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Pro racquetball tourney returns to Utah

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 9:23 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The International Pro Racquetball Tour is coming to Utah this week for four days of tournament play at the Sports Mall (5445 S. 900 East).

It will mark the second straight year that the pro racquetball circuit has staged a tournament in Utah.

Kane Waselenchuk, who won last year as part of a 136-match, three-year winning streak, had his unbeaten streak snapped earlier this month in New York when he had to forfeit a match due to injury against No. 2-ranked Rocky Carson. It had been one of the longest winning streaks in sports history.

Besides Waselenchuk, the tournament will also feature former No. 1 Ruben Gonzales, a 58-year-old Hall of Fame inductee, who is attempting to crack the top 10 before be retires at age 60.

Amateurs will also compete in age-specific and skill-level racquetball divisions, including local favorite Peter Wrigley. Approximately 200 athletes from two countries and 16 states will be competing for prize money and awards in this event.

"We are very excited to bring the top IRT players and local amateurs back to Salt Lake City, where they will show why racquetball is the fastest, most athletic, and exciting racquet sport in the world," said IRT president Jason Mannino. "This event will be memorable and thrilling to the thousands of people that visit the club."

The tournament begins Wednesday with amateur division play with the pro qualifying starting the next morning. The pro round of 16 and quarterfinals will be Friday with the semifinals set for Saturday at 11 a.m. and noon and the finals at 7 p.m. that evening.

The season for the IRT, which was founded in 1990, runs from September through May and features some 300 players.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SaltLakeCityProAm.com or by contacting Kim Roy at kimroyracquetball@gmail.com.

email: sor@desnews.com

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