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VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships wrapped four-straight days of small ball and big ball singles and doubles at the Venice Beach Rec Center late Sunday afternoon. Many of the top seeds advanced to finals in four divisions, giving them a huge workload on the final day.
Jesus Mendez of Los Angeles made a huge splash at last year's juniors, winning the 15-Under Big Ball and Small Ball crowns. This year, Mendez topped his previous feat, winning the Boys 17-Under Small and Big Ball singles and the Boys 19-Under Small and Big Ball doubles (hauling in four first-place medals!).
Andrew Garcia (pictured swinging against Luis Mendez in the small ball final) came close, winning three divisions before narrowly losing in the 19-Under Big Ball Doubles final to Mendez and Eddie "Toro" Rocha, 15-3, 12-15, 15-13. Garcia, playing in six matches on Sunday won the Boys 19-Under Small Ball singles, Big Ball singles and Small Ball doubles.
After winning 15-Under One-Wall titles in New York last month, David Sanchez slammed 15-Under Small Ball crowns on Sunday, defeating Fermin Victoria, 15-4, 15-0 in the singles. Sanchez teamed with Joahann Campos of Kansas City to take the doubles crown over George Mitchell and Anthony Sanchez, 15-9, 15-11.
In the 13-Under Small Ball final, Luis Fernandez of Santa Barbara's TGOP program edged Andres Cordova of Juarez, Mexico, 15-9, 10-15, 15-7. In the 13-Under Doubles Small Ball final, the TGOP team Osby Perez and Daniel Mora outlasted Tucson's Ayden Brule and Rene Sosa, 15-8, 15-7.
It was another tremendous National Junior 3-Wall Championships, hosted by the Southern California Handball Association. Kids were treated with amazing backpacks, shirts and hats as well as a BBQ lunch each day at the beach. A special "thank you" to the volunteers who braved the beach traffic and hot sun throughout the event: Marcus Hough, Mark Zamora, Roy Harvey and the many others.
Thanks to to the First Ace & Presidents Club contributors, 43 of the 81 participants who traveled from out of town received travel fund assistance from the USHA! Want to support First Ace or Join the Presidents Club? Donate through our secure online store HERE. The United States Handball Association is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Thank you for your support!
See the updated draws and results HERE.
VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- Big ball singles and doubles set the table for the day's matches at the Venice Beach Rec Center on Saturday in the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.
All four top seeds advanced to the semifinals in the Boy's 19-Under Singles. The top seeds in the younger 13-Under bracket didn't fair the same. Top-seeded Abraham Sanchez made a valiant effort but came up just short to Moises Barrientos, losing 0-15, 15-14, 15-7. On the other side of the draw, Fernando Estrella stopped Luis Fernandez, 9-15, 15-8. 15-6.
The 11-Under division provided the most thrilling match of the day as Jose "JJ" Arellano outlasted Christopher Reyes of Sun Valley, CA (shown swinging) 15-13, 13-15, 15-11.
See the updated draws and results HERE.
VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The afternoon sun finally broke through the marine layer that provided relief to players up to that point. This also came at a time when quarterfinal and semifinal matches became more competitive and heated on the second day of the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships.
This year's first national title went to Tucson's Team 520 player Sophia Della Croce in Girls 17-Under division, 15-14, 15-6. Della Croce and teammate Belisa Camacho played to a 14-14 stalemate in the first game before Della Croce took the final point. In the second, Della Croce's serve dictated the pace, and she used an ace to secure championship point. Della Croce and Camacho paired to win the Girls 17-Under doubles later on Friday.
In Boy's 19-Under action, Andrew Garcia earned a return to the final with a 15-11, 15-10 win over Jonathan Gutierrez in the semifinals. Gutierrez kept each game close and wowed the Venice crowd with some amazing shots, showing tremendous poise to run down and return deep shots. Garcia answered, showing off amazing hand control with fly-kills and soft paddle shots in the front court that landed beyond his opponent's reach.
In the other 19-Under semifinal, Luis Mendez, last year's 17-Under champ looked unstoppable, stopping Brandon Ramirez (shown right) 15-8, 15-4. Mendez and Garcia will face off in the Sunday morning final.
