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Mecha Car Show / Tourney Revs Up in Year 2


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

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6th Annual Coney Island Players Championship

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The 6th Annual Coney Island Players Championship was held In Memory of Michael Schneider Sr. (aka “Papa”), on Sept. 15. In addition to a strong field competing for prize money, many close friends of Papa Schneider were on hand, including Dan Flickstein and Hall of Famers Al Torres and Albert Apuzzi.

Tournament directors Jared Vale and Billy O’Donnell presented Mike Schneider Jr. with a plaque honoring his late father. The short presentation included a huge thank you to event sponsor Elliot Joseph, another close friend of Papa whose generous contributions keep this event as a highlight of the summer and to remember our fallen handball family members. 

After a week of awful weather in NYC, the sun finally came out for a perfect day of handball. The Open Singles division was stacked with 28 of the top one-wall small ball players in the world. The field included current World Champion William Polanco and National Champion Tyree Bastidas.

Once again, Tyree Bastidas proved to be the best in class; however his run to the title was met with several close matches. The most notable was tournament MVP Andres Calle, a NYC police officer, who came within one point of upsetting Bastidas in the semifinals. Yuber “Pee Wee” Castro scored a $100 Bounty by taking out Jurell Bastidas 25-17 in one of the most exciting matches of the day.  Pee Wee was unable to generate enough energy to take out Tyree in the final, no doubt a victim of reaching the final of two divisions. Castro retired in the final with Tyree leading 9-3.

Several open singles competitors also entered the 40+ doubles, making this one of the most competitive Masters divisions in history. Joe Kaplan, Anthony Jones and Eddie Perez joined Pee Wee as competitors in both divisions. It was a hard road to the final, which featured the teams of Jai Ragoo and Cesar Sala against Pee Wee Castro and William Polanco. Ragoo and Sala were able to topple Castro and Polanco after a one-hour match that saw several lead changes. At 14-all, Ragoo stepped up and took control, hitting several rally-ending shots that pushed his team to victory, 25-19.

Next year, The 7th Annual Coney Island Players Championship looks to increase the $5,000 purse and attract players from all over the country and the world!

Photos taken by Kirk Lewis.

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2018 Mardak Scholarships Awarded

The first Mardak Scholarships were awarded to six collegiate handball players who are teaching handball at their universities. (Clockwise from top left:  Jasmine Richardson (University of Texas-Austin), David Frances (Arizona State University), Brooke Edwards (University of Texas-Austin), Esteban Camacho (Arizona State University), Jarod Jenson (Utah State University), Adrian Anderson (Minnesota State University, Mankato).

TUCSON -- We strive to grow Handball and offer it to the next generation.  The Mardak Scholarships and Community Challenge utilizes our growing ranks of collegiate handball players along with mentor programs to introduce more players to the game.  The Community Challenge has matched funds to pay collegiate handball players to teach the game in their communities, and we’re proud to announce the first recipients of the Mardak Scholarships. 

Mardak Scholarships are awarded to full-time college applicants who have taught handball through their community handball programs.  All applicants are required to be USHA Certified Level 1 Instructors. 

Six student-instructors received $2,000 scholarships though the Mardak Scholarship program:  Jasmine Richardson and Brooke Edwards from Austin’s Lift up Kids program.  David Frances and Esteban Camacho from Arizona State’s Homework & Handball program.  Adrian Anderson through the Maverick Handball Club and Minnesota State, Mankato, and Jarod Jenson through the handball program at Utah State University. 

It's a truly exciting time to see growth in the sport throughout communities across the country! 

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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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The Tucson Memorial & WPH R48Pro VIII Stop #2

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.

SATURDAY

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.

Read the WPH's official Press Release HERE.

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