TUCSON -- Ray Ure became the first junior under the age of 18 to win the 19-Under in 28 years. David Chapman accomplished the feat when he won the 19-Under in 1991 (Dallas) at the age of 16. Ure joined an elite list of juniors to win an age title in each division in which they competed (9-Under, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19).
The junior from Des Plaines, Ill. defeated Cian O'Driscoll (Co. Cork, Ireland) in two games, 21-9 and 21-19.
After a double-digit win in the first game, the two opponents were in a "nip-and-tuck" contest in the second. A day earlier, O'Driscoll fought off match point and punched his ticket to the final with a tiebreaker win. O'Driscoll was on the verge of doing it again by getting a timely side out at 20-19. But Ure delivered a laser from the deep court to get back into the service box where he secured championship point.
O'Driscoll didn't let disappointment phase him, and after a 45-minute rest, he and doubles partner Conor Walsh snared the Boy's 19-Under Doubles crown by defeating Luis Mendez and Jorge Pimentel, 21-13, 13-21, 11-4. Experience as a team paid dividends for the Irish pair as they held off a furious late rally from Mendez and Pimentel.
Sunday's Juniors Banquet recognized Junior Alumni (19-Under players in their final year of eligibility who attended at least four Junior Nationals) with a special gym bag as a parting gift.
George Mitchell (Los Angeles) was given the Kate Conlon/Kurt Johansson Most Improved Award. Mitchell won the Boy's 17-Under Singles title after a runner-up finish in the 15s last year.
The Tom Lynch Newcomer Award was presented to Colon Walsh who attended his first U.S. Junior Nationals. And finally, Ireland's Saoirse Kelly won the Vince Gabriele Jr. Sportsmanship Award. Kelly won slammed the Girl's 15-Under divisions and brought home the first junior singles title to Co. Waterford's St. Augustine club.
Thank you to all the junior players who exhibited tremendous sportsmanship and phenomenal handball for five-straight days in the Old Pueblo! A Special "Thank You" to Vince San Angelo, Charlie Wicker, John Ross, Belissa Camacho, Sophie Della Croce and everyone who volunteered to make this an outstanding Junior Nationals!!!
See the final results at the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
2019 National Four-Wall Juniors Drop-Down Divisions:
Vince Ford d. Jorge Pimentel, 19, 20 Alex Carew d. Luis Mendez, def.
Final: Carew d. Ford, 14, 2.
First Round: Ben Buckles d. Otto Krueger, 2, 8; Jon Silva d. Mike Madden, 15, 6; Dominic Hamilton d. Max Montgomery, (19), 19, 6.
Quarterfinals: Carlos Castillo d. Buckles, 19, 11; Nicholas Roberts d. James Davis, 19, 19; Collin Peters d. Silva, 11, 9; David Sanchez d. Hamilton, (20), 3, 0.
Semifinals: Castillo d. Roberts, 20, (16), 9; Sanchez d. Peters, 9, 19.
Final: Sanchez d. Castillo, 7, 10.
Montgomery d. Krueger, 8, 0; Silva d. Madden, def.; Hamilton d. Davis, (12), 12, def.
Semifinals: Buckles d. Montgomery, 8, 14; Silva d. Hamilton, (3), 16, 9.
Final: Buckles d. Silva, 13, (9), 9.
F. Victoria d. A. Sanchez, (19), 11 , 0.
J. Cooke d. M. Sandova, 17, 9; A. Negrete d. J. Lallier, 8(8), 5.
Semifinals: I. Alberg d. J. Cooke, 16, 9; A. Negrete d. O. Bustos, 19, 5.
Final: Alberg d. Negrete, 19, 5.
Cooke d. Sandoval, 10, 11; Bustos d. Lallier, (17), 10, 4.
Final: Cooke d. Bustos, 9, 20.
A. Sanchez d. J. Power, 14, 7.
P. Eike d. C. Stout, 10, 5; A. Rivera d. J. Dechaine, 6, (12), 5; A. Sandoval d. A. Littman, 6, 6.
Semifinals: S. Callaghan d. Eike, 1, 0; Sandoval d. Rivera, 8, 8.
Final: Callaghan d. Sandoval, 11, 2.
Littman d. Stout, 9, 5.
Final: Littman d. Dechaine, def.
C. Dean d. S. Magirl, 4, 0.
K. Schelble d. E. Bradshaw, 5, (15), 1; A. Chavez bye.
Big Ball 13-and-under:
C. Dean d. K. Schelble, 4, 5.
N. Eike d. E. Bradshaw, 1, 0.
Semifinals: Eike d. S. Magirl; Carly Coolidge d. A. Chavez, 6, 15.
Final: Coolidge d. Eike, 13, 12.
13 Big Ball Consolation
Chavez d. Bradshaw, 2, 2.
Final: Chavez d. Magirl, (17), 1, 5.
J. Holquin d. L. Lambert, 15, 11.
A. Duval d. M. Leonard, 0, 7.
M. Leonard d. A. Kandell, 19, 14.
Cassie Coolidge d. Carly Coolidge, 0, 4.
C. Gillespie d. A. Peters, 5, 16; K. Klicker d. N. Eike, 10, 7.
Semifinals: Peters d. I. Klicker, (4), 18, 10; K. Klicker d. Z. Klicker, (18), 9, 2.
Final: Peters d. K. Klicker, 8, (15), 7.
Girls 15 Consolation
Eike d. Gillespie, 9, 8; I. Klicker d. Z. Klicker, (18), 9, 2.
Final: I. Klicker d. Eike.
TUCSON -- The semifinals of the Boy’s 19-Under matches on Sunday produced everything a handball fan would want: amazing rallies, incredible kills, unbelievable retrieves, and tiebreakers with dramatic finishes. The fireworks began between Conor Walsh (Co. Cork, Ireland) and Ray Ure (Des Plaines, IL) in the day’s first semifinal. Ure defeated Walsh to advance to the final, 19-21, 21-13, 11-5.
