2018/19 Race4Eight Pro Tour Preview: Must Read! - The Handball Message Board


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by David Fink

[R48PROv4baArtboard-2@4x-300x300]Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 9/14/18-

The World Players of Handball is thrilled to announce the 2018/19 Race 4 Eight 8 Men’s Pro, Women’s Race 4 Eight, and Senior Race 4 Eight tour seasons Powered by ESPN, featuring nine events kicking off in Atlanta, GA in early October and ending with the WPH Aces Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship seven months later in Salt Lake City, UT. The Race 4 Eight Men’s Pros will compete in six “full” R48 stops and three R48LTE stops, with all nine events counting towards the official R48 Power Rankings, while the WR48 and SR48 pros will each compete in three ranking events during the 2018/19 season.

[WPH2Artboard-2@4x-300x300]Last season’s R48, WR48, and SR48 tours produced dozens of sensational moments and electrifying matches and this season promises to be even more exciting, as the best players in the world will showcase their tremendous talents on the sport’s most exciting platform. See the full 2018/19 Race 4 Eight tour schedule and entry links below.

The 2018/19 Race 4 Eight 8 Preview contains the 2018/19 Race 4 Eight 8 schedule, player previews, event previews, player preparation, Race 4 Eight history, Race 4 Eight Rules, and so much more!


2018/19 R48 Men’s Pro + R48LTE, WR48, & SR48 Schedule:

Stop #1 R48 Men’s Pro: Atlanta, Georgia - Ron Cook Peachtree Open: October 5-7, 2018: R48 Pro Men's Stop #1 (Features Pro Qualifiers on Friday morning) entry HERE

Stop #2 R48 Men’s Pro/WR48/SR48: Tucson, Arizona - #TheMemorial presented by JR WPH: November 2-4, 2018:  R48 Pro Men's Stop #2/WR48 Women Stop #1 & Senior 40+ Stop #1 (Featuring Pro Qualifier Friday Morning) entry HERE

Stop #3 R48 Men’s Pro: Portland, Oregon - USHA Four Wall Junior Nationals: December 27-30, 2018: R48 Pro Men's Stop #3 (No Qualifier; This is an open format event) entry HERE

Stop #4 R48 Men’s Pro: Missoula, Montana - Red Death #TheNub: January 25-27, 2019: R48Pro Men's Stop #4 (Features Pro Qualifier on Friday morning) entry HERE

Stop #5 R48 Men’s Pro Lite/SR48: New Orleans, Louisiana - Mardi Gras Open: February 15-17, 2019: R48Pro Men's LTE Stop #5 (no qualifier), Senior 40+ Stop #2 - entry HERE

Stop #6 R48 Men’s Pro Lite: Houston, Texas - Southwest Regional Doubles: March 8-10, 2019: R48Pro Men's LTE Stop #6 (no qualifier) entry HERE

Stop #7 R48 Men’s Pro/WR48: San Francisco, California - Olympic Club Singles Invitational: March 29-31, 2019: Pro Men's Stop #7WR48 Women Stop #2(Pro Qualifier begins Friday Morning) entry HERE

Stop #8 R48 Men’s Pro Lite: New York, New York -New York Athletic Club Burt Kossoff Invitational: April 12-14, 2019: R48Pro Men's LTE Stop #8 (no qualifier) entry HERE

Stop #9 R48 Men’s Pro/WR48/SR48: Salt Lake City, Utah - WPH/Aces Player’s Championship: May 15-17, 2019: R48 Pro Men's Stop #9/WR48 Women Stop #3 & Senior 40+ Stop #3 (Featuring Pro Qualifier Friday Morning) entry HERE


[20180506_27214_ajw-300x200]Check out the links to the Race 4 Eight schedules, promotional videos, stats, rankings, bios, and contact info below.

