag and save him from having to collect his stats with a pathetic nubby sawed-off golf pencil. 

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Okay, I’m WAY off topic now, so thanks for humoring me. 

I’m grateful for my hubby Kit, pupper Heidi, family, neighbors, and friends, all of whom support simultaneously my chocolate and racquetball habits. 

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Mail From Home, Penultimate Edition

In response to Blog #7, we heard from Keith Calkins, Gail Cowley, Kevin Cowley, Don “Buddha” Grigas, Susan and Barry Hendricks, Maureen Keough, Rhonda Kimler (Ava Kaiser’s mom), Christopher “Kit” Lawson, Joanne Pomodoro, Luke St. Onge, and David Stob. 

Thanks, everyone, for your emails and texts – you are making a big difference to Team USA!

Day 8 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Blog #7
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Thursday, March 28, 2024

TEAM USA – Thursday Results 

Lexi York def. Maria Cespedes (DOM) – Elite Draw, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8

Naomi Ros/Lexi York lost to Maria Jose Vargas/Natalia Mendez (ARG), 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 9-11  SILVER!

Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck def. Coby Iwaasa/Juliette Parent (CAN), 11-9, 12-10, 11-9  GOLD!

This concludes the Individual round robin/pool play/main draw phase of the 2024 PARC. A full report on results will appear in Blog #9 coming soon to an email box, social media post, or website near you. In the meantime, you can identify the medalists themselves (gold, silver, and 3rd/4th bronze) at Racquetball Divisions - XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024.

Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Team USA Dinner

Larry Haemmerle of Colorado is the USA Racquetball’s U.S. Team Committee Chairman. He and his wife Avril generously sponsored the traditional team dinner on Thursday evening. The delegation enjoyed dining at Casa Escobar Cayalá in the Paseo Cayalá Neighborhood* of Guatemala City. During the dinner, the coach, team leader, and team captains delivered comments and compliments to these athletes here representing the United States. A message of pride in the athletes and good luck in the team competition was communicated on behalf of Larry and Avril. 

Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

*The Paseo Cayalá, or Ciudad Cayalá, is a model of open and economically resilient development in a city of gated development. Estudio Urbano and Leon Krier won a 2021 CNU Charter Award in the Neighborhood, District, and Corridor category. This growing town, with 350 shops, 650 residences, and major civic buildings and institutions, revives the architectural identity of the region. The central plaza looks like it could have been built hundreds of years ago.

Athlete of the Day -- Michelle Key
Age: 35
City/State: Gilbert, Arizona
Sponsors: Key Racquetball, 3WB, & OVRWatch
Age when started playing Racquetball: I was born into it.
What does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC?  Representing Team USA has always been a lifetime honor. It's the thing I value most in my racquetball career. Being here at PARC is such an incredible experience, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. Go Team USA!

I would really like to thank my family and friends, they are invaluable to me. Also thank you so much for everyone who donated, you made this trip possible for us. 

P.S. Miss you, Erika! Keep up the good work!

Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Staff Member of the Day – Team USA Head Coach Pablo Fajre

Age: 60
City/State: Tracy, California
Age when started playing Racquetball: 25
What does it mean to you to coach Team USA at PARC? "It’s a great honor to coach these incredible athletes. I am very grateful.”

“I want to thank my wife, Angela, she always supports my racquetball adventures.”

Pablo brings years of experience in Racquetball and fitness coaching. Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, he was a junior tennis player in his youth, a track and field sprinter in college, and later became a racquetball player competing in the Pan American Games, IRF World Championships, and many international events. Since then, in the last 30 years he has been training athletes in various sports, including Racquetball, from junior to professional. 

Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Mail From Home 

Thanks for the continuing correspondence from these folks (and more on Facebook and Instagram) who make sure we are feeling the love from Back in the USA: Mark Carey, David Stob, Susan and Barry Hendricks, Keith Calkins, Maureen Keough, Sharron Bradford, and Luke St. Onge. You guys rock!

Uniforms – Important and Nearly Always a Challenge

Kevin Cowley of Nike APS has worked diligently to get the uniform styles and graphics squared away for this event and for others such as the recent Pan American Games last October. We had to move lightning quick for PARC, and Kevin and his team came through for us once again. Kevin, Lizzy, Sydney, Ashley, and Val – we appreciate your hard work and commitment to outfitting Team USA! 

Friday -- Match Schedule

All times are the same as U.S. Mountain time. 

All of a sudden, it’s Friday! The tournament will wrap up over the next two days, culminating in the Men’s and Women’s Team competitions. Here’s how Friday is shaping up...

TEAM USA HITS THE COURTS IN THE TEAM COMPETITION

Men’s Team -- #3 USA vs. #6 Chile (Quarterfinals)

10:00 am – Charlie Pratt vs. Rafael Gatica 
11:30 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. Jaime Mansilla 
1:00 pm – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Mansilla/Gatica

With a win against Chile (best 2 out of 3 matches), the USA Men’s Team will advance to compete against the winner of Dominican Republic and Costa Rica in the semifinals at 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm, and 5:30 pm.