The first game was a back-and-forth affair until Walsh streaked to a 20-16 lead before Ure gained the side out. Ure pulled within one with three-straight ace serves before serving his fourth attempt into the floor. Walsh put away game point on the next inning.
A motivated Ure jumped out to a big lead in the second and held on to force a tiebreaker with a 21-13 win.
Serving first in the tiebreaker, Ure quickly rolled to a 4-0 advantage. Walsh responded by scoring five unanswered points. The two traded exciting rallies but neither player could capitalize on their serve chances to score points. An exhausted Walsh chased down a shot in the right corner but fell hard into the wall hitting his knee. Play resumed after an injury time out, but Walsh didn’t have the same energy or the legs to maintain the match’s torrid pace ultimately falling to Ure, 11-5.
The second semifinal matchup between Ivan Burgos (Fort Erie, Ontario) and Cian O’Driscoll (Co. Cork, Ireland) was truly an international affair. O’Driscoll showed incredible grit, fighting off match point to prevail in a tiebreaker, 15-21, 21-20, 11-2.
Burgos played steady and methodical and appeared well on his way to the final in the second game, but Cian produced some of his best handball to snatch the victory away from his opponent’s grasp.
O’Driscoll will face Ure in the Boy’s 19-Under final Monday at 10 a.m. MST.
In 19-Under Doubles action, O’Driscoll and Walsh stopped the Canadian team of Burgos and Alex Carew, 21-12, 21-12. They’ll face Luis Mendez and Jorge Pimentel, who defeated Ray Ure and Collin Peters, 21-16, 21-12.
See today's results at the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
TUCSON -- The first national title of the tournament was won by Colorado’s Abraham Sanchez who defeated Josh Dechaine of Sherwood Park, Alberta, 21-11, 21-8 for the Boy’s 15-Under Big Ball crown.
Sanchez mixed up a perfect blend of passes and deep lobs to keep Dechaine on the defensive.
n other big ball singles action, Xavier Duval of Portland, Ore. proved to be too tough for his bracket in the 11-Under singles, but Colorado’s Eliseo Guetierrez certainly kept the outcome in doubt until the end. The two youngsters met in the final, which ended up being who could best return the other’s serve.
While Gutierrez found early success with his serves, Duval continuously attacked his opponent’s non-dominant hand on serves, scoring points in bunches by “keeping the serve deep to his left.”
The Duval Bros. certainly made a splash in their first Junior Nationals as younger brother Alexander captured the 11-Under B Title after his older brother’s match was complete.
<p">David Sanchez, playing up a division in the 19-Under dropped his quarterfinal Small Ball contest to Cian O’Driscoll 21-11, 21-8. The junior from Co. Cork, Ireland looks equally impressive in the next round stopping Tucson’s Jorge Pimentel, 21-2, 21-3.
Sanchez didn’t let his disappointing loss linger. Despite a slow start, he stormed back to stop San Jose’s Dominic Neri, 21-15, 21-12 for the Boy’s 19-Under Big Ball crown.
See today's results at the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
TUCSON -- An exciting tiebreaker finish is what capped the day’s first action in the 64th USHA National Junior Four-Wall Championships on Thursday at the Tucson Racquet Club.
Playing in the last match of the day, Alexander Duval of Vancouver (Wash.) had split the first two games with Tucson’s Luke Lambert in the first round of the 11-Under Big Ball singles. Lambert had forced the tiebreaker with a close two-point win in the second game but now faced a 4-9 deficit in the tiebreaker.
Duval had been playing with a tough two-handed arsenal and showed no signs of slowing. Lambert made a frenzied effort, chasing down each shot and putting pressure on Duval to finish. He finally got the break he was looking for when Duval hit himself with his own shot.
With the serve back, a confident Lambert pulled out an improbable win. Lambert’s home crowd applauded the win but also congratulated Duval’s effort, good play and sportsmanship. It was the perfect ending to the first day of the tournament.
Earlier, handball pro and WPH Development Director David Fink held a junior clinic. Nearly 20 juniors filed onto the court to listen to Fink’s advice and practice technique for hitting the ball.
“I know how much it meant to me as a junior when I could learn from one of the pros. Those are memories that I have always cherished.” Fink shared.
“It’s an honor to be asked to teach these great young handballers.” He added.
Fink also played some pick-up games with some of the juniors after the clinic.
“Having a chance to play against some of these great young players was a huge thrill—I’m sharing the court with the next generation, and hoping to inspire them, too.”
Big Ball continues on Friday while Small Ball Singles and Doubles begin first round matches.
See today's results at the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
TUCSON -- The 64th USHA National Junior Four-Wall Championships will be hosted at the Tucson Racquet Club (TRC), December 26-30. The top junior handball players from all over the country, Ireland, Canada will compete for U.S. National singles and doubles titles over the tournament's five-day duration.
Registration and player check-in begins Thursday Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. (MST) outside the Handball Lobby at the TRC. Big Ball matches begin at 4 p.m. Each entrant will get a Performance Hoodie upon checking in!
Draws and start times will be posted December 23 at the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
David Walsh said he got used to the tough glass sidewall and then came on strong to beat Michael Gaulton in the 19 singles final. In the doubles, Gaulton got a bit of revenge by teaming with Alex Carew to edge David Walsh and Patrick Murphy in a tiebreaker.
David Sanchez added three 15 titles to his perfect resume in 2018. Sanchez won the 15 small ball and big ball singles as well as the doubles with Andrew Negrete. The singles win earned him a spot in the record books with Eric Klarman as the only players to win one-wall, three-wall and four-wall titles in the same calendar year -- a true slam!
