Guatemalan Gaby Martinez Earns Sweet Title
May 7, 2023
T. J. Baumbaugh, photos by CoachMaripa
Exciting upsets, tiebreakers, and southern hospitality were all included in the 7th Annual Sweet Caroline Open. This premier charity and athletic event, which showcased the LPRT, raised funds for two local charities this year: Carolina COPS https://carolinacops.org/ and Front Porch Housing https://frontporchhousing.org/.
Fans were packed in for the finals at the Sportsclub Greenville to watch Gaby Martinez (GUA) storm through a difficult pro draw to take her second pro title of her young career. Then they stayed to witness the winningest doubles team in LPRT history, Samantha Salas (MEX) and Paola Longoria (MEX) add another belt to their titles.
Alamo 2023 Was a Battle!
May 6, 2023
Dr. Tim Baghurst, Photos by CoachMaripa
The Battle at the Alamo has been four years in the making and it was no surprise that the women’s pro draw was larger than any pro stop outside of the US Open. Jessica Parrilla (MEX) and Erika Manilla (USA) were both tested early on by juniors trying to make their mark but came through the early rounds. Upsets were prevalent in the round of 16. A win by Valeria Centallas (ARG) over Alexandra Herrera (MEX) in the round of 16 following an upset by Brenda Laime (BOL) over six seed Natalia Mendez to make the quarterfinals. Maria Jose Vargas (ARG) caused an upset, on paper anyway, over Jessica Parrilla, and Samantha Salas (MEX) shocked Angelica Barrios (BOL).
Season of Upsets Continues at Frontline Boston Open
March 6, 2023
Dr. Timothy Baghurst, photos by Maria Paz Riquelme
The Boston Open continued the trend of 2022-2023 season: the season of upsets. Thirteen seeded Valeria Centellas (ARG) started the drama when she defeated her doubles partner and four seed Natalia Mendez (ARG) in the round of 16 for the first time on tour. Of the eight matches in the round of 16, four were upsets by seed. In the bottom half of the draw, second and third seeds Montserrat Mejia (MEX) and Erika Manilla (USA) both advanced to the semifinals. However, in the upper half, 12 seed Maria Jose Vargas (ARG) continued her fine form after time away for family and advanced to the semifinals.
Also in the upper half, world number one Paola Longoria (MEX) looked to be in cruise control early against Angelica Barrios (BOL) taking game one and leading in game two. But Barrios found some momentum and ensured that the most dominant female player over the last dozen years went home without a singles title again this season. This must be the hardest season Longoria has had on tour, and the invincibility that she once seemed to hold over others on tour has faded.
Mejia Wins Again in Arizona
February 19, 2023
The Sun Devil’s Fitness Complex at Arizona State University always produces some surprising results. This weekend's LPRT event presented by HD Solutions, LLC was no exception, with tiebreakers and upsets busting fantasy brackets early. Perhaps it was a few months respite in the middle of the season or perhaps it was the dry air and altitude, but high seeds fell early and often on the 12 courts at ASU. Maria José Vargas, returning from an extended period away with the birth of her third child, was expected to be a little rusty. As the #16 seed, no one expected too much, but she stormed through the field to the final, taking out World #1 Paola Longoria in the process. Number two seed Alexandra Herrera fell in the quarterfinals to #10 seed Angelica Barrios, but neither Barrios nor Vargas had any answer for the consistency of #3 seed Monserrat Mejia, who cruised to another title, her second consecutive. Mejia has proved that her early talent as a junior has matured into one of, if not the best in the world.
Another loss for #1 Paola Longoria will be a shock, but Longoria’s aura of invincibility over the past 12 months has waned. Yet, she still remains firmly entrenched at the top of the rankings, and proved she still wants to win with a fine display of doubles, taking the title with veteran Rhonda Rajsich. Another division full of upsets, Longoria and Rajsich were tested throughout the draw, overcoming Argentine pair Natalia Mendez and Valeria Centellas in the final. Speaking of Centellas, the young pro claimed the U21 title at this event, overcoming Erin Slutsky in two games.
Having not competed on tour since the beginning of December, this event was a litmus test for what will be a busy several months for these athletes, many trying to peak for the Pan Am Games in October. For some, their results suggest their path is clear. For others, it’s a chance to regroup and refocus. Only time will tell.
Mejia Wins 3rd Title at 30th Annual Christmas Classic
December 12, 2022
Montse Mejia (MEX) earned her third pro title at the annual Christmas Classic event hosted at the Severna Park Racquetball and Fitness Club in Millersville, Maryland. This was Mejia’s second title in a row after winning at Chicago’s Turkey Shoot in November, and in both events, she took out #1 Paola Longoria (MEX) and #2 Alexandra Herrera (MEX) to do so.
With her third title, Mejia joins an elite group with the same number of pro wins including current LPRT players Samantha Salas (MEX), Herrera, and Maria Jose Vargas (ARG).
There is no question why this seasonal, festive tournament has been around for so long even though the location has changed three times. The local players and fans are as warm and friendly as they come, so thank you to everyone who came out to watch and cheer for the LPRT athletes. The LPRT would also like to thank AGE Solutions and all the sponsors for supporting the 30th Annual Christmas Classic. We also give a big shout out to our generous tournament directors/sponsors, Karen and Mike Grisz, who give back to this sport in so many ways including their support of the LPRT for this event.
