MAUMEE, Ohio -- The 66th USHA National Three-Wall Championships wrapped up on Labor Day with Marcos Chavez helping Sean Lenning slam, and marking the fifth Open three-wall doubles title for Chavez. After defeating Tyree and Jurell Bastidas 21-18 in the first game, the defending champs rolled to a big lead in the second. Trailing 15-8, the Bastidas brothers dug in and appeared ready to overtake their opponents at 18-19; however, a left-handed miss by Tyree gave Lenning and Chavez the side out. Back in the box, Chavez served up a momentum swinging ace to reach championship point. Then ensuing serve and rally was almost anti-climatic, as another mishit sealed Chavez and Lenning's title defense.
In Women's action, Hillary Rushe and Ashley Moler secured the Women's Open Doubles title with a two game win over Toledo's Leah Kirk and Deanne Przybylski. Robin Sterrett and Deb June finished second.
The Toledo Handball Club again hosted a tremendous tournament. Players and fans were met with a gleaming freshly-painted facility on Thursday. Once Mike Moran and his crew fired up the grills, they kept handball players and families well fed the entire week. Thank you to all event sponsors and volunteers who made the 66th USHA National Three-Wall Championships a success!
Final results for the National Three-Wall Championships are available HERE.
Sean Lenning won his eighth Three-wall National Singles title with an impressive win over Tyree Bastidas, 21-17, 21-12. This year's contest wasn't the lopsided affair from 2015. Bastidas looked in control for much of the first game, cruising to a 17-10 lead. After a timeout, Lenning went on a tear, scoring 11 unanswered points to steal the first game and the match's momentum. Once the second game started, Lenning raced to a 6-0 lead before Bastidas scored his first. Leading 10-3, Lenning delivered kills, passes and aces, and en route to scoring his 17th point, ran down a deep ball for a weak return that Bastidas shot into the floor. After a Lenning timeout, Bastidas mounted a comeback, getting the score as close as 12-19 before Lenning delivered a kill for the final point.
In Women's Open action, Hillary Rushe of Roscommon, Ireland won her first Three-Wall Women's Open Singles title by defeating Ashley Moler 21-14, 21-9. Rushe's three-wall play in Chicago helped improve her game with steady and consistent shots, moving Moler around the court en route to victory.
In Men's Doubles action, both semifinal matches were decided by tiebreakers. Defending champs Sean Lenning and Marcos Chavez took a first game punch from Mando Ortiz and Braulio Ruiz, losing 12-21. In the second, Chavez/Lenning began to heat up, and they repaid their opponents by winning by an identical score. In the tiebreaker, Lenning and Chavez rolled, punching their ticket to the final 11-0.
In the second semifinal, after winning the first game, Dane and Adam Szatkowski couldn't muster consistency on offense and fell to Tyree and Jurell Bastidas, 16-21, 21-5 and 11-3.
Matches begin tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. with the tournament closing with the USHA / WPH Big Ball doubles final.
The road to the singles title must pass through Sean Lenning. After Luis Moreno blitzed Lenning in the first game of the semifinal 21-7, there were whispers that the defending champ wouldn't reach this year's final. But in the second game, a "sleeping giant" awoke. Many people in the gallery noted how the ball seemed to make a different sound against the wall for Lenning, as the seven-time champ began to crush each shot to force a tiebreaker, winning 21-15. In the third frame, Lenning stormed out to a 10-0 lead and held on to win 11-4.
In the second semifinal, Tyree Bastidas blasted the ball deep to keep the hot-shooting Ortiz out of his comfort zone. After winning the first game 21-8, Bastidas held off a surging Ortiz comeback to close out the win, 21-19. The rematch of last year's final will showcase the 2015 World One-Wall Champion Lenning against this year's National One-wall Champion Bastidas.
The Men's Singles Final will be played at 11 a.m. on Sunday and will be filmed by Buckeye Cable Sports Network.