Juniors were honored at the banquet on Saturday night with special awards, including the Alumni bags given to the juniors in their last year of eligibility who competed in at least four junior events. Other special awards went to A.J. Wilkinson for Tom Lynch Best Newcomer, Joseph Lallier for the Vince Gabriele Sportsmanship Award, and Isaac Alberg for Most Improved.
In pro action, Killian Carroll and Daniel Cordova were most impressive on Saturday and will meet on Sunday for the title. See the broadcast schedule HERE.
The final results for the 63rd USHA National Junior 4-Wall Championships r2sports site HERE.
The popular Junior Nationals drop-down format gets every participant at least three matches. Here are those results that aren't shown on R2:
19-and-under A Semis: D. Peters d. A. Carew, def.; P. Cooke d. J. Gutierrez, 20, 11.
Final: Cooke d. Peters, inj.
19 B: J. Rivera d. B. Mendiola, def.; B. Hickey d. J. Cervantes, 7, 20; Roberts d. A. Silva, 3, 11; V. Ford d. S. Ure, 1, 2; A. Sandoval d. B. Buckles, (19), 7, 3.
Quarters: L. Mendez d. J. Rivera, 0, 1; Hickey d. Roberts, 2, 6; Ford d. J. Silva, 18, 4; E. Camacho d. Sandoval, 15, 11.
Semis: Mendez d. Hickey, 12, 12; Ford d. Camacho, 12, 8.
Final: Mendez d. Ford, 6, 9.:
19 Cons. Quarters: S. Ure d. A. Silva, 15, 17; J. Cervantes d. J. Silva, 15, 15; N. Roberts d. J. Rivera, 7, 14.
Semis: Buckles d. Ure, 16, 9; Cervantes d. Roberts, 0, 4.
Final: Cervantes d. Buckles, 13 (13), 2.
17 A: C. Peters d. Albert, 3, 4.
17 B Quarters: M. Madden d. D. Neri, 19, 5; J. Cooke d. O. Bustos, (19), 20, 5; D. Hamilton d. M. Morgenstern, 8, 14.
Semis: Madden d. M. Sandoval, 4, 4; Hamilton d. Cooke, 9, (19), 6.
Final: Hamilton d. Madden, 5, 3.
17 Cons. Semis: D. Neri d. M. Sandoval, 10, 8; Bustos d. Morgenstern, 15, 9.
Final: Bustos d. Neri, 19, 1.
15-and-under A singles: George Mitchell d. Fermin Victoria, 11, 11.
15B: A. Sanchez d. J. Lallier, (12), 12, 1; N. Stoffel d. A. Negrete, 2, (9), 4; Abraham Sanchez d. R. Asokan, 18, 6; Y.L. Tang d. A. Sandoval, 3, 18.
Semifinals: Sanchez d. N. Stoffel, 19, 17; Tang d. Sanchez, (6), 18, 9.
Final: Sanchez d. Tang, 13. (13), 10.
15 Cons. Semis: A. Negrete d. J. Lallier, (19), 16, 9; Asokan d. A. Sandoval, 10, 9.
Final: Negrete d. Asokan, 5, 11.
11-and-under A singles: C. Dean d. J. Smith, 9, 2.
11 B Semis: Valyavskiy, bye; T. Stradley d. N. Elliott, 17, 3.
Final: Stradley d.Valyavskiy, 7, 7.
11 Cons.: Valyavskiy d. Elliott, 13, 8.
13-and-under Big Ball A singles: Stradley d. Valyavskiy, 3, 14.
13 Big Ball B: Prelim: T. Simmons d. N. Elliott, (7), 15, 8.
Semis: C. Dean d. Simmons, 7, 7; J. Smith d. J. Middleton, 10, 4.
Final: Dean d. Smith, 8, 3.
13 Big Ball Cons.: J. Middleton d. N. Elliott, 11, 4.
Thriving in the First World
I live in Portlandia, weird and wonderful.
I’m a native, in fact … some of you might chuckle and think, “Aww, now we get it!” I live a straightforward life in my hometown, barely two miles from my childhood neighborhood.
Many other Portlanders are not nearly so fortunate. Portland has an outrageously visible and impactful homeless population, which is most often described as a crisis.
These durable and challenged folks withstand freezing temperatures, driving rains, brutal heat and a lack of access to basic life dignities, like cleanliness, bathrooms and healthcare. Most struggle with mental health problems and addiction.
I know the names of a few who live nearby, and I greet them when we meet. Sometimes I deliver coffee or leftover party food to them. But there’s one woman who resides barely a half a mile away whom I think about the most.
She’s in front of the co-op grocery, under a partial awning on a small patch of sidewalk, 365 days a year. She has two bags of belongings and one hat. Occasionally she sits in her place and screams and mutters; other times she’s quite immobile.
She doesn’t appear to sleep in that spot – she’s gone in the late hours – and the rest of the time, she’s just there.
If she had a problem with her ovaries, how would she know?
It’s been 20 months since my adventure with ovarian cancer began, and I got a new start on Thursday to take some more chemo. Nothing awful has happened, I assure you all! Some cells that didn’t get swept out the first time need to be shown the door.
My 2019 kicked off with bountiful good health and fitness, then disintegrated almost overnight into an onslaught by an intestinal protozoa upending every single day. Where it came from wasn’t my main concern; how damn long would it take to move on? became the question. Meanwhile I got a CT scan since my doc loves me and is really good at his job.
A tiny bunch of cells showed up, all in one place, and there’s no surgery necessary, just head back to chemo five or six times. Some women take two rounds of treatment to clear. Jim has a list of those that have, and both he and I, and dear David of course, want me added to that list!
I am not just living in the first world, I’m thriving here. I have loving support from so many, clean water, a very happy home, health insurance, a daily schedule I pick myself, access to the best doctors and treatment centers, nutritious food and warm little cats to share the sofa with me.
