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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 Lopez.  The SoCal product from Pico Rivera 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 marches!  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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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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67th USHA National Four-Wall Championships

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- Sean Lenning and Marcos Chavez once again proved there's nobody better when it comes to doubles. The longtime four- and three-wall team won their third consecutive title, defeating Vic Perez and Armando Ortiz 9-21, 21-3 and 11-9. The match-up was a repeat of the 2015 final, and it ended with the same 11-9 score. Perez's service game and Ortiz's hot shooting set them up for a chance at their first title, but both Chavez and Lenning made key shots down the stretch to seal the title.

 
 

In Women's Open singles, Catriona Casey won her third consecutive singles crown defeating Women's Classic champion Tracy Davis 21-8, 21-5. Davis started the match serving well, keeping pace with Casey to tie the score at 8-8, but the defending champ soon adjusted to Davis' power and cruised to the title. Ashley Moler defeated Jennifer Schmitt 21-14, 21-11 for third place.

Gabino "G-Man" Velazquez became the first USHA Four-Wall Big Ball Singles Champion pulling out a win over Sal Duenas, 21-9, 21-18. Duenas made every attempt to force a tiebreaker only to come up short as Velazquez executed key shots down the stretch to seal the win. It's worth noting that Velazquez survived an 11-10 first-round scare against Stockton's Antonio Chavez.

Duenas wouldn't be denied in the doubles final. Pairing with Big Ball powerhouse Samzon Hernandez, the team held off Stockton's Christian Salcedo and Chava Cordova from completing an improbable upset. Trailing 18-19 in the second game (after losing the first 21-20), Hernandez and Duenas earned the sideout and closed out the second game 21-19 to force the deciding tiebreaker. Their momentum carried them to an 11-3 win for the title.

Finally, one of the most exciting junior finals of 2016 (3-Wall Juniors) producing an intense sequel indoors. This time Bryan Trejo of Santa Barbara defeated David Sanchez 15-21, 21-14, 11-10. The pair hope to play the rubber match this month in Venice Beach at the Junior Three-Wall Nationals (July 20-23).

"Thank yous" go out to Los Cab and Mike Kane, Southern California Handball Association, Gary Cruz and all the incredible volunteers who made the 67th USHA National Four-Wall Championships a success!

And, "Thank You" to the WPH for capturing all the exciting action and streaming matches live.

FINAL Results (draws) can be viewed HERE.

WATCH SUNDAY'S FINALS REPLAY HERE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GPhtfIXkV8&feature=youtu.be

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- In one of the most heavily anticipated rematches in recent history, Killian Carroll defeated Paul Brady, 21-19, 21-6 to successfully defend his singles title. Both players dominated their sides of the draw leading up to their showdown on Saturday. Brady was arguably playing his most dominant handball in years, leaving opponents in single digits throughout the week; while Carroll looked equally sharp. The two battled point-for-point in the first game, much to the delight of Los Cab's packed gallery. For every Brady ace or kill, Carroll would match with an unreal retrieve or re-kill. While Brady held a small lead late, Carroll rallied to take the first game by two points. In the second game, Carroll rolled to a huge lead and held on for championship point. If you didn't get to watch the WPH Live broadcast of the final, it will be available for replay.

On Thursday night, handball players and families were able to honor the person who was instrumental in bringing the National Four-Wall (and other major tournaments) to Los Caballeros in Orange County:  Gary Cruz.  Cruz was inducted into the Handball Hall of Fame as a Contributor for his tremendous work for over two decades. In addition to his work behind the scenes at tournaments, Cruz spearheaded the USHA's Development Program and First Ace since 2004.  USHA President LeaAnn Martin presented Cruz with his jacket, Hall of Fame plaque and oil painting by Dave  Delaney.  In his acceptance speech, Cruz thanked all his family and fellow handball players for making his work within the sport such a rewarding experience.  

 

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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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10th Annual USHA Wallball National Championships

CONEY ISLAND, N.Y. -- Congrats to Timothy Gonzalez who slammed the Men's Pro Divisions with partner Allan Sanchez.  Danielle Daskalakis took back the top spot in the Women's Pro Division with a 25-16 win over Sandy Ng.  Biridiana Garcia and Ruby Loyd scored a major upset in the semifinals of the Women's Pro Doubles, upending the super team of Daskalakis and Ng, 25-24 and then went on to win their first National Doubles title, defeating Karen McConney and Lori Hernandez, 25-18.

See final results for the 10th USHA Wallball National Championships Honoring Mal Cohen HERE.

Thanks to Jared Vale for contributing to this report.    

The 10th USHA Wallball Nationals honor Mal Cohen, A Loving Father and Husband, A Great Card Player, A Great Friend, A Fierce Competitor, He is missed by all who knew him That rare individual--that everyone liked.

 

The morning started out with torrential downpours.  Most players endured a long drive and traffic delays (due to weather), to find the sun was out upon arrival; however, there was over a foot of water covering the entrance all the way to the second set of courts.  The whole crew, including players and some of the Coney Island regulars got to work.  The drain was pulled and unclogged and players got buckets and started carrying to the street.  Robert Goffner swept tirelessly while USHA Board Members Jared Vale, Alethia Mendez, with One-Wall Committee Members Karen McConney and Willie Polanco set up camp in a new location – across from court 6 near the board walk.  The tournament was under way by 10:30. 

Once underway, the day was filled with intense games and a lot of positive vibes.  The tournament staff successfully promoted the USHA Small Ball Nationals in August as well as next month's King of the Courts.  Pizza was ordered for lunch!                                                                                                                                      

We're looking forward to an exciting finale tomorrow.

See 2016's Wallball Nationals 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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