Ektelon Nationals Closes 2012-2013 IRT Season with Kane’s Win

#1 Kane Waselenchuk took home his 9th title of the 2012-2013 season by winning Ektelon Nationals, tying Cliff Swain’s record of 70. Click to read more.

Click HERE to view the pro draw.

Final:

#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #2 Rocky Carson 1, 2, 3

After the three-game championship match, Rocky thanked his family and coach during the awards ceremony, looking forward to 6′ swells and surfing during the summer break. Afterwards, Kane stepped up to the microphone, congratulating his opponent, a “great gentleman,” before commenting on how his own injuries during the season had given him concern whether he’d finish the season playing at all. “But here I am.”

He then thanked his family for their sacrifices to help him be in the position he is and commented that he’s looking forward to spending time with them over the summer, watching his girls play their sports. “Finishing up here like I did will make it a lot better.”

The season hasn’t sunk in yet for Kane, with his 9th win for 2012-2013 also his 70th title, tying Cliff Swain’s record, one of the last that he hasn’t broken. “It’s all a blur.” The last four or five tournaments, especially, knowing that if didn’t win he wouldn’t finish number 1. Coming back after Denver, which he had forfeited due to a knee injury, he wasn’t sure if his knee would hold up or whether he was just delaying “the inevitable.” It did, with the last few tournaments “unbelievable” as he felt like he was twenty-four again.

It looks like the racquetball world can expect to see the 8-time World Champion playing for years to come.

Semifinals:

Fans Crowdi the Courts for the Rocky-Ben Semifinal

Rocky Carson d Ben Croft 7, 5, 10

Kane Waselenchuk d Jose Rojas 2, 3, 6

Quarterfinals: No major upsets marked the early rounds, although #18 Brad Schopieray defeated #15 Anthony Herrera in the 32s. An injury forfeit took Shane Vanderson out in the 16s and forced IRT President, Jason Mannino, from the US Team Qualifying.

Jose Rojas d Chris Crowther 9, 6, 11

Ben Croft d Fernando Rios 4, 5, 4

Rocky Carson d Daniel De La Rosa 4, 1, 7

Kane Waselenchuk d Javier Moreno 0, 2, 5

Results:

Round of 16

Kane Waselenchuk (Austin, TX)  d. Alejandro Landa (El Paso, TX)  11-5, 11-6, 11-0

Rocky Carson I I I (Ladera Ranch, CA)  d. Brad Schopieray (Swartz Creek, Michigan)

Fernando Rios (Cuenca, Azuay)  d. Hiroshi Shimizu (Kawasaki, Kanagawa)  4-11, 8-11, 9-11

Chris Crowther (Carlsbad, CA)  d. Polo Gutierrez (Juárez, CH)  5-11, 8-11, 2-11

Jose Rojas (Stockton, CA)  d. David Horn (Stockton, CA)  7-11, 11-2, 11-2, 11-9

Ben Croft (Lake Bluff, IL)  d. Andy Hawthorne (Seven Hills, OH)  5-11, 2-11, 3-11

Daniel De La Rosa (Qro, QE)  d. Tony Carson (Louisville, CO)  3-11, 5-11, 11-13

Javier Moreno (Unknown, CH)  d. Shane Vanderson (Tampa, FL)  WBF – Injury

Round of 32

Kane Waselenchuk (Austin, TX)  d. Derek Izzi (Gillette, WY)  11-2, 11-1, 11-0

Rocky Carson I I I (Ladera Ranch, CA)  d. Mike Harmon (Sarasota, FL)  2-11, 3-11, 5-11

Hiroshi Shimizu (Kawasaki, Kanagawa)  d. Alvaro Beltran (Tijuana, BC)  WBF – No Show

Chris Crowther (Carlsbad, CA)  d. Andree Parrilla (San Luis Potosi, SL)  6-11, 2-11, 0-11

Jose Rojas (Stockton, CA)  d. Alejandro Herrera (Unknown)  11-2, 11-2, 11-0

Ben Croft (Lake Bluff, IL)  d. Diego Crespo (Cochabamba, Cochabamba)  11-3, 4-11, 6-11, 5-11

Tony Carson (Louisville, CO)  d. Cliff Swain (Green Harbor, MA)  11-4, 11-7, 11-7

Shane Vanderson (Tampa, FL)  d. Sebastian Franco (Cali, Cali)  5-11, 5-11, 11-5, 9-11

Javier Moreno (Unknown, CH)  d. Mauricio Zelada (Columbia, MD)  11-7, 11-9, 11-4

Daniel De La Rosa (Qro, QE)  d. Andrew Gale (Centerville, UT)  0-11, 6-11, 8-11

Andy Hawthorne (Seven Hills, OH)  d. Juan Torres (USA)  11-8, 11-6, 11-5

David Horn (Stockton, CA)  d. Alex Ackermann (Grapevine, TX)  11-1, 11-7, 11-8

Polo Gutierrez (Juárez, CH)  d. Marco Rojas (Stockton, CA)  11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 2-11

Fernando Rios (Cuenca, Azuay)  d. Jose Diaz (Stockton, CA)  11-7, 11-7, 11-9

Brad Schopieray (Swartz Creek, Michigan)  d. Anthony Herrera (Chandler, AZ)  11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 1-11

Alejandro Landa (El Paso, TX)  d. Jansen Allen (Rice, TX)  9-11, 3-11, 6-11

Alvaro’s out; Kane Clinches World Title

2012 E Nats finalist, #3 Alvaro Beltran pulled out with an injury as #1 Kane Waselenchuk arrived to defend his 2012 E-Nats Champion title ranked #1 World Champion for a record 8th time. Kane also holds the highest win-loss percentage, longest winning streak, and stands ready to tie the record for winning the most pro events. Word around the courts increasingly ordains him as the best player ever. Does Kane agree?

