WPH R48PRO I - 2011/12 RESULTS - The Handball Message Board

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WHO WILL WIN THE RACE?
 
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The 2011/2012 Simple Green Race for Eight, Presented by World Players of Handball
 
WHO WILL WIN THE PLAYER CHAMPIONSHIP?
 
Press- The 2011/2012 Simple Green Race for Eight, presented by the World Players of Handball, marks the first organized pro tour since 2004 and debuted in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in October of 2011, and eventually landing in Seattle, Washington, after a season full of stops.
 
Eight stops, to be exact!
 
The Race concept, a brain trust by Dave Vincent (WPH Executive Director) and David Fink (top 6 ranked pro) adds a player championship element to it's season's finale a la Golf's FedEx Cup. "We designed this race to be a win-win for all involved," claims David Fink. "Sponsors, fans and juniors, plus venue hosts and web cast viewers will be very pleased with the entertainment." WPH has junior-pro player clinics at each stop, plus sponsors are able to tip-it-around with the elite players at each venue. WPH video geeks are webcast(ing) each stop and making coverage available to WPH All Access Pass Holders. WPH Executive Director, David Vincent, states, "We started the tour in October of 2011, and will end in May of 2012 with a player championship scheduled for Seattle, Washington [The WAC]. There will be a player's code of conduct and the crowds will be very pleased with the presentation." Along the way, the WPH reports multiple stops in California, Arizona, Utah and Georgia as the players gather points in their quest to win the player championship title.
 
"We will invite the top eight players and pay them a fee to attend, then qualify four more to assure the most attractive and competitive draw," says Vincent. "We will seed directly from the rankings and calculate a player's performance by awarding points. At the end of the season, the player with the most points will win the cash prize and championship pot. Very exciting." In fact, the WPH will hold a player championship in Seattle, WA, where just the final eight point earners will have a chance to move up or down the points ladder. No qualifiers allowed at the final stop.
 
Sponsors and Stops- As an innovative twist to this Race Concept, the WPH has added player sponsors to the mix, each representing the game's top pros for the season. Team sponsors include the Jake Plummer Foundation-- The Idaho Spuds, The Tucson Group-- Arizona Gunslingers, Ace Disposal team-- Salt Lake City Aces, and historic Washington Athletic Club-- The WAC. Players will represent their team colors and gear for the full season; meanwhile, sponsors will be given a megatude of press and coverage. 
 
The Race began in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in October, 2011, when Luis Moreno defeated Naty Alvarado to win that stop, then went down down the left coast a couple weeks later to the Simple Green US Open in Fountain Valley, California, where Robbie McCarthy (Team WAC) defeated Charly Shanks (Tucson Gunslingers) in a thrilling tiebreaker. From there, November's Tucson stop alongside the historical Y2K event brought exciting play, when Luis Moreno took down Sean Lenning. December was a bye month, but 2012 will bring five additional stops concluding in May with the player championship and then featuring an encore performance at the June Nationals (stop #9). Stops in between included Fresno, CA (Moreno def Alvarado) and Atlanta, Georgia (Moreno def Alvarado) followed by Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Los Angeles Athletic Club Race Stop #7 (March/12).
 
Title Sponsor: For Simple Green, sponsoring the pro tour is a tradition and the handball community is very excited that they are back into the fray. The Simple Green Race for Eight is administered by the WPH.
World Players of Handball: The WPH mission is to grow handball through innovation. Please show your support by purchasing a player's card (membership) at http://www.thehandballstore.com and watching all LIVE webcasts at http://www.race4eight.com.  LIVE webcast viewing is by subscription only.
 
Additional sponsors and player marketing opportunities are currently available. Please contact the WPH at weplayhandball@cs.com to discuss your opportunity.




WHAT IS THE RACE 4 EIGHT?
 
A series of stops where any player can qualify to play alongside the invited top eight with a goal of earning points.  The top eight point earners, after the 7th stop (SoCal March, 2012) will be invited to play in the Player Championship (Seattle, WA, May, 2012).
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2011/2012 Pro Tour Schedule

THE WPH/SIMPLE GREEN RACE FOR EIGHT

October 6 - October 9, 2011-STOP #1  -  Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) & Plummer Family Helluva Handball Bash IV - Couer d'Alene, Idaho - RESULTS>

October 20 - October 23, 2011-STOP #2 - Race for Eight (4w, w) & Simple Green US Open of Handball V - Fountain Valley, California - RESULTS>

November 10 - November 13, 2011-STOP #3 - Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) & Yes2Kids Foundation Tournament - Tucson, Arizona - RESULTS>

January 5 - January 8, 2012-STOP #4 - Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) - Fresno, California - RESULTS>

January 26 -  January 29, 2012-STOP #5 - Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) & Peachtree Open - Atlanta, Georgia - RESULTS>

February 16 - February 19, 2012-STOP #6 - Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) - Salt Lake City, Utah - RESULTS>

March 15 - March 17, 2012 - STOP #7 - Race for Eight (4w, Q, w) - LAAC, Los Angeles, CA - INFO HERE>

May 18 - May 20, 2012-STOP #8 - Race for Eight (4w, w) - THE PLAYER CHAMPIONSHIP - Seattle, Washington - INFO HERE>



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Idaho Race Stop #1
The Simple Green/WPH Race For 8 Pro Tour kicked off in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with one of the most exciting and compelling handball events in recent history. The top 8 Men’s Pros in the WPH Rankings were invited to the Bash, and were joined by four qualifiers to complete the elite 12-person field.

The qualifiers traveled from across the United States, Mexico and Ireland to vie for a spot at the top of the sport. When the dust settled, Charly Shanks, Dessie Keegan, Luis Cordova, and John Bike earned the coveted spots in the 12-man field. The four qualifiers were thrown into a blind draw to face the five through eight seeds. The qualifiers were also drafted to one of the fours Race Teams.

Charly Shanks joined Naty Alvarado and Tommy Little on the Tucson Gunslingers, Dessie Keegan joined Luis Moreno and Andy Nett on the Idaho Spuds, Luis Cordova joined Allan “The Blond Bombshell” Garner and Armando Ortiz on the Salt Lake City Aces, and John Bike joined Sean Lenning and David Fink on the Seattle WACS. The four teams will be competing for the SUPER BALL, the team championship awarded to the winning team at the end of the Race Season at Players Championship at Seattle’s Washington Athletic Club.

Round of 16 action kicked off at the Helluva Bash with WAC teammates John Bike and David Fink clashing. Fink grew up idolizing his teammate, and had never defeated the Hall of Famer in tournament play. The Hall of Famer turned back the clock in game #1, and looked like The Bikerowave of old. Tied at 18, Fink ended the game with a three-point run. The Bikerowave cooled down in game #2, and Fink advanced over his teammate 21-18, 21-10. The Minnesota Dreamboat, Andy Nett rallied from a 21-2 second game loss, and a 6-0 tiebreaker deficit to defeat rising star Luis Cordova 21-14, 2-21, 11-7. Charly Shanks steamrolled Armando Ortiz in a surprisingly one-sided match, 21-3, 21-17. Dessie Keegan booked his spot in the round of 8 with a convincing win over Tucson Gunslinger Tommy The Gun Little.

The top four seeds began their quests for Race glory in the Round of 8. Seattle WAC’s Sean “The Freak” Lenning narrowly edged The Gunslinger’s Dreamboat 21-18, 21-19 in a match up of two of the hardest hitters in the sport. Idaho’s top Spud, Luis “The Natural” Moreno overcame a slow first game start, and a furious late second game rally from the WAC’s #2 player David Fink, and advanced with a 21-12, 21-17 victory. Salt Lake City’s top Ace, Allan Garner quickly dismissed the Gunslinger’s Dessie Keegan. The most compelling round of 8 match up featured Tucson’s top Gunslinger, Naty Alvarado facing teammate Charly Shanks. Shanks routed Alvarado 21-3 in game #1, and held an 11-4 lead in game #2 before Alvarado rallied. Alvarado captured game #2 21-17. The tiebreaker produced the most exciting handball in the round of 8 in recent memory. Shanks served for the match at 10-9, but a perfectly executed fist to the ceiling service return from Alvarado placed Shanks on his heels, and Alvarado won the rally, and served out the match for a thrilling 3-21, 21-17, 11-10 win.

