Games & Tournaments

2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- In a classic NorCal vs. SoCal clash, the battle for Boy's 19-Under supremacy reached a boiling point on Sunday after simmering for two days at the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.  The Boy's 19-Under Small Ball singles final would be the rubber match between Anthony Sullivan (San Jose) and Andrew Garcia (Los Angeles).  Garcia stunned Sullivan on Friday, winning the Big Ball singles in a tiebreaker.  The next day, with the help of doubles partner Jon Gutierrez, Sullivan exacted some revenge by defeating defending champions Garcia and Brandon Ramirez for the Small Ball Doubles title.  On Sunday, Sullivan and Garcia slugged it out for three games, battling fatigue and each other's desire to win before Sullivan prevailed, 21-1, 13-21 and 11-6. 

As soon as the match started, it appeared Sullivan would win in a walkover, hopping and hooking serves for which Garcia had no answer.  Needing what seemed the entire first game to adjust, Garcia battled back in the second game, building a nice lead and holding it to force the deciding tiebreaker.  Sullivan owned the serve to start, and shot out to a commanding 7-0 lead, but this time Garcia ferociously answered.  The two exchanged a number of lengthy rallies that pleased the Venice Beach crowds that started to gather.  After burning their timeouts, the exhausted finalists each welcomed a required glove change timeout to catch their breath.  Once the action resumed, Sullivan pressed harder to pick up the remaining points to clinch his title.  Down to match point, Garcia dug out a side out to delay any celebration for Sullivan, but the NorCal phenom regained the serve and scored the last needed point for the title. 

In other action, Luis Mendez (Santa Barbara) won the Boy's 17-Under Small Ball crown, defeating Jorge Pimentel (Tucson) in two games.  The win gave Mendez his second National Juniors title after winning a Four-Wall championships earlier this summer at Los Caballeros. 

There was nobody better in the Boy's 15-Under division (small ball or big ball!) than Jesus Lopez.  The SoCal product from Pico Rivera controlled both finals in two games, winning the Big Ball title over Fernando Espindola (Orange, CA) and the Small Ball championship over Joahan Campos (Kansas City).  

After suffering disappointment in the Boy's 13-Under Big Ball final, Anthony Sanchez (Los Angeles) edged Luis Fernandez (Santa Barbara) in an exciting 13-Under Small Ball final, 18-21, 21-13 and 11-3.

Finally, Kena Byrd-Jackson and Marisol Maldonado defeated Belisa Camacho and Sophie Della Croce in an All-Tucson Girls 17-Under Doubles final, winning 21-10 and 21-12. 

Thank you to all the tournament volunteers, organizers and contributors who made the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships a success!   Sunday was the birthday of LAFD Handball's Roy Harvey, who will also be inducted into the Southern California Handball Hall of Fame next month.  To show their appreciation, players, coaches and families gathered and sang Happy Birthday to Harvey on court one (below).

See the 2017 USHA National Junior Three-Wall Championships final results HERE.


SATURDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The summer crowds mixed with SoCal natives and tourists from all over the world filled up the boardwalk to take in another beautiful day at the beach.  Many who passed by the handball courts nestled between Muscle Beach and the Pacific Ocean stopped to watch high-level action as many finals played out on Saturday at the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.

In the Girl's Singles final, Kena Byrd-Jackcson defeated Team 520 teammate Belisa Camacho in two games, 21-6, 21-4.

Next, Tucson's Ayden Brule swept the 11-under Small Ball and Big Ball divisions, defeated Xavier Flores of Los Angeles in each final.

In Boys Big Ball action, Ricardo Renteria of Los Angeles drubbed Ricky Serrano in the Boy's 17-Under final, 21-3, 21-0.  Serrano put together some great rallies throughout the match, but the Bellflower High product controlled the court, sending the ball deep along both walls. 

Eddie "Torito" Rocha from Lake Elsinore, CA also dominated his championship final, defeating LA's Anthony Sanchez 21-2, 21-0 for the Boys 13-Under Big Ball title.  

Both 19-Under Boys doubles finals were play at the day's end, showing off the best doubles competition as the sun lowered on the Pacific.   Jacob Hernandez and Fernando Balladares battled Jose Hernandez and Eduardo Garcia for two tough games, prevailing 21-17 and 21-19 for the Big Ball crown. 

In small ball play, Anthony Sullivan and Jonathan Gutierrez clicked at the right time as they upended defending champions Brandon Ramirez and Andrew Garcia, 21-15, 21-9. 

Sullivan and Garcia will see each other again in Sunday's Boy's 19-Under Small Ball final.

See Saturday's results HERE.


FRIDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The second day of the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships at the Venice Beach Rec Center gave fans and players even more competitive matches and ended with a few championships decided.  

The first major title was the Boys 15-Under Small Ball Doubles which was decided by four Santa Barbara TGOP products:  Bryan Trejo and Daniel Mora vs. Luis Fernandez and Oswaldo Perez.  Fernandez and Perez struck first with a surprising game one victory, but Trejo and Mora battled back to force the tiebreaker where they edged their teammates, 11-6 for the title. 

To wrap the day's action up, Andrew Garcia (right) and Anthony Sullivan played for the Boys 19-Under Big Ball singles crown and provided a glimpse of what to expect for a Boys 19-Under Small Ball final.  Sullivan looked strong early, ringing up a seven-point lead en route to a 21-19 game one win.  But in the second, Garcia showed off his Big Ball prowess, mixing up speed and power to force a deciding third set.  In the tiebreaker, Garcia rolled, jumping to a 7-0 lead to route Sullivan 11-1 for the crown. 

"I ran out of gas in the second," Sullivan said.  "I used up everything in the first and couldn't adjust after." 

Garcia credited his win to settling down and letting his game come to him in the second and third sets.  "I was rushing things, and my shots were off in the first game."  Friday's outcome produced more drama to a possible Sunday rematch in Small Ball. 

SCHA continued to roll out the red carpet for junior players and families on Friday.  Mark Zamora, aka "Rapper" manned the grill which provided delicious tacos for all participants and families.  (If you really want to get your mouth watering, check out the United States Handball Association's Facebook video of what was served!).

During a small break in the action, former junior champion and R48Pro Mando Ortiz with Tucson's pro qualifier Abe Montijo gave the kids a thrill with a player clinic on the main court.  Kids worked on their serve and were shown how to cut the ball off on the three-wall court.  Special thanks to both players for sharing their time teaching the next generation better skills!  

See today's results HERE.


THURSDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- Sunshine, sand and waves greeted junior handball players on Thursday morning for the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships at the Venice Beach Rec Center.  The  players were also treated to a generous "swag bag" which included three shirts, wristbands, a hat and more.  The Southern California Handball Association, LAFD Handball, and a host of supporters made sure the kids were rewarded for making the commitment to play in this year's tournament. 

With 79 entrants, the Venice Beach Rec Center's four courts were in use the entire day with small ball and big ball marches!  Gary Cruz, Marcus Hough, Roy Harvey, Jim Vandenbos, Andy Gutierrez, Rick Wheelock and a number of other local volunteers made sure all the junior players were well-fed and had good officials refereeing matches from start-to-finish. 

One of the day's final matches took place between Santa Barbara teammates Grace Ramos and Mileyni Sanchez.  Ramos advanced, but Sanchez put up a tremendous fight in the second game, nearly forcing a tiebreaker only to fall short 14-15.  The two new players from the Santa Barbara TGOP program shared a handshake, hug and walked off the court together smiling ear-to-ear.  It was a tremendous show of sportsmanship and the Spirit of Handball. 

See today's results HERE.

Comment (0) Hits: 564