2019 Milwaukee Classic & USHA Women's Classic

WEST ALLIS, Wisc. -- The 39th Milwaukee Handball Classic and USHA Women's Classic finished with a tremendous flourish with marquee match-ups in the Women's Classic final and the Men's Pro Doubles and Singles at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.  Ciana Ni Churraoin defeated Megan McCann in the Women's Classic final, 21-12, 21-8. 

The most challenging match of the weekend was waiting for Ciana Ni Churraoin in the Women's Classic final with Megan McCann. 

"We've never played a tournament match against each other." said Ni Churraoin.  "She's two years younger, so we've never been in the same bracket--in Ireland or the U.S.  It's a bit different being the 'elder' for once."

McCann admitted herself that she wasn't sure what to expect from Ni Churraoin in the Women's Classic final, but she soon discovered her opponent's power and precise serves.  

Ni Churraoin started the match off with three-straight aces, putting McCann on her heals and already playing from behind.  Despite her opponent's fast start, McCann didn't panic or rush her shots, and she quietly willed her way back into the match. 

"It took some time to adjust to the speed, but I finally settled in and played," McCann said.  Ultimately, Ni Churraoin's athleticism and strength were the difference to finishing the first game with a 21-12, marking the first time a player reached double digits the entire tournament.  Ni Churraoin kept her dominance going through the next game to capture the Women'c Classic title in two games, extending her Milwaukee Classic winning streak to two years.

In the Women's Classic Third Place Playoff, Mikaila Mitchell defeated Kristen Hughes, 21-9 and 21-9, in a battle between two former Collegiate All-Americans.

In the much anticipated Men's Pro Singles final--a rematch of the Tucson Memorial Final--Killian Carroll bested Sean Lenning in two games, 21-16, 21-4. 

The top-seed and defending Classic champion delivered ruthless serves and showed off his amazing court coverage by making some gravity defying retrieves.  While Lenning made a strong effort in the first game, he didn't have much left in his tank in the second, possibly the effect of a full weekend of play along with the morning's tiebreaker final in the Men's Pro Doubles. 

The Cordova Bros. shook off a game one blitz from their opponents to force a tiebreaker and take home the doubles crown, defeating Sean Lenning and Vic Perez, 4-21, 21-9, 11-8. 

The Milwaukee Classic, established in 1980, has grown into one of the country's best regional events, drawing nearly 200 players from around the country and beyond.  In addition to attracting  the top pros, each draw was stacked with National-caliber players.  Tournament Director Charlie Keller has been the driving force behind this event for 30 of the 39 years.

"It was another great Classic," declared Keller. "In addition to having the top pros and Women's Classic, it's really special to see all the young collegiate players here.  They were all amazing, and even the club employees were pleased about their politeness and the way they carried themselves.  That's a great testament to their coaches and to our sport.  We're happy to carry on the tradition here in Milwaukee."  Collegiate players from Missouri State, Lake Forest, UW-Milwaukee, Illinois, Minnesota, Minnesota State, Mankato, and University of Texas made the trip to West Allis. 

How can a three-day tournament accommodate nearly 200 players?  That task belonged to co-director Jeff Werstein.  Having played in a few collegiate tournaments himself, Werstein understood the herculean task of getting all the players on the court.  Ultimately, every match got off and the players enjoyed the tremendous hospitality.  Werstein also reached the final of the Seniors 35+ division while juggling duties at the desk.  Thanks also goes to Werstein's dad Ed, a long-time Milwaukee Classic volunteer, who kept things under control. 

Also, special thanks goes to Scott Richter, who is currently on the mend and off the courts, but still helped out all weekend.  Congratulations to all the Women's Classic participants and to all Milwaukee Classic Champions!

See the updated draws and match times at the tournament's r2sports page HERE.  

Women's Classic Drop-Down Results:

Fifth Place:
Mudd bye; Sterrett d. Taylor, 4, 1; Smith d. Theobold, 12, 13; Rumbing bye; Pecaut bye; Shepherd d. Bell; Lucas d. Karnuth, 12, (5), 7; Vidas bye.
Quarterfinals: Mudd d. Sterrett, 12, 11; Rumping d. Smith, 9, 3; Pecaut d. Shepherd, 13, 6; Lucas d. Vidas, def.
Semifinals: Rumping d. Mudd; Pecaut d. Lucas, 12, 6.
Final: Rumping d. Pecaut, 15, 7.

B Singles:
Jagodzinski bye; Hagstrom d. Gibbons, 11, 9; Radden d. K. Klicker, 5, 6;
Redfern d. Hlebichuk, 5 , 3; Herlevi d. Alnamoora, 1, 0; Walker d. Levy, (6), 14, 0; Hong d. Anderson, 8, 5; Kennedy d. I. Klicker, 7, 2.
Quarterfinals: Jagodzinski d. Hagstrom, (0), 10, 8; Radden d. Redfern, (6), 6, 5; Herlevi d. Walker, 7, 6; Kennedy d. Hong, 7, (14), 3.
Semifinals: Jagodzinski d Radden, 4, 13; Herlevi d. Kennedy, 14 ,12.
Final: Jagodzinski d. Herlevi.

Quarterfinals: Gibbons bye; Hlebichuk d. K. Klicker; H. Levy d. Almamoura; Anderson d. I Klicker, 8, 13.
Semifinals: Gibbons d. Hlebichuk, 4, 10; Anderson d. Levy, 11, 12.
Final: Gibbons d. Anderson.

