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.
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.
Brought to you by Southern California Handball Association
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. --Mark Zamora (setting up in his first final) was one of two players to win two on Sunday. Zamora teamed with Jesse Pasos (background) and John Robles to win the 50 and 45 titles. Robles was the other player to win two, taking the 45 and 50 events.
Final results HERE.
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!
Upper right photo show the Gregory Gym show court from 2010 Four-Wall National Men's Open Singles final.
(photos by Keith Thode)
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