The best match of the day was in the 19-Under semifinals. Luis Mendez and David Ruiz gave Brandon Ramirez and Jon Gutierrez a tough first game but looked overwhelmed, losing the first game, 15-12. In the second, Ruiz caught fire, delivering timely rekills and keeping rallies alive to take pressure off his teammate. They held a comfortable 14-10 lead and appeared to be heading into a tiebreaker before Ramirez and Gutierrez scored three unanswered points to keep things close. Facing a possible collapse, Ruiz again made another amazing front-court diving shot to help force the tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Mendez and Ruiz cruised to a 15-3 win. They'll face Andrew Garcia and Jesus Mendez in Sunday's final.
Big Ball singles and doubles divisions kickoff on Saturday morning.
See the updated draws and results HERE.
VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- The Venice Beach Boardwalk was crowded with the usual summer tourist traffic. Many of the visitors stopped to watch and marveled at the talented athleticism of the juniors playing at the 2018 USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships. Banners hung across the event's canopy tents and on the bleachers indicating that National Championships were in progress, and many curious onlookers stayed to ask questions about handball and pulled out camera phones to film the action.
The day's biggest upset belonged to Los Angeles' Fermin Victoria (shown with coach Patrick Saito) who upset No. 1 seed Bryan Trejo of Santa Barbara in the Boy's 15-Under singles. Victoria has been one of the most improved players in Patrick Saito's program out of Washington Irving Middle School.
All junior players were given the royal treatment, getting a backpack, three shirts and a hat as part of their tournament swag bag. Quarterfinal and semifinal play continues tomorrow. (Intro image is of Michael Madden from Ft. Collins in first round action).
This year's Junior 3-Wall Championships, hosted and supported by the Southern California Handball Association and the Los Angeles Fire Department Handball, is packed with 80 players, traveling from Colorado, Mexico, Arizona and all over California. Small ball competition started the event on Thursday, July 26, with Big Ball divisions beginning on Saturday.
See the event's draws and start time at the official r2sports.com site HERE.
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BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The 11th USHA Wallball National Championships concluded on Sunday afternoon on the sunny courts at West 5th and Surf Avenue in Coney Island. (Continued below).
Men's Pro: Kadeem Bush and Timothy Gonzalez.
Women's Pro: Jessenia Gerate and Danielle Daskalakis.
Timothy Gonzalez kept his amazing Nationals winning streak intact, completing his third slam in the Men's Pro Divisions. Gonzalez (defeated Kadeem Bush 25-18 in the Pro Singles final, and later won the Pro Doubles with partner Migz Mendez over Allan Sanchez and Carlos Pena, 25-18.
In Women's Pro Singles action, Danielle Daskalakis successfully defended her title against Jessenia Garate, 25-20.
In the Women's Pro Doubles final, Biridiana Garcia and Ruby Lloyd won their second consecutive championship, defeating Daskalakis and Eifia Leander, 25-20.
Final Wallball Results:
First round: Christian Renvill d. Adam Gittlitz 5; Karl Perres d. Johnson Gonzalez 13.
Round of 16: Timbo Gonzalez d. Renvill 15; Carlos Pena d. Carlin Rosa 18; Hector Velez d. Eric Cruz 14; Ignacio Accardo d. Kenneth Hernandez 18; Kadeem Bush d. Alex Mendez 20; Migz Mendez d. Joshua Milian 18; Andres Calle d. Giovanni Vasquez 18; Tywan Cook d. Perres 14.
Quarters: Gonzalez d. Pena 15; Accardo d. Velez 14; Bush d. Mendez 10; Cook d. Calle 12.
Semis: Gonzalez d. Accardo 17; Bush d. Cook 21.
Final: Gonzalez d. Bush 18.
First round: Delbert Garnett/Paulie Yagual d. Hector Velez/Chris Show 21; Anthony Morell/Michael Rodriguez d. Andres Calle/Ignacio Accardo 11; Kadeem Bush/Joshua Milian d. Hector Oliver/Miguel Diaz 18; Allan Sanchez/Carlos Pena d. Alex Mendez/Isaac Robinson 5; Kenneth Hernandez/James Aguilera d. Mikey Mendoza/Ardit Bita 22; Mikey Angelo/Giovanoni Vasquez d. William Polanco/Yuber Castro 19; Tywan Cook/Carlin Rosa d. Francisco Lopez/Isaac Rivera 4.
