by Todd Boss; Contributions from Darold Key, Michelle De La Rosa, Erica Williams, Thao Le, Maddie Melendez, and Deborah Elkins
April 2021 WOR/Outdoor Tournament Results
There were a slew of outdoor events held in April. Here’s a quick run-through of events/results.
Tommy Medina Shootout
Rose Mofford Sports Complex, Phoenix, Arizona
April 10, 2021
Forty racquetball players showed up on a beautiful Phoenix Saturday morning for the second iteration of Tommy Medina’s 2021 Arizona outdoor doubles shootouts.
In the final, Terry Kisling/James Garcia topped younger competitors Ben Baron/Ethan Slutzky to take first place.
Raybro Memorial Doubles Shootout
Tracy MacDonald Park, Tracy, California
April 17, 2021
Nineteen team combinations comprising more than 30 outdoor doubles players turned out for the first annual Raybro Memorial Doubles Shootout. The shootout was held in honor of Raymond “Raybro” Sevier, a longtime Northern California racquetball enthusiast who passed away last October.
The morning group was won by Hien Doan/Donny Piwowarski, and the afternoon group was won by Rick Lewallen/Donny Piwowarski.
WOR Eustis Long Wall Championships Wrap-up
Sunset Island Complex, Eustis, Florida
April 17-18, 2021
Tournament site: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=37333
In the Men’s Pro final, Mike Harmon/Jonathan Burns defeated Carlos Bravo/Joe Young.
In the Men’s 75+, Joe Young/Rob Mijares took first place in the group winner round robin over 2nd place finishers Carlos Bravo/Yelandi Rivero.
In the Mixed Pro division, native Floridians Mike Harmon/Sarah Noyes downed visiting Virginians Thomas Gerhardt/Amie Brewer in the final.
Florin High School Shootout
April 24, 2021
Congratulations to Hien Doan and Ivan Velazquez for winning the lower doubles division and to Greg Vezey and Scott Warren for winning the upper doubles division.
WOR AZ VII Final Battle Wrap-up
Tournament site: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=31617
A Singles: Ellis Murphy
B Singles: James Lamont
Open Doubles: Matt Barcellos/Charlie Stalder
A Doubles: James Garcia/Terry Kisling
B Doubles: Ellis Murphy/Angelo Denicola
C Doubles: Damian Zamorano (off hand)/Andrew Clark
100+ Doubles: Ellis Murphy/Luis Garcia
Mixed Advanced Doubles: Michelle de la Rosa/Matt Barcellos
Mixed Intermediate Doubles: Karin Mannon/Curt Baumgarth
Note: In the following article, Thao Le describes her journey getting introduced to Outdoor racquetball and then helping to grow the number of participating players in the Mid-Atlantic area. Immediately following is the recap of the Mid-Atlantic Spring Fling One-Day Shootout.
Setting the Stage: Mid-Atlantic Outdoor Racquetball
By Thao Le
Photos Courtesy of Thao Le unless otherwise stated
“You can do this.” My inside voice silently reassured me as I felt a shiver in the hot Miami heat, not from nerves but from the sheer excitement and anticipation. I glanced over at my partner, a local Tropical Park player with whom I was randomly paired with for this tournament. His impassive face showed no sign of nerves. How did I ever get here to my first-ever outdoor, short-wall tournament at Tropical Park without ever even stepping on an outdoor court? Everything I knew as an avid indoor racquetball player for years seemed to disappear -- it’s a whole new ball game, literally. The next thing I knew, he carried me all the way into the Mixed A finals to win my first Outdoor event. I never knew outdoor racquetball could be this much fun. It felt more like a party in the park than a sport. At that moment, I knew I was hooked!
It must have been a combination of beginner’s luck and a lot of fate that led me to that first win in 2008. For a few years before Tropical Park, I had devoutly followed the Meet & Play Forum in its heyday and became more and more interested in outdoor racquetball even though I had never tried it. Before Miami, I reached out to Tony Gambone (aka Cap’t C.A.O.S --- Cap’t Classic Authentic Old School) who at the time spearheaded the outdoor racquetball scene in Maryland.
Centennial Park is in Howard County, Maryland, and surrounds Centennial Lake, covering an area of 337 acres. It is a beautiful park, with six fenced-in long-wall courts, half ceiling, clean public restrooms, tennis courts, a paved trail that goes all the way around another side of the park, and ample parking. This place became my hangout for the next six years. Along with Ruben Gutierrez and Jonathan Jones, we became the three Virginia regulars who made the one-hour trek to Ellicott City every Saturday to hang with the Maryland crew. We laughed, shared life stories, shot the breeze, played five hours of racquetball, enjoyed watermelon, and didn’t have a care in the world. The beauty of it was everyone played with everyone, there was no separation of what level you are. It was pura vida at its best.
