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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.
The event will be held at two locations, with the Life Time Target Center, located at 600 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55403 and the University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness Center, located at 123 Southeast Harvard St., Minneapolis, MN 55455 serving as the two venues. One-Wall and wallball events and most of the four-wall competition will be held at the University of Minnesota. The Life Time Target Center will be used for additional four-wall matches.
The WPH cameras will start filming on August 14, beginning with the end of the Wallball events and continuing with the USHA Four-Wall Nationals until the August 19 conclusion. Reserved seating tickets are available for purchase HERE.
Crossover play is encouraged, as players can enter up to FOUR events (two maximum in one-wall/wallball and two maximum in four-wall). ENTER HERE.
Each player and family member must be listed on the hotel reservation.
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.
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.