3WallBall in Las Vegas 2020 – Maxed Out
The 11th edition of the Las Vegas 3WallBall World Championships 11th edition is in the history books and what an event it was. So many “firsts”, starting with this event being the only major racquetball event that survived after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the season. Other “firsts”; Kane Waselchuk’s first outdoor appearance (more on that in a moment), a full complement of top LPRT & IRT tour players participating, the largest draws seen in decades in most of the divisions both amateur and pro, maxing out the number of players able to enter with a healthy waitlist for a coveted spot, pro match steaming provided on two platforms (LPRT & IRT) at the same time with over 200,000 views of matches played during and after the event.
It was also the strangest event of the year. Normally the 3WallBall World Championships has more of a sports festival-like feel, a giant tail-gate party with great matches, time to hang-out with our friends and sporting families, re-ignite rivalries, laugh and just play. The event this year was yoked by the Nevada state C-19 regulations which eliminated spectators, enforced capacity limits and ultimately changed the feel of the tournament. Fear not, 2021 should see a return to the revelry of old, pandemic conditions notwithstanding.
2020 3WB brought 600 players to THE STRAT for excellent competition and the clash of indoor players vs the seasoned outdoor players made for in-demand matches and stellar examples of the grace and athleticism or racquetball. Sustaining an event of this size and caliber is no easy feat and this year, the additional demands required for the health and safety of our attendees, put a real dent in the economics of the event. Even so, the Prize Purse was substantial at over $23,000 with Pro Mixed Doubles receiving a healthier than usual portion. It takes serious time and money – be a supporter of the 3WallBall experience. We need you and the sport needs you.
To our sponsors; we appreciate you more than you know and work to increase your visibility with pre and post event promotion. Please support our major sponsors whenever possible as well as all those support this event. See www.3WallBall.com for more sponsor information. Major sponsors - Pro Kennex, Gear Box, Ahern Rental, Gomer associates, KGM, SodaMan Vending, Bella Vista Windows, Los Compadres Auto, KRG. Partners - IRT-LPRT-USAR-WOR-MRF.
A hearty Thank You to all those involved in making this event happen from literally the ground up! From the folks that construct the courts to the staff the run desk operations, the streaming teams, all the volunteers that helped manage the extra procedures that we had to employ, we could not have made it through the week without you all.
Another casualty of C-19 was the suspension of The Cup Series; normally the crowning presentation for the 3WallBall World Championships in Las Vegas. We expect the Cup Series to return in 2021 and be better than ever now that a new group of players as been bitten by the outdoor bug.
The 2020 CPRT was the highlight of Saturday night with Koll and Beltran (returning champs) besting Rocky Carson and Jesus Ustarroz after they had made their way past last year’s runner up team, Robert Sostre and Gabriel Medina. What usually followed would be the Nellis Air Force Base Color Guard in a salute to our Heroes and Adaptive racquetball players – next year. The 2020 WOR Hall of Fame ceremony was also a victim of our spectator- less requirements, however congratulations go out to Paul Olson, Mark Harding, Dianne Heims and Betty Weed. We look forward to the return of our special events including Ladies night and the Players party in 2021.
Sunday morning dawns with high anticipation – 3-Wall Finals - and the much awaited Men’s Pro doubles match between defending champions, Daniel de la Rosa & Alvaro Beltran and Kane and his very experienced partner, Ben Croft. It did not disappoint, going to tie-breaker before the seasoned team of DLR & Alvi bested the king of indoor and his outdoor gun. Lest you think that it was all about the dudes…. The Women’s Pro Doubles held court with the triumphant return to action for 7 months pregnant Janel Tisinger-Ledkins, who teamed up with Paolo Longoria to take on last year’s champions Carla Munoz and Michelle DLR (a new mom herself). The teams rolled their way to a tie-breaker when Ledkins and Women’s indoor queen, Longoria overcame their worthy opponents. The Men’s Singles found international flavor with Marcel Vargas Aguilar battling Andree Parrilla before succumbing. Longoria continued her winning ways with another tie-breaker thriller over Rhonda Rajsich.
Closing out the 2020 event was the showcase Pro Mixed doubles featured finalist newcomers Mario Mecado and Adriana Riveros going against Daniel & Michelle de la Rosa. It should be noted that the team DLR is the winningest Pro Mixed team in 3WallBall-Vegas’ history with 5 of the 6 prior finals going their way. Make that 6 of the 7 as they took command of the match from start to finish.
On the Amateur side, fighting their way through a 33-team draw, Ryan Rodgers and Mike Alderson took the Men’s A doubles division. More healthy draws saw 23- teams in both the Men’s Elite and B doubles brackets with top-seeded Nor-Cal team Scott Warren & Greg Vezey and 23rd seed Alfonso Ybarra & Sal Alejandre of Tracy, CA capturing their respective championships.
Both levels of Centurion offered deep draws, Kane partnering with Gary Durbin fell to the 5th seed So Cal pair Scott St. Clair and Tony Burg as Ethan Janson & Jeff Elden topped their fellow Washingtonian team of Benjamin Doniego & Mark French.
Lest you think that 1-wall gets the short shrift, Men’s Pro doubles saw our outdoor ironman, Robert Sostre and his finely tuned partner, Will Rolon takedown Tom Gerhardt & Dylan Pruitt in a #1 vs #2 seed 3-game final. The Pro Mixed final saw Rick SodaMan Koll and Rhonda emerge victorious over Munoz and Rolon in yet another tie-breaker.
2020 is behind us, we had a chance to play together and experience something our sport needed. An opportunity to demonstrate that racquetball is racquetball no matter the number of walls or whether it’s played indoor or outdoor. Skill, experience, attitude and just plain bangin’ the ball is what makes racquetball so great. So gather your buds and let’s look forward to a better, healthier and more normal 2021 season and 3WallBall Vegas tournament. Stay tuned for the dates and details – You’re in for a surprise.
The full results for the 2020 3WallBall World Championships can be found at https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-results.asp?TID=34945.
And don’t forget that you can watch and re-watch a number of the Pro matches, early pairings to the finals at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3IUtyASra8EXpJCdNieGXw
Photo Credits: Stephen Fitzsimons, Mike Augustin, Belinda Dettman, Roby Partovich