THE 2017 CHRISTMAS CLASSIC ENDED THE YEAR WITH A JUMP IN THE UPPER RANKINGS AND PAOLA LONGORIA GOING
UNDEFEATED ON THE SEASON FOR TITLE NUMBER 87.
The Christmas Classic in Maryland has a long running history in the racquetball rich Maryland-Washington, DC area. Players from the area and the Northeast are serious about the sport, showing the LPRT a ton of support at this event and ensured the last pro stop of 2017 was a special one.
The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour's year ending event finished up seeing World #1 Paola Longoria with her 87th professional Tier 1 title in hand. Longoria grabbed a total of 5 titles this season, having gone through 2017 undefeated in professional women's racquetball.
Longoria also won her 4th pro Doubles title of the season as she teamed up with fellow Mexican professional Alexandra Herrera, with whom she also won in Boston a month earlier. Longoria's match record in Doubles for this seasons, so far, is an amazing 12-1.
Frederique Lambert (Canada) finished the year with yet another finals appearance in both Singles and Doubles in Maryland. It wasn't easy, having gone through 5 game matches in both her quarterfinal and semifinal, along with some tough matches in doubles with partner Jessica Parrilla.
Lambert has for the most part held her #2 position in the rankings throughout the season while attending Université de Montréal. The end of the season sees her slip a couple of ranking positions, mainly due to events that had to be missed due to her medical studies. Yet, both her consistency and tenacity promise that she may regain that number two spot in the near future.
Rhonda Rajsich (USA) battled to make it to the semifinal to secure crucial points in this event, which she had to miss last season. Despite having one of her roughest seasons physically and personally, Rhonda managed to again battle through adversity, which isn't new to her. Rajsich ends the year #2 in the LPRT rankings.
Jessica Parrilla (Mexico) ends the year solidly with her semifinal appearance in Singles and a Doubles final with partner Frederique Lambert. Parrilla's gritty play on the court has made her a mainstay in the top of the rankings. This event shook the high end of the list, though Jessica was able to keep her #3 ranking at year's end.
Quarter Final Mentions
• Carla Munoz (Chile) made another quarterfinal in Maryland. Being on the top half of the draw is particularly hard on the LPRT, and despite a number of big moments for Munoz this year with appearances in the top 8, she finds herself at #10 in the Singles rankings and #7 in Doubles at year's end.
• Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) finishes the year strong in Singles with a quarterfinal appearance that saw her go 5 games with Rhonda Rajsich and her Doubles victory with partner Paola Longoria. 2017 has been a great year for Herrera as she held strong within the top 8 in both doubles and singles.
• Cristina Amaya (Colombia) ends the year as the #8 ranked professional in Singles and #5 in Doubles. Amaya has managed to stay in the top 8 despite the volatile nature of the rankings brought on by a flood of new dedicated talent on the tour.
• Natalia Mendez (Argentina) has committed to touring full-time on the LPRT in 2017 and has become a premiere athlete on the tour at only 20 years of age. Her performance at the Christmas Classic ensured Mendez the #7 rank at year's end.
The Christmas Classic is appropriately named as the event came together to see its 26th year. It has become customary for the event to throw its full support towards the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour. For that, the LPRT is extremely grateful to everyone who came out to play and spend time with our women athletes. A special thanks goes out to those listed below for their tireless effort and complete support.
• Karen Turner
• Mike Grisz
• Andy Gomer
• Tracie Valentine
• Bill Milbach
• Wayne Toyne
• SPORTFIT TOTAL FITNESS RACQUET CLUB
• Chido's Mexican Restaurant
The Christmas Classic was an opportunity to "clinic for a cause"! The enthusiasm was felt and the courts were filled with serious tips together with encouragement going both ways. Thank you!
Swipe through some images of the Toys For Tots clinic. A great family of racquetball enthusiasts.
It is a rare occasion when LPRT Commissioner TJ Baumbaugh can find time to participate in divisional play and even rarer still when we see two commissioners on the court. Former women's tour commissioner Shannon Feaster was in the house and like TJ, she played in the Women's Open Doubles division. Both women have transitioned into the leadership roles after touring professionally.
Shannon Feaster spent 5 years leading the women's tour and has remained in a leadership role relating to athletics. Feaster currently works with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Swipe through 200+ photos of the 2017 Christmas Classic.
The year ending LPRT Christmas Classic proved to be up to the name with classic battles, wonderful people and racquetball at its finest. Thank you Maryland!