Women’s Team -- #4 USA vs. #5 Canada (Quarterfinals)

10:45 am – Lexi York vs. Juliette Parent
12:15 pm – Michelle Key vs. Danielle Ramsay
1:45 pm – Lexi York/Naomi Ros vs. Juliette Parent/Marjolaine Parent

With a win against Canada (best 2 out of 3 matches), the USA Women’s Team will advance to compete against the winner of Argentina and Cuba in the semifinals at 3:15 pm, 4:45 pm, and 6:15 pm.

Signing off on this mild March evening in Guatemala City...see you tomorrow!

Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 7 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Blog #6
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Great news! The U.S. Team Delegation has a new member in attendance, Rhys Andersen, who arrived VERY early this morning from Arizona via LAX. His main accomplishments today were keeping his eyes open and cheering at appropriate times for the Mixed Doubles team of Michelle and Sam. Who is this Rhys Andersen, some of you might be wondering? An Open level player in Arizona, Rhys is Michelle’s charming “unofficial husband.” They’re a lovely power couple. Welcome, Rhys!

There were definite highs and lows, truly a roller coaster of emotions, in Team USA’s matches today. These were semifinal matches, and while we’re so happy for the three finals matches tomorrow, we would love it if it were all six of our athletes competing. The silver (no, gold!) lining is that our Men’s singles players will have a day of rest going into the Team Competition on Friday. 

TEAM USA – Wednesday Results 

Jake Bredenbeck lost to Samuel Murray (CAN), 3-11, 0-11, 3-11
Lexi York def. Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) – Elite Draw, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9
Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck lost to Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (CAN), 11-13, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9
Naomi Ros/Lexi York def. Paula Javiera Mansilla Cid/Carla Muñoz (CHI), 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-1
Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck def. Jaime Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (CHI), 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5 

Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Athlete of the Day -- Charlie Pratt 
Age: 37
City/State: Portland, Oregon
Sponsor: Head
Age when started playing Racquetball: 6 years old at Sunset Athletic Club in Portland, Oregon
What does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC?  “To compete for your country is the highest honor anyone can achieve in our sport.

“I’d like to thank the USA Racquetball community across the country and back in Oregon who donated to our travel expenses. Their generosity will never be forgotten. My wife for always supporting me and being an amazing mother to our son. My parents for everything they have done. My coaches throughout my life who have taught me so much. My teammates for their passion and dedication.”

Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Staff Member of the Day – Julian Lowe
Nickname: Jules
Age: 30
City/State: Gilbert, AZ
Age when started playing Racquetball: 30! I started playing this year to learn firsthand the effect of Racquetball on athletes’ bodies. 
What does it mean to you to be here with Team USA at PARC?  “It's a privilege to watch all the athletes compete here and even more of an honor that they have entrusted me with their prep and recovery. I appreciate everyone who provided this opportunity for myself and for the entire U.S. Team.” 

Jules’s academic credentials include a Bachelor’s degree in Allied Health w/ Concentration in Exercise Science and a Minor in Nutrition from Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio. He went on to earn an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and is currently pursuing another Master’s degree in Consciousness and Human Potential with a projected completion date of October 2025.

Jules possesses a number of certifications and skills including Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Reflexive Performance Reset Level 2, Massage Therapy, Manual Therapy, Cupping, PNF Stretching, and more. He has worked with Olympic athletes; 20+ professional athletes in a number of sports; and 100+ Collegiate athletes at all levels. Currently, Jules is an Individual/Team Sports Performance Coach and Reflexologist. 

Before moving into his career as described above, Jules pursued a professional football career! He was “one of five athletes in my Division III Conference in Ohio who were part of the 2018 NFL Draft class, and I was projected undrafted free agent to the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.” He continues, “When the Arena Football League expanded to six teams in 2019, I played a year of arena football with that organization.” 

Team USA is grateful to have Jules on our side at this PARC competition, and we send this personal note to Dr. Kiara Shaw, Jules’s significant other: “Thank you, Kiara, for letting us borrow Jules. LOVE FROM TEAM USA!”

Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Mail from Home, continued

Adding to the list of family and friends who have been staying in touch so far via this blog, today I’m pleased to thank Gail Cowley, Sharron Bradford, Alok Mehta, Gustavo Farell, John O’Donnell, Jr., Luke St. Onge, Maureen Keough, Susan and Barry Hendricks, and Keith Calkins for reaching out. Hearing from folks back home could never be overrated!

Thursday -- Match Schedule – FINALS!

All times are the same as U.S. Mountain time.

These three matches finish off Team USA’s competition in the Individual phase (round robins into main draws). Good luck to Lexi, Naomi, Michelle, and Sam! 

10:00 am – Lexi York vs. Maria Cespedes (DOM) – Elite Draw
12:15 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Maria Jose Vargas/Natalia Mendez (ARG)
2:30 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Coby Iwaasa/Juliette Parent (CAN)

We can anticipate live streaming from Court 6 for the 12:15 and 2:30 matches – tune in! By now, you know what to do!

While the second phase – the Team Competition – begins tomorrow afternoon after the Individual phase concludes, it will be just one feeder matchup on the Men’s side between Honduras and Cuba. That will form the Men’s main draw, and the Women’s will follow suit, both competing on Friday/Saturday. Awards Ceremonies for both phases of competition will take place Saturday late afternoon and will be live streamed.

