The men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) announced the inaugural Red Swain College Scholarship winners between semifinal matches during Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn, the last tournament of the 2010-2011 IRT season. With the addition of a new feature on the IRT website this summer, you’ll be able to check out their photo gallery and then track these up-and-coming players next season on the IRT Collegiate Cup Leader Board rankings. In the meantime, you can learn more about their plans for a future on the professional racquetball tour.
Majoring in accounting, this senior at the University of North Texas plans to pursue a masters degree while playing the pro tour. Seeded 28 at Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn, Ackermann took Jose Rojas to five games before bowing out in Pro Draw Round of 32’s. Ackermann won the US Team Qualifier Division in an 11-8 tiebreaker over Jose Diaz. Both of the Red Swain IRT Scholarship recipients earned a spot on the US National Team by making it to the finals in Fullerton. Watch for this Ektelon Team Adrenalin member to give back by supporting juniors even as he competes to reach his goal of a top-8 spot on the IRT next season.
Another rising star with Ektelon’s Team Adrenalin, Horn hails from the Stockton, CA powerhouse and studies Business/Marketing at National University in Stockton. Training hard to improve his game, he plans to play in as many tournaments as possible to reach a top-10 spot by the end of the 2011-2012 season.
The High School National Champion, Jose Diaz, is attending Delta College this summer to more efficiently complete his education while following his dream of playing professional racquetball. A member of Ektelon’s Team Adrenalin, he’ll attend school, compete to reach the top 15 in the rankings, and promote racquetball in his local community.
The National High School Silver Medalist has become a regular in his division in the finals, earning a scholarship to the Elite Training Camp in Colorado Springs this summer when he took Gold (18U) at the 2011 IRT Florida Spring Break ProAm. Training and studying for a certification as a nurse’s aid, this Head-sponsored player was hooked after winning the first tournament he entered (10U). He’s been hitting the courts weekends ever since, traveling with family and friends, competing against peers, and enjoying the support of the racquetball community.
This ’08 Collegiate National Champion (singles and doubles) and ’11 Pan American Games Silver Medalist (Men’s Doubles), Carson plans to play the tour full time now that he has his degree in Business Marketing from Colorado State University, Pueblo. He walked onto the clear court at Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn with confidence gained from making the quarters in three of the last four Tier 1 events he entered. Once again, he reached the quarters before bowing out to Chris Crowther in four close games. This Head player’s goal is to reach the top 10 next season.
Majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University, Knoth plans to compete on the tour full-time after earning his degree. The 2011 Intercollegiate National Champion and Head-sponsored player is ready, having upset Charlie Pratt and Anthony Herrera during Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn to make it the quarterfinals in the one of the biggest events of the year. With the goal of a top-5 ranking, Knoth is also planning to support juniors in order to give back.
Another Colorado State University Pueblo student, Comacho is studying for a degree in Industrial Engineering while competing in as many tournaments as possible while keeping up with school. This E-Force player’s goal is to successfully participate in enough tournaments to earn a top 10 spot on the tour, eventually rising to #1.
Daniel De la Rosa
Daniel De la Rosa hails from San luis potosi Mexico. Now seventeen, he first hit the pro tour at the 2008 U.S. Open, taking numerous titles in his junior career. The 2011 Pan American Champion beat Chris Crowther 11-9 in the final’s tiebreaker, becoming the youngest player to win the event. After taking Rocky Carson to four games at Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn, he’s looking to give more top players trouble in the tournaments he enters next season, including a return trip to the US Open.