Sean “The Freak” Lenning faced Idaho Spud Luis “The Natural” Moreno in the first semifinal. The Freak started slowly, and The Natural quickly captured game #1 21-11. Lenning rallied in game #2, and frustrated the top Spud with dazzling retrieves and re kills to even the match at one game all. Lenning forged to a 9-6 lead in the tiebreaker, but inexplicably double-faulted, handing The Natural the serve. The Natural never looked back, and scored five unanswered points to advance to the final, 21-11, 14-21, 11-9.

Alvarado started slowly in his semifinal match, and The Blond Bombshell took advantage. Garner methodically executed his two-handed attack, neutralizing the Alvarado Express 21-12. Alvarado continued to struggle with his movement and consistency in game #2, but managed to stay within striking distance of the top Ace. The Bombshell served for the match twice at 20-20, but failed to convert six setup opportunities, and Alvarado closed out the game with his patented right corner kill from one knee. Alvarado blitzed a deflated Garner in the tiebreaker, and survived match points for the second consecutive match to advance to the final, 12-21, 21-20, 11-4.

The Saturday Night Live Final featured The Spud’s Natural challenging Tucson’s top Gunslinger. The match became contentious quickly as the referee came under fire early and often. Moreno focused on the task at hand, and overwhelmed Alvarado 21-7 in game #1. Alvarado had lost the first game for his third consecutive match, and as he had done in his previous two matches, Alvarado rallied. The Gunslinger built a lead in game #2, and maintained his lead until Moreno drilled four consecutive aces to tie the score at 15. Moreno was too strong and too fresh for Alvarado at the end of game two, and captured the game, the match, and the coveted Helluva Bash Race Title 21-7, 21-17.

Jake Plummer, his entire family, and dozens of volunteers made the fourth Helluva Bash an incredible experience for all the players and the fans. This event could not have been possible without the generosity of the WPH, Simple Green, the entire Plummer Family, and all of the players and volunteers that love handball.

 

In the Women's division, Jennifer Hinman upset #1 seed Tracy Davis in front of packed galleries and WPH cameras to capture the upper bracket semi; meanwhile, Samantha England stunned Ashley Moler in two straight to forge her way into the women's final.

 

Jennifer Hinman scrapped her way throughout the women's showcase match (finals), but could not gather enough points to take down the Canadian, Samantha England (now residing in New York).  In the end, power and perfectly placed left kills and 2-wall passes ended the Hood River natives day, as England captures the first 4 wall pro stop victory of the season and her first ever Plummer trophy.

 

Big thank you to the WPH film crew for providing video coverage of the event for the duration of the pro qualifiers, men's top 12, women's pro singles and the JHA/Dave Fink Youth Clinic.  Special consideration to Jeff Kastner, Linda Manning, Kris Gurrad, Omar Lemus, David Vincent, David Fink and John Bike for providing the webcasting service and presentation. 

 

WPH would like to recognize Gary Retter from Peak Health and Wellness, Fred Schoener from Fairbridge Inn Express, Post Falls, Idaho, Enetlive.tv/WPH, Firstar Sports, Tucson Rolling Shutters, Mintec, Y2K, Tommy Little, Abe Montijo, Xyience, and all of the webcast advertisers and supporters and volunteers of the 4th Annual PFHHB to include, but not limited to:  Jake Plummer, Campfire Kids, Jimmy Slavin, Roll-out Roland, Koko Plummer, Steve Plummer and the Plummer Family, plus all of those that made the hospitality and tournament experience such a great success.

 

Age division and all tournament classes continue their event with finals on Sunday.

 

To find the the full results, GO HERE>


SoCal Race Stop #2

The final day of The Simple Green U.S. Open and WPH Race4Eight Pro Series crowned champions in the Men’s Open Singles, The Women’s Open Singles, The Men’s Doubles, and the Men’s 3-Wall Big Ball Doubles. The action was thrilling and extremely competitive as every player competed for the cash, the U.S. Open crystal, and the WPH yellow jersey awarded to the winner of every pro event.

Robbie “Buzzsaw” McCarthy produced three consecutive clutch killshots when trailing 7-9 in the tiebreaker against countryman Charly Shanks, and served as ace at 10-9 to win the Men’s Open Singles in dramatic fashion.

Megan Mehilos rallied from a lopsided 21-7 first game loss to defending champion Aisling Reilly, and proved why she has been the top American woman for the past four years. Refusing to yield, Mehilos overcame a 15-17 second game deficit to win 21-17, and dominated the tiebreaker to claim the championship.

Paul Brady proved that he is the undisputed best player on the planet, and possibly the most electrifying player of all time by dominating the 4-time defending champions Marcos Chavez and Vince Munoz with partner Michael Finnegan. Brady and Finnegan were relentless with their power and offense in ending the four-time reign of Chavez and Munoz.

Samzon Hernandez and Ricky Ruiz completely dismantled Boxer Rosales and Raul “El Nino”Calvillo in the finals of the first ever 3-Wall Big Ball U.S. Open championship.  Nearly 500 fans crammed the gallery at the portable court built specifically for the U.S. Open, and watched as the top big ball doubles team in the sport solidified their position atop the sport.

Congratulations to all of the winners, the WPH, the volunteers, and to Simple Green for an incredible event.

 

Results HERE...



Tucson Race Stop #3



Day three of the Y2K Race For 8 Stop #3 was the most ambitious and successful day in the history of broadcasting and administrating a handball tournament. The semifinals and finals of the Men’s Pro Big Ball Singles, and The Women’s Pro Singles were played and broadcasted live on raceforeight.com.

Sean “The Freak” Lenning started the Super Day of Handball with a dominating performance over current national champion David Chapman. Lenning was relentless in destroying Chapman, and avenging his loss in the National Final. Sparked by a remarkable serve, Lenning recorded 14 aces against the best returner in the history of the sport. Lenning followed Chapman’s weak service returns with deep-court, off-balance flat kills, and advanced to his first Race Stop final, 21-4, 21-7.

Current Race Points Leader Luis “The Natural” Moreno faced #2 ranked pro, Naty “El Tigre” Alvarado, Jr. in a rematch of the Plummer Race Stop #1 final. Alvarado was looking for revenge, while Moreno was looking towards another title and his ascent to the #1 ranking. Moreno’s quickness and power overwhelmed the 38-year old legend. Moreno recorded 18 aces in two games, and Alvarado was unable to apply any pressure to The Natural’s juggernaut. Moreno advanced 21-8, 21-10 to face local Tucson rival Sean Lenning.

Moreno and Lenning displayed the type of power handball never before seen on the Simple Green WPH Pro Tour. With the ball consistently being struck at 80+ miles per hour, there was little separating these two incredible athletes. Moreno and Lenning exchanged crack serve aces, flat backwall kills, blistering pass shots, and sublime retrieves to a 19-19 tie in game one. Lenning missed a point-blank right-hand backwall setup from the short line, and Moreno immediately took advantage with two quick points to seize the momentum and game one 21-19.

A completely exhausted and deflated Lenning offered little resistance in game two, bowing out meekly 21-3 as the supremely fit and motivated Moreno captured his second Race Title in three stops to take a commanding lead in the Race to Seattle. Moreno said after the match, “I have played Sean so many times that I know where he is going to hit his shots. I can read his swings, so I am prepared for every shot.” Moreno will be the player to beat in the next two Race Stops in Fresno and Atlanta in January.

In the playoffs, “The Blonde Bombshell” Allan Garner defeated Luis “Mexico Slim” Cordova to win 5th place, and “Magic” Mando Ortiz defeated “Screaming” David Fink to win 9th place. Each player fiercely competed for Race Points, Rankings Points, and additional prize money in the playoffs in his quest to earn a birth to Seattle for the Player’s Championship.

Samzon “Totoy” Hernandez made the seven-hour drive from Southern California to defend his #1 big ball status in the 4-Wall Big Ball Pro Showdown at the Y2K. Sal “The Wizard” Duenas also made the trip from Southern California to prove that he belongs in the conversation of one of the best big ballers in the sport. Totoy advanced to the final with an exciting win over a very feisty and motivated Jonny “Churches” Iglesias, and The Wizard defeated the #1 4-Wall and 3-Wall Small Ball Player in the world, Sean Lenning.

