Support the sport

Instructional: Embracing the ‘Warrior’ way of Handball

A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior’s own self...To actually overcome one’s own defects is the true nature of victory.
— From “365 Tao: Daily Meditations”

Self-reflection being one of the hallmarks of wisdom, it seems wise to step back from time to time to consider the things we do and think about why we do them.  One thing I wondered about recently was: Why do I play handball? And when I play, is the experience positive or negative?

Here’s what I came up with. We can all recite reasons we play the game:

  • “It’s good exercise.”
  • “I like the camaraderie.”
  • “It’s a challenge.”
  • “It’s just plain fun.”

The reasons we come up with, however, may not be the primary motivating factors that keep bringing us back to the courts.  Chances are good that some reasons are subconscious, complicated motivational impulses associated with our egos, or an inchoate aggressiveness. If playing hand-ball reinforces our negative tendencies, it will likely do us more harm than good.

It may also be possible that our lack of a clear understanding of our motivation, and our failure to develop and cultivate a constructive point of view about handball, is preventing us from actually enjoying the game to the degree we could.
As I thought about it, I realized that in handball, as in practically every other activity, our attitude and our motivation will dictate whether the experience is constructive and beneficial — or destructive and harmful.  I found it helpful to consider the metaphor of the warrior.

Both Killian Carroll and Paul Brady have battled in epic finals since they
met in at the 2015 World Championships--each often exhibiting
a warrior’s characteristics. Photo by Keith Thode.

I had recently read a discussion of the warrior metaphor in Ming-Dao’s “365 Tao,” from which I quote above, and realized that it could easily apply to handball.  The sport is, after all, about as close as you can get to combat without people actually hitting each other (at least not on purpose).

The warrior is a symbol that appears in Eastern and Western cultures and religions as a person of great virtue.  The good warrior is courageous, self-sacrificing and highly disciplined.  As Ming-Dao points out, what’s admirable about the warrior isn’t that he defeats the enemy. Rather, it’s that he overcomes his own weaknesses.

Viewed from this perspective, the handball player who works hard at the sport while trying to reinforce his or her positive emotions is the player who will derive the most benefit.  Handball, besides being something we do just to keep in shape or just to have fun, can be a discipline that improves the quality of our lives by teaching us humility and self-discipline.

So it’s helpful to ask some basic questions about our goals in playing handball.  Because the game is part of our lives, it should advance our life goals.

Different people, of course, have different life goals and ambitions.  Sometimes those goals are subconscious urges that we blindly pursue and, occasionally, rationalize with platitudes.  Thus, we may fail to come to grips with the reality of life, and, as Thoreau observed, end up leading lives of quiet desperation.

I’m not talking about career goals or financial goals or even athletic goals.  I’m referring instead to more fundamental goals, such as the goal of achieving happiness and fulfillment, or the goal of seeking out the authentic meaning of our lives. This kind of goal isn’t advanced by self-indulgence or ego gratification.

This is where the attributes of the warrior come into play.  To live a satisfying life, we know but often forget that we must have self-discipline and foster in ourselves virtues of humility, compassion, courage, honesty and respect for others.  If we want to enjoy handball or any other sport, we should bring these same virtues to the way we play the game and use the game to help develop and enhance them.

So I come back to the question of how and why we play handball.  I suggest we attempt to play like warriors and use the game not only to have fun or get exercise but also to consciously practice the virtues of self-discipline, humility, courage, honesty and compassion.

This doesn’t mean we can’t be competitive at the same time.  In fact, we’ll find that the more we suppress our egos and respect our opponents, the more fun we’ll have and the better our game will be.

From the 2013 One-Wall Open final:  Tyree Bastidas and Joe Kaplan are two champions who leave everything on the court.
Photo by Keith Thode.

We all know it’s a lot more fun to win than to lose.  But if we can’t lose with grace and equanimity, we need to re-examine why we play the game — and step away from the dead-end pursuit of ego gratification.

Our real opponents are our own minds. We know that our bodies play the game much better if our minds aren’t flooded with ego-based anxiety.  And if we can’t appreciate it when our opponent executes a perfect off-hand, back-wall kill shot, we’re missing out on the fun of the game.

