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Next, the Wallball Nationals offered the richest prize money list ever and also drew over 100 contestants. There were upsets and new stars in the women’s doubles while Timothy Gonzalez reclaimed the top spots in the men’s events.
Our Small Ball Nationals, held August 3-6 are a day shorter than usual and are next on the agenda. The prize money purse will top $10,000, and the USHA Board will be in town, holding their first summer board meeting in the Big Apple. That they join us at the one-wall is historic but of even greater importance is that the Borough of Brooklyn has declared Saturday August 5th “Handball Day” and the Brooklyn President is presenting the Citation and proclamation to our USHA President, LeaAnn Martin. Also returning to New York to attempt to regain her crown is none other than one of our all-time best, Tracy Davis. Certainly a hall of famer, Tracy is looking to challenge all of the younger stars, including Danielle Daskalakis, Sandy Ng, the Garate Sisters and more. The men’s division expects to be among the largest fields in years, drawn by the big prize money purse. And, are there any challengers to unseat the five-time Masters Doubles champs of Figueroa and Roberts?
Finally, the USHA partners again later in the month of August with the ICHA to offer the Junior Wallball Nationals. Wallball continues to grow as the most popular one-wall game in New York and the competition should prove exciting. Additionally, we have Flushing Bank, an important local Community Bank, as our sponsor to help fund the cost of the event. So, make plans to see all of our one-wall action!
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.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- Sean Lenning and Marcos Chavez once again proved there's nobody better when it comes to doubles. The longtime four- and three-wall team won their third consecutive title, defeating Vic Perez and Armando Ortiz 9-21, 21-3 and 11-9. The match-up was a repeat of the 2015 final, and it ended with the same 11-9 score. Perez's service game and Ortiz's hot shooting set them up for a chance at their first title, but both Chavez and Lenning made key shots down the stretch to seal the title.
In Women's Open singles, Catriona Casey won her third consecutive singles crown defeating Women's Classic champion Tracy Davis 21-8, 21-5. Davis started the match serving well, keeping pace with Casey to tie the score at 8-8, but the defending champ soon adjusted to Davis' power and cruised to the title. Ashley Moler defeated Jennifer Schmitt 21-14, 21-11 for third place.
Gabino "G-Man" Velazquez became the first USHA Four-Wall Big Ball Singles Champion pulling out a win over Sal Duenas, 21-9, 21-18. Duenas made every attempt to force a tiebreaker only to come up short as Velazquez executed key shots down the stretch to seal the win. It's worth noting that Velazquez survived an 11-10 first-round scare against Stockton's Antonio Chavez.
Duenas wouldn't be denied in the doubles final. Pairing with Big Ball powerhouse Samzon Hernandez, the team held off Stockton's Christian Salcedo and Chava Cordova from completing an improbable upset. Trailing 18-19 in the second game (after losing the first 21-20), Hernandez and Duenas earned the sideout and closed out the second game 21-19 to force the deciding tiebreaker. Their momentum carried them to an 11-3 win for the title.
Finally, one of the most exciting junior finals of 2016 (3-Wall Juniors) producing an intense sequel indoors. This time Bryan Trejo of Santa Barbara defeated David Sanchez 15-21, 21-14, 11-10. The pair hope to play the rubber match this month in Venice Beach at the Junior Three-Wall Nationals (July 20-23).
"Thank yous" go out to Los Cab and Mike Kane, Southern California Handball Association, Gary Cruz and all the incredible volunteers who made the 67th USHA National Four-Wall Championships a success!
And, "Thank You" to the WPH for capturing all the exciting action and streaming matches live.
FINAL Results (draws) can be viewed HERE.
WATCH SUNDAY'S FINALS REPLAY HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GPhtfIXkV8&feature=youtu.be
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- In one of the most heavily anticipated rematches in recent history, Killian Carroll defeated Paul Brady, 21-19, 21-6 to successfully defend his singles title. Both players dominated their sides of the draw leading up to their showdown on Saturday. Brady was arguably playing his most dominant handball in years, leaving opponents in single digits throughout the week; while Carroll looked equally sharp. The two battled point-for-point in the first game, much to the delight of Los Cab's packed gallery. For every Brady ace or kill, Carroll would match with an unreal retrieve or re-kill. While Brady held a small lead late, Carroll rallied to take the first game by two points. In the second game, Carroll rolled to a huge lead and held on for championship point. If you didn't get to watch the WPH Live broadcast of the final, it will be available for replay.
