2024 Hall of Fame WPH LTE R48Pro & Masters

TUCSON — It was a great weekend of handball at the 2024 Hall of Fame Handball Tournament that included the National Masters Singles and a WPH LTE Pro Stop. We saw amazing matches across the board from the 13 and under division all the way up to the 80 plus division! Martin Mulkerrins continued to show why he is one of the best players in the world as he defeated Luis Cordova in two games that came down to the wire to win the pro division. You can read the WPH recap HERE. For all the of the draws and results visit the link HERE.
Saturday night players flocked to the Handball Hall of Fame building for a catered dinner and to catch up with good friends while enjoying the rich history of our sport. Scott Landis was awarded with the Marty Decatur Sportsmanship Award, an annual award given each year at the Hall of Fame tournament. Landis hails from Tennessee, and captures the spirit of handball when he plays, really enjoying himself. His love of the game is apparent when you have a conversation with him about handball. 
Scott Landis was presented with the Marty Decatur Sportsmanship Award.
The finals on Sunday across the masters division were very exciting, as players and spectators packed the galleries to watch these competitors go at it. Continue scrolling to read a recap of each of our newly crowned 2024 Masters Singles champions! 
35-plus Champion: Jeff Streibig
Jeff Streibig and Shorty Ruiz

Jeff Streibig won a loaded the 35-plus division that included four ranked pro’s on the WPH tour. Streibig defeated defending champion Abraham Montijo in the semifinals in two close games to clinch his spot in the finals. Awaiting him there was Shorty Ruiz, who outlasted top 10 pro Vic Perez in his semifinal match. In the final, Streibig was dominant from start to finish and never allowed Ruiz to get comfortable. He hit several ace serves and tracked down everything Ruiz hit to earn the title in two quick games.

40-plus Champion: Fausto Castro

The seventh time was the charm for 40-plus singles champion Fausto Castro. Castro had six second place USHA national tournament finishes between the A’s and the masters division but had never won a gold medal coming into this weekend. After dropping game one to Dan Mcnabney in the finals, it looked like he might take second again. Castro kept pushing though, and eventually wore down Mcnabney and won the match in a tiebreaker. He was greeted to cheers as he walked off the court as the crowd was aware that it was his first national title.

50 plus Champion: Chris Watkins

Chris Watkins was crowned the 50-plus singles champion by defeating New York’s Joe Kaplan in the finals. Watkins had a battle in his semifinal against Washington’s Roberto Herrera who pushed him in both games. Kaplan also narrowly escaped his semifinal match against Juan Flores as he won an 11-7 tiebreaker. In the finals, Kaplan seemed to track down all of Watkins’ kills to begin the match. Watkins adjusted to a more passive game and ran Kaplan all around the court with precise pass shots and corner kills which helped lead him to victory. 

55-plus Champion: Leo Canales

Leo Canales and Chris Tico

The 55-plus singles division was one of the more intriguing divisions coming into the tournament. Leo Canales had a tough field of opponents to overcome if he was going to defend his title. With the likes of John Henning, Chris Tico, John Robles, John Bike, and Rick Leonard to name a few, the division felt wide open. Canales found a way and notched the title by defeating John Robles in the semifinal and Chris Tico in the finals. Tico trailed by a large margin in the second game of the finals, but clawed all the way back to 19-19 before Canales finished him off with a kill shot down the right.  

60-plus Champion: Will Goldstein

Will Goldstein won his first national title in 31 years by defeating Joe Tierney in two competitive games in the 60-plus singles final. Goldstein last won a national title in 1993 when he won the four-wall B doubles division. He doesn’t compete in national events often, but when he does he’s always a threat to win thanks to a lethal left hand that can kill the ball from anywhere on the court. Tierney was right with Goldstein, but stalled at 17 points in each game while Goldstein finished strong. 
65-plus Champion: Mike Linnik
After losing in the finals last year, Mike Linnik won a thriller in the 65-plus singles final over Dave Streibig. Streibig started fast in game one and took down Linnik 21-13. The second game was a battle throughout, and with the players tied at 19-19 Linnik was able to hit two clutch shots to force the tiebreaker. Much like the first game, Streibig started fast and led 7-1 to begin the breaker. Linnik kept fighting and eventually caught Streibig at 9-9, and found himself serving for the match at 10-9. A nice pass shot down the right wall would finish the job for Linnik and complete his comeback, winning 11-9. 
70-plus Champion: Dan Brennan
Dan Brennan was eligible for the 70-plus singles for the first time and made the most of it by defeating Gary Eisenbooth in the finals. In the previous rounds before the finals, nobody was able to score more than 6 points of Brennan in a single game. Eisenbooth was able to muster 13 and 12 respectively, but ultimately could not push Brennan enough to win. Brennan admitted Eisenbooth’s agility is incredible for the 70 plus division, but he was able to control his shots in the match which helped him win. 
70B Champion: Thomas Arredondo

Fresno’s Thomas Arredondo hadn’t ventured much outside California for handball tournaments; however, his first stop in Tucson proved to be a memorable one. Arredondo battled Colorado’s Mark Humphries in a tough 70B final, winning in two games, 21-18 and 21-20. Both finalists defeated the top seeded players to reach the championship match, playing virtually evenly against one another.

75 plus Champion: Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell and Merv Deckert were fresh off winning the 75-plus doubles title at the three-wall masters in Tucson last month, and found themselves competing against each other for the singles title in the 75-plus division this weekend. Seemingly facing off at least once a year for a national title, these two know each other’s game well and it comes down to who can execute better. In the finals today it was Campbell who executed, as he made the most of nearly all the opportunities Deckert gave him and won in two games. 

80 plus Champion: Jim Smith

80-plus finalist Jim Ward congratulates Champion Jim Smith.[/caption]
Jim Smith was victorious in the 80-plus singles division after being knocked out in the semifinals last year. This year he defeated Jim Ward in the finals. Ward held Smith to just 13 points in game one, but Smith was able to win a tight second game 21-17 to force a tiebreaker. Smith kept the momentum rolling from there and held Ward to just five points to win the national title. For Ward, it was his second year in a row of losing in a tiebreaker in the 80 plus final. 
Thank you to all the players for competing in the tournament. There were so many tremendous matches over the weekend and the competition was incredible across all divisions. Thank you to the WPH for running the Pro Stop in conjunction with the tournament and showcasing the best players in handball to everyone at the tournament. If you haven’t made it to a Hall of Fame tournament yet, clear your calendar for next April as you don’t want to miss out any longer on this great event!

TUCSON — The World Players of Handball and the United States Handball Association will proudly collaborate on the 2024 Hall of Fame Tournament in the home city of both organizations. This year’s event brings the tradition of the annual Hall of Fame event in the spring with a National Masters Singles and WPH LTE R48Pro Stop.

There is no better place than Tucson in mid-April, so make your plans to watch the pros and play in the various amateur divisions along with the best age divisions singles players.

The Hall of Fame R48LTE singles will be the final regular season event of the 2023/24 season, as the Race 4 Eight’s best players will aim to position themselves for the Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship.

Last chance to enter is April 7. Enter online HERE.