Or if we get seriously upset at ourselves every time we miss a shot and go into depression when we lose a game, we need an attitude adjustment.

If played with the right attitude, handball rewards and reinforces virtues and qualities that make life worth living.  Taking the game seriously means to work at training our minds and bodies to play the game well.  In the process, we may find that the sweetest victory is victory over our own demons.

So we should play handball like warriors — fun-loving warriors, but warriors nonetheless — who never disrespect our opponents or ourselves.  This just might enrich our handball experience and help make us all a little more enlightened.

Comment (0) Hits: 3290

Recognizing the Greats: Who Insipired Today's Pros?

Who Inspired Today’s Pros?
By David Fink and Matt Krueger

Reaching the apex in performance for a pro athlete requires dedication, talent, endless practice, passion, and all of the intangibles which includes:  inspiration.  Every handball pro was inspired as a young player, either by watching a top player, meeting a top player, taking a lesson with a pro, or even just having the opportunity to have a conversation with a pro. Junior handball players are fortunate to have the opportunities to share the court with today’s pro players at virtually every major handball tournament, providing today’s juniors with the spark and inspiration to become the next generation of stars. Many of today’s younger pros were inspired by today’s veteran pros, meaning they are often playing their heroes!

We reached out to a number of today’s top handball stars, and they quickly fired back responses remembering the moment that a handball pro gave them inspiration. 

R48 #1 and current world champion Killian Carroll:

     “It was when Tony Healy conceded his three timeouts in the 2003 World Championships in Dublin, because Paul Brady was cramping badly in the final.  The ref would not give Paul the injury timeout, so Tony gave all the time outs he had left. Tony eventually lost in the tiebreaker.   Plus, Tony’s methodical game was mesmerizing to watch. 

Tony Healy

     Eamonn Murphy my junior coach, and while he wasn’t the best at teaching skill, he always made sure you gave it your best and gave it gusto. He would usually say. “Make sure of it!”
     “Hit the ball at the bottom of the wall!” And “keep the ball on the wall” But the most incredible thing was my old coach would spend time with anyone and drive them anywhere for a game, no matter what their ability was, as long as they showed interest. To me it was the most inspiring attribute and my first coach, Billy O’Connell had this as well, as did my father Don.
     People in my later years still inspire me to this day and I don’t think I could ever live up to the legacy they will leave in the sport.  People who come to mind are Don Quinlan, Mike Dau and Fred Lewis just to name a few. These few people I think are the true champions of the sport.”

Who inspired other Pros like Luis Cordova Jr., Vic Perez, Megan McCann and Timbo Gonzalez?  READ MORE...



David Fink is the Senior Writer, Donor & Player Development Director for World Players of Handball.  

Matt Krueger is the Development Coordinator for the United States Handball Association. 

Watch for more WPH & USHA collaborations in 2020!

Comment (0) Hits: 3830

USHA Hall of Fame Tourney & Masters Doubles POSTPONED

USHA Hall of Fame and 2020 Masters Doubles Postponed

Dear Handball Family,

As I mentioned in my last message, the COVID-19 response is fluid and things are changing rapidly. As a result of care and concern for our members and families, as well as current restrictions on facilities, businesses, and gatherings, we are postponing the following events at this time:

Hall of Fame Tournament, Tucson, Arizona, April 3-5; and National Masters Doubles Championships scheduled for Schaumburg Tennis Plus in Schaumburg, Illinois, April 16-19.

Of course, we do this with heavy hearts and we sincerely apologize to those who may be inconvenienced. The USHA will give full refunds for entry fees. We are also pleased that most businesses associated with travel (e.g., airlines, hotels) are accommodating cancellations, as well. But, concern for our handball family and friends necessitates these postponements. We encourage you to contact your tournament directors regarding upcoming local, state, and regional events as they may be postponed or cancelled. We are already aware of some of these situations.

We are committed to doing what we can to reschedule the important USHA events identified above. And, of course, we look forward to a time when we can go back to “business as usual.” In the meantime, we hope you stay safe and take care.

Yours in Handball,

LeaAnn Martin
USHA President
Comment (0) Hits: 3197

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.  

Comment (0) Hits: 5659

POSTPONED: 2020 USHA Masters Singles - Nashville, Tenn.