It's not a Three-Wall Nationals unless the Szatkowski Brothers are involved in a dramatic Men's Open doubles match. A large crowd from Chicago cheered on the Szatkowskis, who took the first game 21-10, lost a dramatic second game, 21-20, then held off two match points to edge Luis Moreno and Abe Montijo 11-10. They'll face the Bastidas brothers in what promises to be a spectacular semifinal.
Toledo's Matt Osburn was presented his Grand Master Sweater at this year's Three-Wall Championships on Saturday. Osburn has won many of his required 10 titles to join the exclusive club of champions. Fellow Toledo handballer Phil Kirk made the presentation and introduced Osburn who read an excerpt from his journal he kept as a youth, recalling every handball match he played. Osburn then thanked his wife, family and fellow players who made his handball journey a truly special one.
The second day of action at the 66th USHA Three-Wall Nationals brought more intense play and punishing tiebreakers as challengers fell to title contenders. Abraham Montijo played his second tiebreaker in as many days, but couldn’t get past Luis Moreno in the quarterfinals, 16-21, 21-3 and 11-5. Other top seeds advanced to set up the Men’s Open semifinals where Sean Lenning will face Luis Moreno at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern) and Tyree Bastidas will tussle with Armando Ortiz at Noon.
Men's Open doubles opened with a pair of tiebreakers. Tyler Stevens and Ryan Bowler came roaring back from a 21-6 game one loss to defeat Will Lemp and Richard Lynch, 6-21, 21-3 and 11-2. In the other match, Juan Canelas and Anthony Collado battled Marco and Carlos Lemus for three games, but the Lemus brothers pulled out the win, 18-21, 21-19 and 11-10.
Canada’s Ivan Burgos fought off match point against Joe Mastropierro, 8-21, 21-20 and 11-8 in the A Singles. Burgos will meet Ohio’s Joe Frankenfield in the semifinals.
In 70s action, Keith Thode’s Cinderella story continues, as he outlasted 2015 finalist Carl Valentino. Down 7-1 in the tiebreaker, Thode made a remarkable 10-0 run to close the match and advance to the semifinals. The road to the final doesn’t get any easier for Thode as he’ll face Grand Master Mike Meltzer tomorrow at Noon.
Just in time for the 66th USHA National Three-Wall Championships, the mural by the Toledo School for the Arts gracing the north wall of the Lucas County Rec Center is complete! The Toledo Handball Club wishes to recognize state handball associations across the country with a sign placed on the mural. If you're interested in having your association or club listed, please see Jim Smith or George Miller at the Three-Wall Nationals.
Singles competition kicked off the 66th USHA Three-Wall Nationals on Thursday at the Lucas County Rec Center. Later Thursday night, Sean Lenning (Seattle) will begin his title defense against Anthony Collado (Chicago) in the round of 16. Lenning will also try to repeat his slam in the doubles with Marcos Chavez.
Michigan Handball's Keith Thode is known for capturing thousands of great action shots at Nationals and World Championships. While Thode's work is featured on Handball Magazine covers and websites, he is rarely captured on film! On the first day of play, Thode advanced to the quarterfinals of the 70-plus division with a 21-13, 21-14 victory.
FRIDLEY, Minnesota -- Catriona Casey captured her third Women's Open title with a convincing win over Cianna Ni Churraoin, 21-5, 21-0. It was a bittersweet moment for Casey to face her doubles partner and friend who suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the first game. Although Ni Churraoin was able to finish the match, she was a shell of the player who pushed Catriona for two games in last month's WPH Players Championships in Portland.
In Men's Doubles action, Marcos Chavez and Sean Lenning defended their doubles title against the newly formed team of Andy Nett and Martin Mulkerrins, 21-12 and 21-17. While the champions controlled leads through both games, Nett and Mulkerrins didn't back down, briefly tying score in the second game through Nett's streaking serves and Mulkerrins' solid play. An avoidable hinder against the challengers halted any momentum as Lenning and Chavez sealed their second consecutive Four-Wall Doubles crown.
See final draws/results HERE.
Killian Carroll and Paul Brady played one of the most memorable USHA National Four-Wall finals in history on Saturday ending with Carroll closing the door to Brady's 10-year undefeated streak to win his first title (6), 17, 10.