2018/9 Race 4 Eight 8 promo video HERE

2018/19 R48 Men’s Pro Schedule HERE

2018/19 WR48 Schedule HERE

2018/19 SR48 Schedule HERE

2017/18 R48 Elite 8, WR48 Fab 4, SR48 Fab 5 Stats + Fun Facts and Trends here

Current WPH Power Rankings: here

R48 Fun Facts and Trends: here

Race 4 Eight Pro Player Bios: here

Race 4 Eight History of Champions and Finalists: here

[20180506_26805_ajw-300x200]For more information on the WPH Race 4 Eight, please contact World Players of Handball Executive Director David Vincent at dave.vincent@wphlive.tv or World Players of Handball Development Director David Fink at david.fink@wphlive.tv. For more information on the World Players of Handball, please visit wphlive.tv

Learn about the Race 4 Eight players, cities, rules, history, and much more below.

The Players

The World Players of Handball is fortunate to have some of the world’s greatest athletes playing on the Race 4 Eight tour. The sensational handball skills demonstrated by the Race 4 Eight pros drives the tour, with each Race 4 Eight pro awing live and broadcast fans at every venue. The Race 4 Eight players feature prodigies in their late teens to 40-something modern marvels, all striving for Race 4 Eight glory. The love of the game drives each of the players, witnessed by the incredible efforts put forth by every player in every match. Meet our top stars below.

R48 Elite Men’s Pro

[20180506_27122_ajw-200x300]Killian Carroll: In his first full season on the Race 4 Eight tour, Killian Carroll captured the crowned jewel of the Race, the Player’s Championship. Carroll added two more Player’s Championships in his next two seasons, two of his nine R48 titles in his last 11 R48 starts. Carroll redefines tenaciousness and proves that no lead is safe and no player is unbeatable. Carroll has quickly become a crowd favorite for his shot making and retrieving ability, as well as the ability to connect with fans from all corners of the globe. Carroll seized control of the R48 #1 ranking in 2017 and has never come close to relinquishing it, as he continues to define excellence on the R48 tour

Best R48 Finish: 10 R48 titles

Killian Carroll Receives the 2017/18 R48 Player of the Year HERE

[20180506_27212_ajw-200x300]Sean Lenning: Sean Lenning is one of the most feared offensive players in the history of the sport with the ability to dominate any opponent at any time with a rare blend of power serves, fly kills, back wall kills, and off-balance kills. Known simply as “The Freak” for his ability to consistently make seemingly impossible shots, Lenning is always must-see viewing. In 2018, Lenning added a new moniker to his freak persona: “The Thrill.” During the 2017-2018 R48 7 season, Lenning played three of the most exciting matches in R48 history in three consecutive events, complete with outrageous comebacks, collapses, and drama, making Lenning the Phil Mickelson of handball

Sean Lenning Thrills With a Hat Trick here

Best R48 Finish: 6 R48 titles

[20180505_28951_ajw-300x200]Mando Ortiz: Mando Ortiz demonstrated the ability to play with the best players in the world as a teenager, defeating then #1 Allan Garner and a host of other top players before turning 20. Ortiz experienced heart palpitations in his early 20’s, requiring heart surgery in 2010. Ortiz came back stronger than ever, defeating R48 #1 Paul Brady twice since 2014 and winning his first R48 title in January of 2016 in Houston by defeating four current or former WPH #1 pros en route to the title. Because of his ability to flat kill the ball from anywhere on the court with both hands and his magnetic personality, Ortiz is a fan-favorite and a player’s nightmare, possessing the ability to take the game out of the hands of the world’s best by serving and shooting his way to victory

Feature on Mando rising to #1 here

Best R48 Finish: 2 R48 titles

[20180505_28843_ajw-200x300]Daniel Cordova: Danos burst onto the Race 4 Eight scene during the 2014-2015 R48 IV season, advancing to the quarterfinals in three of his first four starts as a qualifier and climbing into the Elite 8 after just five events. Daniel advanced to his first R48 semifinal at the 2015 WPH R48 IV Player’s Championship, clinching the 2015 R48 IV Rookie of the Year and solidifying his place amongst the game’s elite. Cordova combines a unique blend of power, speed, versatility, and hops with one of the greatest attitudes on tour to take down great players. Danos makes up half of the “Flying Cordovas,” with both he and brother Lucho earning their nicknames by diving, sliding, and flying all over the court to make outrageous retrieves. Danos is one of the game’s most exciting stars and regularly draws some of the largest galleries on tour

Best R48 Finish: 1 R48 Final

[20180505_29923_ajw-200x300]David Fink: David Fink has played in the second most Race 4 Eight stops of any player in the history of the tour and owns three finals appearances in Race 4 Eight events. Known for his fiery on-court persona, Fink puts his heart on the line for every point in every match.