MASTERS SINGLES POSTPONED: In response to the national COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, and due to suggestions from the Department of Health and the YMCA to discourage large group gatherings, we regretfully announce that the 2020 USHA National Masters Singles in Nashville has been postponed. 

Please read A Message from USHA President LeaAnn Martin HERE.
Comment (0) Hits: 4363

The Tucson Memorial & WPH R48Pro IX Stop #2

TUCSON -- Ireland's Martin Mulkerrins has been a force on the national handball scene, both in Ireland and in the U.S.  The Galway product reached the last two USHA Nationals (2018, 2019) finals only to face disappointment, but in the Tucson Memorial & WPH R48Pro IX Stop final, Mulkerrins defeated Sean Lenning, 15-9, 15-6 for his first R48Pro title. 

"I was thankful to get out of here with the result." said Mulkerrins. "It's taken a lot of losses...I made the conscious decision to stay away from the roof [ceiling] shots."  

Joining Paul Brady as only the second qualifier to win an R48Pro title, Mulkerrins was ready for the physical test and extra matches. 

"It's extra court time, but it worked out this week.  I've trained very hard the last few weeks and was preparing for six matches." Mulkerrins admitted. "It's tough but we were ready for it." 

Going into Sunday's final, the opponents were even with two match wins apiece.  Lenning, the defending Tucson Memorial champ, looked nothing short of outstanding leading up to his final bid to repeat, but Mulkerrins was too strong through two dominant games.  

The two traded early points, but Mulkerrins pulled away with a few service aces and grinding out tough points keeping the ball in play to build a 9-3 lead.  Lenning answered, shooting from everywhere to make a 6-1 scoring run.  Mulkerrins didn't fold to the pressure and despite a late double fault, scored the remaining five points for the game one victory. 

In the second, Mulkerrins kept up the same tempo, keeping rallies going and taking high-percentage shots to win the second game by a nine-point margin. 

Fink wins SR48Pro

In the day's first big final, David Fink and Marcos Chavez mixed it up in the Men's Senior R48Pro final.  This was the seventh consecutive meeting for the two Masters eligible top-8 pros with Fink winning five of the last six contests.  Fink shook off a first-game defeat for stop Chavez in the tiebreaker winning (10-15), 15-10, 15-8. 

Chavez started the morning on fire, shooting everything in front of a frustrated Fink en route to a five-point win. 

While Fink showed exceptionally physical conditioning, he displayed tremendous mental toughness to come back in the second game winning by the same score.  In the third frame, Fink was rolling, and Chavez was showing some signs of wear.  In a late rally, the two opponents traded dives in the front court--Fink making another amazing get to end the rally.  That momentum carried through to match point for Fink.  At match point, Chavez went for a kill to get the side out, but it came up just short, resulting in another title for Fink. 

“Even at 14-5, I wasn’t comfortable,” Fink admitted. “I knew Marcos could still make a run. I am really excited to win this one.”

Casey rolls to 19th W48Pro win

Catriona Casey looked as dominant as ever throughout the weekend and the final defeating Ciana Ni Churraoin, 15-4, 15-2. 

Ni Churraoin looked impressive leading up to the final, but Casey played virtually mistake-free handball, making her opponent pay for any hand-errors or miss-hits.  Ni Churraoin delivered some impressive ace serves in the second game, but that provided little defense against Casey's onslaught.  Ceiling shots, passes and kills, Casey executed each with precision. 

“Every tournament I play I want to win.” Casey admitted.  "The two that I lost, I remember those." 

"Ciana was hitting some good shots." said Casey, "I served a couple of times at game point.  She's going to keep fighting.  We saw that she's capable of coming back."

Casey relished the win and will look forward to the next two stops. 

See the draws and final results at The Memorial's R2sports site HERE.

Watch replay at or on the Watch ESPN App (iPhone or Android). 

Read the World Pro Handball's event wrap-up HERE.

On Saturday evening, the WPH recognized Jeff Healam with the WPH Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Jeff has been one of the WPH’s greatest supporters since the WPH relocated to Tucson in 2009,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink.  Fink and WPH Board Member Scott Cleveland presented the award to Healam on the show court next to the iconic Tucson Memorial Trophy. 