Here’s how Team Competitions are set up:

Each “country vs. country” matchup in team competition are best two matches out of three, single elimination.

Two singles and one doubles match are scheduled, with the order varying as the draw progresses. (Mixed doubles teams do not compete in the Team Competitions.) 

If a country wins its first two matches vs. the other country, the third match will not take place. 

If the countries split results in the first two matches (one win/one loss), the third match will be played to determine the country winner.

So there you have it, more to come, and you’re all a very important part of Team USA’s experience here in Guatemala City. Thank you for reading the blogs, following social media posts, and tuning into the livestreams. We can feel the good wishes from our Racquetball family back home!

Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 6 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Blog #5
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Tuesday, March 26, 2024

It was another exciting day for Team USA. Everyone gave their all, and team members were there for each other with applause, cheers, and the occasional tidbits of advice. The atmosphere will only become more electric going into the semifinals on Wednesday. But first things first, here’s how today shaped up:

TEAM USA – Tuesday’s Results 

Singles

Jake Bredenbeck def. Sebastian Hernández (MEX), 11-1, 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-9
Charlie Pratt lost to Andres Acuña (CRC), 2-11, 4-11, 5-11
Michelle Key lost to Carla Muñoz (CHI), 8-11, 10-12, 10-12 
Lexi York def. Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA), 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (Elite draw)

Doubles

Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck def. Juan Salvatierra/Edwin Galicia (GUA), 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8
Naomi Ros/Lexi York def. Marjolaine Parent/Danielle Drury (CAN), 11-7, 11-4, 11-3
Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck def. Alejandra Jimenez/Diego Pimentel (DOM), 13-11, 11-6, 11-8

Day 5 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 5 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Team USA Effort = 100%!

Athlete of the Day – Lexi York

Age: 26
City/State: Born in Portland Oregon, currently living in Stillwater, Minnesota
Rank on Tour: 18
Age when started playing Racquetball: 10 years old
Sponsors: Odisi Apparel and Gearbox
What does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC? “I am extremely excited to represent the United States. I hope to represent our country well and make people proud of our team.

“I would like to thank my family, boyfriend, and friends who have supported my dream in playing racquetball. Also, the Kelley twins (my coaches) for all of their continued support and time they've invested in me as a player. Thanks to everyone in Minnesota who helped us get to Guatemala!”

Day 5 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

More Mail From Home

Responding to Blog #4 were Joanne Pomodoro, Gail Cowley, Mary Gonzalez, Luke St. Onge, Karen Bredenbeck, David Stob, Linda Price, Dan Whitley, John O'Donnell, Jr., Maureen Keough, and Sharron Bradford. Thanks for the encouragement and support! Here’s a sampling of comments received:

Joanne: Watching online, I was very impressed with our team and want to keep sending positive vibes and belief in each one of you. Thanks for representing us all. 

Gail: So cool about Jen and her class….I’m going to tell my daughter Emma about this virtual field trip...great idea! GO Team USA!!

John: Now that's dedication -- getting your Middle School class to watch Racquetball from Guatemala City via streaming! Can't get better than that to promote Racquetball to the younger generation! Great job, Jen!

Maureen: Wow!! Team USA is killin’ it! Best of luck!!

Wednesday -- Match Schedule

All times are the same as U.S. Mountain time.

It’s incredible that we’re halfway through this championship event, four days down, four to go! Wednesday takes us into the semifinal rounds of the individual phase of competition. The finals will be first thing Thursday followed by the beginning of the Team Competition that will go through Saturday. 

Team USA takes to the courts on Wednesday thusly: 

Men’s Singles

10:00 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. Samuel Murray (CAN)

Women’s Singles

11:30 am – Lexi York vs. Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA) – Elite Draw

Men’s Doubles   

12:15 pm – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Coby Iwaasa/Samuel Murray (CAN)

Women’s Doubles 

1:00 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Paula Javiera Mansilla Cid/Carla Muñoz (CHI)

Mixed Doubles

3:15 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Jaime Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (CHI)

Reminder: Where to Look for Live Streaming/Draws/Results/Blogs

For the livestreaming schedule each day, visit Panamericanracquetball on Instagram.

* To view livestreamed matches, go to International Racquetball Federation – IRF on Facebook or the Pan Am Sports Channel at https://www.panamsports.org/en/channel/.

* For draws and results, visit panamericanracquetball.com, or internationalracquetball.com, or R2 Sports (for the latter, search by country: Guatemala)

* Daily Blogs are posted on www.usaracquetball.com as well as linked from the USA Racquetball Facebook page. 

Good night from Guatemala City...see you tomorrow!

Day 5 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Blog #4
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Monday, March 25, 2024

Here’s a fun story to start us off on Blog #4...

U.S. Junior Team Esprit Coach Jen Meyer, as mentioned in Blog #1, wanted so much to join Team USA on this trip to PARC. Even though she was instead needed back in Colorado where she teaches middle school, she took her class on a virtual field trip today to Guatemala City, courtesy of live streaming. The class watched Jake’s and Lexi’s matches, rooting for them and breaking out into cheers when they won. Team USA gives a big shout-out to our newest fans – thanks for your support! And to Coach Jen – we miss you a ton!

Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Coach Pablo Fajre had this to say about Monday's matches: “I’m very happy with the effort the athletes put forth today. We had tough matches and everyone gave their very best. Tomorrow we hope to sustain these good results and keep moving forward to the medal rounds.”

Below are today’s results, and check out tomorrow’s schedule at the end of this blog. 

TEAM USA – Monday Results 

Jake Bredenbeck def. Edwin Galicia (GUA), 11-6, 11-7, 11-6
Charlie Pratt def. Gabriel Garcia (CRC), 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5
Lexi York def. Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA), 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
Michelle Key def. Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA), 11-7, 11-3, 11-7
Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck def. Gabriel Garcia/Andres Acuña (CRC), 5-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5
Naomi Ros/Lexi York def. Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra/Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA), 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5
Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck lost to Jaime Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (CHI), 12-14, 11-13, 11-8, 11-3, 3-11

Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Athlete of the Day – Sam Bredenbeck

Age: 28
City/State: Marine, MN
Rank on Tour: 18
Age when started playing Racquetball: Probably around 3 or 4 (picked up a racquet) - competing around 7
Sponsors: ODISI Apparel, Forza Performance, Gearbox
What does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC? “Representing the USA in any capacity is the highest honor that, I believe, we have as athletes. I have been fortunate enough to compete at various international competitions for Team USA and every single time is a privilege.

“I would like to thank my parents, my brother Jake, and Lexi for their unwavering support in all things life. My friends and family, who are always in my/our corner, cheering me/us on. I would like to thank the Minnesota Racquetball community for coming together to help us make this trip a possibility. Also, I would like to thank USA Racquetball and each person who donated to our Team USA GoFundMe and made this trip possible. Thank you to the individuals involved behind the scenes who make these trips just a little bit easier for us athletes (you know who you are). Thank you to Pablo for being a great coach and mentor. Thank you to my teammates - I appreciate you guys and it is an honor to compete alongside you all! And thank you to those who continue to support Team USA (Athletes and Staff). Thank you to Jules, our athletic trainer, for being an invaluable addition and asset to the team. It has been awesome getting to know him and have him in our corner.”

Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

PARC Referees

The referees (in Spanish, arbitros) met after the Coaches meeting last Friday and swung into action on Saturday. They are the unsung heroes of each event, officiating many hours a day to ensure that athletes get experienced referees and never have to think about being referees themselves. 

The members of this excellent team are Jaime Martell (Mexico), Ricardo Gonzalez (aka Tucky Kravitz; Mexico), Iván Valdez (Mexico), María Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), Diana Aguilar (Mexico), Fabián Torres (Colombia), Francisco Gómez (Colombia), Roland Keller (Bolivia), Glenn Martineau (USA), and Daniel Maggi (Argentina).

Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

A Special Presentation

Action on the streaming court was interrupted for a short time mid-day Monday to recognize Marcelo Gómez Pacheco who served as president of PARC for the last nine years. Marcelo will be traveling home to Costa Rica on Tuesday, taking with him the commemorative plaque he received today along with the PARC Executive Committee’s heartfelt gratitude for his dedication and commitment. What a difference Marcelo made in so many ways. He will be missed!

Day 4 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Mail From Home

It was great to hear from these blog readers today! Saying hello and sending encouragement to Team USA were Maureen Keough, Gail Cowley, Keith Calkins, Brett Elkins, Shanad Garcia, Sharron Bradford, Dan Whitley, and John O’Donnell, Jr. 

Fundraising Update

After returning from a spring break trip with his family, Dan Whitley of Vetta Concord in St. Louis got caught up on the blogs and jumped onto the GoFundMe list with a generous contribution. Thank you, Dan!

Tuesday’s Schedule for Team USA

Now we’re into the main draws as of Tuesday morning. These draws will look different from the ones you may have been viewing over the past several days. No longer a round robin/pool play competition, the draws have become single elimination now through the Thursday morning individual phase finals. 

https://www.r2sports.com/website/division-list.asp?TID=42151&sortBy=defaultOrder

Men’s Singles

11:30 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. winner of Sebastian Hernández (MEX) / Edwin Galicia (GUA) match
11:30 am – Charlie Pratt vs. Andres Acuña (CRC)

Women’s Singles

10:45 am -- Michelle Key vs. Carla Muñoz (CHI)
12:15 pm – Lexi York vs. Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA)

Men’s Doubles

2:30 pm – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Juan Salvatierra/Edwin Galicia (GUA)

Women’s Doubles

1:45 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Marjolaine Parent/Danielle Drury (CAN)

Mixed Doubles

4:00 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Alejandra Jimenez/Diego Pimentel (DOM)

Visit www.internationalracquetball.comwww.panamericanracquetball.com, or R2 Sports to keep up with the results and review the live streaming schedule each day. To view livestreamed matches, go to International Racquetball Federation – IRF on Facebook or the Pan Am Sports Channel at https://www.panamsports.org/en/channel/. As of this writing, the schedule is not yet published, so please check Tuesday morning!

