As the underdog and playing for Head/Penn, Kristen had a lot of fans in her corner pulling for her to win her first Pro event. She is not a stranger to big matches, as she has won four Junior World Championships in her age groups and the 2005 Pan Am Games over Cheryl Gudinas. Ektelon’s top female Paola has become a fan favorite over time with her unorthodox style of play, her winning smile, her positive outlook for Women’s Pro Racquetball, and her desire to win every event. And the young lady is only 19 years old.
The second game would go Kristen’s way throughout; she won 11-5. Paola would regroup in the third and fourth and tie it at two games apiece to force a tiebreaker that would prove to go the distance, with Kristen winning this game and match 11-7 and her first top tier pro stop of her career.
Kristen’s road to this event didn’t show signs of her coming in here as a strong threat to win. In December at the Christmas Classic in Virginia, she lost in the quarter finals to Kerri Wachtel in three straight. In February, at the Great Balls of Fire in Miami, she was beaten by #11 seeded Jen Saunders in three straight. At the Miller Lite Open in Pennsylvania on March 21, she again lost to Kerri Wachtel in the Quarters in five.
Kristen then skipped the Terrapin Shootout in Maryland because she was in a different competition. She was in an adventure race in southern Utah. Kristen was mountain biking, kayaking, rappelling and trail running. It was a 12-hour race and 75 miles total. This is one of the absolute best cross trainings you could do for racquetball. It seems to help with her goals going into the Pro Championships.
In order to achieve her career high and win her first Pro Tour event Kristen Bellows had to make another final appearance by defeating #4 Kerri Wachtel in the quarterfinals which she did convincingly in three games 8, 4, 8. Kristen then had to beat the then #1 seed Rhonda Rajsich in the Semifinals which took five games to do and Paola in the finals to win the Ektelon WPRO World Championships. Out of nine events for the season Paola won 4, Rhonda won 4, and Kristen was the spoiler taking the 9th and final event of the season.
I had a chance to ask Kristen what it feels like to win her first Women’s Professional Top Tier Pro Event….
“It feels amazing to win my first event. It's great to have that monkey off my back!” Kristen said, “I was much more relaxed at this event. I didn't put any pressure on myself to win and really emphasized having fun on the court. That was the winning piece for me.”
What a season this has been for the ladies of the Women’s Professional Racquetball Organization that highlighted the best ladies our sport has to offer.
The event was live on racquetballonline.tv throughout the weekend.
With a final appearance by Paola, it solidifies her #1 ranking in 2008/2009. At 19 years old this is very impressive. She said her goal was to be #1 and guess what, Paola…you did it!
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