Totoy was the heavy favorite in the rally scoring best of three games to 15 final over The Wiz, but it was The Wiz who gained control in game one. The Wiz built a seemingly insurmountable 14-9 lead, and needed to win just one of the next six rallies to secure a game one win. Totoy made several of the most spectacular retrieves of the event to keep his hopes alive at 11-14, ultimately ended a 35 shot rally with a left-handed kill. The Wiz was clearly rattled, and was unable to execute several kill shot opportunities in the next three rallies. Totoy put an exclamation mark on his improbable comeback with a left-handed fly kill from the short line that never bounced.

The Wizard never recovered from the demoralizing game one collapse, and Totoy built a lead in game two, and cruised to the victory with an impressive 15-14, 15-11 victory to add yet another prestigious title to his sparkling resume.

The Women’s Pro Division featured three familiar names on the WPH Women’s Pro Circuit, as well several promising juniors. Tracy “Ice” Davis was seeded first, and easily dispatched of a very nervous and overwhelmed Bitty “Goldylocks” Bidegain in the semifinals. Ashley Moler upset number two seed Jennifer Hinman in an incredibly gritty performance by both ladies. After over two hours of battling one another in 25+ shot rallies, Ashley Moler advanced 21-18, 21-12 to earn her first ever Pro Final appearance.

Tracy Davis struggled with her backwall and ball striking early in game one. Buoyed by “The Moleheads”, the traveling Ashley Moler fan club, Ashley built an 11-3 lead, but “Ice” was impervious to her slow start, Ashley’s hot streak, and numerous “Molehead” chants from the gallery, and calmly embarked upon a 17-3 run to seize control of the match. Tracy captured game one 21-14, and continued her steady play in game two. Ashley struggled with leg cramps and shot selection, and Tracy claimed the title 21-14, 21-14.

The WPH presented an incredible weekend of pro handball alongside the amateurs and juniors in the Y2K Arizona State Championships. All of the pro matches were webcated live in stunning hd on raceforeight.com. Special thanks to Dave Vincent, David Fink, Fred Lewis, Fred Banfield, Jeff Healam, Lolita Vincent, Linda Manning, Charlie & Joan Wicker, Ashley Moler, and Vince San Angelo for their incredible efforts in running, broadcasting, and filming an amazing event.

 

Find all of the scores and posted draws HERE

See pics on FaceBook HERE and HERE

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Luis Moreno is starting to edge away in the race standings, through the first three stops, in less than six weeks time!  Meanwhile, Team Idaho is starting to pull away from the pack.
 
The grueling Simple Green Race4Eight Pro Series gives top handball players a platform to shine, as the WPH film crew captures all action from eight stops; Idaho to Atlanta to Seattle and places in between; over an eight-month time frame.  In fact, today's best athletes will tally up points for the first seven stops and only the top eight will be invited to Seattle, Washington (May, 2012), to participate in the Player Championship.

After the first three stops, Luis Moreno (Tucson, AZ/Team Idaho Spuds) has had two first place finishes and a third place trophy under his belt.  And, if you think that quick start is a fluke, don't forget Moreno has had streaks like this in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and was formerly ranked number one in the WPH Power Rankings while just entering his 20's!
 
After his latest win in Tucson, and in front of the world-wide broadcast crowd, Moreno tells announcer David Vincent, "...I'm feeling great, you know.  I'm having more fun playing in there and I don't put too much pressure on myself so,... that seems to help and staying calm helps me as well."  Moreno also commented on the importance of the Race and winning one for his team, "I started writing goals down for the Race for Eight and so far so good.  It [the race] means a lot and brings more to the table for me.  Having a team.  You know, playing for not only yourself but there are other people that want you to win."

The WPH Power Rankings have Sean Lenning and Naty Alvarado topping the list with 36 and 34 points, respectively, but Moreno is hot on their trail and should be atop the list within the next two race stops (Fresno/Hotlanta).
 
That's if he dominates the field like he has done to start off the season.

Big surprises of the season
Besides the dominance from Moreno, it is noted that Charly Shanks, Andy Nett and Naty Alvarado have all performed at or above their fan's expectations.  Luis Cordova (MX), has qualified twice and has taken Alvarado to a breaker, had victories over Tommy Little, Andy Nett, Eric Hillgren and Dan Armijo have Cordova vying for an automatic invite to future race stops and gracing the top 10 in the WPH Power Rankings.  Cordova's ultimate goal is to be invited to the player championship; where his is just one position away if selections where made today.
 
Another surprise, but in the wrong direction, is how David Chapman's ranking and race standings have the current national champion fighting for points.  A no-show in Idaho and a quarterfinal loss in SoCal; followed by a semi loss in Tucson, has the Idaho Spud captain searching for answers.  Chapman is currently eight in the point standings and fifth in the power rankings, after three stops.
 
Aging Vets
It's no surprise that two 38 year-olds, Naty Alvarado Jr and Tommy Little Jr have maintained their auto-invite into the Elite 8, but another junior, John Bike (45), also keeps qualifying and moving up the rankings/standings.  After three stops, Bike has qualified twice and is going to make a final push to get valuable points for the Seattle invite.
 
WPH Qualifiers
Besides the open format at the US Open, there have been two huge qualifiers (Idaho/Tucson), to date.  Of the two qualifiers, collectively, we have seen former qualifiers attempt to get their names etched into the top 12--seventeen times!
 
That's a deep field! 
 
WPH qualifiers play one game matches to 25 and have to win by two points, with an automatic three minute halftime after any player hits the 15th point.  This new format is well received from those qualifying and is electrifying for the fans. 
 
Looking at 2012
January 1-5, 2011, will be a pivotal stop in Fresno, CA, as we get into the last stretch before the Player Championships in May.  Fresno will feature a special pro am doubles competition, alongside the qualifier and pro brackets.  Expect Race newcomers, Anton Wilson and Chip Morales to make their marks at this event; which could draw points away from those in desperate need of last minute ladder climbing (Fink, Little, Ortiz, Bike, and Cordova). 
 
Only 16 qualifiers will be allowed into Fresno, so only serious contenders (with past pro or open success) shall apply.  You can enter HERE...
 
January 26-29th, in Hotlanta, GA, will have a combined USHA Master Tournament and WPH Race Stop.  Much like Fresno, this stop and the two that follow, will have serious impacts on the race totals.  We expect top East Coast talent to make headlines after qualifier day concludes; Tyree Bastidas, Andy Schad, Billy O'Donnell, Mike Schneider, et al.  You can enter Hotlanta, HERE...
 
Salt Lake City, Utah, brings with it a hometown feel similar to the Plummer Bash in Idaho.  If you can make only one stop during the season, make this your pick.  Lon and Matt Stalsberg, plus family; to include Andy Bilanzich, Dom Sanone, and Ruben Garza, put on the best event of the season and you will be treated to unforgettable hospitality and competition.  Mark your calendars for February 16th-19th, 2012.  Enter this event, HERE...
 
Season Finale & Player Championship
The last points tournament will be held March 15th-18th, 2012, at the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club.  Soon after, WPH ranking committee members will tally final numbers and award the top eight a seed at the player championship, to be held in May at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, WA.  All top eight finishers will receive cash and awards for their final race standing after all points are officially calculated.
 
Right now, Luis Moreno is the front-runner in the race standings, but who will, if any, dethrone the Tucson Native? 
 
"I'm just trying to have fun and that's what I have been doing lately and it's working."
 
 





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Race Stop #4: Fresno

Race Stop #4’s Super Saturday in Fresno featured the top four seeds battling for the coveted Race title, Race points, WPH Power Ranking Points, and team points. The #1 WPH Power Ranking was also at stake on Super Saturday. All matches featured Rally Scoring, meaning that every rally resulted in a point. The action was fast and intense throughout as every rally affected the score.

Sean Lenning and David Chapman renewed their rivalry in the first semifinal. Seattle WAC and World #1 Sean Lenning was unable to distance himself from Chapman early as he had in their previous encounter in Race Stop #3. Chapman made a concerted effort to shorten rallies because of his troublesome left knee, and his offense enabled him to stay close to “The Freak”. Lenning eventually built a comfortable lead late in game one, and appeared to be on his way to capturing game one with a 24-18 lead. Chapman rallied furiously with precise backwall kills and paddle rekills, cutting a 24-18 deficit to 22-24. Lenning earned the final point with a blistering pass shot and carried the momentum to a second game blowout, advancing 25-22, 25-6.

