Review 2015 and prepare for the next season of WRT pro racquetball
The World Racquetball Tour (WRT) players are breaking boundaries in the racquetball ranks. In just two years players like Alex Cardona, Jake Bredenbeck, David Bobby Horn, Andree Parrilla, Jaime Martell, Christian Longoria and Jose Daniel Ugalde have risen to the Top Ten of the WRT and competed in professional tournaments nationwide and internationally, including the 2015 Pan American Games.
The WRT is a platform for growing the sport of racquetball. Since its inception in 2012, the WRT has helped shape the careers of young aspiring players with limited resources and opportunities in the professional arena. WRT Founder and CEO, Pablo Fajre, talked about the inspiration behind the tour “we are providing them more than a place to compete, we are providing a whole support system where we help them with racquetball training, workouts and some soft skills about life.” Fajre is proud of the development and growth of the WRT players, “In the last year we have seen a lot of good results, as shown in the US Open where they presented themselves well. They competed with the top players in the world, even defeating some top legends.”
Besides riding the high from the US Open, players have risen through the WRT ranks and their growth has been outstanding. David Bobby Horn has been playing the tour since 2013. With his hard work and consistent dedication, he has risen to No. 3 on the tour, seizing his first championship title in August at the San Luis Open. Horn is a competitive threat at every tournament, consistently making the semis and finals. Up and coming player Andree Parrilla started the year in the No. 11 position, and in 2015 he finished the year by seizing his first WRT Championship Title at the Monterrey Open in December, along with ending the year as No. 5. Jaime Martell started the year as No. 9. In May, Martell graduated from university with his degree in Physical Education and dedicated the rest of the year to his professional racquetball career by practically living on the Gearbox bus touring with the team. He ended the year with two finals appearances at the last two events of the season: Monterrey Open and Alamo City Open. Finishing the year at No. 7, Martell was also voted as the Most Improved Player of the Year at the WRT Player Awards.
At the top of the rankings, the battle for No. 1 was a continuous fight between Polo Gutierrez, Alex Cardona and Jake Bredenbeck. Gutierrez was the 2014 Tour Champion and had dominated most of the events that season. To open 2015 at the Sonora Open, Bredenbeck defeated Gutierrez for his first ever WRT Title and became the first American in the No. 1 position, thus kicking off the Battle for No. 1. Bredenbeck’s time as No. 1 was short lived as he lost in the early rounds of the next tournament in San Diego where Alex Cardona won the title and the No. 1 position. The three of them moved around the one, two and three spots until mid-season when Gutierrez began suffering the effects of an elbow injury after the Cali Open in May, and had to take time off to recover. He plans to return to the tour for 2016. With Gutierrez not earning any more points, Bredenbeck and Cardona continued to battle for the rights as No. 1, although neither player declared they focused on that specifically, it was an inevitable competition which resulted in Cardona winning the race and the title of 2015 Player of the Year.
As the tour wrapped up the 2015 year they congratulated the players on their progress with the first-ever year-end awards. The players awards were held at the Alamo City Open in San Antonio where the awards were given based on the votes from both players and fans. Awards included Player of the Year, Alex Cardona; Rookie of the Year, Christian Longoria; Most Improved Player, Jaime Martell; Sportsmanship Award, Jose Daniel Ugalde; and Fan Favorite, Alex Cardona.
Now, the WRT will prepare for their fourth year with 17 events planned for 2016. The WRT year will officially start in Seattle for the Mt. Rainier Open. To access the WRT schedule visit WorldRacquetballTour.com or follow @WorldRballTour Events on Facebook. Tune in to the WRT Live free broadcast of the Mt. Rainier Open starting on Saturday, February 20th with the Quarterfinals at 10AM PST.
Be a Part of the Movement
The WRT’s mission is to grow the sport of racquetball by providing men’s professional racquetball tournaments around the globe and giving visibility to players from all backgrounds. Be a part of the movement to help grow the sport by supporting the WRT, recruiting young players to play on the tour and hosting an event in your city. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow the WRT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @WorldRballTour
Watch past tournaments, matches and videos at youtube.com/WorldRacquetball
For more information on Gearbox, the WRT’s official sponsor visit: gearboxrb.com
Pictured: Alex Cardona, Andree Parrilla, Mario Mercado, David Bobby Horn, Jake Bredenbeck, Nicolai Miramontes, Christian Longoria, Jaime Martell, Jose Daniel Ugalde