Comment (0) Hits: 3768

68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Men's Open final of the 68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships produced an instant classic on Sunday in University of Texas' Gregory Gym.  In a momentum swinging affair, Shane Dunne of IT-Tralee willed himself to the title with an improbable comeback in the final against Galway-Mayo IT's Diarmuid Mulkerrins, winning 12-21, 21-17, 11-6.  When looking at the draw, casual fans wouldn't expect the No. 6 and No. 5 seeds would reach the championship final.  But both players stepped up in the biggest college handball tournament of the year.  

Things didn't start smoothly for the eventual champ.  Before the referee called the first score or he'd even set foot on the court, Dunne couldn't locate his eye guards leaving him scrambling for an alternative.  Once he settled on a borrowed pair, he began his pregame ritual warm-up; however, that distraction may have affected his mindset once the match started. 

Mulkerrins came out firing on all cylinders, comfortably zipping the ball around the court for some dazzling kills while a frustrated Dunne pressed his shots.  While he prevented his opponent from running away with the game too early, Dunne's shots kept falling short, many skipping off the floor before reaching the wall.  Mulkerrins capitalized on all his opportunities to close the first game with a 21-12 victory.  

In the second game began, a settled Dunne began to find his grove.  Now he began killing the ball from any angle, putting away the majority of the rallies and gaining confidence winning 21-17.  It appeared Dunne had all the momentum going into the tiebreaker, but that wouldn't be the case.  

Mulkerrins served first in the tiebreaker and quickly ran off to a 6-0 lead.  After a few rally exchanges, Dunne would score his first.  Getting that first point fired up the IT-Tralee standout, and he would go on to outscore his opponent 10-0 to get his first National Collegiate title.  

In Women's action, Ciana Ni Churraoin (shown swinging) of Minnesota State, Mankato, defeated Fiona Tully (Dublin City) in her final Collegiate Nationals, 21-11, 21-3.  Tully exacted some revenge in the Women's Open Doubles final, teaming up with partner Meadhbh Ní Dhálaig to stop Ni Churraoin and Maddie Kennedy, 21-5, 21-17. 

The final match of the day was by far the most exciting.  University of Limerick's duo of Fergal Coughlin and Tadgh O'Neill snagged the first game from Adam and David Walsh of Cork Institute of Technology 21-19.  Team Walsh (no relation) answered big in the second game with flawless execution and teamwork winning 21-15 and setting up a tiebreaker.  

With a national title at stake, the intensity on the court picked up a notch.  Each team was putting extra zip on serves and making some incredible retrieves during a few long exchanges.  While Coughlan and O'Neill held the opportunity to win at match point, the team from Cork IT pulled off the improbable side out and converted championship point.  The Walsh's victory marked their second consecutive doubles title (2019 was also decided by tiebreaker). 

See the updated results and match times on the draw links below.  (FILES UPDATED as of 8 PM - Feb. 23).  

The Saturday night awards banquet was an event that recognized the Most Improved Players, Spirit of Handball Winners, Sabo Scholarship recipients and the winners of the Combined, Men's and Women's Team titles. 

Kouichi Saito of Pacific University and Jonathan Gutierrez of Front Range Community College were presented with the 2020 John C. Sabo Memorial Scholarships. 

William Rangel-Alfaro of Angelo State and Pacific's Hannah Ramsey were the recipients of the Spirit of Handball Awards (nominated and voted by their peers), and the Most Improved Player Awards were presented to Jordan Turnquest (Colorado School of Mines) and Abby Evan (Pacific). 

A very special "THANK YOU" goes to the UT Handball Team, Wayne Lee, UT Handball President Avery Shepherd and the rest of the volunteers who pulled off an amazing event. 

