While the weather outside is rough, the Ellis YMCA was heating up with world-class talent. Since 1978, Sioux Falls has hosted the Lewis Racquetball Pro-Am Tournament. Alvaro Beltan, the Number 3 player in the world, and widely known as the best player to ever come out of Mexico, was making his fourth trip to Sioux Falls. He says the reason’s simple why he looks forward to this stop on the tour every year. "The hospitality and the people, they’re just awesome. I have a lot friends now in the five years that I’ve been coming here. I just enjoy it and have a lot of fun playing. It’s a different atmosphere for sure, said Beltan."
Beltran made it to Pro division finals where he was matched up with world number 1 Kane Wahsahlinchuck. Waselchuk has won seven US Open Racquetball Championships, which is more than any other player in the history of the game. Coming into the final, Kane had won over 115 consecutive matches. He says his mental strength is key to his success. "You know, when you’re chasing number one, it’s really easy to be motivated and get motivated. When you’re number 1 and people are chasing you, there comes a point where there needs to be self-motivation, said Wahsahlinchuck."
Kane and Beltran played a best-of-five series, with each game going up 11 points. Kane swept Beltran in straights sets for the title, and hasn’t lost a match since 2009. With Prize money rising, spectators increasing, and a new style of play, Kane feels the game will continue to grow in the future. "What I’m doing, and my success will transcend the sport and maybe someone will take notice one day and who knows, maybe we will be on E-S-P-N, I don’t know. Whether it happen while I’m here or not, I know my play might possibly have something to do with success later on, says Wahsahlinchuck."
The innovative leader in the racquetball industry, the International Racquetball Tour, is now live-streaming games, complete with broadcaster and video replay. Certainly a step in the right direction for Kane for Beltran.