I hope my homeless neighbor could get the same, if she’s able to reach out for that one day. Meanwhile, I continue amazed and deeply grateful for all I have.
Handball in Zurich
There wasn't. Handball in Zurich. But our sport got us there, in a manner of speaking, in early November 1994. Following the World Championships in County Clare, Ireland, David and I added time in Europe, then found ourselves worn out (tournaments can be that way). Flights from our original Italian destination didn't work out, so we hopped a train to Switzerland for a couple of nights before returning to Portland, Oregon.
Zurich glowed with lights on glittering water, frosty air and glistening packages of outrageous chocolates in shop windows. The holidays were so near; I spun toward my husband on an old stone bridge as we gazed at the city. "Let's come back for Christmas!" I exclaimed.
Twenty-five years have passed, and the genesis of that dream, handball, remains an enormous part of our lives. Friendships from those distant years continue, players age but still compete and enjoy their comrades at the courts, and every three years a select group comes together for the World Championships.
In 1997, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I met the delightful, vivid Ranger Russell. He's an American whose home is in Belgium with his wife Joelle. Ranger cheerfully leads the Belgian Handball Team to world events and makes friends easily wherever he goes. I am blessed to be counted among his friends, and next week David and I embark upon our shimmering dream of a quarter-century ago. We'll join Ranger and Joelle in Brussels, deepening our long friendship while exploring Christmas markets, sharing meals and creating holiday memories.
As anyone reading this knows, handball is family. I hope you'll join us on this adventure!
There’ll be many flags on display beginning this week at the World Handball Championships in Minneapolis. National colors will fly, and be worn proudly, while some will represent loyalties of players and fans from specific counties, and even
Then there will be colors that have personal meaning, such as the Teal that’s now part of my daily look.
You see, every cancer has a color. Who knew? I didn’t, I Googled it and ended up at ChooseHope.com, one of many websites selling a rainbow of supportive accessories. Most people are aware of pink ribbons for breast cancer, and yellow wrist bands declaring it’s possible to live strong with any cancer. My particular journey with ovarian cancer is represented by teal. There’s even an acronym in the community: Treat Early And Live. Most ovarian cancers are found in the late stages and become very difficult to treat.
I’m getting more involved in service to others with cancer and cancer agencies as I approach the one-year anniversary of my surgery on September first. Linked below is the second feature I wrote for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (ovarian.org). Read carefully – you might even see the word “handball” in there! And comments from Portland’s Dr. Bob Gill, who is living with gioblastoma.
Hanging around the Championship courts in Minnesota, show your loyalties in every way and we’ll share a laugh. I’ll have on some teal, but I have a Team USA red, white and blue pedicure too.
READ MORE HERE: http://ovarian.org/component/content/article/33/501
Quite enough can happen in just one day. What about 3,175 of them? Almost nine years ago, Jay Maxwell, Tom Hussey and I were preparing for the start of the 2009 World Handball Championships at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, Ore. I emphasize the start because it was a heck of a run-up. A bit like settlers crossing the Great Plains, watching and watching the Rocky Mountains never get any closer, suddenly we were “in the foothills” at last. Now. Oh, good heavens, now!
In the fall of 2004, not long after hosting a successful and popular national four-wall event, loyal and dedicated MAC handball folks gathered and thought, “Hey, maybe the next U.S. worlds would be doable.” I remember we drew up a pro/con grid that day, the kind I made when choosing between less elaborate competing choices, like buying designer earrings:
Pros: Pretty and desired.
Cons: Expensive and unnecessary?
Come to think of it, in autumn 2004, perhaps those lists resembled one another!
During that long run-up, complications took root and grew. Waterford Crystal, which provided exquisite signature trophies for the world championships beginning in County Clare in 1994, ceased production. I visited Ireland and met with a very kind former employee at the closed Waterford factory. Noel Power supplied many thousands of dollars of product from remaining stock so Portland 2009 didn’t have to break the tradition of presenting world-class crystal to champions.
The MAC leadership changed too. Administrators who in 2004 and ’05 excitedly permitted and supported such a long horizon for a very involved event were gone from the club. Some plans became more complex under new club direction.
Additionally, by 2009, many economies had experienced enormous downturns. Global issues impacted daily activities. Yet our committee of 27 chairmen had held the grand vision and love of the event and each other for years. We just kept working.
“I thought it was a fabulous experience,” Maxwell said recently. “I still think it’s probably the best worlds that’s ever been put on.”
A breathtaking moment occurred on a summer Saturday close to the entry deadline. A committee member logged on to the website and saw entries, which had barely been trickling through the system, beginning to pour in. We called and emailed each other in disbelief throughout the day: “Are you seeing this?” “It can’t be real, right?” “Is it a computer error?”
I suppose all of us realized, just then, that we had indeed been holding our collective breath. Ultimately, our efforts created a world championships that welcomed 993 players from 10 countries for 12 days.
“The success was attributable to a fantastic facility and an amazing team of volunteers,” Hussey says today.
Now all the moving parts of hosting the worlds are back in our country, with the Minneapolis tournament’s needs expanded again by the growth of one very important aspect. One-wall handball changes dramatically each time the event is staged.
In 1994 the cheerful and persistent Irish one-wall organizer, Tom O’Connor, called it “the funny games,” and just a wee number of players arrived in County Clare from countries like Finland. A few Eton fives specialists appeared from England with peculiar gloves and strange rules and customs but no shortage of cheer.
O’Connor can be proud of that start. By 1997 the Winnipeg worlds committee built two side-by-side outdoor courts for the tournament. Mayor Susan Ann Thompson and host chair Bob Pruden produced a grand opening media event, and the walls were emblazoned with the spectacular and creative 1997 logo, my personal favorite of all time. Later years placed courts inside hockey rinks and gymnasiums, and the construction of multiple courts by Dublin in 2012 was the most visible and central setting for one-wall ever attempted.
