María José Vargas

María José Vargas (born March 18, 1993) is a Bolivian-born Argentine racquetball player. Vargas has five wins on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), and has finished in the top 10 six times - four of those were within the top three with her career best coming in 2014-15, when she finished #2. She is also the current South American Racquetball Champion in Women's Singles and Doubles.

María José Vargas
Personal information
NationalityArgentine, Bolivian
Born (1993-03-18) March 18, 1993 (age 28)
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Sport
SportRacquetball
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking2nd

2006-2012 - Early years & playing for BoliviaEdit

Vargas played at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships several times as a junior player, representing Bolivia. She won Girls U12 at the 2006 IRF World Junior Championships in Tempe, Arizona, defeating the USA’s Devon Pimentelli in the final.[1] She was a semi-finalist in Girls U14 in 2007 at World Juniors in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she lost to Aubrey O’brien of the USA, 15-6, 14-15, 11-2.[2]

Vargas and Yasmine Sabja took home bronze in Girls U16 Doubles from the 2008 World Junior Championships in Tempe, Arizona.[3]

Vargas lost in the quarterfinals of Girls U16 at 2009 World Juniors in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to Aubrey O’brien of the USA, 15-4, 15-12.[4] Also in Santo Domingo, Vargas played doubles with Yasmine Sabja, and they were runners-up in U18 Doubles to the USA's O’brien and Danielle Key, 13-15, 15-8, 11-0.[5]

At 17, Vargas was selected to play in the 2010 World Championships in Seoul, South Korea, which was her first appearance at Worlds. She defeated Japan’s Estuko Noda, 15-5, 3-15, 11-10, to reach the quarterfinals, where she lost to USA veteran Cheryl Gudinas, 15-9, 15-7. Vargas also played doubles in Seoul with Jenny Daza, and they lost to Japan’s Naomi Wakimoto and Toshiko Sakamoto, 15-12, 15-2, in the quarterfinals. In the team competition, Bolivia lost to South Korea in the quarterfinals.

Vargas won Girls U16 at World Juniors in 2010, when she defeated the USA’s Kelani Bailey in the final, 15-11, 12-15, 11-6.[6] She also won U16 Doubles with Masiel Rivera, as they defeated Courtney Chisholm and Devon Pimentelli of the USA in the final, 15-9, 15-9.[7]

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at the 2011 World Junior Championships, Vargas lost in the Girls U18 Singles final, 4-15, 15-7, 11-4,[8] to Canadian Frédérique Lambert.[9] But she did win Girls U18 Doubles that year with Adriana Riveros. They defeated Mexicans Sofia Rascon and Elena Robles, 15-11, 15-5.[10]

Vargas played for Bolivia at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she was a bronze medalist in both Women's Singles and the Women's Team event. In singles, she beat Canadian Frédérique Lambert, 15-11, 15-8, in the Round of 16, and team-mate Jenny Daza in the quarterfinals, 15-6, 15-13, before losing in the semi-finals to the USA’s Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 15-7. In the team event, Bolivia beat Chile in the quarterfinals, but lost to the USA in the semis.

Vargas played Women’s Singles at the 2012 Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile, where she lost in the Round of 16 to Cristina Amaya of Colombia, 15-3, 15-2.[11]

Vargas’s second appearance at Worlds was at the 2012 World Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she played Women’s Singles and the Women's Team event. Vargas defeated Dominican Claudine Garcia, 15-14, 15-6, in the Round of 32 and then lost to Mexican Paola Longoria, 15-9, 15-3, in the Round of 16. In the Women’s Team event, Bolivia lost in Colombia, 2-1, in the Round of 16.

In her last year of junior eligibility, Vargas won Girls U18 at the 2012 World Junior Racquetball Championship in Los Angeles, California, where she defeated Bolivian team-mate Adriana Riveros in the final, 15-10, 15-5.[12] Vargas and Riveros teamed up to win Girls U18 Doubles.[13] Thus, Vargas ended her junior years with singles titles in two of her final three years, and three consecutive doubles titles.

Vargas began playing on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) in 2012.[14] She made the semi-finals in Reseda, California in April 2013, which was only her 5th tournament. She lost that semi-final to Paola Longoria, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8, but that result helped her finish the LPRT season as the 10th ranked player, her 1st top 10 finish on tour. In December 2013, Vargas was named LPRT Rookie of the Year.[15]

2014-2016 - Playing for ArgentinaEdit

After not playing internationally in 2013, Vargas returned to international competition in 2014, but now she was playing for Argentina. Perhaps ironically, Vargas’s 1st tournament for her adopted country was the 2014 Pan American Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, her native land. In Santa Cruz, she played both Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles. In singles, she beat Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador in the quarterfinals, 15-13, 15-1, and Samantha Salas in the semi-finals, 15-7, 8-15, 11-2, to reach her 1st international final. Vargas won the final by defeating Mexico’s Susana Acosta, 15-4, 15-8.[16] In doubles, she and Véronique Guillemette beat Vargas’s former team-mates Jenny Daza and Carola Loma of Bolivia, 15-8, 15-10, in the quarterfinals. Then in the semi-finals, they beat Maria Paz Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador, 6-15, 15-11, 11-9. They lost the final to Mexicans Acosta and Samantha Salas, 10-15, 15-8, 11-7.[17]

With the win in Santa Cruz, Vargas became the first player - man or woman - representing Argentina to win gold at the Pan Am Championships.