Fink is perhaps better known for his broadcasting duties on ESPN3, but make no mistake, Fink comes to every tournament prepared to make his mark, as evidenced by Race 4 Eight wins against Ortiz, Lenning, Peixoto, Moreno, the Flying Cordovas, and McCarthy. Fink continues to play alongside the top stars in the sport into his 40’s, defying Father Time and proving that age is just a number

Best R48 Finish: 3 R48 Finals

[20180505_29973_ajw-300x200]Luis Cordova: “Lucho” is the youngest player to ever finish inside the WPH Race 4 Eight Elite 8 at 21 years old in 2012 and has carried that tremendous start as a 21-year old to one of the most consistent careers on the R48 tour.

Armed with one of the best right hands in the world, Cordova can end rallies from anywhere on the court with his stiletto right, even when his opponents know it’s coming. Cordova knows how to play against the best, as evidenced by his tour victories against Mando Ortiz, Luis Moreno, Sean Lenning, Allan Garner, and David Fink. Lucho makes up half of the “Flying Cordovas,” with both he and brother Danos earning their nicknames by diving, sliding, and flying all over the court to make outrageous retrieves

Best R48 Finish: 1 R48 Final

[20180505_31937_ajw-200x300]Emmett Peixoto: Emmett Peixoto has been one of the sport’s top players since the early 2000’s and has consistently contended for the game’s biggest prizes. Known as “The Rock,” Peixoto is a throw back player in a predominately offensive era of pro handball, willing to rally, use the ceiling, and drive his opponents to the back court before seizing his offensive opportunities.

Each Race 4 Eight pro knows he will need to bring his running shoes and hardhat to play “The Rock” because win or lose, Peixoto will take his opponents on a tour of the court and make every match a battle of skills and attrition

[20180505_29943_ajw-200x300]Vic Perez: Vic Perez is the most calm and even-tempered top athlete in professional sports, always maintaining his concentration and focus, regardless of the score or the magnitude of the moment. Perez owns Race 4 Eight wins against Killian Carroll, Charly Shanks, Emmett Peixoto, David Fink, and Mando Ortiz, earning the Southern Californian the reputation as “The Giant Killer.”

Perez is a dangerous sharpshooter, always adjusting to his opponent’s strengths and neutralizing what even the best do well. Perez’s right hand to the left corner kill is one of the most lethal on tour and has become one of the most feared weapons on the R48

[PAUL-BRADY-2-300x168]Paul Brady: After five consecutive world titles and 14 R48 titles through the 2016-2017 R48 6 season, Paul Brady established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport. Brady brings an unmatched attention to detail, preparation, focus, physical fitness and shot making to the sport, leaving nothing to chance and winning more than 95% of the matches he has played since 2005. Brady lost just three tournament matches from 2004-2015, undoubtedly one of the most dominant eras of any athlete in any sport’s history. This five-time world champion is either the greatest or on a very short list of greatest players to ever live. Brady lives by the manta, “Losing in not an option,” and proves it every time he steps on the court

Best R48 Finish: 14 R48 titles

[Erik-Torres-right-300x169]NextGen R48 Men’s Pro Stars: 26-and-under

The Race 4 Eight is in good hands with the Next Generation, as a talented group of late teens to mid 20-something stars are poised to carry the R48 handball torch into the next decade. The 26-and-under NextGen includes current and former collegiate and junior national U.S. and Irish champions, international phenoms, and rising contenders on the cusp of breaking into the game’s elite. Each of the young elites boasts tremendous passion and dedication for the sport, as well as a burning desire to reach the top. In addition to being motivated, dedicated, and passionate about the sport, handball’s Next Generation are also thoughtful, interesting, and tremendous handball ambassadors.