Blog #3
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Sunday, March 24, 2024

Greetings, and welcome to Blog #3!

Team USA logged another successful day on Sunday! The day was abbreviated a bit with the Men’s Doubles’ bye, but there were five wins to add to Saturday’s first-day results. Going into Monday and determined to produce more of the same, Team USA should be well-positioned in the main-draw seedings that will form Tuesday-Thursday competition. 

Michelle’s and Charlie’s singles matches were livestreamed on the stadium court, and there will be more of the same on Monday with five (count ‘em, 5!) of our seven matches appearing on the published livestream schedule. Racquetball family, tune in as a Monday will allow...hope you can make it!

TEAM USA – Sunday Results 

Jake Bredenbeck def. Jaime Mansilla (CHI), 11-7, 11-5, 11-8
Charlie Pratt def. Rafael Gatica (CHI), 12-10, 11-3, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6 *
Lexi York lost to Danielle Drury (CAN), 11-8, 2-11, 11-3, 9-11, 7-11
Michelle Key def. Juliette Parent (CAN), 11-6, 11-3, 11-5
Naomi Ros/Lexi York def. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Kylie Larduet (CUB), 11-2, 11-4, 11-1
Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck def. Alejandra Jimenez/Diego Pimentel (DOM), 11-4, 11-7, 13-11

* During Charlie’s marathon livestreamed match, teammate Michelle Key became “Charlie’s biggest fan,” waving a towel to cool him down during timeouts (see photo on FB and the website). She even came up with that clever double-meaning title. Athleticism AND brains, that girl. 

Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Athlete of the Day

Hey, let’s learn more about Team USA, one athlete at a time, over the next several days. First up, it’s Naomi Ros, our youngest athlete on the team and very likely to be voted “most outgoing and animated.” We don’t actually vote on things like that, but it sounds good, and there COULD be an exception. Naomi is so much fun...take a look at her photo from today. 

Naomi Ros      

Age: 18  
City/State: San Antonio, born San Marcos, Texas
Rank on Tour: 19
Age when started playing Racquetball: 8 years old
Sponsors: Alamo City Racquetball Association, Powershot Strings, Splathead Gear, Team Dovetail

What does it mean to you to compete for the USA at PARC? “It is an honor for me to be able to play for my country, and I always try to give the best of myself.”

“I would like to thank my family, my coaches back in San Antonio, my village, all the USA Racquetball staff and athletes, also all my sponsors who make all this possible! Thank you to my parents and my brother who always support me and believe that I'm capable of doing anything!”

Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

PARC Staff 

Dedicated staff members are here in support of the event and its athletes. The operations staff, including those who are providing live streaming, are a dedicated and talented team who do a magnificent job and continue to raise the bar at each and every IRF and PARC event. 

Operations/Leadership: Osvaldo Maggi (Argentina), Mauro Grandio Buzeleh (Argentina), Marcelo Gómez Pacheco (CRI), Dean Schear (USA), Cheryl Kirk (USA)

Desk Staff: Walter Capandegui, Adrián Macrino (Argentina)

Broadcast/Streaming/Social Media: Jose Cruz (Guatemala), Pablo Fajre (USA), Gustavo Farell (USA), Rafael Gatica (Chile), Gary Mazaroff (USA), Fernando Ruiz (Guatemala), Alberto Sánchez (Venezuela)

Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Volcanoes!

We interrupt this Racquetball-centric blog for Guatemala Travelogue, Part 2...

One of the most meaningful and exciting attractions for both local and international visitors that Guatemala offers are its 37 volcanoes. The three active volcanoes, Pacaya, Fuego, and Santiaguito, are different in their level of difficulty given the time and effort needed to hike them.

For instance, in one hour, one can hike up Volcán de Pacaya to see the views of other volcanoes. The hike up Pacaya is on a trail of volcanic sand through a rain forest. Once high enough, volcanic lava rocks take over the landscape. The crater can be seen at a close distance with beautiful views of Volcán de Agua and Volcán de Fuego in the distance. Lava flows and explosions have been common, although Pacaya has been dormant for the past year.

Fuego is a different story. It gets the most attention, because its explosions are the most frequent (every 30 seconds to one minute). However, it takes two days to hike it, including camping to watch Fuego’s explosions late into the night and then viewing the sunrise. This is not an undertaking for everyone!

For more info, including a description of the catastrophic eruption of Volcán de Fuego in June 2018, visit

https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/es/fuego.html and https://www.bing.com/search?q=volcan+de+fuego+eruption+2018&form=APMCS1&PC=APMC

Blogger’s Note: I was mentioning to Marie Gomar just a couple of days ago that I have a love-hate relationship with Fuego. On the one hand, he is mysterious and volatile and dangerous...and so fascinating. However, I can’t quite forgive him for his ill-timed eruption during the night of December 10, 2022. Indulge me for a quick share from the 2022 IRF World Junior Championships wrap-up:

“Just when you thought Sunday would bring smooth departures home, Volcán Fuego decided differently. A major eruption took place Saturday night that necessitated closure of La Aurora International Airport for a number of hours on Sunday. 