I also befriended Dave Bleyer who was a long-time paddleball and racquetball player at Centennial. In 2009, Dave, Tony, and I ran our first “End-of-the-Endless Summer” shootout, and it was quite successful. On our second shootout event in 2011, “Dog Days of Summer,” Ruben Gonzalez graced us with his presence, pairing up with Momo Zelada. They proceeded to win the Men’s Open division and cheerfully took everyone’s lunch money.
Pictured: Dave Bleyer, Thao Le, Tony Gambone, John McLane
Pictured: Momo Zelada, Ruben Gonzalez
In May 2015, Stratton Woods Racquetball/handball courts were born. We celebrated the completion of the $644,000 project with a ribbon cutting at the park. The project included the installation of four lighted long-wall racquetball/handball courts and 3 one-wall courts. We are blessed to now have these courts right in our backyard and we owe it all to Bill Bouie, Chairman, Fairfax County Park Authority. Thank you, Bill!
Photo Courtesy of Bill Bouie
Pictured along with local racquetballers are Mark Baron, President, Commonwealth of Virginia Racquetball Association (second from left), and Bill Bouie, Chairman, Fairfax County Park Authority (middle, wearing baseball cap)
After its opening, our sport gained traction. Tony created Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball Group Facebook page with now over 500+ members and growing. That September, Ruben Gutierrez, former WOR Director for Virginia, ran our very first event with 34 players and several shootouts thereafter to introduce more local Virginia players to the game. The torch eventually passed on to Carrie Hoeft from Chesapeake, Virginia, who was also hooked on the sport after playing her first Beach Bash in 2015. Carrie and Amie Brewer, the current Virginia State WOR Director, continue running many successful tournaments at Stratton Woods. These tournaments brought attendance from long-time outdoor players/legends from all over, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and New York. Last October, Maddie Melendez (a former paddleball player and a great contributor at Stratton Woods and also to WOR) and I held our “King & Queen of the Park” shootout event with raffles and prize money given out. We LOVE our outdoor racquetball family!
The pandemic hit in early 2020 and with most local gyms closed, we noticed an increased interest in outdoor racquetball. Stratton Woods was kept busy as players opted to be outside. We now have a great regular crew and are proud to have a lot of local talent at Stratton Woods. Our goal is to expose more indoor players to this great sport. We look forward to hosting and meeting new players this summer. Our Facebook page is available as “Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball.” Last but not least, I leave you with a tagline by Vic Leibofsky that I absolutely love from the Meet and Play Forum “Outdoor Racquetball: Sometimes it’s hot, but it’s ALWAYS cool.”
Mid-Atlantic Spring Fling One-Day Shootout
Stratton Woods Park, Herndon VA
April 23-24, 2021
By Maddie Melendez
Thanks to everyone who played in our first outdoor VA tourney at Stratton Woods Park, especially those who traveled from Pennsylvania and Maryland. We were supposed to have a one-day event, but since the weather was iffy for Saturday afternoon, we decided to start Friday at 6 pm. Just about everyone made it on Friday night, and we managed to get a lot of good games on all seven courts (four 3wall/three 1wall).
The weather was great on Saturday so we started play around 9 am (ish) and stopped around 12:15 pm so everyone could eat some awesome lunch from Mission BBQ; wish our girls Abril Prado and Veronica Nogales a happy birthday; and take a group pic. And then the real fun began because, thanks to Andy Gomer’s great idea, we added a Paddleball division with 10 teams, and it was a success! We will definitely add this division to all future events…it brought back a lot of great memories from my days back in New York.
All-in-all, everyone had fun with lots of play time along with plenty of food/snacks/drinks. The weather held out until the last of us left around 8 pm. Thanks to our sponsors (AGE Solutions, Formula Flow, Splathead, Gearbox, Nurse Sharon McNeill, and Mikki Cottet) and especially to Amie Brewer and Mike Spiro for all their help!
Congrats to all the winners!
3W = 3 Wall; 1W = 1 Wall
R2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=37531
Men's Doubles Open (1st) -- Ben Bleyer/Dylan Pruitt
Men's Doubles Open (2nd) -- Sergio Rivera/Ariel Garcia
Men's Doubles Elite (1st) -- Chris Ruano/Suresh Vemulapalli
Men's Doubles Elite (2nd) -- Ashok Aleti/Ruben Gutierrez
Men's Doubles Centurion (1st) -- Frank McCabe/Brian Turner
Men's Doubles Centurion (2nd) -- John Skarin/Anthony Suede Harris
Women's Doubles Open/Elite (1st) -- Amie Brewer/T. J. Baumbaugh
Women's Doubles Open/Elite (2nd) -- Veronica Nogales/Paola Nunez
Mixed Doubles Open (1st) -- Sergio Rivera/Brenda Laime
Mixed Doubles Open (2nd) -- Dylan Pruitt/Amie Brewer
Mixed Doubles Elite (1st) -- Frank McCabe/Thao Le
Mixed Doubles Elite (2nd) -- Brian Turner/Hallie Rallas
Men's Doubles Open (1st) -- Sergio Rivera/Suresh Vemulapalli
Men's Doubles Open (2nd) -- Ben Bleyer/Dylan Pruitt
Men's Doubles Elite (1st) -- Ashok Aleti/Ruben Gutierrez
Men's Doubles Elite (2nd) -- Carl Diaz/Mike Spiro
Women's Doubles Open/Elite (1st) -- Hallie Rallas/Maddie Melendez
Women's Doubles Open/Elite (2nd) -- Veronica Nogales/Paola Nunez
Mixed Doubles Open (1st) -- Ben Bleyer/T. J. Baumbaugh
Mixed Doubles Open (2nd) -- Corey Fritz/Amie Brewer
Mixed Doubles Elite (1st) -- Mike Spiro/Maddie Melendez
Mixed Doubles Elite (2nd) -- Mike & Karen Grisz
Paddleball (1st) -- Ben Bleyer/Thao Le
Paddleball (2nd) -- Andy Gomer/Maddie Melendez
Paddleball (3rd) -- Mike Grisz/Suresh Vemulapalli
Thanks again for all the continued support. We truly appreciate it and hope to see you all in our June 4-6 event.