At the 2014 World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Vargas reached the semi-finals by defeating Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala, 15-5, 15-5, in the Round of 16, and Canadian Christine Richardson, 15-6, 15-1, in the quarterfinals. In the semis, she lost to Mexican Paola Longoria, 15-5, 15-9, so she was a bronze medalist. At Worlds, Vargas again played Women’s Doubles with Véronique Guillemette. They lost to Chileans Angela Grisar and Carla Muñoz, 8-15, 15-3, 11-8, in the quarterfinals.

The 2014-15 LPRT season was Vargas's best to date. Early in the season, she reached the final of the US Open Racquetball Championships - pro racquetball’s biggest event - for the first time, but she lost to Paola Longoria in the final, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8.[14] She was also in the LPRT Doubles final - partnering with Rhonda Rajsich, but losing to Longoria and Veronica Sotomayor.

In December 2014, she followed up that performance with a win at the 2014 LPRT Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia, where she beat Rajsich in the final, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 13-11.[18] She defeated Alexandra Herrera in the semi-finals, 11-7, 11-1, 11-1, and Michelle Key in the quarterfinals, 11-4, 11-0, 11-5.

Vargas's second LPRT tour title came later in the 2014-15 season, as she beat Frédérique Lambert, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3, in the final of the 2015 New Jersey Open.[14] She beat Rhonda Rajsich in the semi-finals, 11-4, 2-11, 11-9, 11-4, and Susana Acosta in the quarterfinals, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2.[19] Overall, Vargas was in 9 finals, winning twice, in the 2014-15 LPRT season, and as a result she finished the season #2, a career high.

She reached the podium twice at the 2015 Pan American Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She was again the silver medalist in Women's Doubles with Véronique Guillemette, losing the final to Mexicans Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas, 15-4, 15-13.[20] In Women's Singles, Vargas was a bronze medalist, losing the semi-finals to Longoria, 15-3, 15-8.[21]

At the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Vargas earned two silver medals: in Women's Singles and Women's Doubles with Véronique Guillemette. In the singles final, Vargas lost to Paola Longoria of Mexico, 15-12, 15-9, and in the doubles final, Vargas and Guillemette lost to Longoria and Samantha Salas, 15-3, 15-4. In the Women's Team event, Vargas and Guillemette lost in the quarterfinals to Canadians Frédérique Lambert and Jennifer Saunders.[22] Nevertheless, Vargas's medals were the first Pan American Games silver medals won by an Argentine player in racquetball.

2017-present - Career resumesEdit

Vargas had a child in 2016, so she didn’t play in the 2016-17 LPRT season. She came back to the LPRT after 17 months at the 2017 US Open, when she lost to Rhonda Rajsich in the Round of 32, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4. That was the only tournament Vargas played in 2017, but she played most of the LPRT events in 2018, including the 2018 Peachtree Open, which she won in March 2018. It was her third LPRT win. She was in the final with Frédérique Lambert, and Lambert had to forfeit the match. Nonetheless, it was an impressive win, as Vargas was seeded 16th, so in order to reach the final, she had to beat top seed Jessica Parrilla, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, in the Round of 16, 8th seed Adriana Riveros, 11-1, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9, in the quarterfinals, and 4th seed Alexandra Herrera, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3, in the semi-finals.[23] The win helped Vargas finish 9th at the end of the 2017-18 LPRT season. It was her 5th time in the season ending top 10.

She returned to international competition in March 2018 at the 2018 Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile. But in Vargas's return she lost in the quarterfinals of both singles and doubles albeit to the eventual champions. In Women's Singles, she lost to the USA's Rhonda Rajsich, 15-10, 15-5.[24] In Women's Doubles, she and Natalia Mendez lost to Mexicans Paola Longoria and Alexandra Herrera, 15-14, 15-6.[25]

Vargas was a triple gold medalist at the 2018 South American Games in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In Women’s Singles, she defeated Carla Muñoz of Chile, 15-5, 13-15, 11-5, in the semi-finals, and Bolivian Yasmine Sabja, 15-4, 15-6. In Women’s Doubles, Vargas and Natalia Mendez beat Bolivians Stefanny Barrios and Jenny Daza, in the doubles final, 15-11, 15-10. They also defeated Bolivia in the Women's Team competition.

