Age before beauty.
The saying held true this weekend in Ohio, as Rocky Carson and Alvaro Beltran made their way into the finals of the Raising Some Racquet for Kids IRT Tier 1 event in Huber Heights.
Not that age is a knock on either of these pro racquetball legends. At 37 and 36 years old, Beltran and Carson are still forces to be reckoned with on the IRT. And not implying anything detrimental about their appearance, as both stars remain as photogenic as ever.
But beauty is often associated with youth. And during Saturday's semifinals, the beauty of youth fell victim to the wisdom of two veteran racquetball warriors. Columbia’s Sebastian Franco bowed out to Beltran in three straight in the first semifinal of the day and Mexico’s Daniel De La Rosa fell in four to Carson.
Beltran and Carson met during in finals of the 2015 Galaxy Custom Printing Pro-Am in Atlanta earlier this season, where Beltran captured the third Tier 1 championship of his career. The match lasted four games, Beltran winning by scores of 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, and 11-4. Carson got revenge two weeks later, besting Beltran in three straight during the semifinals of the 25th Annual Garden City Turkey Shootout.
Tonight's match should be interesting for a couple of different reasons. First, there aren't many chances for other players on tour to come away with Tier 1 championships. As world number one Kane Waselenchuk sits out this weekend due to injury, a championship match without him makes for some entertaining speculation. Second, Carson and Beltran have been back and forth throughout their entire career when it comes to head-to-head matchups with Carson holding a 22-20 edge. And with young up-and-coming players like Franco and De La Rosa nipping at their heels, opportunities like this don't present themselves every day.