Anyhow, nine years can make a hell of a difference indeed. I am so glad I’m not in the center! I’ve got other stuff going on, as many of my handball family are aware. Unlike October 2009 (and for years ahead of it), when I ate, slept, wept, sweated and dreamt handball, since September 2017 I’ve had the luxury to put all my energy into well-being and recovery from surgery and chemo for ovarian cancer. I’ve moved into survivorship and am evaluating what the journey has meant and will mean throughout my long life, including the unknowns.
But we all have unknowns. This may seem like a grim example, but when I was in treatment I read that a woman who survived the Las Vegas massacre was killed by a drunken driver a month later. Her story gives me a certain strength. I delight in each day because I’ve got a boatload to do, and I’m ready to devote my energy, passion and charisma to new things.
As you read this, handballers from every section of our sport will be in Minneapolis cheering friends, family and our U.S. dream team … and I’m not just talking about our great players in one-wall, four-wall and wallball. I’m talking about Steve Johnson and his crew of sponsors, administrators, facility directors, loved ones and everyone making this come together for us.
You can cheer at the courts and wave flags and have fun … and please, pat every single one of the hosts on the back as you go by. They’ve earned it!
What time is it? I’m journaling with morning coffee so … for Joe Santilli in Australia, it’s the wee hours of morning. Tomorrow.
Oh, sweet Joe. At the 2015 World Handball Championships, he gave me a pen, knowing I love writing. When using it, I think about Joe, Donna, and their sons. I hope we’ll all meet up in Minnesota.
I know many players who show up at the World Championships with a few simple gifts for friends and friends-to-be. Some are based on long knowledge of the recipient, like my pen; others seem cannily intuitive. At my first World Championships, in Phoenix 1991, a Japanese woman player, Kumiko, presented me with a tiny ceramic white kitty sleeping in a ball. I can’t remember who won our match, but I’ve still got the kitty.
As a host committee co-chair in 2009, I was showered with magnificent presents, among them a handsome lacquered box from the Japanese team. Irish friends and administrators brought me a number of lovely gifts, including a buttery-soft violet wool scarf from County Wicklow.
Globes were a theme that year. Bill Kelly, who’s shared desks, dinners, laughs and lamentations with me over many years, gave me an incredible globe which spins with light. It rests on an engraved pedestal commemorating the tournament.
Another globe came my way from Down Under that year, this one a delicate Swarovski crystal orb from Vic DiLuzio.
Ranger Russell seems determined to ensure that I have plenty of his adopted country’s national gear. I can now cheer for him in a shirt (2009) and snazzy ball cap (2015) in Belgium’s bold heraldic colors of red, black and yellow, both items embroidered with my name
Luxurious customized gifts are not necessary, of course. But bringing along a few goodies is fun and meaningful, often many years after the tournament.
Some “gifts” can be shared more than exchanged. I pick up a few picture postcards of my hometown – and Portland, not lacking anything for scenery, has a lot choose from – to show new tournament friends where I hail from. Another way to create special memories is recycling gear from bursting drawers and closets. Handball t-shirts get exchanged formally at some events and informally at others, and it’s fun to wear the rare ones back at the hometown courts.
Many souvenirs are easily tucked in luggage, airport security friendly, and not bulky for new friends to carry home. I can pick up inexpensive Oregon-themed buttons, magnets, keyrings, luggage tags and bookmarks nearly everywhere. In addition, some products are both portable and boldly local: Oregon Rain lip balms are going in my bag, and a few lightweight wooden Christmas ornaments, from Made in Oregon stores.
Journaling with Joe’s gift reminds me that, as I’m preparing for my 10th World Handball Championships, it’s time to pack more than clothes and cosmetics. In Minneapolis, I’ll be ready to present and receive small tokens of enduring friendships with my extended handball family. Travel safely, and see you there!
WEST ALLIS, Wisc. -- On a cold Wisconsin December weekend, Killian Carroll maintained the edge that’s kept him at the top of the Pro rankings for the past three years. With the next R48Pro Stop #3 in Portland at the end of the month, the Milwaukee Classic made for an interesting preview. Carroll stormed through the Milwaukee Classic Open draw and defeated Luis Cordova Jr. by a score of 21-4 and 21-18.
Although Cordova pushed Carroll for a tiebreaker in the second game, the last rally of the match was a mere indicator of how Carroll mastered his opponents the entire weekend: A four-shot exchange that ended with Carroll passing a diving Cordova down the left wall for match point.
|Milwaukee Classic Women's Open Finalists Ni Churraoin and Hilary Rushe.|
In the Women’s Open division, Ciana Ni Churraoin continued her “Revenge Tour” by defeating Hilary Rushe in the final, 21-6, 21-5. Ni Churraoin won the Women’s Collegiate title in 2016 and was a 2016 USHA National Four-Wall finalist before tearing her ACL in early 2017. As a graduate student now attending Minnesota State, Mankato, Ni Churraoin looked unstoppable all weekend.
In the Men’s Doubles, Sean Lenning and Vic Perez outlasted Daniel and Luis Cordova in an exciting final, 21-14, 12-21, 11-6.
"What makes The Classic so great is the players that continue to come every year and create a lot of camaraderie." said Tournament Director Charlie Keller.
"The opportunity to watch the college kids each year and how much they improve over the years. Reminiscing about previous years is always interesting."
The Milwaukee Handball Classic has become the region's premier event hosted by the Wisconsin Athletic Club. The Classic enjoyed another fabulous turnout with nearly 200 players entered, including some of the country's best handball talent with prize money awarded in both the Open Singles and Doubles events as well as the Women's Open.
"This is outstanding!" Keller proclaimed. "Almost 80 collegiate players entered along with a few high school players. It's great to see so many young kids playing and filling up the draws. Every division is full."