WEST ALLIS, Wisc. -- The 39th edition of the Milwaukee Handball Classic and USHA Women's Classic continued play after an action-packed first day at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.  The top-3 Women’s Classic seeds advanced to the semifinals on Saturday, leaving the final spot to be decided between No. 4 Taylor Rumping (Springfield, Mo.) and No. 5 Kristen Hughes (Austin, Texas).  The two All-American Collegiate players always have fiercely contested matches and are evenly matched, and this episode didn’t disappoint. 

In game one, Hughes controlled the flow with a strong service game that kept Rumping playing defense for the majority of the rallies, winning 21-12.  The second game saw Rumping showcase her shot-making abilities and athleticism, as she roared back with a convincing 21-13 win and the match’s momentum going into the tiebreaker.  But in the third set, Hughes picked up her service game and neutralized Rumping’s power en route to an 11-5 victory and a meeting with top-seeded Ciana Ni Churraoin (Mankato, Minn.). 

Ni Churraoin hasn’t been tested yet in this Women’s Classic, and the semifinal against Hughes was no exception.  Ni Churraoin rolled into the final with a 21-2, 21-2 victory. 

On the bottom bracket, Megan McCann (Co. Armagh, Ireland) was doing her best to duplicate Ni Churraoin’s performance by holding everyone to single digits through the first three rounds.  She was well on her way to keeping the streak intact with a 21-2 victory of Mikaila Mitchell (Blue Springs, Mo.) in the first game of their semifinal.  Mitchell came back strong in the second game, trading shots with McCann to keep things closer before falling 21-13. Mitchell will meet Hughes in tomorrow’s Women’s Classic Third Place final.  The top-two seeds Ni Churraoin and McCann will play for the Women’s Classic Open title tomorrow at 11 a.m. 

Sean Lenning (Tucson) and Killian Carroll (Boston) will meet in the Milwaukee Classic Men’s Pro final on Sunday morning.  Lenning survived two tiebreakers, the first was a comeback effort against rising star Sean Kerr (Co. Tyrone, Ireland).  After dropping the first game 17-21, Lenning stormed back to win the second 21-10 and carry the momentum into the tiebreaker for an 11-6 victory. 

In the semifinal against Luis Cordova Jr. (Juarez, Mexico), Lenning pulled out a close 21-17 first game win only to see Cordova take game two by just two points (19-21).  In the tiebreaker, Cordova couldn’t capitalize on his second game success while Lenning seemingly killed the ball from every position on the court to cruise to an 11-3 win.   

In the other semifinal, Vic Perez (Los Angeles) was poised for a possible upset against Carroll, continuing his hot-shooting that produced a quarterfinal upset against Daniel Cordova (Atlanta) in a quarterfinal tiebreaker win. 

Perez was the aggressor to start the match, shooting and rekilling shots that wowed the packed Wisconsin Athletic Club gallery.  While Perez was on his scoring streak, a calm Carroll weathered the storm and kept within striking distance, down 8-12.  But as the game progressed, Perez’s success waned, while Carroll began to pick up his intensity, finally catching up to his opponent to take a small 16-14 lead.  Carroll continued to raise the level of his play, dazzling the crowd with some incredible gets that fueled him along for a 21-18 victory. 


In the second game, Carroll dipped deeper into his energy tank, raising his intensity and slamming the door shut for a possible Perez upset, winning 21-5 to secure his spot in the final.  

See the updated draws and match times at the tournament's r2sports page HERE.  


WEST ALLIS, Wisc. --  Excitement stirred between many of nearly 200 entered players as they entered the doors of the Wisconsin Athletic Club—this three-day event was stacked top-to-bottom with talented players from around the country in each draw!  The 39th edition of the Milwaukee Handball Classic was underway on Friday afternoon at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.  This year’s event included the USHA Women’s Classic, which features a triple drop-down division where players of all skill-levels begin in one big bracket.

There were not any notable upsets to report in the first day’s action.  The two largest divisions of the event, the Men’s Pro Singles and Women’s Classic, battled through the first two rounds Friday afternoon and into the evening. 

Handball is always lauded for being a true lifetime sport.  One of the later Women’s Classic matchups featured in the intro photo was between Robin Sterrett (Forest Park, IL) and Kyra Vidas (Atlanta) in the round of 16.  Sterrett (on the left) is the wife of USHA Grand Master (10+ Masters Division National titles) Tim Sterrett, but she was introduced to the sport before the couple had met. 

In 1979 on the University of Texas campus in Austin, handball coach Pete Tyson issued a challenge to his handball class.  Each male could get extra-credit if they brought a female to Gregory Gym to try handball and play in a one-day tournament.  A friend in Sterrett’s dorm convinced her to come, where she tried handball for the first time (Sterrett made the picture of the event featured in Handball Magazine at the time).  From then on, she was hooked and continued playing the sport she loved. 

Now, 40 years later, Sterrett won her first round match and pushed Vidas to a tiebreaker in the round of 16 before conceding defeat to the seventh-ranked player from Atlanta.  Like many of the women who didn’t advance on Friday, there’s still more handball on Saturday in the drop-down divisions.    

Quarterfinal action in each division begins on Saturday morning. 

Ray Ure (Des Plaines, IL) chases down a shot from Luis Cordova Jr. (Juarez, Mexico) in the Men's Pro Singles on Friday night.  

See the updated draws and match times at the tournament's r2sports page HERE.  

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