Cancelled flights, the top seed’s last-minute withdrawal for surgery, and a three-hour power outage before the 8th Annual Raising Some Racquet for Kids Championship couldn’t dim the energy inside The Heights Racquetball and Fitness Club in Ohio, as spring storms and high winds cut into organizers’ plans for the weekend. Yet, “the guys were good,” agreed tournament organizers Fabrizio Mora, Angie Ledgerwood, and Bob Bedford after the event. “No one complained, and in a way it was funny.”
The plans that tournament organizers could control went more smoothly according to Bedford. “I thought everything was done well. The refereeing was good, and the pro players came out afterwards to mingle and take pictures. I was in awe of their play, but even more impressed with their manners, and how gracious and humble they are as people and players.”
Such a unique interaction in professional sport creates a special connection between fans and players who support racquetball and the broader community. Ledgerwood, a Kappa Delta alumna and a Greater Cincinnati Kappa Delta Alumnae Chapter (GCKDAC) member, reported the first time Tier One raised over $9,000 to help prevent child abuse. “We’re very excited about how well our first Tier 1 increased our proceeds for charity.”
The funds will be split between Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA), one of Kappa Delta’s national philanthropies, and The Council on Child Abuse (COCA) of Southern Ohio, which together have received close to $30,000 in the first seven years of the tournament, which evolved from an IRT satellite event.
Ledgerwood and Mora, tournament director and a former national team player for Costa Rica Racquetball, were quick to thank the volunteers, players, sponsors, and companies that helped make the event such a success, like Alegius Technologies, ALegUpK9, CBTS, Ertel Design, Kroger and The Heights Racquetball and Fitness Club.
On the court, HEAD Penn’s Rocky Carson found his second win in the 2015-2016 IRT season. Carson’s victorious championship match went the full five games, an opportunity earned after successfully facing Daniel De La Rosa in the semifinals, Reaching Your Dream Foundation (RYDF) athlete Mario Mercado in the quarterfinals, and Troy Warigon in the Round of 16. Carson’s Championship earned his 23rd career tournament victory, and the sixth spot on the all-time wins list.
Beltran’s path to the Championship included defeating Sebastian Franco of RYDF in the semifinals, Jose Rojas in the Quarterfinals, and Scott McClellan in the Round of 16. Beltran took Carson to five-games, losing with a 9-11 score in the tie-breaking game.
#1 ranked Kane Waselenchuk, who realized that battling through the pain was not enough, forfeited his Round of 16’s match against Jeremy Best, and was admitted into the hospital for emergency incarcerated hernia surgery, which went well.
As the IRT season winds down to an exciting finish with only three more top-tier pro stops left, Raising Some Racquet for Kids organizers are already making plans for the tournament next season. They hope to bring back the top pros to compete and mingle, while joining local players, fans, volunteers, and sponsors in raising their racquets for a good cause.