Those college participants included a couple of new players from the nearby University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Congratulations to Jeff Werstein, Charlie Keller and the Milwaukee Classic crew who hosted another great event with tremendous hospitality!
See the 2018 Milwaukee Classic final results on the tournament's r2sports page HERE.
Photos provided by Kyra Vidas.
TUCSON -- Ashley Moler completed a dominant weekend of handball on Sunday, winning the Women's Classic over Tracy Davis, 21-11, 21-16. Moler not only matched Davis' commanding front court game, she also forced her opponent back with timely defensive shots to the difficult corners of the exhibition court. This play allowed Moler to build leads through both games that Davis ultimately couldn't overcome; although, she did make a late push in the second game before falling short. The win marked the first Women's Classic title for Tucson's Moler.
In the WPH R48Pro LTE final, Daniel Cordova stopped David Fink's incredible run in Tucson, winning 15-9, 15-6. Cordova's amazing talent was on full display, showing why he's one of the pro tour's biggest rising stars. Fink held an early lead to open the match, but Cordova immediately answered and kept constant pressure on his opponent. Fink made an exceptional effort to keep the games close, only to have Cordova slam the door with a kill or a will-timed pass.
The day was not lost for Fink as he recovered quickly after his pro final to take his first Masters (40-plus) Singles title, defeating Adam Zimet in two games. In other Masters Singles action, Emmett Peixoto took the 35-plus title over Fausto Castro, and Marcos Chavez won the 45-plus crown by defeating Raul Jasso.
Chris Tico defeated Ryan Grossenbacher in the 50-plus final. Phil Kirk won the 60-plus title over Lloyd Garcia. Glenn Carden held off Greg Sizemore's rally to win the 65-plus division. Merv Deckert outlasted Ed Campbell in a tiebreaker for the 70-plus crown. Jim Ward topped Jim Smith in the 75-plus final, and Norm Young took home the 80-plus title over Mike Lundy.
In Hall of Fame action, two of handball's rising stars won singles titles to add to their growing collection of hardware. David Sanchez III edged Dylan Key in the Men's A final, and Andres Cordova stopped Ashton Steadman in the Men's B division.
A special Thank You to all our event sponsors and volunteers. Thank you to the WPH's Dave Vincent and David Fink for their work in bringing the top pros to Tucson for the R48Pro LTE event (read the WPH wrap-up and coverage HERE), and thank you to all the players who traveled to play the best game on the planet: Handball!
Next season's Women's Classic will be held in conjunction with the Milwaukee Classic in December.
See the draws and final results on the tournament's R2sports site HERE.
|2018 Decatur recipient Kelly Albers presents the Marty Decatur Sportsmanship Award to Kristen Hughes.|
TUCSON -- Saturday's action set the table for an exciting Championship Sunday for all of the divisions in the 25th USHA Hall of Fame event. The day's action wrapped up with a celebration at the USHA Headquarters and Handball Hall of Fame. Kristen Hughes was awarded the 2019 Marty Decatur Sportsmanship Award by last year's recipient Kelly Albers. The award honors the player who exhibits tremendous goodwill on and off the court making the tournament a better experience for anyone they have a chance to meet or play.
In the WPH R48Pro LTE, David Fink and Sean Lenning split two somewhat lopsided games in the first semifinal, setting up an exciting tiebreaker decider for the first spot in the final. Lenning continued to zip the ball around the court, keeping Fink off balance with incredible hooks and ball movement on his serve. Fink countered with dazzling athleticism, keeping rallies alive with incredible gets and capitalizing on any mistakes his opponent would offer. Lenning controlled the tiebreaker early, leading 9-5, only to see his lead evaporate as Fink finished the match with a 10-2 scoring run to win, 15-1, 6-15, 15-11. Fink will also play in the Masters Singles final against Adam Zimet.
In the other semifinal, brothers Daniel and Luis Cordova put on an amazing match for the fans at the Tucson Racquet Club, showing why they've been two of the tour's top finishers this season. Through two spirited games, Daniel found more scoring opportunities to edge his older sibling, winning 15-11 and 15-11 to face Fink in Sunday's 11 a.m. final.
In Women's Classic action, 2017 champion Tracy Davis answered Kristen Hughes' upset bid with a series of passes and kills to advance to the final, 21-9, 21-15. Hughes put together a string of points by engaging Davis in long rallies, hoping to tire the top seed and set up offensive opportunities. Davis not only showed incredible conditioning, she unleashed her powerful service game to finish the match.
A rematch of the 2015 Women's Classic final between Ashley Moler and Jennifer Schmitt took place in the other semifinal. Schmitt rolled to a victory that year, and she looked poised to make a return to the this year's final by showing off a solid game that won her numerous national crowns. Moler has shown constant improvement since that tournament, and on Saturday she turned the tables against Schmitt, playing aggressively throughout the match earning a 21-6, 21-17 victory. She'll face Davis in the Women's Classic final. Schmitt and Hughes will battle in the third place match.
In the Masters Singles, top seeds ruled the day with the exception of the 55-plus and 80-plus divisions. Steve Roberts of Salt Lake City continued his flawless play, edging top seed Paul Pfannenstiel 21-6, 21-16 to advance to the final where he'll face William Cervantes of Albuquerque. Elsewhere, Mike Lundy (Colorado Springs) edged Ed Grossenbacher in an 11-10 tiebreaker to advance to the 80-plus final. He'll meet Norm Young who also advanced with a tiebreaker win.
See the draws and today's results HERE.
TUCSON -- The Annual USHA Hall of Fame Event celebrates handball by honoring the game's history and celebrating today's top players. What better way to mark the 25th anniversary of the tournament by featuring the Women's Classic, National Masters Singles and the WPH R48Pro LTE!
