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2018 Armed Forces Memorial Day Handball Tournament

TUCSON -- The top pro players delivered another incredible final to wrap up the final day of action in the 2018 Armed Forces Memorial Day Handball Tournament.  Killian Carroll came away with a slam, defeating Sean Lenning 21-17, 21-15 in the singles, then teaming with Abe Montijo to drop Armando Ortiz and Braulio Ruiz in the doubles, 21-1, 21-20. 

Both Carroll and Lenning dazzled the Tucson Racquet Club gallery, delighting the glass-pounding fans with a fast-paced two-game slug fest.  While Lenning kept pace with Carroll through each game, he couldn't break away with big enough runs to stop his opponent's momentum.  See the finals video courtesy of the WPH HERE.

In the Women's Open final, Ashley Moler looked solid against an improving Beth Blackstone, winning the title, 21-8, 21-5.

Before the Saturday night banquet began, the United States Marine Corp Color Guard presented the flag while the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag was recited. The Marine Corps Color Guard is four-member formation – consisting of the senior Marine and Color Sergeant carrying the National Colors, a Marine carrying the Marine Corps Colors, and two rifle bearers.  After dinner Fred Lewis and Vince San Angelo presented awards to division winners, thanked the players and paid tribute to our Armed Forces and the service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.  University of Arizona Police Sergeant Alex Garcia played "Taps" to close the banquet and ceremonies.  

Players from 11 states and Mexico came to compete in the 2018 Armed Forces Memorial Day Handball Tournament at Tucson Racquet Club.  The event pays tribute to service members who have given their lives defending our country as well as honors veterans who have served.  Six WPH R48Pro players entered a stellar Open Singles draw of 16.  After two days of exciting play, Killian Carroll and Sean Lenning will meet in Sunday's championship match. 

There were no upsets leading up to the final, although Lenning survived a close game one loss to win a tiebreaker against the Collegiate champion Leo Canales, (19-21), 21-5, 11-5.  In other quarterfinal action, Armando Ortiz stopped Abe Montijo (16-21), 21-17, 11-5. 

In the semifinals, Carroll and Ortiz battled closely in game one before the two-time defending champion closed out the match, 21-16, 21-3. In the other semifinal, Lenning jumped up early on Dave Fink in order to hold off any comeback hope, winning 21-10, 21-16.

In Women's Open action, Ashley Moler will face Beth Blackstone in tomorrow's Women's Open singles final. 

See draws and results HERE.

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Mardak Endowment is USHA’s Largest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Keith Mardak with his wife Mary Vanderberg.

$1 Million for Scholarships and Challenges to Communities


Tucson, AZ, May 1, 2017:  When Keith Mardak of Milwaukee decided he wanted to help college kids and handball, he decided to do it in a big way.  The $1,000,000 gift is the largest in the USHA’s history and is designed to be in place for posterity.  There are two pieces to the Endowment, one will fund college students to teach handball and the other piece will fund scholarships for those students who teach.  Keith’s generosity to the communities where handball is taught will need to be matched from within the community.

The Mardak Scholarships and Mardak Community Challenges will start in the Spring of 2018 with at least 10 scholarships and five community grants awarded.   “It’s going to be great to be a collegiate handball player,” said USHA Executive Director Vern Roberts.

“It’s been exciting to reach out into the communities to find the matching funds.  Everyone likes the idea and is stepping up to grow the game with more coaching and mentoring by young people for younger people.  We’ve seen similar startups with Homework and Handball in Tempe and Lift Up Kids in Austin, and there are other successful programs.  We’ll be off and running in the Spring of 2018 with these and a few more communities we’re working on,” Roberts added.  “Handball needs more teachers, more players and this is a great place to start.”

Mardak, who has been one of the USHA’s most generous donors, is looking forward to getting the program(s) off the ground and “seeing the positive results,” Mardak said. 

Keith and his wife Mary Vanderberg have supported numerous organizations in a big way, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, the VanderCook College of Music, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Phoenix Society, along with numerous other high school and college scholarships.  A part owner of the Wisconsin Athletic Clubs, including Milwaukee’s No. 1 handball club, Mardak has played handball since the late 1960s.  Though he hasn’t been able to play for awhile due to injury, but like every handball player, hopes to make a comeback after his new shoulder heals, he noted: “Greg (Misiewicz) and I had a good run.”   Keith had a lot of fun playing handball and now he’s looking to share that with other youngsters for a lifetime.