Full R48 Next Generation preview HERE

Meet the Next Generation

[Burgos-vs-Marcos-bio-pic-1-300x169]Ivan Burgos: Burgos is one of the game’s most exciting junior stars, willing to sacrifice his body for any ball, while challenging himself against the game’s best at every opportunity. This Canadian prodigy possesses an intense passion for the sport, coupled with blazing speed, two-handed power, and the willingness to go for his shots at any moment against any opponent. The Maple Leaf is in great hands!

[bob1-6-300x146]Leo Canales, Jr.: Leo Canales qualified for the first time at 21 years of age at the 2016 R48 6 Minnesota, defeating perennial R48 standout Anthony Selestow to earn his pro status. Canales’ steady and reliable game forces his opponents to play their best to beat him, while testing their patience and conditioning. Canales is part of the new group of R48 “Young Guns” poised to make noise on the Race 4 Eight for years to come. Look out for the “Juarez Kid” in the coming years

[Loren-Collado-serve_v1_current-300x169]Loren Collado: The Olympic Club’s Loren Collado is a product of the strong Northern California handball tradition and plays an “old school” style of handball, always playing the percentages and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Collado is one of the sport’s rising young stars and will be a major factor in R48 events in the next decade

[Esser-pre-serve-300x169]Sam Esser: “The Kansas Kid” is part of handball’s next generation of stars who will take handball in the 2020’s and beyond. Esser possesses two good hands and an aggressive style that poses problems for all of the sport’s best. The MO State Collegiate All-American has his sights set on climbing the R48 rankings, an ascent that will likely commence very soon

[Peter-Funchion-back-wall-300x169]Peter Funchion: Peter Funchion is one of the game’s most disciplined and dedicated stars, always seeking to improve and traveling thousands of miles, sometimes on back to back weekends, to challenge his game against the best players in the world. Funchion scored his biggest R48 win of his career against former R48 #2 Emmett Peixoto at the 2017 R48 7 Tucson Memorial, flummoxing the R48 star with a combination of kills and passes to advance to his first R48 quarterfinal. Funchion has the desire and dedication to rise to the elite of the sport and is on the short list of young stars to break into the game’s upper echelon

[Gaulton-profile-pic-1-300x169]Michael Gaulton: Michael Gaulton is one of North America’s rising handball stars, capable of competing against the very best in the sport. Gaulton’s physical strength and height enables him to hit the ball with extreme power with both hands from any position on the court, enabling him to constantly pressure his opponents. Look for this Canadian prodigy to make his mark on the R48 in the near future

[Sean-Kerr-bio-pic-courtesy-of-Handball-Life-Tyrone-1-300x189]Sean Kerr: Sean Kerr has been groomed to become a handball star from birth, traveling throughout Ireland to watch his father compete in the most prestigious championships in the sport. Kerr owns a sensational resume of junior championships and with his precocious skills and handball IQ, Kerr will undoubtedly become a force on the R48 in the near future

[Langmack-back-wall-300x169]Max Langmack: At 6’8, “The Gentle Giant” became the tallest pro handball player in the history of pro handball with his qualifier win against Abraham Montijo at the 2018 R48 7 Houston. Langmack is one of the game’s most talented young stars and proved that he has the game to compete against the best, as evidenced by playoff wins against Gabhain McCrystal and Marcos Chavez in the R48 7 Houston. Langmack brings tremendous versatility and skill to the court, as well as one of the best attitudes in pro sports. Look for “The Gentle Giant” (TGG) to make headlines on the R48 tour in the near future

Max Langmack Arrives: HERE

[Mccrystal-left-vs-Shorty-300x169]Gabhain Mccrystal: Mccrystal is a former 19-and-under U.S. national champion and brings the Irish school of handball to the R48 tour. Mccrystal is adept at playing the percentage game, but can also play offense from anywhere on the court, making him unpredictable and effective. With Mccrystal now residing in the U.S., look for the rising R48 star to continue to climb the WPH rankings