The atmosphere was electric at the Tucson Racquet Club on Friday as top players battled throughout the day in first and second round action. All the top seeds in the Women's Classic bracket advanced, including Tracy Davis, the 2017 Women's Classic Champ the last time it was held in Tucson. Davis also put on a tremendous show in the Masters, pushing No. 2 seed Raul Jasso through two exciting games before falling 21-19, 21-11.
Jeff Streibig (St. Louis) extends for a return against Sean Lenning (Tucson) in the WPH R48Pro LTE.
In WPH's R48Pro LTE event, Jeff Streibig of St. Louis put forth a spirited effort against top seed Sean Lenning, almost playing the roll of spoiler on Lenning's home court. Streibig took game one, 15-10 and was up in the second before Lenning stormed back to force a third set by the identical score. While Lenning usually owns the crowd in Tucson, the gallery cheered Streibig's tremendous physical effort and impressive shot execution. Lenning ultimately settled in to advance to the quarterfinals, 10-15, 15-10, 15-5.
The rest of the Hall of Fame events resumed on Friday, setting up Saturday semifinals.
See the draws with today's results HERE.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE TREMENDOUS SUPPORT RECEIVED BY OUR TOURNAMENT SPONSORS:
Kevan Del Grande
Tucson's longtime tourney directors Charlie Wicker and Vince San Angelo get an assist from University of Arizona freshman Kena Byrd-Jackson on Thursday afternoon.
PHOENIX -- Carl Hayden High School was the site of a combined handball tournament and Mecha Car Show this weekend. Thirty-two players and nearly three dozen classic, souped up and low-rider cars were on campus to wow the fans.
This is the second year for the tournament which raises money for the high school handball club. The tourney is planned and managed by the Arizona State University handball team. The Sun Devils are happy to show their commitment to community service and mentoring young student-athletes through this fun event. High school players from Carl Hayden and Camelback participated along with a passel of local adult players.
"We're lucky because it's always great weather for outdoor handball," quipped Hayden coach Chris Hogan. "Today was exceptional! A high of 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky -- not even a gust of wind."
Plenty of food was provided from breakfast through lunch and tournament close by Success4Kids.org and Valley Produce. Local patrons Don Stewart and Jim Reitmyer donated t-shirts. Many thanks to all for their generosity to our handball community.
The Open division was won by David Munoz over Jim Carkeek. David may have entered the tournament with a slight edge and perhaps as a sentimental favorite. Munoz had graduated from Carl Hayden High School years ago. "This is where it all started for me. It feels great to win this one on the courts where I first learned to play."
(Top Left then Clockwise)
Open Division: David Munoz def Jim Carkeek
Blue A/B Division: Arturo 'Magoo' Diaz def Derek Doyle (ASU)
Gold A/B Division: Pete Dominguez def David Frances (ASU)
C/ D Division: Carlos Ortiz (CHHS) def Jason Leone (ASU)
Submitted by Dan Willeford, Arizona State University Handball Coach
The Missouri State Handball Team won their 14th Combined Team Title in addition to winning the Women's Team Title.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Missouri State secured both the Women's Team title and the Combined Team Title on the final day of action at the 67th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships hosted by the University of Minnesota. The win marked the handball powerhouse's 14th Combined title.
In singles action, Galen Riordan of University College Dublin won the men’s open singles title, defeating Minnesota State, Makato's Tyler Stoffel in a thrilling tiebreaker, (18-21), 21-8, 11-3. Cork Institute of Technology's team of Adam and David Walsh (no relation) secured the men's open doubles title by defeating Dublin City University's Niall Joyce and Kevin Diggins, 21-19, (15-21), 11-2.
Dublin City University’s Fiona Tully and Minnesota State Mankato’s Ciana Ni Churraoin met in the women's open singles final. Ni Churraoin rolled to victory in the first game, but Tully came out strong in the second playing her opponent to a 16-16 tie. Ni Churraoin closed the match with three aces and two kills to complete her win, 21-5, 21-16.
Ciana completed the slam with teammate Carina Aguilar by defeating Dublin City University’s Fiona Tully and Meadhbh Ni Dhalaigh, 21-15, (12-21), 11-7.
When it comes to handball facilities, few can deliver what the University of Minnesota does. As evidenced by the world championships and the USHA National Four-Wall Championships in August, running a tournament with hundreds of players can be a daunting task that can tax any club.
That’s why the University of Minnesota’s state-of-the-art Recreation and Wellness Center is better every time we come back. Like the adjacent Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center, which is one of the few facilities in the country that can host large events in that sport, the Recreation and Wellness Center gives players and tournament directors everything they could need, such as:
- Exhibition courts all located on one floor.
- An immense locker room with a sauna and steam bath.
- A huge space to manage crowds.
- Walkable distances to hotels and restaurants.
That’s not the only reason we keep coming back. It’s a lot more than courts that make it “the best tournament facility in the country,” according to Gary Rohrer — and others. Golden Gophers coach Joe Van Thomme helped set up anything and everything for the event and provided boots on the ground for tournament help. When it came to making an emergency trip to the UPS Store, Van Thomme was on it!
Thanks are due the handball club and handball class attendees who showed up to help run the desk and provide tournament support. Plus it is always a pleasure to work with Vinh Chung, the go-to guy for the USHA nationals as well as previous collegiate nationals.
With all the activities available, it’s refreshing to see that handball is a featured sport at the facility. The Minnesota State Handball Hall of Fame has its members’ plaques on the facility’s wall, and the banner honoring the 1962 collegiate team champions from the University of Minnesota hangs as well. The four players on that team were honored during a special ceremony at the Saturday night banquet.
Although this tournament can be a monumental task, the crew in Minnesota pulled it off without a hitch.
Spirit of Handball Awards
USHA President LeaAnn Martin presents the Spirit of Handball Awards with University of Illinois' Ben Van Arsdale.
Collegiate handball mixes the passion of the game with school pride and loyalty.
