2015-11-12 / Sports

World’s best in Davison racquetball tournament

By Dan Nilsen
810-452-2655 • dnilsen@mihomepaper.com


Former area resident Cliff Swain, here competing in the 2014 U.S. Open, reached the semifinals of the Red Swain Shootout last weekend at Davison Athletic Club. 
Courtesy Freddy Ramirez Former area resident Cliff Swain, here competing in the 2014 U.S. Open, reached the semifinals of the Red Swain Shootout last weekend at Davison Athletic Club. Courtesy Freddy Ramirez DAVISON – Two professional racquetball players with local ties reached the semifinals of the fourth annual Red Swain Shootout last weekend at Davison Athletic Club.

Swartz Creek’s Brad Schopieray won two matches and was up one game in the semifinals before losing to Jose Rojas, the No. 5-ranked player in the world from Stockton, Calif., 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6.

Cliff Swain, a former area resident whose father started the tournament in their native Boston, upset two Top 10 opponents on his way to the semifinals and went up 5-0 on Rocky Carson in the first game before losing to the world’s No. 2 player 11-6, 11-9, 11-3.

Carson went on to beat Rojas 11-2, 11-2, 11-8 in the final to win his second consecutive Red Swain title. The tournament is a Tier I event on the International Racquetball Tour and the fifth stop in the 2015-16 season.

Schopieray, the No. 1 player in Michigan and son of tournament director Don Schopieray, opened the event with an 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 sweep of Thomas Carter of Murrysville, Pa. He won his round-of-16 match by forfeit over No. 1-ranked and 10-time world champion Kane Waselenchuk when the Austin, Texas, player withdrew with a shoulder injury.

Schopieray swept fellow Colorado State University-Pueblo player Felix Camacho 11-3, 11-8, 11-0 in the quarterfinals.

Swain, a former No. 1 IRT player and six-time world champion, showed he’s still got it at age 49. After opening with an 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 win over Troy Warigon, Swain upset third-ranked Alvaro Beltran 11-8, 11-3, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7 in the round-of-16 and knocked off No. 6 Jansen Allen 11-5, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the quarterfinals.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Swain jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Carson in the first game and battled back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the second game at 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9.

Swain, who lived in this area for six years and whose wife is from St. Clair, helped move the tournament here from Boston, where it had been played for 10 years. Now living in Minnesota, he also coaches Brad Schopieray.

“Highly unusual,” he said of still playing with the world’s top-ranked players at his age. “It’s a real physical game, faster moving and more explosive than tennis. A racquetball gets up to 200 mph in a 40-foot rectangle.”

The pro-am tournament included men’s, women’s, boys’ and junior singles divisions in numerous age groups, plus men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The pros played for a purse of nearly $20,000 in prize money.

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