To maintain the endowment, 4% of the fund’s value on Dec. 31 will be spent on the two programs in the following year.  The spending will be split between the Mardak Scholarships and the Mardak Community Challenge.  With the local communities involved the Challenge, we’re hoping for a huge impact in the growth of handball in those areas.

For more information on getting involved in the program, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (520)795-0434.

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Lake Forest Fetes 50 years of Dau and Handball

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Lake Forest College Handball Coach Mike Dau told the 180 former players and supporters assembled how the 50 years of handball and 51 national titles started. The crowd had assembled from far and wide, from Suhn Lee coming from South Korea, Mike Bargman from Israel and inaugural team member Steve Jamron flying in from the Virgin Islands.  Coach, as he’s affectionately and respectfully called said: “In 1964, Athletic Director Nick Wasylick came to me and said the college would be building a new sports center. I went out on a limb and told him if he built a couple of handball courts, I’d field a handball team. Nick put three courts in, so I had to deliver.”

Dau had already done his homework, and knew he needed to recruit handball players to get off to a good start since it’s a longer road to bring non-players to a competitive level right from the start. Mike brought in the Yee brothers, Wes and Willie, from New York and Dave Smith and Steve Jamron from St. Louis. Those four started a great tradition of headlines for “tiny Lake Forest College” taking on the likes of The University of Texas, Memphis State, and other big-name institutions.

Since those early days of just four players, the team has grown and everyone is welcome. Coach still travels to the national junior tournaments and recruits but he also invites LFC students who didn’t know of handball before Lake Forest. When women were included in the collegiate program and scoring in the ‘80s, scores counted for the top 6 men and the top 6 women. LFC’s team size is about double that these days to encourage participation and improvement over the four-years of collegiate eligibility.

As that first group of four earned LFC’s first title (a tie with University of Texas), Dau had some clout as he recruited and his next recruiting class grew to a group of 10 with new members coming every year and not waiting for the four-year turnovers to occur. That’s the same time that team sizes grew to new scoring that counted more players.

While Dau also served as Athletic Director and football coach throughout his tenure at LFC, he’s been the only mainstay for the handball team that meets at different times to accommodate the large numbers on the three courts.

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2017 USHA National Masters Doubles

CINCINNATI -- The Munson brothers were devastating in the 35s as they marched through the strong field, including Dave Bardwell and Nick Mattioni in the final.  ICRCTV was on site streaming two finals and you'll be able to watch them on demand.  The 35 Singles final has been uploaded to the U.S. Handball YouTube Channel HERE.

Shane Conneely and Stas Hammond rallied to defeat Andy Rousseau and Jared Vale in a great 40 final. Andy Schad and Dan Zimet turned back the determined Rousseau and Vale in the 45s as well.  Jim Wohl and Jake Esser won a grueling 50 final over John Allen and Scott Walker.  Alan Frank and Joe Berman stopped Marty Clemens and Dave McElwain's run in the 55s.  Dave Dohman and Scott Rosenthal beat Mike Linnik and Tom Fitzwater to add the indoor to their outdoor title.  Vance McInnis and Ed Campbell won the 65 title over Bob Dyke and Dave Schmelz.  Bob Bardwell and Dave Hinkleman were impressive in the 70s, turning back Gary Rohrer and Ron Cole in the final.  Ed Grossenbacher and Vince SanAngelo reunited for the 75s title over Bob Braine and Norm Young.  And in the 80s, it's been 25 years since Al Green survived a heart attack and now he's one of a select few to win titles in one-, three-, and four-wall.  Green teamed with Ed Woerner to outlast the 85-eligible Lew Buckingham and Ben Marguglio in a tiebreaker.

The GCHA provided great hospitality all weekend for the players and fans, rewarded the largest field in seven years for coming to the Queen City.

See the draws and results HERE.

