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  • Writer's picturemrjaimetorres

28th Annual American Family Racquetball Classic Wrap Up

The 28th Annual American Family Racquetball Classic wrapped up today, and it was the first American Family Fitness tournament in Richmond Virginia since February of 2020. This year we saw many familiar faces, and we missed some as well. This is the first tournament since some of our cornerstone racquetball family passed. Willie Moreno and Tony Pelonero will always be synonymous with Richmond Racquetball and their absence was certainly felt.

We had 54 participants show up and compete for top spots! The final results can be seen over at R2 Sports page. We had a deeper-than-usual women's bracket, fielding a very competitive Women's A and Women's B bracket. Jodi Weidler took the top spot in Women's A as new-comer Jessica Fox took gold in Women's B and Bronze in Women's A.

Fan favorite Tom Gerhardt fought a hard battle with Rich Benderoth to take Gold in Men's Open, and was assisted by the amazing Amie Brewer to take Gold in Men's Open Doubles in a riveting tie breaker against Nicholas Czatt and up-and-comer and Men's A champion Chase Lavoie.

Taking 3rd in Open Elite doubles but first in American Family's first ever Centurion division, Marc Highfill and Doug Innanen beat out Rich Benderoth and David Wagenbrenner in a finals match with their proprietary one-two punch of power and finesse.

Men's Elite was clinched by the ever-inventive Greg Fox, befuddling Brandon Bellotti who had an amazing run into the Elite finals. Not to be satisfied with just Elite gold, Greg also took first in 45/55 Elite/Open Age Singles, beating out David Wagenbrenner who had a great run in both brackets.

Brandon Bellotti also took home second in Men's A singles, losing to Chase Lavoie in a tie-breaker after beating Chase on his Elite Run. Brandon was able to secure gold in Men's A doubles, with his partner John Stanley, beating Richmond natives Brian Kantrowitz and Rob Freed. John also took home a gold in Men's B singles, besting Valentin Ortiz in an entertaining and athletic finals.

Mixed Open/A saw the deepest draw in a long time, with Cary Stancil and Thelma Ruhlen ripping through the round robin undefeated.

Men's C was clinched by Clay Coleman, who brought several friends from William & Mary. He beat out Jeanette Lundberg, who went home with Silvers from Men's C and Women's B.

Jesus Portillo beat long-time rival and training partner Stephen Johnson for gold in Men's 55/65 C/D.

And finally, Jim Campbell beat Frank Senger in the longest finals match for Men's 65+ A/B, closing the tournament out after most of the cleaning crew had left.

This tournament would not be what it was without the people behind it. Eric Watkins and Charlene at American Family worked tirelessly to get the courts cleaned and refinished for the tournament. Eric Watkins, Jodi Weidler, and Roddy Hogg wrapped up their final tournament together. Jodie and Roddy are retiring from Tournament Director life, putting in over 10 years of hard work and building a tournament that draws people from 6 states with low entry fees, great competition, and an unmatched racquetball family. Thank you Roddy and Jodi for your dedication to the sport, and look forward to seeing you compete without worrying about who's on deck or if the food order is running late or not!

Special shoutout to Matt Miller for bringing Jessica Fox and Erin Rose out for their first tournament! Organic growth by bringing others out is what continues to make this sport great!

American Family will be hosting another tournament this fall, with the date to be finalized late May. Please be on the lookout for announcements!

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