R48Pro Player Bios

Posted on Mar 17 2017 - 9:08am by david

WPH Professional Indoor 4-Wall Pro Tour Bios

Killian Carroll

Age: 6/15/1993

Height: 5’7

Hometown: Cork County, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Boston Athletic Club/L Street

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: random playlist

Best/Favorite shot: Right corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: Champion (2016 R48 Player’s Championship, 2017 New Orleans)

Strengths: speed, conditioning, relentlessness, tenaciousness, serve, back wall kill

Summary: In just his first season on the Race 4 Eight tour, Killian Carroll captured the crowned jewel of the Race, the Player’s Championship. Carroll redefines tenaciousness and proved throughout the course of his first season on tour that no lead is safe and no player is unbeatable. Carroll has quickly become a crowd favorite for his shot making and retrieving ability. After finishing his maiden R48 season at #4, don’t be surprised to see Carroll finish his second R48 season at #1

Mando Ortiz

Age: 10/21/1988

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Norwalk, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Juan Manuel Marquez (boxer)

Favorite pre-match music: Kendrick Lamar/Black Sabbath/System of the Down/Game

Best/favorite shot: Rollouts

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (February 2017)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: Champion (Houston R48 ’16, Minnesota R48 ’16)

Strengths: two-handed offense, power, serve, ability to end rallies with either hand from anywhere on the court

Summary: 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 and had open-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 along the way. 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 everywhere he plays

Feature on Mando rising to #1 here

David Fink

Age: 8/2/1977

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Strong hand: Left

Home Club: Amerifit/Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Pete Sampras, Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: fly kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (January 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 2nd (R48 Minnesota ’16, Plummer ’17, New Orleans ’17))

Strengths: aggressiveness from everywhere on the court, serve, fly kill, experience

Summary: David Fink has played in the second most Race 4 Eight stops of any player in the history of the tour and owns seven semifinal 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, and McCarthy and reaching #2 on the R48 Power Rankings in 2014. Fink serves as the WPH Development Director, organizing more than 800 junior handball clinics per year while also serving as the WPH Senior Writer, lead color analyst for all WPH broadcasts, and Master WPH Instructor

Sean Lenning

Age: 4/18/1985

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Shoreline, WA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Rickey Henderson

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: Sapos (lucky shot)

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #4

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (January 2012)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 6-time Champion (Fresno ’12, Salt Lake City ’12, LAAC ’12, Tucson ’12, Salt Lake City ’15, Tucson ’15)

Strengths: power, serve, unorthodox style, offense from anywhere on the court, fly kill

Summary: 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. Lenning has won six Race 4 Eight titles, the third most of any player in the history of the tour, and based on his current form, don’t be surprised to see Lenning double that total in the next few seasons

Luis Moreno

Age: 1/24/1989

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Best/favorite shot: Fly kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #5

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (February 2012)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 10 titles (2nd most in the history of the tour)

Strengths: power with both hands, hops with both hands, serve, return of serve, intensity, competiveness

Summary: Luis Moreno is known as “The Natural” for his ability to make such a difficult game appear to be so easy. Make no mistake, Moreno’s ability to make the game look easy was the product of thousands of hours of practice, practice that enabled “The Natural” to win nine of the first 17 Race 4 Eight events from 2011-2014. Moreno experienced a somewhat disappointing Race 4 Eight V season by his lofty standards, but do not be surprised to see Moreno ascend back to the winner’s circle and the top of the rankings in the upcoming season

Emmett Peixoto

Age: 10/15/1982

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Watsonville, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: The Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: David Chapman

Favorite pre-match music: ERock

Best/favorite shot:

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (March ’14)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: Two-time R48 finalist (Denver ’14, San Francisco ’15)

Strengths: speed, consistency, strong off-hand (left), tenacity, strategy

Summary: Emmett Peixoto has been one of the sport’s top players for the past 15 years 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

Vic Perez

Age: 3/7/1989

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Clayton Kershaw

Favorite pre-match music: EDM (house music)

Best/favorite shot: Underhand reverse spin kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3rd (Plummer ’17)

