Canada’s Kane Waselenchuk is generally regarded as the greatest player in racquetball history and he didn’t disappoint in his first trip to Sun Prairie (WI), taking the crown at the 22nd Annual Lou Bradley Memorial Pro-Am at the Prairie Athletic Club (PAC).
Waselenchuk worked through entertaining matches against Mexican players Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya before turning it up a notch for the semis and finals.
Trailing 7-2 in the first game, Waselenchuk thundered back to score the next 28 points in a 15-7, 15-0 win over Mexico’s Alvaro Beltran to advance to the final. Beltran, one of the top players on the tour for more than a decade and the No. 4 seed in the tourney, defeated Canada’s Sam Murray in a very tough tie-breaker to make the semis.
Colombia’s Mario Mercado awaited Waselenchuk in the final and the King kept rolling, jumping to a 10-0 lead in game one, giving him a mind-blowing 38 straight points in the semis, then the final.
Waselenchuk had nearly 10 aces in the final, which he won 15-2, 15-3 in front of a packed house of about 200 people. Waselenchuk’s ability to consistently put the ball away against one of the quicker players on tour was amazing; that he did it without making mistakes — at least very few — was astounding.
Like Waselenchuk, Mercado did not lose a game on the way to the final, an impressive feat coming in as the No. 11 seed. He slipped past Alan Natera (15-13, 15-12) then took out No. 6 seed Lalo Portillo Torres 15-4, 15-7. He stopped Gerardo Franco 15-13, 15-2 and then pulled off the upset of the pro draw, topping No. 2 seed Alejandro Landa 15-14, 15-11 to reach the final.
The Mens Open draw was as good as it gets with Sebastian Fernandez overcoming a 15-4 loss in the first game to outlast Portillo Torres for the title.
PAC players Gregg White (All-Age B), Jesi Haak and Tracy Chynoweth (Mixed Open), Dwayne Schernecker and Angie Adler (Mixed B doubles) and Ken Gieschen/Nicole Suchomel (fun C doubles) all took home titles.
Nearly 150 players competed in The Lou. While there have been bigger tourneys in Wisconsin’s racquetball history, none featured this much top talent.
Matches ran all weekend in the tourney, sponsored by Phil Sussek, Bruce Thompson, Focal Point Financial Strategies, Outlook Development, Buck & Honey’s, GHC, Concrete Lifting Technologies, Sysco, Design Custom Homes, DeeJay Lawn Care and others.
The results of the tournament, which raised nearly $1,600 for the Lou Bradley Scholarship Fund, are listed below.
Men’s Pro: 1, Kane Waselenchuk; 2, Mario Mercado.
Men’s Open: 1, Sebastian Fernandez; 2, Lalo Portillo Torres; Consolation, Michael Fredenberg.
Men’s AA: 1, Tom Neal; 2, Nick Czapla; Consolation, Benjamin Horner.
Men’s A: 1, Reed Brenden; 2, Nick Czapla; Consolation, Yash Maini.
Men’s B: 1, Mario Ortega; 2, Paul Shaeve; Consolation, Evan Webster.
Men’s C: 1, Axel Lopez; 2, George Alexander; Consolation, Kshitij Wavre.
Coed C/D: 1, Joyce Satorius; 2, Tara Monthie; Consolation, Nolan Stull.
Mens 35+Open: 1, Brad Hansen; 2, Brent Walters; Consolation, Gregg Breese.
Mens 45+A: 1, Chuck McGinnis; 2, Fernando Gaitan Gaitan; Consolation, Helder dos Santos.
All-Age B: 1, Gregg White; 2, John Paulson; Consolation, Craig Hauber.
Men’s Open Doubles: 1, Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar; 2, Alan Natera/Javier Estrada; Consolation, Ryan Jacobs/Howie Grigg.
Men’s AA Doubles: 1, Kelly Gremley/Russ Bruns; 2, Alex Filter/Michael Fredenberg.
Men’s A Doubles: 1, Jack Johnson/Shane Jackson; 2, Jason Helmstadter/Andrew Klein; Consolation, Tony Garcia/Jose Arteaga.
Men’s B Doubles: 1, Mario Ortega/Jose Arteaga; 2, Scott Kugler/Fred Nothnagel; Consolation, Matt Schmekel/Aaron Boyd.
Centurion Open Doubles: 1, Carl Evers/Paul Muxworthy; 2, Troy Rens/Dan Kirschnik; Consolation, Mike Grota/Rich Ross.
Mixed Open Doubles: 1, Jesi Haak/Tracy Chynoweth; 2, Ryan Ratchford/Pam Klein; Consolation, Curt Gustafson/Sheila Champion.
Mixed A Doubles: 1, Jenny Grota/Scott Loussier; 2, Aaron Reisman/Cindy Hoops; Consolation, Matt Rustin/Meaghan Lieburn.
Mixed B Doubles: 1, Dwayne Schernecker/Angie Adler; 2, Jason Helmstadter/Kate Salathe.
Fun C Doubles: 1, Ken Gieschen/Nicole Suchomel; 2, Cap’n Dave Bajkiewicz/Tara Monthie; Consolation, Madison Faust/Matt Uebelacker.