US Team - US Junior Team Update

by Cheryl Kirk


IRF World Championships and IRF World Junior Championships

Guatemala City, Guatemala

November/December 2021


IRF National Federations have received official invitations that include full details on the two events commencing just six weeks from now, both to be competed in Guatemala City with overlapping schedules. 


The IRF and the Guatemalan Federation are excited to be hosting after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. While nowhere on the planet can be considered totally “safe” by normal pre-pandemic standards, the two organizations are committed to creating the most safe and secure environment possible for countries’ players, families, delegates, and staff members. 


USA Racquetball recognizes that each player’s and families’ circumstances and views will vary, and everyone has been encouraged to make their own decisions without any pressure to go whatsoever. Qualifying athletes have a right to compete, but by the same token, they have a right to choose not to compete in these unusual times. 


At the time of this writing, a full adult delegation (7 US Team players, 2 coaches, an athletic trainer, and a team leader) will be making the trip. On the junior side, four coaches (two of whom are also US Team members) as well as the same athletic trainer and team leader will support the players and their family members who choose to travel and compete. 


The schedules and other details are below. With the staggered approach, Adults and Juniors will compete simultaneously on December 3-6 with adults beginning earlier and juniors continuing through December 11 after the adults finish on December 6. 


IRF World Racquetball Championships

November 26 - December 6, 2021

Guatemala City, Guatemala


The Adult Team Delegation will arrive on November 26 and practice November 27 and 28. On November 28th, the traditional Coaches Meeting, Referee Meeting, and IRF General Assembly will be held. The Adult Team will begin competition on November 29 and conclude December 6 with departures on December 7.


For the Adult Team singles players, this is a qualifier event for The World Games to be competed in Birmingham, Alabama, in July 2022. Sixteen men and sixteen women (individuals, not by country) will attempt to qualify in the singles-only event. It is pre-determined that two spots each will go to male and female athletes from Asia and Europe. 


Following is the U.S. Delegation for the IRF World Racquetball Championships:


U.S. Women’s Team 

Rhonda Rajsich – Singles/Doubles

Kelani Lawrence – Singles

Erika Manilla – Doubles


U.S. Men’s Team

Rocky Carson – Singles

Alejandro Landa – Singles

Charlie Pratt – Doubles

Jake Bredenbeck – Doubles


Adult Team Staff

Jim Durham - Head Coach

Malia Bailey - Assistant Coach

Rodger Fleming - Athletic Trainer

Cheryl Kirk - Team Leader


IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships

November 30 - December 11, 2021

Guatemala City, Guatemala


The Junior Team Delegation will arrive on November 30 and practice December 1 and 2. They will begin competing in Olympic format on December 3 and conclude December 11 with departures on December 12.


Junior Team Staff

*Charlie Pratt -- Head Coach

Jen Meyer -- Assistant Coach

Robbie Collins -- Assistant Coach

*Erika Manilla -- Assistant Coach

Rodger Fleming -- Athletic Trainer

Cheryl Kirk -- Team Leader


* Also competing on the US Team


Due to Charlie Pratt’s and Erika Manilla’s participation on the US Adult Team, Jen Meyer and Robbie Collins will comprise the Junior coaching staff along with support from parent/private coaches along on the trip until Charlie and Erika have finished competing for the Adult Team. All will be certified USAR-IP instructors, including background checks and SafeSport education and training. 


Junior National Team

Congratulations to the entire US Junior Team that qualified in Des Moines (listed below). At this time, 10 boys and 8 girls are confirmed to compete in the IRF World Junior Championships in Guatemala City.



10 Singles -- Alejandro Robles Picon (CA); Lucas Frost-Biskup (NE)

10 Doubles -- Chris Nelson (TX); Adrian Nelson (TX)


12 Singles -- Nathan Rykhus (CA); Vaishant Mangalampalli (CA)

12 Doubles -- Nathan Rykhus (CA); Vaishant Mangalampalli (CA)


14 Singles -- Eshan Ali (CA); Joseph Marshall (TN) 

14 Doubles -- Eshan Ali (CA); Alexander Pappas (CA)


16 Singles -- Nikhil Prasad (CA); Josh Shea (NY)

16 Doubles -- Nikhil Prasad (CA); Gatlin Sutherland (MT)


18 Singles -- Timmy Hansen (FL); Julius Ellis (CA)

18 Doubles -- Vedant Chauhan (CA); Josh Shea (NY)



10 Singles -- Natalia Canchola (CA)

10 Doubles -- N/A


12 Singles -- Andrea Perez-Picon (CA); Aanshi Thakur (CA)

12 Doubles -- Andrea Perez-Picon (CA); Zara Ximena Barraza (TX)


14 Singles -- Sonya Shetty (CA); Andrea Perez-Picon (CA)

14 Doubles -- Aarya Shetty (CA); Sonya Shetty (CA)


16 Singles -- Naomi Ros (TX); Ava Kaiser (MN)

16 Doubles -- Ava Kaiser (MN); Kareena Mathew (OR)


18 Singles -- Annie Roberts (OR); Erin Slutzky (MO)

18 Doubles -- Heather Mahoney (CA); Julia Stein (PA)


The staff members for both teams look forward to supporting the players making the trip to Guatemala City. Stay tuned to USA Racquetball’s website and Facebook page for daily reports (aka blogs). Live streaming will be available as well!


More info soon. In the meantime, let’s start the tradition. Ready? Okay! 1, 2, 3...



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