The second semifinal was the continuation of a heated and often contentious rivalry between World #2 Naty Alvarado and Race Leader Luis Moreno. Moreno defeated Alvarado for the first time in the Finals of The Plummer Bash Race Stop #1 and Naty was looking for revenge. Alvarado was poised and confident throughout, frustrating his junior foe of 16 years with aces, flat kills, and steady handball. Moreno unraveled in game two, and Alvarado earned his revenge with a resounding statement win, 25-16, 25-12.

World #1 Sean Lenning and World #2 Naty Alvarado were playing for their first Race title and the #1 Ranking in the primetime final. Alvarado simply said, “The number one ranking would mean a lot to me at this stage in my career.” Lenning had no plans on relinquishing his number one spot as he completely dominated Alvarado in an eight-minute game one blowout. Alvarado would later say that Lenning’s game one serves, power, offense, and speed “was like nothing I have ever seen.” Naty battled back to thrill the packed gallery in game two. Both great players exchanged aces and the lead throughout the second game. Alvarado trailed 22-24 late in the second game when he executed his patented sliding on his knee flat kill. With Naty serving to tie the score at 24 to send the game to overtime, Lenning blasted an 86 mile per hour backwall rocket at Naty’s feet to end to match, earning his first Race title, and maintaining his #1 Ranking with a 25-8, 25-23 win.

David Fink won the 5th place playoff with wins over Armando Ortiz and Chip Morales, and Charly Shanks captured the 9th place playoff with wins over Carlos Chavez and Anton Wilson.

The Men’s Pro Big Ball Doubles electrified the crowds with fast-paced action and spectacular athleticism. Shorty Ruiz and Josh Tellez upset #1 seeds Samzon Hernandez and Ricky Ruiz in the semifinals, and dismantled Sal “The Wizard” Duenas and Elite Eight 4-Wall star Armando Ortiz in the finals to capture the first ever Fresno Pro Big Ball Doubles Championship.

Thanks to Jason Coronado and his entire family for organizing an incredible weekend of handball with non-stop hospitality and unbridled enthusiasm. Thank you to the WPH for another incredible webcast and Pro Tour event, and thank you to all of the players and fans who supported the event.

Catch Race Stop #5 in Atlanta in three weeks live on raceforeight.com, and watch your favorite player battle for Race points and the Race title. -by dave fink

 


 

Big appreciation to Sean Lenning.  After Saturday's final, Lenning helped the tournament desk on Sunday; took pictures, posed with junior winners, conducted clinics and hung out with sponsors. The WPH team appreciates Sean Lenning and so do the fans of the sport.

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Race Stop #5

Super Saturday outside of Hotlanta highlighted the top three players on the tour and the sixth-ranked rising superstar from Ireland. Handball fans were treated to three incredibly high level and dramatic matches.

The first semifinal was a battle between top ranked Sean Lenning, against Race points leader Luis Moreno. Lenning captured his first Race Title in the last stop, and Moreno was bidding for his third Race Title in five events. Moreno and Lenning  are virtual mirrors of one another, and their similar styles produced sensational rallies. Moreno captured game one by capitalizing on a number of Lenning errors and a dominating two-way hop serve. Moreno built a comfortable game two lead, and with an incredible 30-foot left handed rollout, Moreno was two points from the final at 23-19. Lenning refused to yield, and scored six consecutive points to force the decisive third game. Moreno seized the momentum in the middle of the tiebreaker by consistently blasting passing shot with both hands. Moreno earned his third Race finals appearance in five events with a 25-22, 23-25, 25-18 victory.

Second-ranked Naty Alvarado faced the streakiest player on the Race For 8 Tour in a rematch of a quarterfinal clash in Race Stop #1 won by Alvarado. Shanks held a match point in their Race Stop #1 match before succumbing to Alvarado, and Shanks was prepared to avenge that heartbreaking defeat in Atlanta. Alvarado controlled the action throughout most of the match with deep-court offense and front-court guile. Alvarado was too explosive in the later stages of both games, and clinched his third Race Finals birth with a convincing 25-18, 25-18 win.

Alvarado and Moreno renewed their heated rivalry in a classic matchup between the 38 year-old elegant shotmaker and the 22 year-old natural. Moreno overwhelmed a sluggish Alvarado in game one with his incredible agility and power. Alvarado was unable to find his rhythm or footwork necessary to capitalize on his offensive opportunities, and Moreno claimed game one 25-21. Alvarado was poised to claim his first Race Title, and forced a tiebreaker with a number of rally-ending kills and aces. Moreno remained poised and fresh in the tiebreaker, and took advantage of the 38 year-old's aging legs. Moreno dominated game three to claim his third Race Title, and solidify his spot atop the Race standings.

Thank you to Pat Boyd, the USHA, and the WPH for all of their efforts in making this event so successful. Special thanks to Luis Cordova, Allan Garner, Chip Morales, Fred Lewis and David Fink for conducting a very inspirational youth clinic on Saturday to more than 30 juniors.

 
WPH web and broadcast crew, Ashley Moler, Kris Gurrad, Linda Manning, Omar Lemus and David Fink, plus Fred Lewis and David Vincent want to thank Vern Roberts and the USHA for the opportunity to work alongside and with the USHA during this special handball tournament.
 
Tune into raceforeightlive.com for Race Stop #6 in Salt Lake City in three weeks.
 
See pics from this event, HERE>
See results from this event, HERE>

Please visit the USHA home page to read the full report on the master doubles championships played at the same venue.

####

 

Videos from this tournament are available on-line on demand at race4eight.com for Enet video subscribers.  Matches include, finals, semis, quarters, rd of 16 and qualifier finals; plus junior handball clinic, to name just a few.  Subscribe to watch all WPH events LIVE and on-demand at race4eight.com






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Race Scenarios and Trends by dave fink

The Race for the Player's Championship in Seattle is heating up. The top pros have battled throughout five Race Stops during this Race season with two still to play to gain Race points for Seattle.

The Race field is starting to take shape with Moreno, Lenning, Alvarado, Shanks, and Garner already mathematically qualifying for the big dance. Chapman will be skipping Race Stop #6 in Salt Lake City and possibly Race Stop #7 at the L.A.A.C., due to injury (MCL Knee Tear), so his spot could be in jeopardy??

The top five will be battling for position in Seattle while at least eight pros will be gunning for the remaining three spots. Fink and Nett currently hold the 7th and 8th spots, respectively, but a surging Cordova, a dangerous Ortiz, a cagey Little, and highly motivated Race newcomers Morales and Peixoto will be looking to replace Fink and Nett in their tenuous positions. Chapman would qualify for Seattle with an appearance in L.A., but he will risk missing the Player's Championship by staying home. Players will need an estimated 17-20 Race points to qualify for Seattle.

 

 ·      Fink and Nett would solidify their positions in Seattle with a semifinal appearance in either Salt Lake City or L.A. or 6th place finishes or better in both stops.

 

·      Cordova and Ortiz would need Fink and Nett to falter and clinch at least one 5th place finish and a semifinal berth to qualify.

 

·      Little, Morales, and Peixoto would need round of 16 losses from virtually all of the pros ranked ahead of them, and also a semifinal finish or better combined with a finish of no worse than 6th in Salt Lake City or L.A. to qualify for the prestigious championship. 

Whose Trending?

1. Moreno has won three of the five Race Stops. Moreno has also won seven of his last eight main draw matches

2. Alvarado is the only player to have appeared in the semifinals or finals of every Race Stop. Unfortunately for Alvarado, he has yet to record a Race win.

3. Shanks started the season with no ranking points, but he has risen to #6 in the Rankings and #4 in the Race Standings in just five Race Events.

Whose NOT?

1. Little has yet to win a match this Race season despite appearing in every stop

2. Ortiz has lost two main draw tiebreakers to Shanks and Moreno, and has won just one main draw Race match this season. Ortiz is in serious jeopardy of missing Seattle by virtue of his poor record this season and skipping Atlanta.