Remember: “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.” - Unknown
See you all on the courts!
Mark Your Calendars for Upcoming 2021 Outdoor Events
Here’s a quick guide to known upcoming 2021 WOR/Outdoor racquetball events. We hope to get more tournaments on the books as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.
Tournament Directors, when you set up your Outdoor event in R2Sports, PLEASE make sure you select “World Outdoor Racquetball (WOR)” as your Organization. That way, your event will show up on the new WOR webpage we’re working on in the dynamic “Upcoming Events” widget. If your event doesn’t show up in this link below, then it isn’t referencing the correct organization on the tourney setup page.
May 15: NorCal Bay Bash; Mitchell Park; Palo Alto, California
Contact: Walter Ramos
May 15: 2021 Boston WOR Season Opener; Constitution Beach; Boston, Massachusetts
Contact: Jim Bove
May 22-23: Rodrigo Moreno Birthday Shootout; Esperanza High School; Anaheim, California
Racquetball and Paddleball offered, $2,000 in prizes; 20 teams max entry.
Contacts: Victor Rodriguez/Rodrigo Moreno https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=4149333841779550&id=100001089265760
May 29: Southfield King & Queen of the Court; Southfield Civic Center; Southfield, Michigan
May 29: One Day Shootout/Cookout Racquetball Tournament; Rainbow Beach; Chicago, Illinois
Contact: Joey Logan
June 4-6: Capital City WOR Championships; Stratton Woods Park; Herndon, Virginia
Contact: Amie Brewer
SOLD OUT, waiting list only.
June 12: RAM Outdoor Championship; St. Clair Shores Civic Arena; St. Clair Shores, Michigan
June 19: West High School Shootout; Tracy, California
Contact: Erica Williams
July 8-11: 2021 Team Root Outdoor Nationals Racquetball Championships presented by Pro Kennex; Huntington Beach, California
July 10: Southfield Racquet Sports Triathlon (Racquetball, Paddleball, and Squash); Southfield Civic Center; Southfield, Michigan
July 31: Can You Stand the Heat 17; St. Clair Shores Civic Arena; St. Clair Shores, Michigan
Aug 14-15: Windy City 3Wall Brawl Championships; Chicago, Illinois
Contact: Joey Logan
Aug 14-15: So Cal Vegas Warm-up Doubles Shoot-out presented by 3WallBall; Esperanza High School; Anaheim, California
Contact: Peggine Tellez https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31974
Aug 21-22: 2021 New Smyrna Beach CPRT Shootout; New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Contact: Norm McNutt (R2Sports site tbd)
Sept TBD: Florin High School Shootout; Sacramento, California
Contact: Erica Williams
Sept 19: Fallen Comrades; St. Clair Shores Civic Arena; St. Clair Shores, Michigan
Oct 21-24: 12th Annual 3WallBall Outdoor Championships; Las Vegas, Nevada
Contacts: Peggine Tellez, Mike Coulter https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=37265
Stay in Touch on Facebook
The absolute best way to stay abreast of Outdoor events is to follow WOR – Outdoor Racquetball on Facebook. We post updates for upcoming events as soon as they’re available!
Keep on the Lookout for Dane Elkins
The Elkins family continues to look for their son Dane, who has now been missing for nearly five months.
A Facebook group has been organized by his parents to coordinate communication of updates. Join the group “Searching for Dane Elkins” here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/findingdaneelkins
Dane’s mom Deborah wrote: “There have been many recent possible sightings but only two credible ones so far, on December 28th and January 2nd. On February 5th, witnesses interacted with Dane in Mojave, California. He told them he was going to Portland and he was roughing it. Dane can be anywhere, so please be on the lookout! Please share this flyer and tell followers to take a picture if they think they see Dane. With social media, we can find him! Thank you to all the kind people -- your support is helping our family through this nightmare.”