Final Team Standings
Combined  --  Men's  --  Women's

Final Brackets

Open 9-16 



Open 9-16 


Men's Doubles


Women's Doubles


Men's Singles (Wednesday Matches)

Men 1-16
Men 17-32
Men 33-48
Men 49-64
Men 65-80
Men 81-96
Men 97-112
Men 113-128
Men 129-144

Women's Singles (Wednesday / Thursday Matches)

Women 1-16
Women 17-32
Women 33-48
Women 49-64
Women 65-80
Women 49-80P

Men's Singles (Thursday)



Women's Singles (Thursday)


Missouri State University is once again on top of the Collegiate Handball World as they captured the Men's, Women's and Combined Open team titles at the 68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships.  Limerick University won the International team title. For the first time in recent memory, the Men's Open Singles final will feature the No. 5 an No. 6 seeds.  Shane Dunne (ITT) will meet Diarmuid Mulkerrins (GMIT) in the Men's Open final.   It's a finals rematch in the Women's Open Singles with Ciana Ni Churraoin (MNSU) mixing it up with Fiona Tully (DCU).


(Megan Mudd of Missouri State sets up for a shot off the back wall on Friday).

The Irish player's talent and dominance was on full display through the quarterfinals of all divisions in the 68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships.  All four Men's Open semifinalists hailed from across the Atlantic and will playoff for a spot in Sunday's final.  Fergal Coughlan (University of Limerick) faces off against Shane Dunne (IT-Tralee) in the top semifinal.  In the bottom bracket, Diarmuid Mulkerrins (Galway-Mayo IT) tussles with David Walsh (Cork IT) for the second spot in the final.  

In the Women's Open bracket, defending champion Ciana Ni Churraoin (Minnesota State, Mankato) meets Sinead Meagher (Limerick IT), while 2019 finalist Fiona Tully (Dublin City University) matches up against Niamh Hefferman (University of Limerick) in the other semifinal.  

Doubles semifinals will be played Saturday after singles action completes.


The second day of competition at the 68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships brought more contested matches as players pressed on through preliminary rounds.  Doubles divisions also advanced another round on Thursday (Image Courtesy of Missouri State Handball). Friday brings the first matches of the "knock out" brackets where players "win of go home" in their respective divisions.  Each round players advance in the final brackets scores more points for their college team.   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Collegiate handball players representing 36 institutions from around the world stood in awe when they saw the main observation "fish bowl" court in legendary Gregory Gym.  

"Everything IS always bigger in Texas!" joked one player as they checked in for the 68th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships. No sooner had players received their hospitality package, they immediately took to the courts to practice before scheduled matches.  Once official matches began, it set the tone for what promises to be a long weekend of raucous handball competition.  Wednesday's matches would determine where a player would end up before points may be earned for their respective teams.  First round doubles matches were also played on the first day.  Click on the draws below to see the results. 

2020 Entry and Eligibility

Important Deadlines and Dates

  • Monday, February 17 - Starting Times and Draws Posted
  • February 19 (12 pm) - Play may begin
  • February 23 (12 pm) - Play ends
  • March 3 - All American Bios and Championship Articles due
Comment (0) Hits: 25416

69th USHA National Three-Wall Championships

SEAN LENNING wins record-breaking 11th singles title and slams in the doubles...

MAUMEE, Ohio -- New York’s cross over superstar Danielle Daskalakis decisively announced herself as the Women’s Pro 3-Wall Singles national champion, ending Hilary Rushe’s reign in Maumee with a convincing two-game sweep. Daskalakis took control of the match from the outset, keeping Rushe off-balance with the best power hop serve in women’s handball and controlling the front court with fly kills and paddle re kills.  Daskalakis won her first three-wall singles title by the score of 21-5, 21-9.

In the Women's Open Doubles, Hilary Rushe and Carly Munson made a bid to deny Daskalakis the Women’s Pro slam, as they won the first game handily, 21-12.  Daskalakis and Jenny Schmitt regrouped nicely in the second to win 21-15.  In the tiebreaker, Daskalakis and Schmitt continued to control the action as they won their first title as a team, 11-5.  

"They were just so consistent," said Rushe in a post-match interview.  "It didn't matter who you'd try to pick on, they always got the ball back."

Men’s Pro Small Ball Doubles

Sean Lenning and Marcos Chavez captured the rare 4-Wall/3-Wall double for the second time in three years, capturing the 4-Wall pro national doubles title in June and the 3-Wall pro national title today in a dominating performance against the Olympic Club’s Loren Collado and Erik Torres. “Sean just found “it” after winning the first game against Erik (Torres) in the singles semifinals and from there just completelominated the court in singles and doubles,” stated WPH/USHA reporter Danos Cordova. The combination of Lenning’s serving and deep game and Chavez’ doubles wizardry was too much for the field, as the Olympic Club’s top team could barley score in the final.