3. Chapman started the Race season with the #1 Ranking, but he has dropped to #4 in the Power Rankings and #5 in the Race Points standings

Fun Race Facts:

 

1. Shanks is the only player to have lost in every round during this Race season. (Round of 16 vs. Morales, Round of 8 vs. Alvarado, Semis vs. Alvarado, Finals vs. McCarthy)

 

2. Moreno has lost just two matches during the entire Race Season (Shanks and Alvarado)

 

3. Nett has blind drawn Fink three times in five events in the Round of 16 this Race Season (2-1 record)

 

4. McCarthy is the only player to have entered a Race event and not lost a match (Simple Green U.S. Open win)

 

5. Of the 18 players with Race points, seven of them have been ranked #1 in professional 4-Wall at one time (Lenning, Alvarado, Moreno, Garner, Chapman, Peixoto, Bike)

 


The Headlines by dave vincent

 

Sean Lenning, Luis Moreno and Naty Alvarado are dominating the Race4Eight in the front with Shanks and Garner trying to steal some headlines.  Fink, Nett, Cordova, Ortiz, Little, Morales, Peixoto and Bike are dominating the the last half and their quest to be invited to Seattle has become the real story in the second half.

 

Naty Alvarado is 38 years young and has spent a career atop the rankings; perhaps the most consistent handball player in our game's history?  21 years ago, Naty Alvarado, along with David Chapman won a pro national doubles championship, and ever since, has been ranked in the top five until the present day. "As soon as the Race for Eight season was announced, I knew this was another chance to leave a lasting impression on my Professional Handball career," says Naty Alvarado. "A Career that is filled with respect for the game, my opponent's, sponsors, and most importantly the fans. I can tell you right now that the El Gato legacy, solid preparation, and a proper attitude will always allow me to sustain a high level play."  Alvarado is gearing up for the Player Championship.  "I look forward to closing the first Race for Eight season with a big bang!!!!"

 

Luis Moreno and Sean Lenning represent the new blood in this game and their amazing two-wall-pass/track-down every shot and outrageous offensive-from-anywhere-on-the-court game has stunned opponents and mesmerized fans all over the country.  "Lenning literally hits the ball while it's on the way up, as opposed to waiting for the play to develop," says WPH ED Dave Vincent.  "I've never seen anything like it, but I love it."  Moreno can play the same, but mixes in powerful two-wall passes (ala Fred Lewis) and Naty Alvarado-like dexterity and serves.  Moreno is a rock star on the road and a fan favorite for his cool and calm demeanor off the court and attacking mentality on it.  Moreno leads the Race standings right now; meanwhile, Lenning is #1 in the Power Rankings.

 

The last half of the race has a series of players vying for the last few invites.  In fact, if the Player Championship were announced today, Allan Garner, David Fink and Andy Nett would be named six thru eight, of eight, to the big dance.  This puts former number one, Emmett Peixoto, and the upcoming Chip Morales barreling into the mix.  Meanwhile, Luis Cordova, Armando Ortiz, and Tommy Little are statistically eligible to get the monumental invite; amongst others on the cusp.

 

The WPH webcast crew has filmed over 150 matches from the Race4Eight show courts beginning in Idaho thru Atlanta; traveled over 13,000 miles in the broadcast van; gone through 540,000 seconds of recorded film and multiple cups of coffee--all lead by the team of Kris Gurrad (lead engineer); Linda Manning (chief tech/camera #1); Omar Lemus (Camera operator/studio editor); Jeff Kastner (Tech/Operator); Ben Gurrad (Camera); David Fink (producer/color commentary); David Vincent (Director/Lead Commentator); Ashley Moler (Sideline/Photographer); John Bike (Color); Fred Lewis (Sideline/Color).

 

All Race4Eight matches can be viewed by subscribing to Enet/WPH's webcast/broadcast site @ http://www.race4eight.com.  The WPH charges $9.99 monthly or $99.99 for an annual pass (recommended).  The WPH team will provide over 300 matches annually with these passes and all filmed matches can be viewed on-demand within a week of the match being aired.  

 

Webcast schedules will be posted within three days of the main event.  Contact us for additional details:  weplayhandball@cs.com.

 

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Race Stop #6 : Super Saturday in Salt Lake City


Super Saturday in Salt Lake City featured the Mens semifinals and finals, the Women's Pro Round Robin, and the Men's Pro Playoffs.


Naty Alvarado Jr. and Luis Moreno faced off for the fifth time this season on the Race for Eight Pro Tour in the first Men's semifinal of the day. Moreno had won three of their four encounters this season, but "El Tigre" appeared poised to take this clash, building a 20-15 point lead in game one of the semifinal. Moreno ran 10 consecutive points to steal the first game from the grasp of Alvarado. "The Natural" continued to apply pressure in game two, maintaing a comfortable four to six point lead throughout, ultimately closing out Jr. with a 21-20, 21-19 win.


"The Blond Bombshell" Allan Garner faced his arch rival Sean Lenning in the second semifinal of the day. TBB had won just one of their previous seven encounters, but a focused and determined TBB dominated a weary Lenning in game one, clinching the game with one of his patented left corner kills to win 25-19. TBB had numerous opportunities to build a substantial lead in game two, but several costly errors and incredible Lenning rekills kept the game tight throughout. TBB was just two points from the finals at 23-23, and earned several killshot opportunities in a 19 shot rally ultimately won by a Lenning two-inch high backwall kill. Lenning served an ace to force the tiebreaker. TBB continued to make errors in the tiebreaker, and Lenning capitalized with timely kills and aces to advance to the final.


The Final was a showdown for the number one ranking between Lenning and Moreno. Moreno was undefeated against Lenning in three matches this Race season, and completely dominated Lenning from the outset of the match. Moreno captured the title with the most lopsided rally scoring match this season 25-5, 25-8, pitching a nearly perfect game with 12 aces, 17 kills, and only two errors. Moreno took over the number one ranking and maintained his position atop the Race standing, solidifying his place as the most dominant player on the tour.


Tracy Davis dominated the women's pro invitational round robin with three quality wins over Bitty Bidegain, Jennifer Hinman, and Ashley Moler. Tracy's fitness and shotmaking was the difference in her march to the WPH Salt Lake City Ladies Pro Invitational. 


David Fink defeated Luis Cordova and Chip Morales to capture 5th place for the second time in the last three Race events, and Charly Shanks captured 9th place for the second time in the last three Race events with wins over Tommy Little and Emmett Peixoto. 


Thanks to Lon Stalsberg and the rest of the incredible crew in Salt Lake City for an amazing weekend of handball and hospitality. Thanks also to the WPH for webcasting and providing the opportunity for the pros to showcase their incredible talents. 

 

Pics from this event, HERE>

See results, HERE>

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Race Scenarios


With just the L.A.A.C. Race Stop #7 remaining to qualify for the World Professional Handball Players Championship of Handball at Seattle's Washington Athletic Club, Moreno, Lenning, Alvarado, Shanks, and Garner have mathematically qualified for five of the eight spots in Seattle.


Eight players are mathematically alive to qualify for the remaining three spots. Chapman is currently 6th in the Race Standings with 18.5 Race Points, but will be skipping the L.A.A.C. Stop and will most likely skip the Players Championship as well. Chapman would likely still qualify for Seattle with 18.5 points, but indications are that he will not accept the invitation.


Fink is in a great position to qualify for Seattle with 16.5 Race Points, and will guarantee a spot in Seattle with a first round win at the L.A.A.C. Fink will likely still qualify with a first round loss, unless Chapman accepts his invitation, Cordova and Nett advance to the Final, or Ortiz or Morales win the event.


Cordova is currently on the "Hot Seat" in the 8th position with 11.5 Race Points, just .25 points ahead of MDB Andy Nett. Cordova would need to earn more points than MDB at the L.A.A.C. and maintain his lead over Morales, Ortiz, and Peixoto. A first round loss by Cordova combined with a semifinal appearance from Ortiz or Morales would knock Cordova out of Seattle. Peixoto could also move past Cordova with a Finals appearance and a Cordova first round loss.


MDB Nett controlled his destiny to Seattle after the first three stops of the year, but a mid season slump has left MDB on the outside of Seattle's bubble. MDB would need to first qualify at the L.A.A.C., then finish with a minimum of .25 more points than Cordova to take Cordova's spot on the Hot Seat. MDB needs to also be concerned with semifinal finishes by Morales, Ortiz, or Peixoto. MDB could conceivably fail to qualify at the L.A.A.C. and still be invited to Seattle if Chapman declines his invitation, and Morales, Ortiz, and Peixoto fail to qualify or advance past the first round at the L.A.A.C.


