Do you have the right training plan to prepare for a tournament?
When it comes to strength and conditioning, there is a big need to debunk two training extremes: Training specificity and cross training.
Training “specificity” has become a hot topic lately, and simply says that you need to mimic the exact motions of the sport to get better at the sport. This makes sense to a point, but many people have gone overboard by saying that anything else, including weight training, is a waste of time. This has become especially prevalent in a few extreme baseball schools of thought. For example, pitchers who don’t believe in lifting weights, or position players using pulley machines to mimic their swing in a slow, controlled manner. The argument of the latter is that you are strengthening those exact specific muscles used to swing.
Sure, you may slightly strengthen those muscles, but you are also messing with a very complex, learned, neuromuscular pattern by mimicking a swing. Additionally, performing this movement in a slower manner (which it will always be, if resisted) can lead to a slower swing, since a slower pattern is being reinforced. This is the same reason that using resisted weights on a bat (a doughnut) right before stepping into the batter’s box has been shown to actually lead to a subsequent slower swing (granted, at the top levels, the mental aspect may be worth it). Some have theorized that this is due to fatigued muscles from the weighted bat, however what’s more likely, is that the pattern is being performed slower from swinging a significantly heavier bat. In most of these studies, the amount of swings taken with a heavier bat is hardly enough to “fatigue the muscles.” The fact is, when it comes to training a complex, neuromuscular pattern, it is more advantageous to instead strengthen the entire body, rather than mess with a specific pattern. Overall bodily strengthening then transfers to the specific motion at hand because of the gained potential to develop more power.
Here is a great handball example I have been asked before- “Would it be beneficial to play handball wearing a 20 lb. weighted vest?” If your goal is simply to burn more calories, or get a workout, then yes, but if your goal is to improve your
|A weighted fitness vest: Use for boot camps and pull-ups,
but please not for handball!
handball game, the answer is no. In the long-run you’ll just get good at moving around the court 20 lbs. slower (in the short-run it would just be a waste of time, and extra sweat). Sure, you may “feel” faster when you remove the vest, but you’re not getting anywhere. What is the goal here? Is it to strength the muscles used to move? If so, there are much more superior ways to strengthen the body, especially the legs and core, so important in moving well, through weight training. Moving slower around the court in a vest won’t equate to moving better or hitting the ball harder (as it’s a very fast, complex pattern). Lastly, know that mechanics do rule above all, even though sufficient strength and mobility are necessary for good mechanics as well as injury prevention.
Let’s take a look at the other extreme, cross-training. Cross-training is a broad term that encompasses any training besides the particular sport at hand (i.e. handball), and is usually done in a “conditioning” aspect. Spinning for hours, running half-marathons, or even swimming are common methods of cross-training. While cross-training has its place depending on one’s goal or where they stand in their tournament schedule, the “conditioning” aspect is being made a lot more complicated here than it needs to be. Not all endurance is created equal. If it were, Lance Armstrong would not only have been the best biker in the world, but also would have dominated in any marathon, swimming endurance competition, triathlon, etc. He also would be able to “endure” my lectures in weight training class, which no one has been able to stay fully awake for yet!
While he was one of the best on the bike (specific), he would be no match for the top marathon runners and swimmers in the world. They have become very efficient at their particular motion, and their endurance is tied right into that movement pattern.
Here’s a baseball example: traditionally pitchers have always run distance for endurance training. This started before we knew much about strength training, as it was seen as the best way to “strengthen” the legs. We now know better
|Cardio Training: While putting in the extra time on the treadmill may improve your cardio,
it won’t necessarily equate to better court endurance.
ways to strengthen the legs, and we know that too much slow aerobic work is actually counterproductive to strength- the body’s muscle fibers become less explosive and it becomes advantageous for the body to shed muscle. Not good for a powerful pitching motion on the mound. Additionally, consider that many power pitchers, such as C.C. Sabathia, are starting pitchers. Does one really think he’d be a better pitcher, have better “endurance” in other words, if he ran distance? Their endurance on the mound is specific and complex- too complex in fact to break apart and think we can cross-train effectively. The best way to develop pitching endurance is to simply pitch bullpens. That’s right, I don’t care if they’re able to run a sub-five-minute mile, if their body has adapted to throwing 150 pitches on their high bullpen days, that’s about where they’ll start to fatigue in games. Their endurance will be specific to the motion at hand.
Don’t get me wrong, having a few sessions a week of light aerobic work can help assist in recovery and help maintain an aerobic base. But be careful about going overboard, because handball is as much about power as it is endurance, and research has conclusively shown that too much aerobic work hinders power production. So if you’re trying to get in handball shape, stick to handball specifically as your main means of conditioning. Keep in mind that handball specificity doesn’t necessarily mean actually playing. If you have the ambition this could mean movement intervals of lateral shuffles on the court, quick 3-4 step bursts, etc., but make sure to rest similarly to what you would in a game. Or, even better, don’t complicate it- practice often and play someone who will run you around the court for your “handball conditioning.” After having developed a good aerobic base, don’t get much more aerobic than what playing simply requires.
What if you already play a ton and still want to improve your conditioning?
Let me answer that question with a better question: if you’re already playing a ton, is it a lack of conditioning that’s holding you back?
Would improving your conditioning really make you a better player in this case?
Or would you be wiser to spend that time practicing shots on the court, playing multiple games in a row to mimic tournaments, and devoting 2-4 days of the week to weight training?
Finally, one might say, “well it can’t hurt, can it?” Actually, it can in terms of resourcefulness. The more you do, the less you’ll get out of each modality. A guy like Jimmy Costigan might have been able to bike from Denver to Boulder and win a handball tournament, but besides simply being one of a kind, the fact remains that the less fatigued you are from cross-training while tournaments approach, the harder you can push yourself on the court. So if your top training priorities are to get better at handball, don’t forget to prioritize handball first when it comes to conditioning, and strengthen the body through a good weight training program which will carry-over to better power and won’t interfere with your swing by being “too specific.” In summary, get stronger on days devoted to getting stronger, play handball on days devoted to handball conditioning (with maybe some movement intervals afterward), and use light, aerobic recovery sessions sparingly and only when necessary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Travis Owen is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA, has a Master’s degree in Health & Physical Education. Having interned at the University of Louisville, Travis is passionate about a comprehensive approach to sport performance, including proper movement, strengthening, conditioning, and nutrition. Travis started the Northern State University Handball Club, bringing them to the national collegiate tournament in 2010, and competes as often as possible in handball tournaments. He has two open division wins in Colorado (DAC Open and the Great Gorilla) and finished 3rd in the 2011 Minnesota State tournament.
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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