"It just feels surreal at this point." said the newly crowned champ.
It didn't appear that Carroll would have much of a chance early on, as Brady blitzed the youngster from Cork in the first game. An early 20-2 lead foreshadowed Carroll's doom, but Carroll didn't relinquish game point, scoring four more points to show some life and build confidence at the end of the first game. Once the second game started, Carroll imposed his will on the defending champ, building sizable leads only to see Brady come back to take a 17-16 edge. Getting the side out, Carroll scored five unanswered points to force the tiebreaker.
Brady started with the serve in the tiebreaker and took control early leading 4-2, but Carroll never let his opponent build any more than a 2-point lead. The two players were knotted at 8-8 when Brady scored two more points to be on the cusp of his 11th title. But Carroll denied the historic moment, winning a long rally to regain the serve. Two quick points had Carroll on the edge of his first title and the packed gallery on the edge of their seats with the score tied 10-10. As his did so many times during the match, Carroll finished a rally with a flat kill to seal his first title.
In a post-match interview, Brady reflected, "I'll take the summer off, but I definitely don't want this to be my last match."
In women's open action, defending champion Catriona Casey dropped Aoife McCarthy in two games and will face Ciana Ni Churraoin for the title Sunday morning. Ni Churraoin advanced to the final with a two-game win over Jessica Gawley.
Watch the action on the WPH Live Webcast at www.race4eight.com. The Women's Open final coverage begins Sunday, June 19, 10 a.m. Central.
A beautiful Sunday met players and fans who got out to the courts early for some of the makeup matches from the late rain on Saturday. Tyree Bastidas capped a great week of play to win his fourth consecutive singles title , this time over Willie Polanco. Later Bastidas won two doubles matches to complete the singles and doubles slam with Billy O'Donnell over Polanco and Michael Schneider.
PORTLAND -- The Irish continued to make their mark on this side of the Atlantic with big wins in the Masters and R48 events. Killian Carroll earned the title over Sean Lenning after upsetting Paul Brady on Saturday night. Catriona Casey was almost perfect in her final win over Aisling Reilly and Gavin Buggy beat Marcos Chavez for the USHA 40-plus and WPH Senior R48 title.
Newcomer Eamon O'Leary was the best in the 35s beating Fred Schoener in the final. John Robles, Arturo Saurez and Dan Murphy were the other 40 and 50 winners. Dave Steinberg kept the 60s in Portland while Ed Campbell repeated in the 65s. Jim Ward took the 70s and Mike Driscoll earned the 75 in a tiebreaker over Ed Grossenbacher. Charlie Wicker took the 80 and newest Grand Masters Joe Lenhart added to his title cache with the first ever 85s held at the Masters Invite.
See the results and draws on the R2Sports.com website for the USHA Masters Singles & WPH R48Pro V Player's Championship HERE.
Watch the WPH Live R48Pro V Player's Championship replay on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App!
LOS ANGELES -- Championship Sunday in Venice Beach treated handball fans and families with a spectacular show. Tucson's Carlos Espinoza took home the 19-Under title, producing a stirring comeback against Pasadena's Bryan Pacheco, winning the title 6-21, 21-11, 11-6. "Pacheco wasn't missing anything in the first game." said referee Marcus Hough. Espinoza neutralized his opponent's hot shooting in the second game with high percentage passes to win the second. In the tiebreaker, Espinoza watched Pacheco streak to a 6-0 lead but was able to score 11 unanswered points for the victory.
Andrew Garcia of Los Angeles kept the Boy's 17-Under crown in Southern California defeating Tucson's Jesus Avila in two games, 21-7, 21-5. Garcia finished the slam with partner Brendan Ramirez, defeating Carlos Espinoza and Jonathan Gutierrez for the 19-Under Doubles title, 21-16, 21-10.
Jorge Pimentel bested 520 teammate Isac Rios for the 15-Under title 21-6, 21-12. San Jose's Briant Mendiola and Stockton's David Sanchez won the 15-Under doubles over Pimentel and John Franks in two close games, 21-19, 21-17.