Morales would need a high finish at the L.A.A.C. to help from Cordova and MDB to qualify. Morales is currently 3 points behind Cordova and 2.75 points behind MDB for the 8th and 9th spots with 8.5 points. Morales would first need to qualify, then advance to the semifinals combined with a Cordova first round loss and a qualifier loss or first round loss from MDB to move into the top 8.


Ortiz has had a disappointing season thus far in the Race, and would likely need a Finals appearance or win at the L.A.A.C. to qualify for Seattle. Ortiz is certainly capable, amassing tournament wins in the last year over Garner, Lenning, and Moreno, but Ortiz would need first round losses from Cordova and Nett and a minimum of a semifinals appearance to move into the top 8.


Peixoto would need a minimum of a Finals appearance at the L.A.A.C. and early round losses from Cordova, MDB, Ortiz, and Morales to qualify for Seattle.


John Bike would need a win at the L.A.A.C. to have any chance to qualify for Seattle, and early round losses from Cordova, MDB, Ortiz, and Morales to qualify for Seattle.


Depending on various scenarios, including whether Chapman will accept his invite to Seattle, players will need a minimum of 11.5 Race Points to qualify for Seattle. The Race Points number could also extend to 18.25 to qualify for Seattle, factoring in various scenarios. 15.0 appears to be the number that will qualify a player for Seattle, meaning that the pressure falls directly on Cordova, Nett, Morales, Ortiz, and Peixoto to perform under pressure at the L.A.A.C. to be a part of the most prestigious events in the history of Pro Handball.

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Race For 8 Player Win/Loss Records (Main Draw + Playoff matches, Qualifier results not included)

6 Race Stops include: Plumer, U.S. Open, Tucson, Fresno, Atlanta, Salt Lake City

Moreno: 15-2

Lenning: 12-5

Alvarado: 10-6

Shanks: 13-6

Garner: 8-6

Chapman: 4-5

Fink: 9-8

Cordova: 4-7

MDB: 3-7

Morales: 5-6

Mando: 3-7

Little: 0-10

Peixoto: 4-5

Keegan: 1-1

Bike: 0-3

Perez: 1-2

Wilson: 1-2

C. Chavez: 0-2

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Race Stop #7: LAAC Final Day

 


Race Stop #7 concluded with upsets, fireworks, and one of the best final days of handball of the Race Season.


TBB Allan Garner dominated Luis Moreno in the first semifinal of the morning, halting the world number one's dominance. TBB avenged his earlier season loss to The Natural in Atlanta by overpowering the Race juggernaut. TBB blasted passes and executed one inch high killshots consistently to take control of Moreno. Moreno has only defeated TBB twice in 12 career matchups, and appeared to be bewildered by TBB's power. TBB held off a late Moreno charge in game two to earn his first finals appearance of the Race Season with a 25-12, 25-19 win.


Sean Lenning appeared very comfortable against local legend and number three ranked pro Naty Alvarado. Laser serves down the right and fly kill rollouts left Naty talking to himself as Sean captured game number one in just 13 minutes. Alvarado regrouped briefly in game two, but Lenning was simply too intense and precise, advancing to his fourth Race Final of the season with a 25-8, 25-18 win.


TBB had only defeated The Freak once in their pro careers, but appeared to be on the verge of his second head-to-head win and his first Race Title with a dominating 25-15 first game win. TBB kept Lenning on his heels with incredible power and bottom-board kills in game one, but a rejuvenated Lenning attacked TBB in game two. Lenning clamped down, retrieving nearly every Garner killshot attempt and pass in the front court, forcing the tiebreaker with a 25-14 win. The tiebreaker produced some of the best handball thus far on the Race Season with both players blistering kills and aces at over 80 miles per hour. Lenning built a 20-11 lead, but a careless backwall error followed by six TBB kills cut the nine point lead to two. Lenning regrouped and ran won five of the next eight rallies to claim his second Race Title 15-25, 25-14, 25-21.


David Fink defeated Luis Cordova, Jr. and Marcos Chavez to win fifth place for the third time in four events.


Thank you to the WPH, Mark Shelgren, Naty Alvarado, Sr., Paul Godina, Marcos Chavez, and all of the staff at the LAAC for hosting an incredible event at one of the nicest and most prestigious athletic clubs in the country.




David Fink

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Rankings/Race Points Through Race Stop #7

  • Rankings/Race events are comprised of Idaho, U.S. Open, Tucson, Fresno, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, LAAC
  • For the first time this year (ever) the Race Standings and Power Rankings are one-in-the-same!


1. Moreno 58

2. Lenning 52

2. Alvarado 48

4. Garner 31.5

5. Shanks 27

6. Fink 20.5

7. Chapman 18.5

8. Cordova 14.5

9. Nett 14.25

10. McCarthy 10

11. Morales 9.75

12. Ortiz 8.25

13. Peixoto 7.75

14. Little 7

15. Perez 5

16. Keegan 4

17. M. Chavez 3.5

18. Bike 3.25

19. Wilson 1.5

20. C. Chavez 1.25


  • The Top 8 Race point earners through Race Stop #7 at the L.A.A.C. will be invited to the 8 Player Players Championship at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, Washington May 18-20.
  • Moreno, Lenning, Alvarado, Garner, Shanks, Fink, Cordova, and Nett have accepted their invites to The Player's Championship in Seattle!

TEAM STANDINGS:

 

900 - SEATTLE WAC - Lenning, Fink, etc

885 - IDAHO SPUDS - Moreno, Chapman, etc

750 - TUCSON GUNSLINGERS - Alvarado, Shanks, etc

635 - SLC ACES - Garner, Ortiz, etc

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Race For 8 Player Win/Loss Records (Main Draw + Playoff matches, Qualifier results not included)

7 Race Stops include: Plummer, U.S. Open, Tucson, Fresno, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, LAAC

1. Moreno: 16-3

2. Lenning: 15-5

3. Alvarado: 11-7

4. Garner: 10-7

5. Shanks: 13-7

6. Fink: 12-9

*7. Chapman: 4-5

8. Cordova: 5-9

9. MDB (Nett): 4-8

10. McCarthy: 4-0

11. Morales: 5-7

12. Mando: 3-7

13. Peixoto: 4-6

14. Little: 0-10

15. Perez: 1-3

16. Keegan: 1-1

17. M. Chavez 1-2

18. Bike: 0-3

19. Wilson: 1-2

20. C. Chavez: 0-2

*Did not accept invitation to Seattle



Elite 8 Qualifiers Head-to-Head Records vs. Elite 8 Qualifiers:

Moreno:

vs. Lenning: 4-0

vs. Alvarado: 3-1

vs. Garner: 1-1

vs. Shanks: 0-1

vs. Fink: 2-0

vs. Cordova: 0-0

vs. Nett: 2-0

Lenning:

vs. Moreno: 0-4

vs. Alvarado: 2-0

vs. Garner: 3-0

vs. Shanks: 1-0

vs. Fink: 1-0

vs. Cordova: 1-0

vs. Nett: 1-0

Alvarado:

vs. Moreno: 1-3

vs. Lenning: 0-2

vs. Garner: 1-0

vs. Shanks: 2-0

vs. Fink: 2-0

vs. Cordova: 3-0

Garner:

vs. Moreno: 1-1

vs. Lenning: 0-3

vs. Alvarado: 0-1

vs. Shanks: 0-0

vs. Fink: 1-0

vs. Cordova: 1-0

Nett: 0-0

Shanks:

vs. Moreno: 1-0

vs. Lenning: 0-1

vs. Alvarado: 0-2

vs. Garner: 1-1

vs. Fink: 0-0

vs. Cordova: 0-0

vs. Nett: 0-0

Fink:

vs. Moreno: 0-2

vs. Lenning: 0-1

vs. Alvarado: 0-2

vs. Garner: 0-1

vs. Shanks: 0-0

vs. Cordova: 2-0

vs. Nett: 1-2

Cordova:

vs. Moreno: 0-0

vs. Lenning: 0-1

vs. Alvarado: 0-3

vs. Garner: 0-1

vs. Shanks: 0-0

vs. Fink: 0-2

vs. Nett: 1-1

Nett:

vs. Moreno: 0-2

vs. Lenning: 0-2

vs. Alvarado: 0-1

vs. Garner: 0-0

vs. Shanks: 0-0

vs. Fink: 2-1

vs. Cordova: 1-1



Qualifier Records vs. 5-8 seeds in the Round 0f 16: 11-13


Top 4 Record vs. 5-8 seeds/Qualifiers in Round of 8: 23-1

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The WPH/Simple Green Race4Eight~ Player's Championship (TPC@WAC) May 18-19th, 2012

"The Elite Eight," in the Player's Championship has been announced and you can now reserve seats!