Platt Hill Nursery Turkey Pro Am Crowns New Champ(s)
November 21, 2022
The annual, pre-Thanksgiving racquetball tournament hosted at the Glass Court Swim & Fitness was packed with exciting matches, upsets, great food, and wonderful people. LPRT pros battled on the glass, fish-bowl court vying for the 2022 title, and to be part of this club’s rich racquetball history. Montse Mejia (MEX) caused a stir of upsets to earn the singles title, while the new double’s pairing of Alexandra Herrera (MEX) and Samantha Salas (MEX), earned the doubles title.
Thank you to Dan Jaskier, Cheryl Kirk, and all the sponsors and volunteers who made the event possible.
2022 3WallBall Championships Hosted on Vegas Strip
October 30, 2022
The 2022 3WallBall Outdoor Championships, held on the Vegas strip and right in front of The STRAT hotel, was a huge success again this year. The 4-day event offered 4 different sports: racquetball, handball, paddleball, and squash 57, and showcased the pro battles which were broadcast by both the LPRT and IRT.
Thank you to Tournament Director, Mike Coulter, a talented team of volunteers, and all the sponsors who made the event possible. The 3WallBall Outdoor Championships is the biggest, and final event, of the 3, outdoor majors.
Rankings Update, Fall 2022
October 4, 2022
The LPRT rankings have been updated following the 2022 US Open and prepared leading into the 30th Annual Turkey Shoot in November. We have some movement in and out of the top 10 as the depth of competition on tour has never been better.
The LPRT ranking system runs on a 52-week cycle, with players earning points for rounds and games won at each pro tour event.
Longoria Clinches 12th US OPEN Title and Mendez/Manilla are the New Doubles Champs!
October 2, 2022
A new, multi-court location at the University of Minnesota; a convenient and very cool, eclectic host hotel; and unique logistical challenges may mark the 2022 USA Racquetball US OPEN, but we also witnessed a phenomenal showcase of amazing professional racquetball. Paola Longoria (Mexico) earned an astonishing 12th US OPEN title, a feat unbelievable for most sports. Coming off a quarterfinal loss just weeks earlier in Virginia Beach, Longoria was laser focused and prepared to win. She was pressed, mostly by first-time finalist Erika Manilla (USA), but she executed when needed and demonstrated why she has a record 109 Tier 1 or higher pro titles. Longoria lost game one of the final, 13-15, but adjusted her strategy to win the next two games, 15-5, 11-3.
Invicta Security Services Crowns Herrera Champion
September 11, 2022
The LPRT returned to Chesapeake, Virginia for a pro event full of epic matches and a few upsets. Alexandra Herrera (MEX) earned her 3rd pro title, this time battling against first-time finalist Brenda Laime (COL). Laime upset #1 Longoria in a quarterfinal battle, winning 11-10 in the tiebreaker to make her first semifinal. Laime then went on to upset Erika Manilla (USA) in the semifinals to later fall to Herrera.
The doubles team of Kelani Lawrence (USA) and Hollie Scott (USA), earned their first title together, knocking out the #1 seeds on their way. This was Lawrence’s 2nd doubles title, but her first on her home court at the Greenbrier North YMCA.
Thank you to Tournament Director, Malia Bailey, for hosting the LPRT for a second time (first was in 2019), and thank you to all of the sponsors who supported the event: Presenting Sponsor Invicta Security Services, City Wide Auto & Truck Sales, Excel Paving Corporation, LPL Financial, Manilla Athletics, Virginia Sports and Spine Rehab and Performance
Longoria Hosts Successful Event in Aguascalientes
August 14, 2022
To kick off the 2022-2023 season, the LPRT returned to Mexico for a very special event. What really set this tournament apart was how the government and the people of the city of Aguascalientes embraced the event. Dignitaries, fans, and families were in attendance all weekend to enjoy the spectacle of Paola Longoria’s glass court and the amazing athletes of the LPRT, who did not disappoint!
The 2022 Paola Longoria Experience was an athletic showcase where the all-glass court was placed in an outdoor environment for maximum viewing. Crowds were substantial, including Governor Martin Orozco Sandoval, and Mayor Leonardo Montanez Castro. The final of the singles turned out to be an instant classic, where Longoria defeated fellow Mexican Montse Mejia 11-10 in the tiebreaker in front of a raucous crowd, split in loyalty to the two players. The doubles final was also an all-Mexican affair, where the #2 seeds Mejia and Alexandra Herrera upset the #1 pairing of Longoria and Samantha Salas.
5th TeamRoot.Com Event Ends LPRT 2021-2022 Season
June 13, 2022
The 2022 TeamRoot.Com Super Max Slam showcased epic battles and upsets as the pros competed for
$60,000 in prize money. The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas was LPRT’s stage for this
season-ending event, where Paola Longoria (MEX) clenched her 13 th season-ending, #1 title!
In singles action, Longoria edged out last year’s winner, Montse Mejia (MEX), in a tight, come-back final.
In doubles, the #1 seeds went out in a semifinal upset to Gaby Martinez (GUA) and Maria Renee
Rodriguez (GUA), but the Guatemalans lost a close final to unexpected pair Alexandra Herrera (MEX) and
Erika Manilla (USA).
Thank you to sponsor Randy Root of TeamRoot.com for supporting this event over the last 5 years!