Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 3/19/17- The USHA proudly hosted the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame and Women’s Classic just down the street from the USHA headquarters and Handball Hall of Fame at the Tucson Racquet Club. More than 100 participants filled the courts throughout the event, with 30 of the players under the age of 22. The Women’s Classic featured several of the best women’s players in the U.S., while the Men’s Pro Singles featured four Race 4 Eight pros.
In the Women’s Classic semifinals, the ageless Jenny Schmitt overcame a slow start against a white hot Ashley Moler in game one to take games two and three to advance to the final. Tracy Davis joined Schmitt in the final, defeating Missouri’s rising star Suzanne Koehler in a two-game slugfest.
Davis was in search of her third Women’s Classic title and first since 2013 in the final against Jenny Schmitt. Davis was in control of the action in game one, pushing Schmitt from side to side with perfectly placed overhand drive passes and finding the bottom board when given the opportunity. “I just found my serve in the first game and I was able to put the ball down the wall,” stated Davis.
Just as she had done in her semifinal, Schmitt regrouped in game two, playing virtually even with Davis and trailing 17-19 late in the second game. Davis closed out Schmitt with two quick points following a timeout to clinch her third Women’s Classic. “I was thinking about retiring in 2015 because my body just didn’t feel good,” stated soon to be 40 Davis. “Now I’m feeling really good and I’m really enjoying the training and being on the court.”
Schmitt def Moler 1-21, 21-16, 11-4
Davis def Koehler 21-13, 21-16
Final: Davis def Schmitt 21-8, 21-17
Men’s Pro Singles
David Fink entered the Hall of Fame Tournament as the defending champion, but his quest for a repeat would be sternly challenged in the semifinals against good friend and sparring partner Shorty Ruiz. Fink took game one but dropped a thrilling game two and trialed 1-7 in the tiebreaker before scoring 10 straight points to overcome the future Race 4 Eight Elite 8 star. Race 4 Eight #4 Sean Lenning took game one with little difficulty against R48 #15 Abraham Montijo in the bottom bracket semifinal but was quickly pushed to a third game by a bottom-board seeking Montijo in game two. With the score tied at five in the tiebreaker, Lenning caught fire, scoring six consecutive points to setup a rematch of the 2016 Hall of Fame final with Fink.
Fink was dominant in the final, never allowing Lenning to find his rhythm while executing a high percentage of first-strike kills. Fink clinched his third Hall of Fame singles titles in his last three Hall of Fame starts since 2013.
Men’s Pro Singles Semifinals
Fink def S. Ruiz 21-9, 19-21, 11-7
Final: Fink def Lenning 21-1, 21-6
Fink slammed by winning the doubles with partner Shorty Ruiz, defeating Sean Lenning and Dylan Key in two games.
USHA/WPH Junior Clinic
The WPH proudly collaborated with the USHA in hosting a junior handball clinic at the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame & Women’s Classic Handball Tournament in Tucson, AZ. WPH Master Instructor David Fink led a group of junior and collegiate players through various drills to improve their techniques and skills, to include right and left handed kill shots, footwork, and return of serve strategy. The clinic concluded with doubles and conditioning exercises.
“We always enjoy collaborating with the USHA on junior handball clinics and tournaments,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The kids had an outstanding experience at the event all weekend and the clinic was an added bonus.”
Thank you to the USHA, Vern Roberts, Matt Krueger, Charlie Wicker, Vince SanAngelo, Dr. James Bardwell, Kathy Lenning, Fred Banfield, and all of the donors and volunteers who made the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame and Women’s Classic a huge success!
For more information on the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame and Women’s Classic, go to ushandball.org
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