Come watch Race Leader, Luis Moreno (winner of four of seven stops), Sean Lenning (#2 in the race standings and winner of two stops), Naty Alvarado (three time race finalist), Allan Garner (LAAC race finalist), Charles Shanks (US Open finalist), David Fink (PA), Andy Nett (MN) and Luis Cordova (MEX).

Contact Joel Carlson to purchase the Player's Championship tickets and inquire about special WAC hotel room rates Joel.Carlson@Yahoo.com ~ (206) 660-9878

The Player's Championship will run a unique eight-man format that will crown a season ending tournament winner, plus crown a Race Winner by tallying up points from the previous seven stops. The winner of the Race4Eight will be the Race Leader (Rankings) post Seattle. "Yeah, we will have a winner of the Seattle stop and then the biggie happens....The Race Champion," says Executive Director, Dave Vincent. "We will also crown the season ending points leader and award them the Race4Eight Player's Champion."

WPH will be on site with a film crew broadcasting the action LIVE from the Historical Washington Athletic Club beginning on Friday, May 18th @ race4eight.com and you can watch all the action with a paid subscription.

All Player Profiles Posted HERE>

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Race Scenarios, by David Fink:


Fasten your seat belts for Seattle because the intensity will be twice as high for the Elite 8 in the game. Players will be playing for double rankings points, bonus Race money, yet to be announced post season perks, and the inaugural Super Ball Title presented to the winning team.

Only Luis Moreno, Sean Lenning, and Naty Alvarado can win the Race Season Title. The "Big Three" have distanced themselves from the competition with 3rd ranked El Tigre Naty Alvarado holding a substantial 16.5 point lead over 4th ranked TBB Allan Garner. Luis The Natural Moreno sits in first place with 58 points, and Sean The Freak Lenning is just six points behind in second place with 52 points.

Luis Moreno will clinch the Race Season Title with a win or second place finish, or a third place finish if Sean Lenning does not win in Seattle.

Sean Lenning can win the Race Season Title if Luis Moreno finishes third or worse and Sean wins Seattle. Sean Lenning can also win the Race Season Title if Luis Moreno loses in the first round, and he finishes 1st or 2nd.

El Tigre can win the Race Season Title only if he wins Seattle, Luis Moreno loses in the first round, and Sean Lenning loses before the finals.

The remaining five players, TBB, Charly Shanks, DF, Luis Cordova, and MDB may not be mathematically alive to win the Race Season Title, but all five will be highly motivated competing for double rankings points, a healthy prize pool in Seattle, and bonus money for their final Race Standings. All players will also be competing for their teams at the Super Ball is up for grabs.

Each team has two representatives in the Elite 8 in Seattle. Sean Lenning and David Fink will be representing the Seattle WACs and hosting, Luis Moreno and Andy MDB Nett will represent the Idaho Spuds, Naty Alvarado and Charly Shanks will represent the Tucson Gunslingers, and TBB and Luis Cordova will represent the Salt Lake City Aces.
 
You can watch all the action LIVE over the Internet or in person at the historic Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, WA.  For ring-side seats and hotel info contact Joel Carlson at joel.carlson@yahoo.com.  To tune in LIVE purchase an Enet Pass at http://www.race4eight.com.
 
Webcast and player schedule posted below...
 
See you there!
 
-Dave Fink
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Saturday at The Player’s Championship, by dave fink, fred lewis, dave vincent (pictures from this event posted HERE)


The Final day of the Race For 8 Tour provided unparalleled fireworks as The Player’s Champion was crowned, the Race winner was awarded, and the Super Ball team trophy was rewarded. The Washington Athletic Club hosted the best event in recent memory complete with the most passionate and educated fans, the best championship venue, and one of the greatest facilities in the world. "The culmination of the Race 4 Eight at the Washington Athletic Club ranks in the top five of all time great pro stops held over the past 39 years since the inception of professional handball tournaments," Says WPH President, Fred Lewis. "This tournament came together like a gourmet chef creating a masterpiece of a dinner fit for kings and queens."   The Elite 8 were treated like royalty throughout the weekend and responded by playing inspired and sensational handball. All of the Elite 8 spent the weekend socializing with the packed gallery, playing exhibitions with the sponsors and fans, and hosting clinics to grow the game. "The ingredients included spectacular athleticism from the players, a wildly enthusiastic and emotional gallery of spectators, and a masterful live webcast production by a crew of professionals on the leading edge of video technology," says Lewis. 


The first semifinal featured top-seeded and #1 ranked Luis Moreno facing #5 Charly Shanks (IRE). Shanks started the season without a ranking, but climbed into the top five with impressive wins over Moreno, Garner, and Chapman. Moreno simply dominated the Race For 8 Season with four wins in seven events entering the Player's Championship; Shanks started the match playing his best handball of the season, building a 10-3 lead with a dazzling two-way hook serve and deep court rollouts. Shanks missed several relatively easy opportunities that could have extended his lead, and The Natural quickly shifted the momentum in his favor. The Natural patiently erased the Shanks’ lead with down-the-line drives and blistering two-wall passes. With the score tied at 12, Shanks was unable to capitalize on two opportunities, and Moreno completed the improbable comeback to capture game one 15-12. Shanks was completely exhausted in game two, and Moreno cruised to the final with an effortless 15-4 blowout. Shanks would later say that his lungs felt full because of the ability of Moreno to extend rallies and drive him into the deep court.


The second semifinal pinned Sean Lenning against perennial Race semis and finalist Naty Alvarado, Jr.  Lenning has dominated this matchup since 2008, making this a completely one-sided rivalry. Alvarado fell behind 5-0 in game one, and it appeared that “The Freak” was on his way to another easy win over Alvarado. But, El Tigre pulled another amazing comeback out of his cap for some of his best handball of the year, scoring an incredible 15 consecutive points to shock Lenning and the “Lenning Lunatics” cheering for their hero in the nose bleed section of the sold out facility. Lenning jumped out to an early lead in game two and extended the lead to 11-1. Alvarado hit a fist shot back to himself in the frontcourt, but rather than moving, Alvarado simply stood his ground, not allowing Lenning to take a full swing. The Freak’s follow through extended directly to the nose of Alvarado, breaking it instantly; shattering his pricy Oakley Eyeware into several pieces  leaving a blood trail from the point of impact to the door where El Tigre was found licking his wounds.  After a 17-minute break and at least fifty grusome replays by the WPH film crew, plus some doctoring by WAC Handball President (seen realligning Alvarado's nose moments before he steps back into the court), Alvarado steps back into the court to a standing ovation by the fans.  After the bleeding stopped, Lenning scored three consecutive points to force a tiebreaker. Despite the broken nose, Alvarado battled like a warrior in that final game. Never known to play through injury, Alvarado has reinvented himself this season, routinely playing through knee pain, a pulled groin, and now a broken nose. Remarkably, Lenning refocused his concentration with the help of the “Lenning Lunatics” and his burning desire to win the TPC. Alvarado had several chances late in the tiebreaker, but he was unable to convert. The Freak advanced to the final in one of the most bizarre but entertaining matches in our history, 5-15, 15-1, 11-6.


The final was a showdown between the two superstars that have dominated the Race For 8 tour throughout the entire season. The Natural and The Freak have combined to win six of the seven Race stops this season. The atmosphere was electric, as the number one and number two ranked players squared off for the most prestigious title of the Race season. Moreno would have to deal not only with the incredible shotmaking of his former mentor, but also the hometown crowd that reveres him. The Natural and The Freak awed the gallery with incredible power, reflexes, speed, and two-handed offense.


