The 2019 Arizona Pro Am Preview | By Kelly R. Diesel
The US OPEN ended just two weeks ago with amazing singles and doubles final that is sure to be talked about in fan/player chatrooms for the rest of the season. The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) is moving on from the winter weather of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and heading south to the warm and sunny city of Tempe, Arizona for the 2019 Arizona Pro-Am Racquetball Tournament!
From October 24-27, the Tour will be on campus at the Arizona State Sun Devils’ Fitness Complex for the third Tier 1 (T1) tournament of the 2019-2020 season. It has been 16 years since the IRT visited the “Valley of the Sun” and Tournament Director Jim Winterton, can’t wait to see the benefits of this T1.
Winterton, 73 residing in New River, Arizona is famously known for his success on the court for over 30 years, and for his success off the court in coaching players to come! Although he coaches the ASU racquetball team (for free) and has many pro-level players that he works with, Winterton’s most known player, Kane Waselenchuk, has demonstrated how vital his coach can be. After every tournament championship Waselenchuk collects, Winterton is among his first several people to thank in his victory speeches.
“I met him (Waselenchuk) right after a match against Team USA… I was coaching the Mexico team,” Winterton said. “He just finished the pro season ranked #1, and I had previously coached several players from a beginner level up through the pros. I didn’t necessarily need him, although I was certainly interested and knew what he was capable of, and I don’t think he needed me. We just felt like we could help each other’s careers, and boy has it worked out for both of us!”
Waselenchuk is one of the many top pros in attendance in Arizona next weekend, including the man who had the entire racquetball community on the edge of their seat during the US OPEN Finals, Conrrado Moscoso. Moscoso and Waselenchuk battled it out at the US OPEN Finals, and Moscoso tested Waselenchuk before the “King” of racquetball took over.
“Moscoso shook things up at the US Open, the whole tournament, and the finals,” Winterton said. “I hope he’s not on Kane’s side of the draw, kidding, of course, but we’ll be ready. Moscoso is a breath of fresh air for our sport.”
All of the top 8 players on the IRT are expected to be there, and the fans will be piling in from all corners. It is free to watch the action and be sure to join the after-party on Saturday night at the Graduate Hotel Roof-Top for a special player’s party. Tournament prizes, attendance gifts, and a terrific look at ASU’s pristine campus await those who decide to join in the fun at Arizona, and did we mention the benefits of this tournament?
“The profits are going right back into the sport,” Winterton said. “Every nickel is going to either Northern Arizona University’s Club Racquetball Team or Arizona State’s Club Racquetball Team. From racquetball equipment to transportation and lodging, this tournament will help each team with specific needs!”
You won’t want to miss any of the live-action going on in Arizona the weekend of the 24th, so get down to the desert and save yourself a courtside seat! The Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devils’ Fitness Complex is located at: 400 E. Apache Blvd. Tempe, Arizona 85257.
If you can’t make it to the ASU Sun Devils’ Fitness Complex, be sure to follow all the matches online on the Tour’s Facebook and YouTube pages! Coverage will begin on October 24th and will run until the Finals on the morning of the 27th! Don’t miss the greatest racquetball athletes on earth competing in the world’s fastest sport!
Click HERE to read our media guide.