Final: Lenning/Chavez d. L. Collado/Torres, 21-8, 21-2.

Men’s 3-Wall Big Ball Pro Doubles

Allan Sanchez joined Sean Lenning and Marcos Chavez in completing the national doubles “double,” as Sanchez won the 1-Wall small ball doubles in July and the 3-Wall big ball doubles in Toledo. Sanchez and Camacho entered the final against Dave and Mike Munson as the favorites based on their big ball experience, but Team Munson fought off match point in game two before falling in the tiebreaker.

Final: Sanchez/Camacho d. Munson, 21-6, 20-21, 11-3.

Master’s Singles

Josh Ho captured the 40+ singles, Dr. “Wrap Around” Dan Zimet captured another 3-Wall title in the 45+ singles, Jim Karner became a “Grand Master” by winning the 50+ singles, Tom Valenzuela won the 55+ singles, Phil Kirk defended his home court in the 60+ singles, Bob Dyke was the Cinderella Story in the 65+ singles, winning the title as the seventh seed, Ed Cambell continued to dominate in the 70+, Michigan’s Rick Graham captured the 75+ singles, and Norm Young won the 80+.

Junior Singles

Michigan’s Payton Allaire won the most exciting final of the event in the 13-and-under singles, defeating Cleveland’s Carlos Vazquez, Jr. in a thrilling 11-9 tiebreaker.

Nicholas Roberts won the 19-and-under singles (using the round robin tiebreaker rules), overcoming Johnny Cooke, Brian Thompson, and Cameron Lowe is a closely contested four-player round robin.  

Skill Level Singles

Mid America regional champion Joe Frankenfield added another title to his trophy case, defeating Ryan Inman to win the A singles.

New Jersey’s Sam Worchesky defeated John Mantilla to punch his ticket to the A’s, winning the B in a tiebreaker.

Master’s Doubles

Joe Harris and Marcos Chavez won the 40/45 doubles, adding the 3-Wall title to the 4-Wall title they won together in June. Tom Valenzuela slammed the 50’s, teaming with Mark Zamora to win the 50+ doubles. Ohio’s Phil Kirk slammed the 60+, winning the 60+ doubles with Bob Bardeau to go with his singles title. Ed Cambell became another “slammer,” teaming with Bob Bardwell to win the 70+ doubles.  

We'd like to issue a THANK YOU to all of Toledo Handball and the incredible army of volunteers assembled to make this tournament the best ever!  See the final results and draws HERE.

David Fink
WPH Senior Writer/USHA Correspondent 

Sunday: Day 4: Lenning Breaks the Record!

MAUMEE, Ohio -- Sean Lenning entered Sunday’s final aiming to become the most winning 3-Wall singles champion in history, while Abraham Montijo was seeking his first pro singles major title. To eclipse Vince Munoz’s ten 3-Wall national titles, Lenning would need to serve well and defend Montijo’s deep power hop serve.

Lenning brought a different intensity from the previous day to the rain-soaked courts on Sunday morning, blasting every serve and shot with ferocious and devastating power and covering the court with cat-like quickness. Lenning clinched game one after a two-hour rain delay, 21-6, and was ever more dominating in game two, clinching the 3-Wall record emphatically, 21-0. “That’s the record,” screamed Lenning’s best friend and doubles partner Marcos Chavez in the Ohio rain.

“That was the best I’ve ever seen Sean play,” stated finals referee Jim Smith. “Every shot was simply outstanding.”

“Sean simply took over in the second game, hardly leaving the service box or the front court,” stated USHA Development Director Matthew Krueger.

Final: Lenning d. Montijo, 21-6, 21-0

Women’s Pro Singles

Hilary Rushe was aiming to continue her 3-Wall dominance, having won the women’s singles in Maumee in her last two Maumee outings. Rushe faced Texas’ surging Kristen Hughes, who has proven she belongs on the court with the best in the sport. Rushe cruised in game one and held off a spirited charge from the Longhorns’ Hughes to advance to the final in two games.