 

 

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2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- In a classic NorCal vs. SoCal clash, the battle for Boy's 19-Under supremacy reached a boiling point on Sunday after simmering for two days at the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.  The Boy's 19-Under Small Ball singles final would be the rubber match between Anthony Sullivan (San Jose) and Andrew Garcia (Los Angeles).  Garcia stunned Sullivan on Friday, winning the Big Ball singles in a tiebreaker.  The next day, with the help of doubles partner Jon Gutierrez, Sullivan exacted some revenge by defeating defending champions Garcia and Brandon Ramirez for the Small Ball Doubles title.  On Sunday, Sullivan and Garcia slugged it out for three games, battling fatigue and each other's desire to win before Sullivan prevailed, 21-1, 13-21 and 11-6. 

As soon as the match started, it appeared Sullivan would win in a walkover, hopping and hooking serves for which Garcia had no answer.  Needing what seemed the entire first game to adjust, Garcia battled back in the second game, building a nice lead and holding it to force the deciding tiebreaker.  Sullivan owned the serve to start, and shot out to a commanding 7-0 lead, but this time Garcia ferociously answered.  The two exchanged a number of lengthy rallies that pleased the Venice Beach crowds that started to gather.  After burning their timeouts, the exhausted finalists each welcomed a required glove change timeout to catch their breath.  Once the action resumed, Sullivan pressed harder to pick up the remaining points to clinch his title.  Down to match point, Garcia dug out a side out to delay any celebration for Sullivan, but the NorCal phenom regained the serve and scored the last needed point for the title. 

In other action, Luis Mendez (Santa Barbara) won the Boy's 17-Under Small Ball crown, defeating Jorge Pimentel (Tucson) in two games.  The win gave Mendez his second National Juniors title after winning a Four-Wall championships earlier this summer at Los Caballeros. 

There was nobody better in the Boy's 15-Under division (small ball or big ball!) than Jesus "El Diamante" Mendez.  The SoCal product from Los Angeles controlled both finals in two games, winning the Big Ball title over Fernando Espindola (Orange, CA) and the Small Ball championship over Joahan Campos (Kansas City).  

After suffering disappointment in the Boy's 13-Under Big Ball final, Anthony Sanchez (Los Angeles) edged Luis Fernandez (Santa Barbara) in an exciting 13-Under Small Ball final, 18-21, 21-13 and 11-3.

Finally, Kena Byrd-Jackson and Marisol Maldonado defeated Belisa Camacho and Sophie Della Croce in an All-Tucson Girls 17-Under Doubles final, winning 21-10 and 21-12. 

Thank you to all the tournament volunteers, organizers and contributors who made the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships a success!   Sunday was the birthday of LAFD Handball's Roy Harvey, who will also be inducted into the Southern California Handball Hall of Fame next month.  To show their appreciation, players, coaches and families gathered and sang Happy Birthday to Harvey on court one (below).

See the 2017 USHA National Junior Three-Wall Championships final results HERE.


SATURDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The summer crowds mixed with SoCal natives and tourists from all over the world filled up the boardwalk to take in another beautiful day at the beach.  Many who passed by the handball courts nestled between Muscle Beach and the Pacific Ocean stopped to watch high-level action as many finals played out on Saturday at the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.

In the Girl's Singles final, Kena Byrd-Jackcson defeated Team 520 teammate Belisa Camacho in two games, 21-6, 21-4.

Next, Tucson's Ayden Brule swept the 11-under Small Ball and Big Ball divisions, defeated Xavier Flores of Los Angeles in each final.

In Boys Big Ball action, Ricardo Renteria of Los Angeles drubbed Ricky Serrano in the Boy's 17-Under final, 21-3, 21-0.  Serrano put together some great rallies throughout the match, but the Bellflower High product controlled the court, sending the ball deep along both walls. 

Eddie "Torito" Rocha from Lake Elsinore, CA also dominated his championship final, defeating LA's Anthony Sanchez 21-2, 21-0 for the Boys 13-Under Big Ball title.  

Both 19-Under Boys doubles finals were play at the day's end, showing off the best doubles competition as the sun lowered on the Pacific.   Jacob Hernandez and Fernando Balladares battled Jose Hernandez and Eduardo Garcia for two tough games, prevailing 21-17 and 21-19 for the Big Ball crown. 

In small ball play, Anthony Sullivan and Jonathan Gutierrez clicked at the right time as they upended defending champions Brandon Ramirez and Andrew Garcia, 21-15, 21-9. 

Sullivan and Garcia will see each other again in Sunday's Boy's 19-Under Small Ball final.

See Saturday's results HERE.


FRIDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The second day of the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships at the Venice Beach Rec Center gave fans and players even more competitive matches and ended with a few championships decided.  

The first major title was the Boys 15-Under Small Ball Doubles which was decided by four Santa Barbara TGOP products:  Bryan Trejo and Daniel Mora vs. Luis Fernandez and Oswaldo Perez.  Fernandez and Perez struck first with a surprising game one victory, but Trejo and Mora battled back to force the tiebreaker where they edged their teammates, 11-6 for the title. 

To wrap the day's action up, Andrew Garcia (right) and Anthony Sullivan played for the Boys 19-Under Big Ball singles crown and provided a glimpse of what to expect for a Boys 19-Under Small Ball final.  Sullivan looked strong early, ringing up a seven-point lead en route to a 21-19 game one win.  But in the second, Garcia showed off his Big Ball prowess, mixing up speed and power to force a deciding third set.  In the tiebreaker, Garcia rolled, jumping to a 7-0 lead to route Sullivan 11-1 for the crown. 

"I ran out of gas in the second," Sullivan said.  "I used up everything in the first and couldn't adjust after." 

Garcia credited his win to settling down and letting his game come to him in the second and third sets.  "I was rushing things, and my shots were off in the first game."  Friday's outcome produced more drama to a possible Sunday rematch in Small Ball. 

SCHA continued to roll out the red carpet for junior players and families on Friday.  Mark Zamora, aka "Rapper" manned the grill which provided delicious tacos for all participants and families.  (If you really want to get your mouth watering, check out the United States Handball Association's Facebook video of what was served!).

During a small break in the action, former junior champion and R48Pro Mando Ortiz with Tucson's pro qualifier Abe Montijo gave the kids a thrill with a player clinic on the main court.  Kids worked on their serve and were shown how to cut the ball off on the three-wall court.  Special thanks to both players for sharing their time teaching the next generation better skills!  

See today's results HERE.


THURSDAY

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- Sunshine, sand and waves greeted junior handball players on Thursday morning for the 2017 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships at the Venice Beach Rec Center.  The  players were also treated to a generous "swag bag" which included three shirts, wristbands, a hat and more.  The Southern California Handball Association, LAFD Handball, and a host of supporters made sure the kids were rewarded for making the commitment to play in this year's tournament. 

With 79 entrants, the Venice Beach Rec Center's four courts were in use the entire day with small ball and big ball matches!  Gary Cruz, Marcus Hough, Roy Harvey, Jim Vandenbos, Andy Gutierrez, Rick Wheelock and a number of other local volunteers made sure all the junior players were well-fed and had good officials refereeing matches from start-to-finish. 

One of the day's final matches took place between Santa Barbara teammates Grace Ramos and Mileyni Sanchez.  Ramos advanced, but Sanchez put up a tremendous fight in the second game, nearly forcing a tiebreaker only to fall short 14-15.  The two new players from the Santa Barbara TGOP program shared a handshake, hug and walked off the court together smiling ear-to-ear.  It was a tremendous show of sportsmanship and the Spirit of Handball. 

See today's results HERE.

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2017 USHA National Masters Singles

DENVER -- The altitude brought another element into the usual mix of who wins on Sunday in some events as lowlanders struggled with catching their breath.  But in the 35 singles, Kevin Price rolled to his first national title with an impressive weekend and final win over Victor Sanchez. 
 
Chris Tico overcame local Oliver Boyd in a tough 40 final but had nothing left for George Repine in the 45s.  Paul Pfannenstiel earned another national singles title with a tough tiebreaker win over Joe Tierney.  Mike Flannery is back on top of his game, winning the 55s over Matt Osburn.  Lloyd Garcia was on top of Phil Kirk's offensive game to take the 60s.  Ed Campbell had just enough left to hand Dan Price another runner-up finish in the 65s.  Greg Raya proved too much for the 70s field and ended Michael Jordan's great run through the bottom bracket.  Gary Rohrer is another newcomer to his age bracket and served his way past Mike Driscoll in the 75s. 
 
And, Charlie Wicker upheld his Super Senior status, holding off a game effort from Curtis Creed on Sunday in three after defeating newcomer and runner-up Jerry White in a tiebreaker on Saturday in the 80s.  Killian Carroll had wrapped up the Pro-Am title on Saturday.  Masters singles draws on R2sports site HERE.  

 

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