Quarters: Timbo Gonzalez/Migz Mendez d. Garnett/Yagual 15; Bush/Milian d. Morell/Rodriguez 11; Sanchez/Pena d. Hernandez/Aguilera 21; Cook/Rosa d. Angelo/Vasquez 19.
Semis: Gonzalez/Mendez d. Bush/Milian ; Sanchez/Pena d. Cook/Rosa.
Final: Gonzalez/Mendez d. Sanchez/Pena 18.
Women’s Pro Singles
First round: Crystal Ruiz d. Veronica Figueroa 2; Lina Ariza d. Biridiana Garcia 13; Jessenia Garate d. Joanne Ly 0.
Semis: Danielle Daskalakis d. Ruiz 16; Garate d. Ariza 9.
Final: Daskalakis d. Garate 20.
Women’s Pro Doubles
First round: Melissa Sky/Christina Aguilera d. Veronica Figueroa/Tina Johnson 19; Danielle Daskalakis/Eifia Leander d. Desiree Torres/Crystal Ruiz 16.
Semis: Biridiana Garcia/Ruby Lloyd d. Sky/Aguilera 20; Daskalakis/Leander d. McConney/Acevedo 22.
Final: Garcia/Lloyd d. Daskalakis/Leander 20.
First round: Diego Ortega d. Chris Irons 7; Mohamad Mansi d. Michael Carrone 5; Christian Renvill d. Eric Cossio 12.
Semis: Ortega d. Johnson Gonzalez 8; Renvill d. Mansi 14.
Final: Renvill d. Ortega 21.
First round: Adam Gittlitz d. Teodoro Garcia 6; Isaac Robinson d. Matthew Marcus 6.
Quarters: Chantz Delgado d. Gittlitz 7; Michael Carrone d. Noel Rodriquez 10; Isaac Robinson d. Manuel Sanchez; Jasheed Peterson d. Robert Goffner 20.
Semis: Delgado d. Carrone 10; Robinson d. Peterson 23.
Final: Robinson d. Delgado 17.
C Final: Sanchez d. Garcia 1.
First Round: Jasheed Peterson/Perres d. Robert Goffner/Jason Samuels 12; Diego Ortega/Anthony Lugo 16.
Semis: Peterson/Perres d. Mohammad Mansi/Manuel Sanchez 19; Cory Palmer/Cory Vadala d. Ortega/Lugo, 19.
Final: Palmer/Vadala d. Peterson/Perres, def.
First round: Chris Irons d. Teodoro Garcia 8.
Quarters: George Figueroa d. Irons 4; Jesus Ayala d. Darwin Lee 16; Michael Falcis d. Juanberto Martinez 18; Ray Lopez d. Jason Samuels 6.
Semis: Figueroa d. Ayala 0; Lopez d. Fazal 17.
Final: Figueroa d. Lopez, def.
Quarters: George Figueroa/Ray Lopez d. Rich Vera/David Rodriguez 8; Robert Sostre/Ervin Irrizarry d. James Fazal/Falcis 20; Francisco Lopez/Isaac Rivera d. Herman Mendez/Eric Crespo 0; William Polanco/Yuber Castro d. Juanberto Martinez/Darwin Lee 10.
Semis: Figueroa/Lopez d. Sostre/Irrizarry 6; Polanco/Castro d. Lopez/Rivera 6.
Final: Polanco/Castro d. Figueroa/Lopez 10.
On the first day of competition, defending Women's Pro champ Danielle Daskalakis and One-Wall Committee Member Sophia Murphy-Barnes conducted a successful Junior Clinic this afternoon with an obstacle course drill.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- It was a big day for the Bastidas Brothers (with Dad Jose) as Tyree (right) edged Jurell to regain his singles title and then teamed together win the doubles over Alvaro Rebaza and Victor Lopierre. The Yee brothers earned the same honors in the 65 bracket as Jerry took an injury default win over Daniel before outlasting Richard Kocher and Ron Frisina in the doubles final.
It was a beautiful day at the beach on Sunday, especially for the fans who got to see some of the best play ever on Court 1. More titles were won on Saturday as Jai Ragoo won the seniors, Juan Martinez took the masters, Ray Lu earned the A and then lost the B final to Arnold Lee.
Final results are HERE.
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.