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2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships wrapped four-straight days of small ball and big ball singles and doubles at the Venice Beach Rec Center late Sunday afternoon.  Many of the top seeds advanced to finals in four divisions, giving them a huge workload on the final day. 

Jesus Mendez of Los Angeles made a huge splash at last year's juniors, winning the 15-Under Big Ball and Small Ball crowns.  This year, Mendez topped his previous feat, winning the Boys 17-Under Small and Big Ball singles and the Boys 19-Under Small and Big Ball doubles (hauling in four first-place medals!). 

Andrew Garcia (pictured swinging against Luis Mendez in the small ball final) came close, winning three divisions before narrowly losing in the 19-Under Big Ball Doubles final to Mendez and Eddie "Toro" Rocha, 15-3, 12-15, 15-13.  Garcia, playing in six matches on Sunday won the Boys 19-Under Small Ball singles, Big Ball singles and Small Ball doubles. 

After winning 15-Under One-Wall titles in New York last month, David Sanchez slammed 15-Under Small Ball crowns on Sunday, defeating Fermin Victoria, 15-4, 15-0 in the singles.  Sanchez teamed with Joahann Campos of Kansas City to take the doubles crown over George Mitchell and Anthony Sanchez, 15-9, 15-11.

In the 13-Under Small Ball final, Luis Fernandez of Santa Barbara's TGOP program edged Andres Cordova of Juarez, Mexico, 15-9, 10-15, 15-7.  In the 13-Under Doubles Small Ball final, the TGOP team Osby Perez and Daniel Mora outlasted Tucson's Ayden Brule and Rene Sosa, 15-8, 15-7.  

It was another tremendous National Junior 3-Wall Championships, hosted by the Southern California Handball Association.  Kids were treated with amazing backpacks, shirts and hats as well as a BBQ lunch each day at the beach.  A special "thank you" to the volunteers who braved the beach traffic and hot sun throughout the event:  Marcus Hough, Mark Zamora, Roy Harvey and the many others. 

Thanks to the First Ace & Presidents Club contributors, 43 of the 81 participants who traveled from out of town received travel fund assistance from the USHA!  Want to support First Ace or Join the Presidents Club?  Donate through our secure online store HEREThe United States Handball Association is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.  Thank you for your support!

See the updated draws and results HERE.


 

 

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- Big ball singles and doubles set the table for the day's matches at the Venice Beach Rec Center on Saturday in the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.  

All four top seeds advanced to the semifinals in the Boy's 19-Under Singles.  The top seeds in the younger 13-Under bracket didn't fair the same.  Top-seeded Abraham Sanchez made a valiant effort but came up just short to Moises Barrientos, losing 0-15, 15-14, 15-7.  On the other side of the draw, Fernando Estrella stopped Luis Fernandez, 9-15, 15-8. 15-6. 

The 11-Under division provided the most thrilling match of the day as Jose "JJ" Arellano outlasted Christopher Reyes of Sun Valley, CA (shown swinging) 15-13, 13-15, 15-11.  

See the updated draws and results HERE.


VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The afternoon sun finally broke through the marine layer that provided relief to players up to that point.  This also came at a time when quarterfinal and semifinal matches became more competitive and heated on the second day of the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships

This year's first national title went to Tucson's Team 520 player Sophia Della Croce in Girls 17-Under division, 15-14, 15-6.  Della Croce and teammate Belisa Camacho played to a 14-14 stalemate in the first game before Della Croce took the final point.  In the second, Della Croce's serve dictated the pace, and she used an ace to secure championship point.  Della Croce and Camacho paired to win the Girls 17-Under doubles later on Friday. 

In Boy's 19-Under action, Andrew Garcia earned a return to the final with a 15-11, 15-10 win over Jonathan Gutierrez in the semifinals.  Gutierrez kept each game close and wowed the Venice crowd with some amazing shots, showing tremendous poise to run down and return deep shots.  Garcia answered, showing off amazing hand control with fly-kills and soft paddle shots in the front court that landed beyond his opponent's reach.  

In the other 19-Under semifinal, Luis Mendez, last year's 17-Under champ looked unstoppable, stopping Brandon Ramirez (shown right) 15-8, 15-4.  Mendez and Garcia will face off in the Sunday morning final. 

The best match of the day was in the 19-Under semifinals.  Luis Mendez and David Ruiz gave Brandon Ramirez and Jon Gutierrez a tough first game but looked overwhelmed, losing the first game, 15-12.  In the second, Ruiz caught fire, delivering timely rekills and keeping rallies alive to take pressure off his teammate.  They held a comfortable 14-10 lead and appeared to be heading into a tiebreaker before Ramirez and Gutierrez scored three unanswered points to keep things close.  Facing a possible collapse, Ruiz again made another amazing front-court diving shot to help force the tiebreaker.  In the tiebreaker, Mendez and Ruiz cruised to a 15-3 win.  They'll face Andrew Garcia and Jesus Mendez in Sunday's final. 

Big Ball singles and doubles divisions kickoff on Saturday morning.  

See the updated draws and results HERE.

 


 


VENICE BEACH, Calif
. -- The Venice Beach Boardwalk was crowded with the usual summer tourist traffic. Many of the visitors stopped to watch and marveled at the talented athleticism of the juniors playing at the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.  Banners hung across the event's canopy tents and on the bleachers indicating that National Championships were in progress, and many curious onlookers stayed to ask questions about handball and pulled out camera phones to film the action.

The day's biggest upset belonged to Los Angeles' Fermin Victoria (shown with coach Patrick Saito) who upset No. 1 seed Bryan Trejo of Santa Barbara in the Boy's 15-Under singles.  Victoria has been one of the most improved players in Patrick Saito's program out of Washington Irving Middle School. 

All junior players were given the royal treatment, getting a backpack, three shirts and a hat as part of their tournament swag bag.  Quarterfinal and semifinal play continues tomorrow.  (Intro image is of Michael Madden from Ft. Collins in first round action).

This year's Junior 3-Wall Championships, hosted and supported by the Southern California Handball Association and the Los Angeles Fire Department Handball, is packed with 80 players, traveling from Colorado, Mexico, Arizona and all over California.  Small ball competition started the event on Thursday, July 26, with Big Ball divisions beginning on Saturday. 

See the event's draws and start time at the official r2sports.com site HERE.

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