World Outdoor Racquetball Update for December 2021
by Todd Boss
Inaugural Hollywood Beach Battle Draws a Crowd
Just before the 2021 holiday season got going in mid-December, the venerable DC-based team of racquetball promoters Thao Le and Maddie Melendez brought racquetball back to the Historic Garfield Street one-wall courts in Hollywood, Florida, for the first time since the March 2019 Beach Bash. The inaugural AGE Solutions Hollywood Beach Battle was held on December 18-19, 2021.
Despite a space-limited set capacity for the tournament, the event drew a “who's who” of one-wall players from up and down the East Coast, with a number of players flying in from New York/New Jersey and Washington D.C. Other top outdoor players arrived from Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina. And of course, a ton of Florida's finest competed, ready to fend off the challenges from one-wall out-of-towners and striving to keep titles on home soil.
Here were your Pro Doubles winners on the weekend:
- Men's Pro Doubles: Robert Sostre/William Rolon
- Women's Pro Doubles: Masiel Rivera/Aimee Roehler
- Mixed Pro Doubles: Robert Sostre/Masiel Rivera
- Combined 75+: Sergio Rivera/Suresh Vemulapalli
View the home page at https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37870.
Men's Pro Doubles recap
Men’s Pro Doubles finalists (L-R) Sostre, Rolon, Espinal, and Faro. Photo courtesy of Lisa Sostre
Twelve teams entered this draw, split into three RR groups. The format gave the winners of the RR groups byes into the knockout semis, and then the three second-place teams played a winner-take-all mini-RR group to determine the last semifinalists.
- Robert Sostre and William Rolon
- Yasmani Perez and Alejandro Barceló
- Ignacio Espinal and Eric Faro
The three 2nd place teams who duked it out for the last semi spot were:
- Thomas Gerhardt and Mike Harmon
- Richie Miller and David Blatt
- Freddie Ramirez and Joe Young
Ramirez and Young claimed the last knockout spot by topping the wild card RR group.
In the semis, Sostre/Rolon took out Ramirez/Young in a matchup of long-time one-wall partners Iceman and Freddie. In the other semi, Espinal/Faro topped the surprise group winners Perez/Barcelo.
In the final, Sostre/Rolon were just too strong and took out Espinal/Faro in two close games.
Women's Pro Doubles Recap
Women’s Pro Doubles finalists (L-R) Ramos, Zerega, Rivera, Roehler. Photo courtesy of Ruben Pagan
The Women's Pro Doubles played one big RR group to determine the top two teams, who then met again in a winner-take-all final.
In the group stage, LPRT touring pro Masiel Rivera and Hall of Famer Aimee Roehler cruised to a group win, with #1 seeds and New York one-wall legends Maira Ramos and Kathy (Guinan) Zerega taking second.
In the knockout final, Rivera/Roehler won the rematch against the New Yorkers to take the pro title.
Mixed Pro Recap
Mixed Pro finalists (L-R) Miller, Ramos, Rivera, Sostre. Photo courtesy of Lisa Sostre
An excellent Mixed Doubles draw was hit somewhat by injuries by Sunday morning but still featured some top teams battling it out. The 10 teams split into RR groups of five each, with the top two teams advancing to the knockouts.
Group A winners: Robert Sostre/Masiel Rivera
Group B winners: Ruben Pagan/Aimee Roehler
Second place finishers: David Blatt and Anita Maldonado from Group A, and Richard Miller and Maira Ramos from group B.
In the knockouts, Sostre/Rivera held serve in the top half, while Pagan/Roehler were upset by the NYC pairing of Miller/Ramos. In the final, Sostre/Rivera made it a double, winning the Mixed, 21-16.
Combined 75+ Recap
Combined 75+ Champs plus Tournament Directors (L-R) Rivera, Le, Vemulapalli, Melendez. Photo courtesy of Thao Le
The Combined 75+ was nearly as big a draw as the Men's Pro, and it was hotly contested. As with Mixed, the 11 teams split into two big RR groups, with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals.
In Group A, Alejandro Barcelo and Richie Miller took the group, with the traveling Virginia team of Sergio Riveraand Suresh Vemulapalli taking 2nd.
In Group B: Pro finalists Ignacio Espinal and Eric Faro took the top spot, while the Miami duo of Daniel Talamo and Gleiber Barrios Subires surprised some one-wall top pros to take second.
In the knockouts, there were some amazing upsets. Barcelo/Miller took out the underdog Miami pairing in the first semi, but the Virginians shocked the Pro finalists to get to the finals. There, Rivera and Vemulapalli took out another favored pro outdoor pairing to surprise the tournament and win the final. Kudos to Rivera and Vemulapalli for their big win!
Thanks to Tournament Directors Thao Le and Maddie Melendez for putting this event on! Thanks to Vic Leibofsky for his help on the draws and making sure all of us watching from afar knew what was going on.
Updates on the Outdoor Majors
Here’s the latest news from the three Outdoor Major tournaments (see the upcoming events section for exact dates and locations):
Beach Bash 2022
- R2sports.com website: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=31509
- Dates: 3/24/22 – 3/27/22
Outdoor Nationals 2022
- No news for 2022 event at the current time.
- Tentative dates: 7/14/22 – 7/17/22. The dates have been pushed back a week to move the tournament away from the same week as the July 4th holiday.