Individual and team championships are won and lost each year, yet players demonstrate the best examples of sportsmanship and fair play. Playing hard and doing one’s best is encouraged, but not at the expense of the Spirit of Handball — which refers to the respect, fairness, self-discipline and camaraderie required in our sport.
Because players not only adhere to these guidelines but go above and beyond expectations with their actions and attitudes, the USHA is recognizing four outstanding individuals with the Spirit of Handball Award. For this recognition, coaches and peers evaluate and recommend the men and women who go above and beyond the code.
This year's recipients were (left-to-right): Kena Byrd-Jackson (Arizona), Laura Blankenship (Missouri State), Logan Call (Texas A&M), Jianneng Wu (Stony Brook).
USHA President LeaAnn Martin presents the Sabo Scholarships to Pecaut and Camacho with USHA's Matt Krueger.
The Sabo Scholarship Committee has awarded this year’s scholarships to Christina Pecaut of Missouri State and Esteban Camacho of Arizona State. Pecaut is a junior majoring in accounting and is one of the presidents of the Missouri State handball team. A member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, she plans to pursue a master’s in accountancy after completing her bachelor’s degree.
Camacho is a mechanical engineering student planning to attend graduate school and join the Navy. He is the Sun Devil Handball Club’s travel officer as well as a safety officer who is certified in CPR and First Aid. Camacho is also a Level 2 USHA certified handball instructor and is a student instructor for a handball class twice a week with coach Dan Willeford.
Most Improved Players Awards
This year’s recipients were Sam Matenaer of the University of Minnesota and Tessa DeBartolo of Pacific University. In 2018 Matenaer scored points for the Golden Gophers and finished 109th of 121 players. He came back strong this year and finished 62nd of 138. Even with an increased field size, Matenaer jumped 47 spots in the final standings.
Last year at Missouri State, DeBartolo came in 52nd of 69, whereas in Minnesota, she improved to 29th of 77 players. We want to congratulate them and all the collegiate players who get better each year. As our next generation of players, we know they have bright futures.
Men's Singles (Wednesday Matches)
Women's Singles (Wednesday / Thursday Matches)
Men's Singles (Thursday)
TUCSON -- The excitement and drama of the WPH R48Pro Tour was on full display for Sunday's finals in The Tucson Memorial. Killian Carroll made his way back to another R48Pro final after falling in the semis in Atlanta. Sean Lenning was looking for some redemption as well after suffering the same fate: being bounced in the semis of that same tournament. Playing in front of a raucous home crowd at the Tucson Racquet Club, Lenning's serve was zipping all over the court as he dominated Carroll in two games, winning the second R48Pro stop of the season, 15-10, 15-7.
Carroll found himself in an early hole, trailing 9-1, but he was able to close the gap with some heart-stopping gets and precision kills. But the day belonged to Lenning, as he kept Carroll guessing and off-guard with low drives to the right, and he ultimately slammed the door with a fortuitous right front corner kill.
Sunday's final turned out to be that kind of a match for Lenning, while Carroll couldn't catch a break. In the second game, and looking to force a third, Carroll was on the receiving end of an unfortunate bounce which hit his shoe, awarding the rally to Lenning. After that, the momentum was in Lenning's favor, and he rolled to his first R48Pro victory of Season 8.
In ladies action, Catriona Casey (swinging above) faced a resurgent Ciana Ni Churraoin, but she was able to hold her late rally off for the victory, needing overtime in the second game to win, 15-7, 16-14.
In the Men's R48SRPro final, David Fink stopped Marcos Chavez for the title, 15-2, 15-11.
If you missed any of this weekend's action, you can watch the replay at WatchESPN.com or on the Watch ESPN App (iPhone or Android).
See the final results and scores on The Tucson Memorial's R2sports site HERE.
The WPH put on another incredible show that carried some extra meaning. Players and fans from around the world trekked to Tucson for this $50K "no entry fee" event that paid tribute to our fallen handball friends. Read the WPH wrap-up and report HERE.
Dave Fink tracks down a shot off the back wall in semifinal action against Killian Carroll.
Killian Carroll overcame a collision with the sidewall at 0-0 and a great performance by David Fink to earn a trip to Sunday's final. After sliding into the wall at 0-0 after making a few great gets, Carroll won the first and was up 9-1 in the second before Fink made a great comeback to win the second. Carroll mounted another 9-1 lead in the third before Fink made another strong effort to get back into contention but Carroll closed it out for the win.
Between pro semifinals, Kara Mack explained the Memorial's significance.
The WPH Qualifier Draw can make the preliminary rounds exciting and even unpredictable. Unpredictable was indeed the case on Friday, as many players qualified for the first time. In the top qualifier bracket, Richie Fernandez (Juarez, Mexico) toppled Marcos Chavez (Yorba Linda, CA), 25-21 while Tyler Stoffel (Mankato, MN), a collegiate All-American coming off a year of injuries, upended favorite Max Langmack (Springfield, MO), 25-12.
In a historic R48Pro first, father and son, Leo Canales Sr. and Leo Canales Jr. (El Paso, TX), qualified for the Pro Draw. They were joined by Stephen Cooney (Ireland), Loren Collado (Orinda, CA), Braulio Ruiz (Tucson) and Abraham Montijo (Tucson).
Richie Fernandez (background) waits for Daniel Cordova to track down a ball off the back wall in first round action in the WPH R48Pro Draw. Cordova advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Fernandez, 15-6, 15-3.
The Tucson Memorial and WPH R48Pro VIII Stop #2 boasts the top prize money purse of the year at $50K! While the exciting action of the WPH R48Pro Season 8 resumes at the Tucson Racquet Club, the event honors those in our community who have left us, but also celebrates their lives through the sport we love most.
Be sure to catch Sunday's action! Watch LIVE coverage on WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN App See the WPH Schedule). Follow the draws on the tournament R2sports site HERE.
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