The match of the day belonged to the Boys 13-Under final where David Sanchez overcame a 6-0 deficit in the tiebreaker to defeat Bryan Trejo of Santa Barbara, 18-21, 21-12, 11-10. Sanchez had to earn every point, as Trejo dug out a championship point winner to regain the serve at 10-10. A side out by Sanchez gave him the opportunity to close, which he did with an timely pass down the right wall.
Daniel Mora stopped Luis Fernandez's run in the Junior 11-Under final, winning 21-15, 18-21, 11-0.
Tucson's Kena Byrd-Jackson won the Girls 17-Under title by finishing undefeated in round robin play.
Special "Thanks" to the Southern California Handball Association, Larry Fisher, Gary Cruz, and all the volunteers who made the tournament a special treat for the players. Thank you to West Coast Handball's Mark Zamora for donating fruit and water on Saturday. And THANK YOU to all coaches (Fred Lewis, Abe Montijo, James Coronado, Patrick Saito and Marco Coromac) and the junior players who showed great sportsmanship and positive attitudes the entire weekend. Handball's future looks bright!
During a break in the action on Saturday afternoon, juniors were treated to a handball skills clinic from WPH Juniors Coach Braulio Ruiz. Juniors learned specific serves, ceiling warm-ups and took part in a "target" drill with the former USHA National Junior Champion.
Playing just a few feet from the Pacific Ocean, adjacent to the world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk and Muscle Beach, junior handballers will get a minimum of three matches! Travel assistance is awarded to junior players traveling 250-plus miles one way through Joe Ardito and Wafe Risner Travel Funds! The Presidents Club is matching Ardito Funds for groups with five or more players traveling with a coach.
TUCSON -- Luis Moreno looked strong against Sean Lenning in two games winning the Men's Open singles, 21-16, 21-3. A couple of local high school athletes battled for the women's crown. Sahuaro High School's (Tucson) Kena Byrd-Jackson won the Women's singles over Marisa Maldonado of Salpointe Catholic.
Kena also sang the star spangled banner at Saturday's banquet. Marine Corps Honor Guard is her back up. Vince San Angelo, a retired US Marine and tournament director, also gave a memorable talk on the meaning of Memorial Day.
See the 2016 Armed Forces Tribute Tournament results HERE.
CONEY ISLAND, N.Y. -- Tywan Cook showed the fans who crowded the Asser Levy Park handball courts that he wasn’t about to relinquish his crown on Sunday. Just a year removed from winning his first USHA National Singles title, Cook defended his title with an impressive victory over rising talent Kadeem Bush, 25-19 then paired with Carlin Rosa to defeat Timbo Gonzalez and Allan Sanchez 25-16 to complete the slam.
All finalists dazzled the crowd with extended rallies, emphatic kills and great sportsmanship throughout their matches.
George Figueroa defeated Ray Lopez for the Men's 40-Plus title. Boris Piker won both the Men's B Singles and Open Singles crowns. Adam Gittlitz won the Men's C Drop-down over Teodoro Garcia.
Jonathan Davila and Christian Guzman won the Men's B Doubles, defeating Mohamad Mansi and Manny Sanchez.
Karen McConney won the Women's Pro Singles title, defeating Veronica Figueroa.
Mel Sky and Jessica Santiago took the Women's Pro Doubles by defeating Veronica Figueroa and Quasia Watson in Round Robin competition.
A Special "Thank You" goes to Alethia Mendez, William Polanco, Jared Vale, Glenn Hall, Sophia Murphy-Barnes, Glenn Usher, Laurence DuBois, Carlos Centeno and everyone that stepped up to volunteer, referee or help out in any way throughout the weekend making the 9th USHA Wallball Championships a great event!
See the final results and draws HERE.
CONEY ISLAND -- After a 10-year break, the Inner City Handball Association revived the USHA/ICHA Junior One-Wall Nationals. Returning the Asser Levy Park's Seaside Courts, 60 juniors participated in the two-day event which offered skill division and drop-down play.
Final draws and results can be viewed HERE.
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