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2018 Milwaukee Handball Classic

WEST ALLIS, Wisc. -- On a cold Wisconsin December weekend, Killian Carroll maintained the edge that’s kept him at the top of the Pro rankings for the past three years.  With the next R48Pro Stop #3 in Portland at the end of the month, the Milwaukee Classic made for an interesting preview.  Carroll stormed through the Milwaukee Classic Open draw and defeated Luis Cordova Jr. by a score of 21-4 and 21-18. 

Although Cordova pushed Carroll for a tiebreaker in the second game, the last rally of the match was a mere indicator of how Carroll mastered his opponents the entire weekend:  A four-shot exchange that ended with Carroll passing a diving Cordova down the left wall for match point.   

Milwaukee Classic Women's Open Finalists Ni Churraoin and Hilary Rushe. 

In the Women’s Open division, Ciana Ni Churraoin continued her “Revenge Tour” by defeating Hilary Rushe in the final, 21-6, 21-5.  Ni Churraoin won the Women’s Collegiate title in 2016 and was a 2016 USHA National Four-Wall finalist before tearing her ACL in early 2017.  As a graduate student now attending Minnesota State, Mankato, Ni Churraoin looked unstoppable all weekend. 

In the Men’s Doubles, Sean Lenning and Vic Perez outlasted Daniel and Luis Cordova in an exciting final, 21-14, 12-21, 11-6. 

"What makes The Classic so great is the players that continue to come every year and create a lot of camaraderie." said Tournament Director Charlie Keller. 

"The opportunity to watch the college kids each year and how much they improve over the years. Reminiscing about previous years is always interesting."

 

The Milwaukee Handball Classic has become the region's premier event hosted by the Wisconsin Athletic Club.  The Classic enjoyed another fabulous turnout with nearly 200 players entered, including some of the country's best handball talent with prize money awarded in both the Open Singles and Doubles events as well as the Women's Open. 

"This is outstanding!" Keller proclaimed.  "Almost 80 collegiate players entered along with a few high school players.  It's great to see so many young kids playing and filling up the draws.  Every division is full."

Those college participants included a couple of new players from the nearby University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Congratulations to Jeff Werstein, Charlie Keller and the Milwaukee Classic crew who hosted another great event with tremendous hospitality! 

See the 2018 Milwaukee Classic final results on the tournament's r2sports page HERE.

Photos provided by Kyra Vidas.  

 

 

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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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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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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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