On Thursday night, handball players and families were able to honor the person who was instrumental in bringing the National Four-Wall (and other major tournaments) to Los Caballeros in Orange County: Gary Cruz. Cruz was inducted into the Handball Hall of Fame as a Contributor for his tremendous work for over two decades. In addition to his work behind the scenes at tournaments, Cruz spearheaded the USHA's Development Program and First Ace since 2004. USHA President LeaAnn Martin presented Cruz with his jacket, Hall of Fame plaque and oil painting by Dave Delaney. In his acceptance speech, Cruz thanked all his family and fellow handball players for making his work within the sport such a rewarding experience.
CINCINNATI -- The Munson brothers were devastating in the 35s as they marched through the strong field, including Dave Bardwell and Nick Mattioni in the final. ICRCTV was on site streaming two finals and you'll be able to watch them on demand. The 35 Singles final has been uploaded to the U.S. Handball YouTube Channel HERE.
Shane Conneely and Stas Hammond rallied to defeat Andy Rousseau and Jared Vale in a great 40 final. Andy Schad and Dan Zimet turned back the determined Rousseau and Vale in the 45s as well. Jim Wohl and Jake Esser won a grueling 50 final over John Allen and Scott Walker. Alan Frank and Joe Berman stopped Marty Clemens and Dave McElwain's run in the 55s. Dave Dohman and Scott Rosenthal beat Mike Linnik and Tom Fitzwater to add the indoor to their outdoor title. Vance McInnis and Ed Campbell won the 65 title over Bob Dyke and Dave Schmelz. Bob Bardwell and Dave Hinkleman were impressive in the 70s, turning back Gary Rohrer and Ron Cole in the final. Ed Grossenbacher and Vince SanAngelo reunited for the 75s title over Bob Braine and Norm Young. And in the 80s, it's been 25 years since Al Green survived a heart attack and now he's one of a select few to win titles in one-, three-, and four-wall. Green teamed with Ed Woerner to outlast the 85-eligible Lew Buckingham and Ben Marguglio in a tiebreaker.
The GCHA provided great hospitality all weekend for the players and fans, rewarded the largest field in seven years for coming to the Queen City.
See the draws and results HERE.
CONEY ISLAND, N.Y. -- Congrats to Timothy Gonzalez who slammed the Men's Pro Divisions with partner Allan Sanchez. Danielle Daskalakis took back the top spot in the Women's Pro Division with a 25-16 win over Sandy Ng. Biridiana Garcia and Ruby Loyd scored a major upset in the semifinals of the Women's Pro Doubles, upending the super team of Daskalakis and Ng, 25-24 and then went on to win their first National Doubles title, defeating Karen McConney and Lori Hernandez, 25-18.
See final results for the 10th USHA Wallball National Championships Honoring Mal Cohen HERE.
Thanks to Jared Vale for contributing to this report.
|The 10th USHA Wallball Nationals honor Mal Cohen, A Loving Father and Husband, A Great Card Player, A Great Friend, A Fierce Competitor, He is missed by all who knew him That rare individual--that everyone liked.|
The morning started out with torrential downpours. Most players endured a long drive and traffic delays (due to weather), to find the sun was out upon arrival; however, there was over a foot of water covering the entrance all the way to the second set of courts. The whole crew, including players and some of the Coney Island regulars got to work. The drain was pulled and unclogged and players got buckets and started carrying to the street. Robert Goffner swept tirelessly while USHA Board Members Jared Vale, Alethia Mendez, with One-Wall Committee Members Karen McConney and Willie Polanco set up camp in a new location – across from court 6 near the board walk. The tournament was under way by 10:30.
Once underway, the day was filled with intense games and a lot of positive vibes. The tournament staff successfully promoted the USHA Small Ball Nationals in August as well as next month's King of the Courts. Pizza was ordered for lunch!
We're looking forward to an exciting finale tomorrow.
See 2016's Wallball Nationals results HERE.