Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 11/12/17- The Race4Eight Professional Handball Tour Stop #2 was full of surprises this weekend, as a giant celebration of handball took place at the Tucson Racket & Fitness Club; honoring those from our handball community that have passed away this year and the years before that; to include WPH/ESPN Cameraman, Ben Manning and handball great, Dave Chapman.
“This tournament was by far the most emotional weekend we have all [collectively] gone through and for a whole array of reasons,” says WPH Executive Director, Dave Vincent. “We mourned the loss of handball great Dave Chapman, swiped a few tears back as we said goodbye to our buddy Ben Manning, then reminisced about some of the memories that highlighted their lives and those that left us too early before them. It was by far the most magical handball event I’ve been apart of and I certainly hope others feel the same way.”
The WPH admittedly had a lot of moving parts at this event, with many deserving recognition for their hard work. Vincent continues, “We want to thank Charlie Wicker for his help at the tournament desk; Tom and Javi Flores, plus Yarely Fernandez, Scott Cleveland and others for filling in. I was surprised and genuinely pleased to to see Martina McMahon at tournament control for 12 continuous hours on Friday and ten straight on Saturday. Rarely do you ever witness a top player sitting at the desk checking players in, assigning courts and handing out scorecards. I mean, we’ve seen Killian Carroll step up on multiple accounts, but having others see his dedication to the game must be rubbing off.”
The WPH list of helpers didn’t end there, as Vincent pointed out the exceptional work by Tournament Director Scott Cleveland, Food and Hospitality Hit Man, Jim Verhaeghe, Registration guru, Tricia Fink, Event Coordinator, Jeff Healam (Tucson Rolling Shutters), Junior extraordinaire, Abraham Montijo, tournament Doctor, Ashley Moler, Control Desk workhorse Tom Flores, Merchandise Booth & Photography Lolita De Vincent, Video Super, Kris Gurrad, plus exceptional camera work and visual media from Linda Manning, Che Lowenstein and Kara Mack. “Thanks to David Fink for his Manning Cup coordination, journalism and broadcasting duties, junior clinics and pro mixed doubles leadership,” Vincent says. “We are lucky to have such a great community of folks that have all come together to help further the game, like lead referee Braulio Ruiz, or the big time sponsors that made this one work, from Fred Banfield, Jeff Healam [Tucson Rolling Shutters] and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Doug Clark, to Gurumeet Khalsa and the staff at the TRC. Handball is in a good place when there are givers who care and we have a great group of caring folks.”
World Players of Handball thanks all participants, fans, supporters and donors for patronizing this event each and every year.
Sunday morning featured the conclusion of the biggest 4-Wall event of the season, as the event’s top stars battled for Memorial titles in pro singles and doubles, as well as skill level and age division brackets.
Robbie McCarthy and Killian Carroll met for the Memorial title, with McCarthy leading 3-2 in their career meetings. “Killian is the #1 player in the world and that’s who I want to play to see where my game is,” stated McCarthy. McCarthy entered the final with three career R48 titles in seven starts, while Carroll had won five R48 titles, including four in his last five starts.
McCarthy raced to a 5-0 lead in game one, but Carroll rallied to tie the score at six. The pair would be tied for the last time at eight, when Carroll completely took charge of the match. Carroll used his all-around game, complete with ace serves, back wall kills, great retrieves, and error-free handball to completely overwhelm McCarthy. Carroll scored 22 of the final 24 points of the match, showcasing why he is the #1 player in the world and winner of five of his last six R48 starts.
“Killian was playing incredible ball,” stated R48 star and Tucson Memorial ’17 head referee Anthony Selestow. “Killian’s speed, conditioning, ad ability to end rallies with both hands makes him virtually unbeatable right now.”
Final: Carroll def McCarthy 15-9, 15-1
tied 3rd: Lenning/Ortiz
5th: D. Cordova
tie 7th: Funchion/L. Cordova
10th: S. Ruiz
tie 11th: Fink/Pesch
tie 13th: Peixoto/Cooney/Beall/Montijo
Catriona Casey was seeking her 13th WR48 title in 14 starts, while Martina McMahon was in search of her first WR48 title in her third final. Casey had never lost to McMahon in WR48 play, but had dropped two matches to her Irish rival on home soil in the past two years.
Catriona Casey trailed 10-14 and in danger of dropping the first game for just the third time in her WR48 history. A side out and six consecutive points to steal game one appeared to give Casey the momentum, as she raced to a 6-0 lead to start game two. “In the past I might have gone away there, but I’m working hard on my mental game to overcome deficits and getting down on myself,” stated McMahon after the match. McMahon started swinging with conviction, driving Casey into the back corners and executing kill shots on her offensive chances. McMahon scored 15 of the final 19 points of game two and continued to dominate in game three, hitting six ace serves and overpowering Casey en route to a 15-3 route. McMahon became just the third different player to win a WR48 title, joining Casey and Aisling Reilly.
“I really have no words right now,” stated an emotional and ecstatic McMahon after the match. “I’m sure there are tears of joy at home over this win and I’m just so happy to have won my first pro tour title.
Final: McMahon def Casey 14-16, 5-9, 15-3
5th: Peixoto De Melo
WPH Outdoor Big Ball Pro
WPH Outdoor #1 Samzon Hernandez and WPH Outdoor #2 Timbo Gonzalez fittingly met for the WPH Outdoor Big Ball singles title at the Memorial in what has become the most intriguing rivalry on the WPH Outdoor tour. Gonzalez was aiming to add his first WPH Outdoor 4-Wall title to his resume of WPH Outdoor 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and X-Fest titles, while Hernandez was aiming for his 14th WPH Outdoor singles title.
Gonzalez imposed his ground and pound attack on WPH Outdoor #1 Samzon Hernandez early in game two, taking as many shots off the wall as possible and building a 10-6 lead. Hernandez called a timeout and changed his strategy, playing more ceiling shots and two-wall lobs. Hernandez took his first lead at 14-13 and despite a call that went against him, closed out the first game 15-14. Hernandez controlled the action in game two, never allowing Gonzalez to play his game and running away with his second WPH Outdoor 4-Wall singles title of the season.
“I won this one for Chapman,” declared Hernandez. “He was a legend in this game and I wanted to honor him by winning this one.”
Final: Hernandez def Gonzalez 15-14, 15-8
WPH Ambassador Doug Clark Honored with the WPH Lifetime Achievement Award
WPH board of directors members and ambassador Doug Clark was honored by the WPH executive committee for his outstanding contributions to the game of handball and the WPH. Doug is one of the WPH’s original board members and has been one of the WPH’s greatest supporters since the WPH reorganized and relocated to Tucson in 2009. “The WPH simply would not be where we are today without Doug’s generosity and willingness to give back to our initiatives,” stated WPH executive director David Vincent. “Doug has not only donated, but has also provided his professional expertise to help the WPH in so many different ways. Thank you Doug.”
“I’ve been involved in handball for 50 years and I’ve met just one person I didn’t like,” stated honoree Doug Clark. “This sports has been so great to me and I’m so proud of what the WPH has done and will do for the sport in the future.”
Read much more here: http://wphlive.tv/thursday-thememorial/