[Stoffel-left-300x169]Tyler Stoffel: Tyler Stoffel qualified for the Race 4 Eight tour for the first time at 20 years old and became the youngest ranked pro on the tour. Stoffel is a former All-American collegiate handball star at Mankato State University, having advanced to the USHA Collegiate National final in 2016. Stoffel plays with the poise of a veteran, seemingly always in control of his decision-making and temperament

[Erik-Torres-left-back-wall-300x168]Erik Torres: The Olympic Club’s Torres is one of the R48 tour’s most stylish players, appearing to make every swing effortless, while generating a tremendous amount of two-handed power. Torres owns one of the best left crack serves in the sport, seemingly able to roll the ball out off the left side wall as often as anyone in the game. The sky is truly the limit for Torres on the R48 tour, as he possesses all of the skills to make a run for the R48 Elite 8 and beyond

To see the Next Generation player bios & all of the Race 4 Eight player bios, go HERE


[20180506_27977_ajw-200x300]Catriona Casey: Catriona Casey is perhaps the most skilled women’s player in history, possessing no discernable weaknesses, two equally strong hands and the ability to make match-changing adjustments on the biggest stages. Casey is arguably the best female athlete on the planet, as this phenomenon combines speed, power, poise, agility, and mental toughness. Casey plays must-see handball, as her on-court elegance and grace in unmatched in today’s game. Casey has won 15 of 17 WR48 events through the 2017/18 WR48 season and there does not seem to be anything to stop her from winning 15 of the next 17

Best WR48 Finish: 15 WR48 Titles

[20180506_27008_ajw-200x300]Aimee Tuohey: Aimee Tuohey is one of the future American stars on the WR48 tour, as she is just one of three players to finish in the top five of every WR48 event she has ever entered. Armed with two deadly hands, Tuohey is capable of ending rallies with either hand from virtually any spot on the court, while also possessing the ability to defend from anywhere on the court with either hand.

Tuohey’s supreme fitness makes her a favorite in long matches, as she is as fresh late in a third game as she in to start a match

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Final

[20180505_29824_ajw-200x300]Courtney Peixoto de Melo: CPM was a childhood prodigy from Northern California, winning multiple junior national titles and advancing to her first pro national singles final at just 20. Peixoto de Melo is one of the game’s most popular players, both for her personality and exciting style. Armed with the best hop serve in women’s handball, CPM follows up her dominating serve with a two-handed offensive attack, making her one of the most dangerous competitors on the WR48. This mother of two has returned to the top of her game and served notice to the WR48 at the WR48 Las Vegas ’18, advancing to the final with impressive wins against Tracy Davis and Aimee Tuohey

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Final

[IMG_3749-169x300]Martina McMahon: Martina McMahon is grace personified, from her elegant strokes to her breathtaking shot making. McMahon burst onto the Women’s Race 4 Eight scene as a 20-year old at the Women’s Race 4 Eight ’15 at the New York Athletic Club, advancing to the semifinals and taking third. McMahon is a WR48 champion (Tucson ’17), placing herself on the very short list of women to ever defeat Catriona Casey. McMahon added the 2018 All Ireland 40×20 Championship and the 2018 World Wall Ball singles and 4-Wall singles and doubles to become the game’s most decorated champion. McMahon trains more than 20 hours per week to prepare for tournaments, making her one of the most devoted athletes in the sport

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 title

[20180505_31374_ajw-200x300]Tracy Davis: At 41 years of age, Tracy Davis is a living legend in the sport and still one of the best players in the game. Davis is unquestionably the fittest player competing in any of the Race 4 Eight brackets, as well as being one of the most well-liked. Davis wins and loses with class, always serving as an ambassador to the sport. Davis’ “serve-and-shoot” style makes her dangerous against any opponent and she will look to employ those tactics during the 2018/19 WR48 season against the best players from both sides of the pond

