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Marc Burns and his son Jonathan Burns held court recently as they each won their respective age groups in the state racquetball championships in their respective divisions at My Y (YMCA) in Sarasota.
The pair from Delray Beach had a memorable Father’s Day as Marc Burns won a fifth-straight State Singles 65+ title, while Jonathan Burns captured his third State Open championship, signifying he is the best player in the state.
“It was a perfect Father’s Day for me,” said Marc Burns, 70, who won in dominating fashion as he defeated Lawrence Keshner (Avon Park) in the quarters 15-1, 15-6; Mike Boyar (Delray Beach) 15-1, 15-0 in semis, and then Bob Lerow (Bradenton) 15-6, 15-3 in final. He only yielded 17 points in his three matches — six games — and less than three points per game.
He was one point short of a six-year sweep of the division when he fell to Tony Upkes in a tiebreaker, 11-10 in the 2016 final.
“It was so awesome and gratifying, and I am unbelievably proud of JB,” Marc Burns said. He could have played in the 70+ Division but chose to play in the younger division. “Even though I recently turned 70 and was eligible for that division, I thought there would be better competition in the younger division.”
Jonathan Burns, 43, had a more difficult road after winning his third Open Championship, the other two coming in 2015 and 2018.
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“It was great to win another State Open Championship but even more special to win it on Father’s Day with my dad there rooting me on,” said Jonathan Burns, who lost in the semifinals of last year’s tournament to Mike Harmon (Sarasota) 10-15, 15-6, 11-9.
He had three tough Open matches this year — beating Wes Miller (Bradenton) in the quarterfinals, 15-14, 15-10; Harmon in the semis, 15-10, 15-14, and then rallied to defeat Noslen Jimenez (Jacksonville) for the championship, 1-15, 15-11, and 11-0 in the tiebreaker.
He lost the first game of the final 15-1 to Jimenez, the 2-time defending state champion. He then trailed 8-4 in the second game before ending the match on a 22-3 run, including the 11-0 tiebreaker win.
As his opponent Jimenez was obliterating him in the first game and a half, his mother Kathy kept imploring him, “dig deep JB, dig deep!”
“She knew he had it within him to come back,” Marc Burns said, “even when it was looking so bleak.”
“It was also really special to have my mom there to shout encouragement,” Jonathan Burns said. “She has been there for so many of my big wins previously.”