“It’s a subjective question with no right or wrong answer,” Kane said in an interview, leaving others to cite statistical benchmarks. A student of the game and its history, he instinctively recognizes those who have come before him. “I’m just proud to be mentioned among the greatest players. Having people contemplate that I could be the greatest is awesome in itself, too.”

K. Waselenchuk Playing (L) Alvaro Beltron (R) in 2012 E Nationals by restrungmag.com

You would think that reaching the pinnacle of his thirteen-year professional playing career would have him celebrating even before he arrived at the season-ending Tier 1. He’s not. While clinching the title has taken “a huge weight” from his shoulders, the path to Fullerton for the 8-time #1World Champion been “all over the place” this season, gratifying and also hard due to reoccurring injuries on top of a personal loss suffered just before the Novasors Ghost of Georgetown opener.

Performing through tough times and injuries is inevitable in professional sports. Every player, including Waselenchuk, deals with aches, pains, and more that they usually keep to themselves. This season was different for Kane due to the nature of his injury. “The frustrating part wasn’t the injury. The problem was that I could play a match feeling 100% and then, two hours later, not. It’s the uncertainty of the ones that play tricks on you that’s frustrating.” For example, going into Denver he was fine. “And then, all of a sudden, boom—it happened,” he said, referring to the knee injury that forced him to forfeit in the final.

At the time, he was in a close race with #2 Rocky Carson, so feeling fine and then backtracking or not knowing what might happen added to the challenge of competing in the next tournament, the Party with the Pros in Missouri. “I felt good going into St. Louis, but didn’t know what to expect. Afterwards, I still felt good so I kept doing the same things over and over hoping it’d hold up. It has.”

Not by chance. Even as he’s earned the top ranking for a record-setting eight times, a position many might consider permission to coast through to the season’s end, he continues to train hard and stick with the schedule that gives him balance—even when that means starting his training at midnight. It’s something his family has come to understand and support. We most often see Kane the competitor, but he’s also a husband, father of two young girls, and part of a family committed to fostering dogs. It’s a lot of responsibility that also gives back. “My family sacrifices a lot through out the season, which helps me be in the position I am.” They keep him “honest,” focused on the mentality of how he’d like to be remembered and perceived, including as viewed on playing tapes.

For now, even if his knee gives out in Fullerton his title of Wold Champion will not. But don’t think for a minute he’ll let up. “The only option is winning for me.” His friends have suggested going out to celebrate, but instead he continues to work and focus on maintaining a competitive mindset until the last point is scored at season’s end. Usually, that’s the time when players enjoy a summer break. Not Kane.

The most decorated professional in the history of the sport has fallen behind his personal expectations. His injuries set him back. While he’ll be able to spend more with his family before the 2013-2014 season starts, he’ll also get right back to work for next fall. With winning his only option and a work ethic to push harder, he’ll continue to make history by adding more titles to his already impressive list.

Racquetball World Converges at Ektelon Nationals

The 2013 Ektelon National Singles Championships will combine the nation’s largest singles racquetball competition with season-ending stops for the men’s and ladies professional racquetball tours plus the USA Racquetball’s US National Team Qualifier and many amateur divisions for the ultimate culmination to the indoor season featuring the top players in the sport.

The 46th rendition of the Championships, to be held May 15-19 at the Meridian Sports Club in Fullerton, Calif., will be enhanced by a more centralized competition area and player hospitality village inside the club, which promises to create the most electric atmosphere for any event held in the sport. The village and spectator area will provide a unique setting where professionals, amateurs, and spectators interact in the same area. As an extra benefit to this year’s event, players will not need tickets for professional matches.

“I’m very excited to attend my first National Singles Championships,” said Steve Czarnecki, new Executive Director of USA Racquetball. “While unable to make the portable court available this year, USA Racquetball is committed to conducting a first-class competition pursuing ways to make the court available in the future.”

For the third year in a row, Ektelon has provided broad support. “Ektelon is proud to support USA Racquetball, the IRT, and the LPRT through its title sponsorship of these prestigious Championships,” said Scott Winters, Vice President of Ektelon. “We are very excited about some of the upgrades we are able to bring to this year’s event, including organizing a number of fun and exciting on- and off-court activities for players and spectators.”

Divisions are available across many skill levels and ages for all who would like to put their racquetball skills to the test while having a good time rekindling old friendships and making new ones.

Highlighted activities during the week include:

-US National Racquetball Team Qualifying, IRT, and LPRT Divisions

-Heroes Divisions for active-duty Military, Police, and Fire personnel

-Charity Pro-Am Doubles benefitting the Military Racquetball Federation (Wednesday)

-State/Regional Qualifiers Champions Reception (Wednesday)

-Ladies Night Out (Thursday)

-Hall of Fame Induction and Annual Awards Ceremony (Friday)

-Ektelon Pre-Semis Party (Saturday)

-Discounted Disney Vacation Packages

For more information, view the Official Printable Entry Form and click here to enter online.

“The IRT is excited to play an integral role in Ektelon National Singles,” said Jason Mannino, IRT President.  “We greatly appreciate Ektelon’s support, which makes it possible for the top pros to participate. The event makes for a real celebration of racquetball.”

The backdrop of the Championships is Fullerton’s premier Meridian Sports Club located in beautiful Orange County and featuring 23 courts. The Club offers the rare opportunity for amateurs to interact more closely with the pros. Regardless of who wins or loses, the real winners are the veterans, players, and the fans enjoying great racquetball as events like Ektelon’s Nationals Singles Championships build momentum for the sport. And for those unable to make it to Fullerton, click to www.enetlive.com to watch the action unfold.