A Look Back at 2021
by USA Racquetball
Dear Racquetball Family,
What a year this has been! Thanks to our amazing members who have helped keep local tournaments going, who cheered Team USA to victory, and who supported us along the way. With a hardworking staff of three, we are so grateful for the Real Racquetball Champions, State Associations, and Tournament Directors volunteering at the local level. Together, #WeAreUSARacquetball!
In 2021, we continued to bring you our monthly newsletter, Serving up the News, providing current updates and timely information. We highlighted major tournaments and asked members to contribute stories from around the country. We also continued the Real Racquetball Show with new co-host Maurice Miller.
While we had hoped for a full 2021 Championship schedule, complete with a Festival in St. Louis, protocols of the pandemic just wouldn't cooperate. Alternatively, we turned on a dime and hosted a U.S. Adult and Junior Team Qualifying event in Des Moines, Iowa, this past July. It was a great opportunity for the youth of the sport to see our top players up close and for our adult athletes to remember where many of them started.
We send a very special thank you to Doug Ganim for his dedication to making the 25th Anniversary of the US OPEN (and all of the ones before!) so successful. This October, more than 700 athletes competed in over 1,150 matches. While Doug may be officially retired, he will still be a significant contributor in the planning of the next US OPEN.
This fall, an anonymous donor helped fund the Athlete Development Program, designed to help U.S. National Adult Team players, as well as those with the potential to compete on the U.S. National Adult Team, compete more regularly in top-level competition that will further develop them as players and expose them to competitors they are likely to face in international competition. Thus far, over $8,500 has been distributed to qualified athletes.
In Case You Missed It: In December, the U.S. Adult National Team brought home the overall Team Gold from the XX IRF World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala, with the Men's Team taking First Place and the Women's Team earning Second Place! Alejandro Landa won the Gold medal in Men's Singles, with Alejandro and Charlie Pratt securing the Bronze in Men's Doubles. Kelani Lawrence and Rhonda Rajsich finished in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the Women's Singles Division, with Rhonda and Erika Manilla bringing home the Silver in Women's Doubles.
Thank you to those who contributed to our GivingTuesday campaign! A task force is currently discussing software options, and we hope to have the new platform launched in the first quarter.
If you would like to make a year-end tax deductible contribution to support any of the above mentioned programs, we would be so grateful for your support. Donate now.
As we move into 2022, there are some big developments we will be excited to share in the coming weeks.
We look forward to seeing you back on the courts at the upcoming National Doubles, High School, and Collegiate Championships.
Happy New Year from Your USA Racquetball Staff --
Mike Wedel, Renée Isherwood, and Connor Shane