“Who knew, it turns out airplane engines and volcanic ash do not safely co-exist. Nearly half of the U.S. Delegation (who were at the airport as early as 3:30 am), along with many from the other countries, spent a good deal of time waiting for air travel to resume (i.e., ash no longer a safety concern). 

“So, eruption morphed into major disruption for travelers who missed their connections on the next leg of travel. However, by the end of the day, into the wee hours of Monday morning, most were back home safe and sound with this occurrence to add to the many memories of the trip.”

So you can see why I’m still a bit miffed with Fuego. Not that he cares one little bit. 

Team USA Fundraising Update

Warm thanks go to USA Racquetball VP Terry Rogers and WSMRA President Kendra Tutsch for their donations today!

For all who have contributed monetarily and/or through your encouraging words and vibes, Team USA sends much gratitude for your support! The Racquetball Family has stepped up big-time for our team and for our sport. 

Mail From Home, Part 2

It was nice to hear today from Maureen Keough, Sharron Bradford, Keith Calkins, Gail Cowley, Susan and Barry Hendricks, John O’Donnell Jr., Joanne Pomodoro, and Luke St. Onge. 

Susan wrote, “What a thrill and honor for our team to qualify and perform!! We send our positive mojo for them to enjoy staying in the moment while showing their courageous nature ‘on the court.’ Go USA!!”

Monday’s Match Lineup – March 25, 2024

Now we’re on to the final day of pool play/round robin competition. 

All times are the same as U.S. Mountain Time.

** Scheduled for livestreaming

Men’s Singles

**10:00 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. Edwin Galicia (GUA)

10:45 am – Charlie Pratt vs. Gabriel Garcia (CRI)

Women’s Singles

**12:15 pm – Lexi York vs. Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA)

1:00 pm – Michelle Key vs. Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA)

Men’s Doubles

**1:45 pm – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Gabriel Garcia/Andres Acuña (CRI)

Women’s Doubles

**2:30 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Anna Paula Aguilar Salvatierra/Andrea Gabriela Reyes Perez (GUA)

Mixed Doubles 

**4:00 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Jaime Mansilla/Carla Muñoz (CHI)

The matches on Monday are the last of the round robin seeding rounds. Results from these past three days will now be used to create the main draws that will be played out in the next phase of the tournament.

Be sure to visit www.internationalracquetball.comwww.panamericanracquetball.com, or R2 Sports to keep up with the results and review the live streaming schedule each day. 

To view livestreamed matches, go to International Racquetball Federation – IRF on Facebook or the Pan Am Sports Channel at https://www.panamsports.org/en/channel/.

Day 3 Photos from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

From Guatemala City...GO TEAM USA!!

Blog #2
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Saturday, March 23, 2024

Live streaming has begun! Due to this event’s coverage on the Pan Am Sports Channel, match streaming started today when it usually doesn’t begin until Tuesday or Wednesday of the competition week. For Racquetball fans, that means a LOT more to watch over the next week through Saturday, March 30. Go to International Racquetball Federation – IRF on Facebook or the Pan Am Sports Channel at https://www.panamsports.org/en/channel/. Thanks in advance to Gary Mazaroff and Gustavo Farell for the many hours they will put in providing great commentary on the matches! See the schedule at the conclusion of today’s Daily Blog to learn which matches** will be live streamed on Sunday.

Team USA – Day One at PARC

U.S. Team Head Coach Pablo Fajre comments on the first day of competition here in Guatemala City:

“What a great day for Team USA! The team, individually and collectively, performed so well. I’m happy to report that after two days of practice and with this first day of competition under their belts at Domo Complejo de Racquetball, the team members have settled in and are ready for the next two days of round robin/pool play action.

“This team is a mix of four veteran athletes (Jake, Sam, Michelle, and Charlie) plus two (Lexi and Naomi) who, after being members of Junior Team USA in the past, are experiencing their first adult international competition. What’s especially great is the way team members supported the rest courtside at every one of the seven matches today.

“Take a look at how it all unfolded on this first day of competition!”

TEAM USA – Saturday Results

Jake Bredenbeck def. Sergio Ortega (HON), 11-1, 11-4, 11-3
Charlie Pratt def. Carlos Eduardo Medrano Casco (HON), 11-9, 12-10, 11-6
Michelle Key def. Maria Cespedes (DOM), 11-9, 11-9, 14-16, 11-7
Lexi York lost to Merynanyelly Delgado (DOM), 12-10, 12-14, 5-11, 11-4, 8-11
Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck def. Ramon De Leon/Diego Pimentel (DOM), 11-6, 11-8, 11-0
Naomi Ros/Lexi York def. Jimena Gomez/Larissa Faeth (CRI), 11-6, 11-5, 11-6
Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck def. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Maikel Moyet (CUB), 11-3, 11-5, 11-4

Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Travelogue

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 18.1 million,  it is the most populous country in Central America and is the 11th most populous country in the Americas. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala

Currency: Quetzal - same as the National Bird (about Q7.81 to $1 USD)
Population (Guatemala): 18.1 million
Population (Guatemala City): 995,000
President: Bernardo Arévalo
Official language: Spanish
Altitude: 4,920 ft. above sea level

PARC 2024 Format/Scoring

Let’s stop here for a moment and review some key points about this event:

As mentioned in Blog #1, the first part of the tournament is pool play/round robin, seeded by countries’ past results. The outcome of this first phase will determine the seeding for the Main Draws that will be competed Tuesday-Thursday. Then, Thursday-Saturday, the Team Competition phase will take place where single elimination draws by country will be formed using the results from the first (individual) phase of competition. (This may already be “way TMI” so I’ll explain more about the Team Competition when the time comes.)