Moreno and Lenning played virtually even throughout much of the first game, but several Lenning errors and incredible retrieves from Moreno were the difference. Moreno captured game one 15-11. Moreno appeared to be in control of game two and the match after falling behind 2-6 early in the second game. Moreno continued to play consistent handball, making only two errors to Lenning’s ten, building a 14-10 lead. Moreno served for the match, the Player’s Championship, and the Super Ball Title, and the pressure and enormity of the situation seemed to overcome him. Moreno overhit a paddle killshot attempt with Lenning completely out of position, and Lenning ultimately won the 19-shot rally with a flat rollout from 30 feet. Moreno served again for the match at 14-11, and inexplicably skipped a right hand setup from the short line that would have ended the match and this long season. Moreno served for the match for a third time at 14-13, hitting a second serve two-wall lob that The Freak flat killed from 39 feet. The Washington Athletic Club erupted, and Lenning carried the momentum into the next two points, rolling out two consecutive front courtkills to force the tiebreaker.


Moreno appeared to be fresher in the tiebreaker than at the start of the tournament, a testament to his incredible conditioning and preparation. Sean Lenning appeared to be cramping in the tiebreaker, unable to bend or produce the snap of his shots necessary to end rallies. The tiebreaker proved to be anticlimactic with Lenning making 11 errors and Moreno remaining consistent and aggressive. Moreno captured the unprecedented Triple Crown: The Race Season Championship, The Player’s Championship, and the Super Ball for the Idaho Spuds. The Natural was clearly emotional after his incredible accomplishment, a triumph that may never be repeated. Moreno finished the season with five wins in eight events, and a future that seems destined to be even brighter.


The 5th place playoffs/semis provided even more excitement to Saturday’s action at the TPC.  Allan “The Blond Bombshell” Garner rallied from a 19-11 deficit against Andy “MDB” Nett to advance to the 5th place final with a 25-22 win. Once down 19-11, Garner changed to the Marcos Chavez Serve and outscored the dreamboat 14-3 to take the points.  David Fink defeated the rapidly improving Luis Cordova, Jr. 25-14 in a very exciting matchup between two players with very similar styles of play to advance to the 5th place final.


TBB started very hot against Fink in the 5th place final, amassing a 15-2 lead at halftime with frontcourt kills, deepcourt kills, aces, and very steady defensive play. Fink rallied after the half with some incredible shotmaking and the support of his WAC fans. Fink cut the TBB lead to 19-22, but two service return errors and a TBB rollout ended the spirited comeback bid. TBB won 5th place for the third time this season.  Fink took sixth.


Luis Cordova easily defeated MDB 25-6 to capture 7th place. 

 

The WAC Pro Stop #8 and the Player's Championship (rankings) ended with nearly the same result; with just points separating Shanks and Garner for 4th and 5th place in the rankings: Seattle Tournament results: 1st- Moreno, 2nd- Lenning, 3rd- Alvarado, 4th- Shanks, 5th- Garner, 6th- Fink, 7th- Cordova, 8th- Nett.


Special thanks to the Washington Athletic Club, The WAC handball president, Brian Henson, Joel Carlson, Darin Barr, Jay Simpson, Randy Multack and volunteers and organizers. Special thanks to future USHA hall of fame member, John Bike, plus Chip Morales for keeping stats, reffing, and webcasting throughout the event. A special thanks goes to the WPH team of Fred Banfield, Dave Vincent, Fred Lewis, David Fink, Ashley Moler, Lolita De Vincent, Linda Manning, Kris Gurrad, Ben Gurrad, Omar Lemus, and Jeff Kastner. The WPH team coordinated, organized, and filmed the greatest season in the history of the sport from Idaho to Seattle. This season was truly groundbreaking with the efforts of all of entire crew highlighting the play of the most elite handball players in the world. To watch matches from this event, please purchase your Enet subscription at http://www.race4eight.com.

 

The WPH has multiple locations pinned down for Race Season II that will start in early October/Late September of this year.  Full schedule announced soon.


The year-end Race Standings:


1. Luis Moreno

2. Sean Lenning

3. Naty Alvarado, Jr.

4. Allan Garner

5. Charly Shanks

6. David Fink

7. Luis Cordova, Jr.

8. Andy Nett


Luis Moreno took home the final yellow jersey with come from behind victories in all three matches he played. The twenty four year old Moreno has developed an unflappable attitude that allows him to make adjustments in his game that eventually lead to victory. Sean Lenning’s second place finish was a huge disappointment to the hometown, partisan crowd. However Sean stood toe to toe with Moreno in what has become the Race’s best rivalry. His thrilling second game victory brought the entire gallery to its feet with cheering that was rumored to be heard on the first floor of the WAC. Handball has never been played at a more frenetic pace when these two are competing with each other at the top of their games.

Real drama began to unfold when Charley Shanks jumped out to big lead in his semi final match with Moreno. Luis was able to put the reins on Shanks and come back to take the first game 15-14. He got his big serve going in the second game and cruised to an easy victory. In the second semi final match between Lenning and Naty Alvarado Jr., Sean appeared to have the upper edge physically. He was focused and had his big serve working to perfection. A very sad moment occurred toward the end of the second game when Naty, not realizing how close Sean was positioned, back up and was hit in the nose by Lenning’s follow through. Blood immediately began to pour from Alvarado’s nose. After taking all of the allowable time available, he gamely came back and finished the match. "We could not believe what we were seeing as we were covering the event live," claimed WPH announcer, Dave Vincent.  "I thought Naty lost an eye because pieces of his goggles were flying all over the place and blood was flowing.  It was hard to call this match because we really never know how to handle situations like this."  Vincent isn't only the Executive Director of the WPH, but also the tournament director and lead commentator.

To the surprise of many, Alvarado and Shanks came back a few hours later after Naty had the broken bone in his nose set by none other than the host and president of the WAC handball club, Brian Henson. Alvarado appeared very confident and played his best match of the tournament to take third as well as finishing 3rd in the overall Race 4 Eight standings.

Following the final match, the WAC handball club hosted a post tournament party and press conference. This became an up close and personal event as some of the fans were able to question the players about preparation and philosophy of play.

In summation this tournament epitomized the ideal of bringing professional handball to cities that want to see the sport played at its highest level. In addition, the sponsors and spectators had the opportunity to meet and interact with the players on a very casual level.

 

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For Immediate Release

FROM: World Players of Handball
CONTACT: David Vincent | Tel: (520) 289-8230
Email: weplayhandball@cs.com
Web: http://www.wphlive.tv

PRESS RELEASE

Tucson's Moreno Wins Handball's Player's Championship

2011/2012 WPH/Simple Green Race4Eight Professional Handball Tour to crown Moreno at local ceremony

Tucson, Arizona, May 25, 2012, Press-

This Tuesday (May 29th), at 7pm, the World Players of Handball and Simple Green will present Tucson Native Luis Moreno with the coveted "Yellow Jersey" and trophy for winning the Player's Championship during the 2011/12 WPH/Simple Green Race4Eight Handball Tour after a strong season that had Moreno taking home trophies in four of eight stops. "The season started in Idaho and toured the country with the best players in the world competing for rankings points and yellow jerseys--all ending with the Player's Championship in Seattle, WA, last weekend," says WPH Executive Director, David Vincent. "Moreno gathered points at all eight stops and when the dust settled he simply had more points than anyone else on tour. We are proud to award Luis this trophy as he clearly was the standout player and role model for kids and fans this whole year."

Moreno also brought home a team championship for the Idaho Spuds (Team managed by former NFL Quarterback and ASU standout, Jake Plummer) when he defeated Seattle WAC team member, Sean Lenning, in a close tiebreaker. Team results came down to the final day when Team Idaho Spuds, the Tucson Gunslingers, Seattle WAC and the Salt Lake City Aces were all statistically able to take the championship.

In honor of Moreno's season ending victory, the World Players of Handball and Simple Green will hold a special victory party at the Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club @ 7pm, Tuesday, May 29th @ 01 North Country Club Road Tucson, AZ 85716 (520) 795-6960. The press is invited.

The World Players of Handball Foundation's mission is to grow the sport of handball through innovation with hopes of inspiring kids and new athletes to take up this game as a lifestyle sport.

Media Contact:

David Vincent, Executive Director, World Players of Handball.  3544 E Ft Lowell Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85716.  (520) 289-8230 – weplayhandball@cs.com

 

END

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