- No news for 2022 event at the current time.
- Tentative dates: 10/19/22 – 10/23/22
December 2021 WOR/Outdoor Tournament Result Recaps
WOR AZ Battle Siege at Horizon, December 5th, 2021
Battle Siege at the Horizon group competitor shot. Photo courtesy of Michelle De La Rosa
R2Sports page: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38073
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/635640957478334
The return of the WOR-Arizona Battle series, after a long COVID-induced hiatus, occurred at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, the first weekend of December. Twenty-one Arizonians (and one Californian, Jeremy McGlothin) competed in this event, which featured round robin play in every division in a true shootout format. Here are the winners of the divisions competed:
- Open Doubles: Thomas Gerhardt & Michelle De La Rosa
- A Doubles: Ron Couch & Curt Baumgarth
- B Doubles: Carlitos Reyes & Ellis Murphy
- C Doubles: Nick Coons & Mike Schulte
- Centurion 100+ Doubles: Ellis Murphy & Terry Kisling
- Mixed Doubles: Thomas Gerhardt & Michelle De La Rosa
Players also competed in singles (a tall order after so much round robin doubles action). Here’s how those draws played out:
- Open Singles: Thomas Gerhardt
- A Singles: Terry Kisling
- B Singles: Rob Craig
Thanks to Michelle De La Rosa, Key Racquetball, and WOR Arizona for getting the monthly Arizona outdoor shootout Battle series back into action for 2021 and 2022!
Mark your calendars for these Upcoming Outdoor Events for 2022
Here’s a quick guide to known upcoming WOR/Outdoor racquetball events. The tournament titles are now links to the Event home page in R2sports or on Facebook.
- January 2, 2022: WOR AZ Battle Clash of Chavez, Cesar Chavez Park, Laveen, Arizona. Tournament Director: Michelle De La Rosa
- January 8, 2022: Outdoor Season Kickoff Shootout, Newport Beach, California. Ten-team shootout, round robin style. Tournament Director: Jeffrey Thompson (aka “JTRball”)
- January 15-16, 2022: WOR Racquetball Shootout at Holiday Park, Holiday Park, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tournament Directors: Jeff Wright & Rob Mijares
- January 30, 2022: WOR AZ Battle of Rose's, Location TBD, Arizona. Tournament Director: Michelle De La Rosa
- March 5, 2022: WOR AZ Battle Target Tolleson, Location TBD, Arizona. Tournament Director: Michelle De La Rosa
- March 24-27, 2022: 2022 Beach Bash. Garfield Street Courts, Hollywood, Florida. Peggine Tellez = Tournament Director
- April 2-3, 2022: WOR AZ Final Battle,Location TBD, Arizona. Tournament Director: Michelle De La Rosa
- Late April, 2022: (tentative) One-Day NorCal Shootout, West High School, Tracy, California. Tournament Director: Frank Biehl
- Early May, 2022: (tentative) Raybro Memorial Doubles Shootout, Tracy McDonald Park, Tracy, California. Tournament Director: Frank Biehl
- June 3-5, 2022: Capital City Championships, Stratton Woods Park, Herndon, Virginia. Tournament Directors: Amie Brewer and Carrie Handfinger Hoeft
- July 14-17, 2022 (tentative): 2022 Outdoor Nationals, Huntington Beach, California. Tournament Directors: Geoff Osberg & Jesus Ustarroz
- August 12-14, 2022: Windy City 3Wall Brawl Championships, Chicago, Illinois. Tournament Director: Joey Logan
- October 20-23, 2022 (tentative): 13th Annual 3WallBall Outdoor Championships, Las Vegas, Nevada. Tournament Directors: Mike Coulter & Peggine Tellez
The Latest on Dane Elkins Search
Latest Dane Elkins Missing flyer from "Searching for Dane Elkins" Facebook group/Elkins family
The one-year anniversary of Elkins’ disappearance was on 12/21/21, and KTXL-TV FOX40 in Sacramento aired a one-year update to his story. The link is here: https://www.facebook.com/EytanWallaceKTXL40/videos/1138108606926196/.
The family believes he is making his way up the West Coast of California towards Oregon, based on chronological sightings in Bakersfield, Mojave, Oakdale, and most recently Modesto.
If you see Dane or may know about his whereabouts, his mother Deborah Kassin Elkins respectfully asks you to contact her at 562-504-6005 and to send any pictures or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep updated, please consider joining the Facebook Group “Searching for Dane Elkins” at this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/findingdaneelkins. The Elkins family is continually providing updates, possible sightings, and news articles/media coverage on the search.
WOR Website Updates
We have updated the WOR Hall of Fame page for 2021 Inductees Dave Trenton and Steve Fey, a fearsome doubles tandem who won the 1979 Outdoor Nationals Doubles title and was a force on the court during the late 1970s-early 1980s in the heyday of outdoor racquetball on the old OCC courts.
Thanks to Brett Elkins, WOR Hall of Fame Chairperson, for nearly 10 years of work on Hall of Fame coordination, biographies, and leadership.
Stay in touch with WOR 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!
Plus, there’s a slew of geographic-specific groups that talk about play all over the country. Wherever you live, there’s likely to be a group that coordinates play in your area. Reach out to WOR to find a Facebook group or a state director to help you out.
If you have any questions, please email WORusaracquetball.com and we’ll get back to you ASAP.