The format throughout will be Best 3 Games of 5, all to 11 points, all win by 2 points. In other words, the first player/doubles team to win three games is the match winner. If one player/team wins the first three games in a row, the match is over. If they split with their opponent(s), two games each, they go to a tiebreaker fifth game.

Rally scoring is standard, which means that a point is scored on every rally whether the rally winner was the server or the receiver.

This event is not in itself a qualifier for any specific future competition. However, results achieved by teams here at PARC 2024 will elevate PARC competition seeding positions in the years leading up to the 2027 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru (where we hope to see Racquetball included!).

Team USA Fundraising Update

After yesterday’s blog feature, five additional benefactors stepped up to support Team USA! We’re up to 59 donations, and our athletes couldn’t be more grateful for this heartwarming support. Thank you to John O’Donnell, Jr., Alok Mehta, Michael Davern, Mike Long, and Melissa Bledsoe for your contributions on Saturday!

This GoFundMe page remains “open for business,” and we’ll be so pleased to recognize in the coming week’s blogs those who might still wish to participate, HERE is the link.

Mail from Home

Over 100 people (Racquetball family members as well as family and friends of the delegation) are on a “Sneak Peek” list, receiving the Daily Blog hot off the press before publication the next day. We’re always happy to hear from them and indeed from any other fans who wish to offer encouragement to Team USA.

To Maureen Mulvenna Keough, Kit Lawson, Keith Calkins, Alok Mehta, Luke St. Onge, and John O’Donnell, Jr., thank you for the mail from home on Saturday!

TEAM USA -- Sunday Schedule

What will be in store for Team USA on Sunday? Wish us luck and tons of rollouts!

All times are the same as U.S. Mountain Time.

** Scheduled for livestreaming

Men’s Singles

11:30 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. Jaime Mansilla (CHI)
**12:15 pm – Charlie Pratt vs. Rafael Gatica (CHI)

Women’s Singles

10:00 am – Lexi York vs. Danielle Drury (CAN)
**10:45 am – Michelle Key vs. Juliette Parent (CAN)

Men’s Doubles

BYE

Women’s Doubles

1:45 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Kylie Larduet (CUB)

Mixed Doubles

4:00 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Alejandra Jimenez/Diego Pimentel (DOM)

It’s so important to the U.S. Team Delegation to share our experience here! To help everyone back in the States feel like they’re right here with us in Guatemala City, the following will be in place:

1. The Daily Blog, accompanied by plenty of photos posted on the USA Racquetball website

2. Social media posts from USAR as well as the athletes themselves

3. Live streaming provided by PARC

Be sure to visit www.internationalracquetball.com, www.panamericanracquetball.com, or R2 Sports to keep up with the results and see how your favorite players are doing.

Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA
Day 2 Action from the XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Blog #1
Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Friday, March 22, 2024

Greetings from Guatemala City, where the U.S. Team Delegation had all arrived as of Thursday evening. Team members will compete here in Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles over the next week against 9 other countries.

Introducing the U.S. Team Delegation

Let’s meet the delegation for this event, with competition taking place every day, March 23-30.

Jake Bredenbeck (Minnesota): #1 Singles
Charlie Pratt (Oregon) #2 Singles

Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck (Minnesota): Doubles

Michelle Key (Arizona): #1 Singles
Lexi York (Minnesota): #2 Singles

Naomi Ros (Texas) and Lexi York: Doubles

Michelle Key and Sam Bredenbeck: Mixed Doubles

Supporting our U.S. Team Athletes:

Pablo Fajre (California): Coach
Julian “Jules” Lowe (Arizona): Athletic Trainer
Cheryl Kirk (Illinois): Team Leader

Thursday

Everyone got in some practice at the Domo Complejo de Racquetball, Guatemala’s beautiful 10-court facility, still new. The club’s inaugural event was the IRF Adult & Junior Worlds in December 2021 and was then followed a year later by IRF World Juniors. The Pan American Racquetball Championships were held here in 2023, and we’re happy to be back again this year.

First Things First

1: Arrive.
2: Get supplies!

The traditional trip to the grocery store for (a lot of) water, fruit, bread, peanut butter, jelly, maybe a cookie or two, possibly chocolate, took place Thursday. We are so blessed with Marie Gomar’s friendship and assistance.

A Busy Friday

Friday’s schedule was brisk! While our Team USA athletes practiced at the club before competition begins on Saturday, numerous meetings of an administrative nature took place.

The Pan American Racquetball Confederation (PARC) Executive Board met in a breakfast meeting to prepare for the General Assembly meeting later on.

The Coaches and Delegates Meeting commenced at 12:00 at the host hotel where a great deal of information about the event was provided to the 10 countries* in attendance, especially the draws/match schedules for the first phase of competition. Pablo Fajre and Cheryl Kirk represented the USA at this meeting.

* Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, USA

XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

After that meeting, the Referees met to ready themselves to officiate the matches in the coming week. Welcome to Glenn Martineau of Texas who is attending his first international event as a referee. Gary Mazaroff (New Mexico) and Gustavo Farell (Texas), who are PARC/IRF veterans, have arrived as well and will be providing live streaming commentary throughout the event.

At the late afternoon Team USA Meeting, Coach Pablo Fajre covered the information from the Coaches meeting, including a review of the draws for the first phase of competition. Michelle and Jake were elected Team Captains. Everyone was pleased with the note and gifts sent by Jen Meyer who very much wanted to make this trip with the team. Duty called back home, however, but we know she’s here with Team USA in spirit!

XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

The PARC General Assembly was held this evening at the host hotel, attended by PARC Executive Board members and delegates from the countries. The agenda included financial reports, an anti-doping update, IRF/PARC event report, and Executive Board elections. Marcelo Gómez Pacheco, after serving nine years as President of PARC, turned over his leadership position to Dr. Estuardo Wer of Guatemala. Marcelo will remain very involved in Costa Rican racquetball, concentrating on future development, including a new women’s program.

Dr. Estuardo Wer administrated the installment of the new Executive Board, all of whom had secured nomination letters from their countries. For a four-year term (2024-2028), the Executive Board consists of Osvaldo Maggi (Executive Vice President/Argentina), Cheryl Kirk (Secretary/USA), Dean Schear (Treasurer/USA), Ron Brown (North America VP/Canada), Lázaro Mendoza Simón (Central America/Caribbean VP/Cuba), Thomas Youman (South America VP/Ecuador), Marie Gomar (Women’s Development/Guatemala), and María Paz Muñoz (Athlete Representative/Ecuador).

XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Much Gratitude to the GoFundMe Contributors!

With so much financial concentration going toward USA Racquetball’s initiative to bring the IRF World Championships back to the USA (this August!) for the first time in 28 years, things were looking tentative at best to be able to afford PARC participation this year. On behalf of Team USA (the six athletes who stepped up to represent their country with willingness to cover their own expenses), Jake Bredenbeck set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to ask for assistance from the Racquetball family, entitled “Help Team USA Represent in Guatemala.” So many of you stepped up big-time!

Warm thanks go to Randall Root, Laura Brytowski, Jennifer Briglia, Timothy Pratt, Melinda Walker, Sarah Quinn, Deborah Pratt, Colin Murphy, Paul Maduell, Stephen Czarnecki, David Moyle, Chris Shepard, David Boyovich, Sara Freeman, Cindy Tilbury, Ron Denler, Tia Vincent, Yolas Correa, Kyle Vander Hill, Victor Garcia, Rob Thornton, Damian Zamorano, Jim McCarr, Vishav V. Singh, Richard Aal, James Black, Susan Finn, Melissa York, Kyle Ulliman, Chris Corigliano, Grace Ratley, Daily Racquetball, Gene Fry, Eric Hopkins, Martha Sanchez, Jeremy Horner, Cheryl Kirk, Mike Wedel, Aleta VanderBeek, Jazmin Trevino, Art Fleming, Jennie Cohagen, Robert Kulp, Bryan Crosser, Chris Corigliano, Michael Aguas, Jerry Hall, Melodese Mahoney, Steve Jensen, Carrie Reitmeier, Jaime and Christine Torres, Heather Olsen, and several Anonymous contributors.

You guys and gals are the best!!

This GoFundMe page remains “open for business,” and we’ll be so pleased to recognize in the coming week’s blogs those who might still wish to participate, HERE is the link.

So here we go...Day One looms just a few hours from this writing.

XXXV Pan American Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2024
Photo by: Courtesy of Team USA

Saturday’s Schedule

All of a sudden, it’s March 23rd and time for the pool play/round robin phase of competition to begin. Visit panamericanracquetball.com or R2 Sports to view all draws and divisions.

Yes, there will be live streaming! More information will arrive in the blog tomorrow describing when and where to tune in.

We can’t wait to see Team USA in action! Here’s the first-day lineup (all times are the same as U.S. Mountain Time):

Men’s Singles

10:00 am – Jake Bredenbeck vs. Sergio Ortega (HON)
10:45 am – Charlie Pratt vs. Carlos Eduardo Medrano Casco (HON)

Women’s Singles

12:15 pm – Michelle Key vs. Maria Cespedes (DOM)
1:00 pm – Lexi York vs. Merynanyelly Delgado (DOM)

Men’s Doubles

1:45 pm – Jake Bredenbeck/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Ramon De Leon/Diego Pimentel (DOM)

Women’s Doubles

2:30 pm – Naomi Ros/Lexi York vs. Jimena Gomez/Larissa Faeth (CRI)

Mixed Doubles

4:00 pm – Michelle Key/Sam Bredenbeck vs. Samira Ferrer Marcilli/Maikel Moyet (CUB)

Okay, we’re settled in and ready to go to work. Tomorrow night’s blog will include match results and continuing stories from Guatemala. Stick with us, there’s so much to come!

GO TEAM USA!

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