KWM Gutterman World Singles & Doubles Open Championships
T. J. Baumbaugh, Photos by Coach Maripa
Aug 13, 2023
Highlands Ranch Rec Center, Highlands Ranch, Colorado – Well over 300 pro and amateur players made their way to Colorado for what was likely the biggest indoor event of the season. The Championships spotlighted both the LPRT and IRT, with special attention to arguably the toughest Mixed Pro draw in racquetball history. Paola Longoria and Conrado Moscosco were double winners on the weekend taking home some heavy hardware, including engraved glass event trophies.
The LPRT would like to extend our sincere thanks to Jim Hiser and his event team for hosting a fun, action packed, and successful event. Our appreciation goes to all of the sponsors who made the event possible, with a special shout out to Title Sponsor Keith Minor of KWM Gutterman.
Thank you to Todd Boss of ProRacquetballStats.com for the LPRT singles and Pro Mixed Doubles recap:
In the 32s:
- Rarely seen Nancy Enriquez took a solid TB win over #17 Sheryl Lotts.
- #13 Cristina Amaya got a solid win over #20 @Lexi York .
- #11 Gaby Martínez got a bummer of a walk-over win against Costa Rican junior Maricruz Ortiz . I would have liked to see this one. Not knowing the answer, it seems like Ortiz got hurt in Mixed, because she forfeited out of both Pros and Open.
- #6 Maria Jose Vargas made fast work of her practice partner and dark-horse candidate Veronica Sotomayor 3,2 to extinguish any deep runs by 20+ seeds.
In the 16s:
- #9 Natalia Mendez reversed the course of her last couple of matchups with #8 Carla Munoz , winning a tight one 9,14 to move on.
- #5 Brenda Laime Jalil made fast work of #12 Kelani Lawrence 10,5 to move on.
- Gaby shocked this observer and cruised past Vargas 9, 12 to move on. Vargas has been on such a roll lately, I’m surprised she got upset early despite her seed. I feel like there's a set of 5 women in a class of their selves in the ladies game right now (Mejia, Longoria, Herrera, Gaby, Vargas), and when two of them meet in the 16s, it’s always a high-stakes match.
- #10 Samantha Salas Solis took out Jessica Parrilla in a slight upset in the 7-10 matchup.
- #1 Montse Mejia lost the first game against Mendez before buckling down and cruising to a win.
- Laime took out #4 Erika Manila 7,10 to move into the semis.
- #3 Alexandra Herrera got back on top, defeating Gaby 13, 7 to return to the semis. What a quartile; the #3 quartile in this event had Herrera, Vargas, Gaby, Sotomayor, and Ortiz. Phew.
- #2 Paola Longoria made fast work of Salas to move on. In three matches to this point in the tournament, Longoria had given up just 10 combined points in 6 games ... a sign of things to come?
- Mejia topped Laime by the more dominant score line than I was expecting 6, 12.
- Longoria ground out a tough win over Herrera 10, 14.
We got the match we wanted: 1 v 2. Last year's champ versus this year's champ. And we got a back and forth affair, Longoria grinding out a game one win 15-13 before Mejia caught fire in game two and blasted Paola 15-3. In the tiebreaker, Longoria found a weakness: a cut lob serve to Mejia's forehand that she just couldn't help but attack ... and with a lively ball and concrete and altitude, cross court overheads come off the back wall for setups over and over, and before Mejia could alter her strategy Longoria ran away with the tiebreaker 11-5 for the title.
Mixed Pro Doubles:
The 28-team Mixed Pro doubles draw gave us some crazy results in the early rounds, Here's a couple of the crazy upsets by seed from the 32s and 16s:
- #1 seeds Montoya & Salas, who won this event in 2021, were shocked by #16 Gaby & Edwin Galicia in a tie-breaker.
- #24 Waselenchuk & Michelle Key advanced past two very good doubles players in @Kadim Carrasco and Laime in the opener 10,10. Carrasco just couldn't put balls away in the altitude, but Kane could and that made the difference.
- #13 Martell & Amaya went 11-10 against Adriana Riveros and Diego Garcia to move on.
- #19 Ecuadorians Jose Daniel Ugalde and Sotomayor took out Costa Ricans #14 Acuna & Ortiz.
- #10 Lawrence & Carter took out Canada's top pairing of Samuel Murray and Frederique Lambert in two, not an upset by seed by definitely by reputation.
- The run of Kane/Key was ended by the husband-wife team of Natera/Munoz in controversial fashion. After destroying the #24 seeds 15-2 in the first, Kane and Key took game two and forced a breaker. A back and forth tie-breaker was ended on a no-call at match point when Natera hit a jam serve at Kane, who held up but was not given a hinder. An unsatisfying end to the match, but one which was vindicated as Natera/Munoz raced to the final together.
7 of the top 8 seeds moved on to the quarters. #8 Natera/Munoz crushed #16 Gaby/Galicia, and then topped Mar/Mejia in the semis with relative ease 8, 9 to gain the final together. From the bottom half, Moscoso and Longoria earned their finals appearance, topping the veteran Beltran/Mendez team, then advancing past the troublesome DLR/Scott team, before crushing Portillo/Herrera to get to the final.
In the final, Natera's excellent play finally met its match in Moscoso, and the dominant pair cruised to the pro title.
KWM Gutterman (Title)
R&B Sales, Inc. (Presenting)
Pueblo Athletic Club
Leo & Susan Klimaitis
Caber Hill Advisors
Colorado Racquetball Assoc.