Megan Dorneker entered the bottom bracket semifinal against New York’s cross over star Danielle Daskalakis seeking to add to her sparkling 3-Wall resume. The greatest women’s 3-Waller of the 21st century was unable to fend off the sharp-shooting, sweet-swinging southpaw from Brooklyn, as DD escaped a close first game and cruised in game two to meet the Chicago by-way-of-Ireland’s Rushe in Monday’s final.

Women’s Pro Singles Semifinals

Rushe d. Hughes, 21-7, 21-13; Daskalakis d. Dorneker, 21-18, 21-3.

Final (Monday): Rushe vs. Daskalakis

Men’s Pro Doubles


Lenning/Chavez d. C. Lemus/M. Lemus, 21-8, 21-11; L. Collado/Torres d. Montijo/D. Cordova,  21-20, 9-21, 11-3.

Final (Monday):  Lenning/Chavez vs. L. Collado/Torres

Men’s 3-Wall Big Ball Pro Doubles

Sanchez/Camacho d. Vale/Kaplan 21-16, 21-6; D. Munson/M. Munson d. D. Szatkowski/Dorneker,  21-10, 21-11.

Final (Monday): Sanchez/Camacho vs. D. Munson/M. Munson

Monday will feature the Men’s Pro Small Ball and Big Ball Doubles finals, the Women’s Pro Singles and Doubles finals, as well as the master’s, junior, and skill level stars in action.

Stay tuned to this thread throughout the weekend for updates from the best Labor Day Party in handball.

Watch the matches on the Team Cleveland Handball Facebook page HERE

Follow all of the brackets and results from the 69th USHA National Three-Wall Championships HERE.

For more information on the United States Handball Association, go to

David Fink
WPH Senior Writer/USHA Correspondent


MAUMEE, Ohio -- The Men’s Open field staged its semifinals on Saturday.  Erik Torres sought to end Lenning’s streak in the upper bracket, while the bottom bracket was assured of a first-time 3-Wall National finalist with the match between Abraham Montijo and Leo Canales, Jr.

Torres had played Lenning close in previous 3-Wall tournament matches, pushing the 10-time 3-Wall national champion to tiebreakers in three of their 3-Wall encounters. Torres played even with the defending champion in game one, overcoming Lenning’s devastating serve to serve for the game three times at 20. Lenning escaped a game one deficit after Torres squandered three chances to take a one-game lead at 20 and seized control of the match in game two. “Sean’s serve gives him such a huge advantage,” stated WPH/USHA reporter and R48 #3 Danos Cordova. “Sean gets about eight aces per game and that’s what enabled him to get back into game one and dominate game two. You could see that Sean found his game and his groove in game two, not only serving well but hitting a lot of great kills and drives.”

Montijo and Canales met in a battle of Southwest stars in the bottom bracket, with the winner punching his ticket to the biggest match of his life. Montijo cruised in game one and used his 10+ years of pro experience to advance to his biggest final in game two. “I think I played well,” stated a thrilled Montijo. “Leo ran me around pretty good but I was able to get all of his deep shots back. My back court game was stronger than his and that was a big advantage. I’m sore but excited for tomorrow!”

Women's Open

The Women’s Pro singles quarterfinals featured a mix of champions and newcomers on the 3-Wall scene. The four women’s winners on Saturday dominated, with none of Maumee’s “Fab 4” allowing more than six points in any game, setting up a scintillating Sunday of women’s 3-Wall handball.

Sunday will feature the Men’s Pro Singles final (Sunday, 10 a.m. Eastern), as well as the Men’s Open Doubles semifinals, the Women’s Pro Singles semifinals, as well as the master’s, junior, and skill level stars in action.

Congratulations to Jim Karner on winning his 10th Masters title and becoming the latest USHA Grand Master.  Also, Terry McGuire won his first national title in the 60B singles.

See the day's results and draws HERE.

-David Fink
WPH Senior Writer/USHA Correspondent 



The Men’s Pro singles quarterfinals headlined Friday’s play on a beautiful 80 degree day in Maumee, as the top four men’s stars advanced to the weekend’s semifinals.

Sean Lenning needed less than 30 minutes to fly past Loren Collado in his quest for #11, overwhelming the Olympic Club star with power serves and first-strike offense.