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Final

The Tracy Davis Journey to #1: HERE

[20180505_31354_ajw-200x300]Ashley Moler: Dr. Ashley Moler is a former collegiate softball star that shifted her focus and passion to handball in her early 20’s, quickly rising to the top of the women’s game. Dr. Moler is part of the thriving Tucson handball community, often playing top level players up to five times per week in preparation for WR48 events. Moler advanced to her first WR48 semifinal at the Las Vegas WR48 ’18, displaying the talent that is on display weekly in Tucson sparring matches. Dr. Moler possesses the ability to flummox her WR48 peers with tomahawk kills, fist kills, and fist passes, often leaving her opponents bewildered

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Semifinal

[HILARY-RUSHE-2-240x300]Hilary Rushe: Rushe is one of the game’s top crossover stars, having won multiple 3-Wall national titles, as well as holding a top 10 WR48 ranking.

Originally from Ireland, Rushe now makes her home in Chicago, where she trains daily to challenge the best WR48 stars in the game.

Rushe is nearly automatic with her right hand kill, forcing her opponents to make perfect shots or pay the price

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Semifinal

[20180505_27678_ajw-200x300]Suz Entzeroth (Koehler): The Missouri Dynamo (TMD) is one of the WR48’s most dynamic players, forcing all of her opponents to play their best to beat her. Entzeroth is a student of the game, taking lessons from the late great David Chapman and always studying the techniques and strategies of today’s top players. Entzeroth is one of the tour’s heroes, serving in the military to preserve our freedom. Entzeroth is a fan favorite everywhere she plays, a testament to her great attitude and relentless determination. Entzeroth will be taking a maternity leave from the tour in 2018, but will undoubtedly be a force when she returns

Suz Entzeroth: The Most Interesting Woman in the World HERE

Best WR48 Finish: 1 WR48 Final

[dd-300x200]Danielle Daskalakis: Danielle Daskalakis is one of the game’s greatest all-around superstars, as she has demonstrated the ability to play at the top of virtually every handball code. Daskalakis owns one of the best serves in women’s handball and can hop the ball either way to earn first-strike kill opportunities. Daskalakis pushed two-time defending world champion Aisling Reilly to a tiebreaker in the semifinals of the 2016 WR48 Player’s Championship, proving that she has the game to compete anyone on the tour

Best WR48 Finish: 2 WR48 Semifinals

Women’s Race 4 Eight player bios HERE


[20180505_32200_ajw-200x300]David Fink: 2017 R48 #1 David Fink has quickly transitioned into a R48/SR48 star after turning 40, remaining in the top five on the R48 tour, while ascending to the #1 spot on the SR48 tour with victories in his first two SR48 starts in Las Vegas ’18 and Houston ’18.

After dispatching of Marcos Chavez for the second consecutive event in the Houston ’18 SR48 final, 10-time SR48 champion Chavez quipped, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Fink plans to be a force on both the R48 and SR48 tour for years to come

Best SR48 Finish: 2 SR48 titles

[20180506_26704_ajw-200x300]Marcos Chavez: The four-time SR48 Player’s Champion is a force on not just the SR48 tour, but the R48 tour as well.

Playing as well in his early 40’s as he did in his mid 20’s, this crowd-favorite dazzles galleries and frustrates opponents with a mixture of finesse, speed and sneaky power.

Chavez owns the most SR48 titles in the history of the tour and will aim to defend his SR48 Player’s Championship during the 2018-2019 SR48 season

Best SR48 Finish: 10 SR48 titles

[20180505_28810_ajw-1-300x240]Dan Zimet: “Dr. Z” is one of the game’s greatest master’s champions, having won more than 25 combined national titles in 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall. Dr. Z. has taken his game to the SR48, where he has demonstrated his sensational handball skills in challenging the best 40+ players in the world with an all-around game that combines a great serve with reliable offense and defense.

Dr. Z also writes a monthly column for WPH social media titled “Dr. Z’s Wrap-Around,” while serving as a part-time broadcast analyst during Race 4 Eight broadcasts

Best SR48 Finish: 5 SR48 Semifinals

Read much more here: https://wphlive.tv/2018-19-race4eight-pro-tour-preview/

WPH Youth and Donor Development Director

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