At the 2018 World Championships in San José, Costa Rica, Vargas played singles and doubles for Argentina. In Women's Singles, she reached the semi-finals with a win over Bolivian Yasmine Sabja, her former doubles partner from junior days, 15-2, 15-7. Vargas lost the semi-final to Mexican Paola Longoria, 6-15, 15-2, 11-7. She played Women's Doubles with Natalia Mendez, and they lost in the quarterfinals to Guatemalans Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-2, 15-8.

Vargas won her 4th LPRT title in March 2019, when she outlasted Samantha Salas in the final of the Open Bolivia American Iris tournament in Cochabamba, Bolivia, winning 11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9.[14] That was the only final she was in during the 2018-19 LPRT season, but she did reach four semi-finals, and finished the LPRT season ranked 3rd.

At the 2019 Pan American Championships in Barranquilla, Colombia, Vargas was a finalist in Women’s Singles, as she beat USA veteran Rhonda Rajsich in the quarterfinals, 15-4, 15-8, and Argentina team-mate Natalia Mendez, 15-9, 14-15, 11-7, in the semi-finals. In the final, Vargas lost to Mexico’s Paola Longoria, 15-7, 15-2. In Women’s Doubles, Vargas and Mendez beat Chileans Carla Muñoz and Josefa Parada, 15-7, 15-8, in the Round of 16, but they lost in the quarterfinals to Longoria and Samantha Salas of Mexico, 15-7, 15-6.

Vargas played at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, which was her 3rd Pan Am Games. She was a finalist in Women’s Singles. She beat the USA’s Kelani Lawrence, 15-9, 15-13, in the quarterfinals, and her old Bolivian team-mate Adriana Riveros, who was now representing Colombia, 15-8, 15-9, in the semi-finals. Vargas lost to Mexican Paola Longoria, 15-7, 15-9, in the final. In Women’s Doubles, she and Natalia Mendez beat Canadians Frédérique Lambert and Jennifer Saunders, 15-9, 15-9, in the quarterfinals, but lost to Guatemalans Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez in the semi-finals, 15-9, 10-15, 11-1. Then in the Women’s Team event, Vargas and Mendez were runners-up to Mexico. Thus, Vargas took home three medals - two silver and one bronze - from Lima.

So far in the 2018-19 LPRT season Vargas has been in four finals, winning once. She defeated Paola Longoria in September 2018 at the LPRT By The Beach tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia, winning 7-15, 15-12, 11-4, in the final for her 5th win on tour.[14]

Career summaryEdit

Vargas has won 5 tournaments on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour, and never failed to be in the top 10 in the six seasons she's played on tour. Internationally, Vargas played four times for her native Bolivia, earning two medals, and has played 9 times for Argentina, winning 13 medals, highlighted by her gold medal in Women's Singles at the 2014 Pan American Championships.

Career recordEdit

This table lists Vargas's results across annual events.

Event 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
US Open 32 16 F SF - 32 32 F
LPRT Rank 10 3 2 3 - 9 3 -

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2006 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U12". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  2. ^ "2007 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U14". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  3. ^ "IRF: 20th World Juniors - Results Summary". The Racquetball Blog. Blogger. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  4. ^ "2009 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U16 Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  5. ^ "2009 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U18 Doubles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  6. ^ "2010 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U16 Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  7. ^ "2010 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U16 Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  8. ^ "2011 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U18 Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  9. ^ "SIRC News Hub - SIRC". www.sirc.ca.
  10. ^ "2011 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U18 Doubles". IRF. Drobox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  11. ^ "2012 Pan American Championships - Women's Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  12. ^ "2012 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U18 Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  13. ^ "2012 IRF World Junior Championships - Girls U18 Doubles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Full Singles Results for Vargas, Maria Jose Chronologically earliest to latest". Pro Racquetball Stats. Pro Racquetball Stats. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  15. ^ "LPRT Rankings - Amaya up to 3rd". www.theracquetballblog.blogspot.ca.
  16. ^ "2014 Pan American Championships - Women's Singles". Dropbox.
  17. ^ "2014 Pan American Championships - Women's Doubles". Dropbox.
  18. ^ "Women's Singles LPRT Pro Single Elimination - Racquetball - LPRT Website - 23rd Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-Am". www.r2sports.com.
  19. ^ "Women's Singles LPRT Pro Single Elimination - Racquetball - 2015 New Jersey Open LPRT Tier 1 Pro Stop - presented by WearRollout.com". www.r2sports.com.
  20. ^ "Mexico sweeps doubles at 2015 Pan American Championships". theracquetballblog.blogspot.ca.
  21. ^ "Semi-final madness at 2015 Pan American Championships". theracquetballblog.blogspot.ca.
  22. ^ Hanson, Jan. "Both the men's and women's Pan Am Games racquetball teams have won bronze". Lethbridge Sport Council. Lethbridge Sport Council. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  23. ^ "2018 LPRT Peachtree Open - Singles Draw". R2 Sports. R2Sports. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  24. ^ "2018 Pan American Championships - Women's Singles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  25. ^ "2018 Pan American Championships - Women's Doubles". IRF. Dropbox. Retrieved 18 December 2019.