The biggest story leading into the second half of the 2013-2014 IRT season was Kane Waselenchuk’s return from injury to reclaim the #1 ranking at the ROLLOUT New Jersey IRT Open. He put questions about his status to rest during January’s tough stretch of three damage-inducing (and inflaming) Tier 1 tournaments, winning from the West Coast to the East and back again, in the Upper Midwest.
By February’s break for National Doubles, the 8-time World Champion had solidified his 166 point advantage to a 2,030 spread over his closest rival, #2 Rocky Carson. At the same time, #3 Alvaro Beltran cut Carson’s lead from 866 to 478 points by making two finals to Rocky’s one appearance, at the Coast to Coast California Open.
Although the top four rankings haven’t changed, other top International Racquetball Tour players have shuffled positions since the start of this season. Ben Croft grappled #5 from Chris Crowther, now #7. Shane Vanderson’s retirement saw him fall faster than an overhand kill shot as the new guard stepped in. #9 Daniel De La Rosa captured #6, and new #9 Marco Rojas (up from #13) doubled his lead over #10 Jansen Allen while inching closer to #8 Tony Carson. Only 68 points separate #9 and #8, down from 376 before the start of 2014.
The Top 8 rankings have critical implications for the season-ending ProKennex Tournament of Champions, where the top 8 pros are guaranteed a spot in the draw. Although ProKennex should be well represented by #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #6 Daniel De La Rosa, season-to-date standings change. You can watch the action play out on the IRTNetwork.com starting with the 2014 Florida Spring Break IRT ProAm March 6 – 9, the next stop en route to the MAC’s famous court 10 in Portland, Oregon, May 15-18. Click here to register.