Erik Torres showcased his exceptional 3-Wall power game, downing the resurgent Bill Mehilos in two games. “Erik was just in better shape,” stated WPH Toledo reporter Abraham Montijo. “Erik’s play from the deep court made a big difference.”

“I’m feeling good,” barked Torres. “I gotta stay focused and play better handball (tomorrow). I know I can do better.”

Second-seeded Danos Cordova was stunned by Leo Canales, Jr., losing in two games to his El Paso protégé. “Daniel looked rusty while Leo was sharp and really pumped up,” stated Montijo. “

Tucson’s FLF Executive Director Abraham Montijo added a second upset in the bottom bracket, ousting 3-Wall veteran Dane Szatkowski in two games. “Dane and I went back and forth until 16-all in the first game,” stated Montijo. “I pulled away with some good serves and shots after the serve. I jumped out to a 20-6 lead in game two. Dane chipped away to 13 but I was able to close out the game by digging his shots and finally scoring the final point.”

Master’s and skill level brackets continued on Friday, as Master’s stars Dr. Dan Zimet, Joe Harris, Ryan Grossenbacher, Casey Mayo, Kirk Rys, Adam Zimet, Josh Ho, Jared Vale, Jim Karner, Rick Leonard, Dave Dohman, Phil Kirk, Dan Ho, Ed Cambell and many more battled at the Lucas County Rec Center.

The Women’s pro singles preliminary matches will kickoff late on Friday night, with the women’s quarterfinals starting on Saturday morning.

Stay tuned to this thread throughout the weekend for updates from the best Labor Day Party in handball.

See the day's results and draws HERE.

David Fink
WPH Senior Writer/USHA Correspondent 


MAUMEE, Ohio -- The 69th edition of the USHA National Three-Wall Championships kicked off under sunny skies and warm temps on Thursday at the Lucas County Rec Center.  While most first-round and preliminary matches can be one-sided, there were multiple tiebreakers on the first day.  

Loren Collado stopped Ricardo Palma's bid to advance in the Open Singles with a (16), 18, 7 victory.  He'll face 10-time singles champion Sean Lenning tomorrow at 11:00 A.M. (Eastern).  

Elsewhere in the 50B Singles, Dennis Pinigis and Dan Emmandorfer went the distance with Pinigis getting the 16, (7), 10 tiebreaker win.  

To wrap up the day, Toledo Handball's Jim "Smitty" Smith conducted a USHA Certified Referee Clinic, helping players become more familiar with the while and earning their first or second level of Referee Certification (shown above).


Open Day Wrap-up by David Fink, WPH Senior Writer/USHA Correspondent

The 69th annual USHA National Three-Wall Championships kicked off on Thursday in Maumee, OH, featuring more than 200 Three-Wall crazed men’s, women’s, and junior stars. Sean Lenning’s quest for a record-breaking 11th Men’s Pro Singles title takes center stage in Maumee, as just three wins stands between Lenning and history. Joining Lenning in Maumee are the top men’s, women’s, master’s, skill level, and junior players from across the country, all seeking national titles in one of the best outdoor events in the sport.

Men’s Pro Singles

The Men’s Pro Singles kicked off on Thursday in Maumee, with 12 of the 14 players in action.

The Olympic Club’s R48 #18 Loren Collado stood three points from a first round exit against 2019 USHA Four-Wall National A finalist Ricardo Palma before turning the table on the LAAC star to win a close tiebreaker.

Chicago 3-Wall specialists Dane Szatkowski and Bill Mehilos outscored their opponents by a combined 84-11 to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals. Chicago’s Carlos Lemus was not as fortunate as his Windy City comrades, losing to the Olympic Club’s Erik Torres in two games.

Tucson’s R48 #16 Abraham Montijo handed the Olympic Club’s head handball coach Anthony Collado a straight sets loss, while former USHA collegiate national champion and R48 #15 Juan Canales, Jr. overcame rising star Ray Ure to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Master’s and skill level brackets also commenced on Thursday, while the Women’s pro singles will start on Friday evening.

Stay tuned to this thread throughout the weekend for updates from the best Labor Day Party in handball.

Follow all of the brackets and results from the 69th USHA National Three-Wall Championships HERE.

Comment (0) Hits: 11412

Page 2 of 3