Strengths: Strength, even keel temperament, power, unorthodox rollouts

Summary: Vic Perez has been on the cusp of the Elite 8 since the inception of the Race 4 Eight tour in 2011. Perez owns Race 4 Eight wins against Killian Carroll, Charly Shanks, Emmett Peixoto, and Mando Ortiz, proving that the Southern Californian rises to the greatest challenges on the tour. After skipping most of the R48 V season due to work commitments, Perez finished 7th and 5th in the last two events of the season, with the latter being his best finish in his Race 4 Eight career. Perez is a dangerous sharpshooter, always adjusting to his opponent’s strengths and neutralizing what even the best do well. Look for a big season from Perez in 2016-2017

Daniel Cordova

Age: 9/10/1992

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Strong hand: Right

Home court: San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite Athlete: Usain Bolt

Favorite pre-match music: Electronic Dance Music

Best/favorite shot: right-handed pass down the left with reverse hop

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7 (May ’16))

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 4th (2015 WPH R48 Player’s Championship)

Strengths: Hop serve, two strong hands, hops during the rally, mental toughness, speed

Summary: Daniel Cordova 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 while always having fun. Daniel Cordova is also one of the WPH’s top junior coaches, leading the JR WPH Juarez program with Drft Fernandez and coaching JR WPH clinics throughout the year at Race 4 Eight tournaments. Daniel Cordova is one of the game’s top players and ambassadors

Luis Cordova

Age: 9/13/1990

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Juarez, MX

Strong hand: Right

Home Club: San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Lionel Messi

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: Right-handed right corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #9

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7 (May 2012)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3rd: (R48 Minnesota ’16)

Strengths: Right corner kill with the right hand, back wall kill, court coverage, consistency

Summary: Luis Cordova is the youngest player to ever finish inside the WPH Race 4 Eight Elite 8 at 21 years old in 2012. 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. At 25, Cordova is still improving and will likely be a fixture in the R48 top five for many years

Paul Brady

Age: 9/1/1979

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Cavan, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Kingscourt

Favorite athlete: Vince Munoz

Favorite pre-match music: Anything that’s loud

Best/favorite shot: Left-handed V pass

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #10

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 13-time Champion  (most in R48 history)

Strengths: power, agility, lateral movement, shot selection, serve, two-wall pass, back wall kill

Summary: After five consecutive world titles and 13 R48 titles through the R48 V season, Paul Brady has established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport. Brady brings and unmatched attention to detail, preparation, focus, physical fitness and shot making to the sport, leaving nothing to chance to winning more than 95% of the tournaments he has entered since 2005. Brady has hinted that his career may be winding down, so don’t miss any opportunity to watch this once in a lifetime superstar!

Jonathan Iglesias

Age: 7/10/1986

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Queens, NY

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Denver Athletic Club

Favorite pre-match music: Hip-hop

Best/favorite shot: No-look paddle kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #10

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3rd (Salt Lake City ’16)

Strengths: Front court play, unorthodox kills, back wall kill, fly kill

Summary: Jonathan Iglesias learned how to play handball as an 11-year-old on the 1-Wall courts in New York City, often playing handball for up to 10 hours a day. Iglesias quickly developed a passion for 4-Wall handball, quickly becoming one of the top junior and collegiate players in the country. Now 30, Iglesias has established himself as a top 10 pro on the Race 4 Eight tour capable of beating all of the big names, as evidenced by his Race 4 Eight victories against Mando Ortiz, Sean Lenning, Luis Moreno, and Daniel Cordova

Marcos Chavez

Age: 3/20/1974

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club/Henry Boissenranc Park (outdoor)

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite pre-match music: n/a

Best/favorite shot: back wall kill, overhand paddle with spin to the corners rollout

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: R48 #12, SR48 #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: R48 #8 (March 2014), SR48 #1 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: R48 semifinals (Denver ’14), SR48 8-time champion

Strengths: Mixing up his game, preventing his opponents from rhythm, back wall kill, psychological warfare

Summary: The two-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 look to reclaim his SR48 Player’s Championship during the 2016-2017 SR48 season

Stephen Cooney

Age: 1/30/1991

Height: 5’8

Hometown: Ballaghaderreen Co. Roscommon Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: New York Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Jordan Spieth, Michael Jordan

Favorite pre-match music: Varies

Best/favorite shot: Re-kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #8 (March 2015)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 6th

Strengths: Consistency, paddle re kills, retrieving ability, passion for the game

Summary: Stephen Cooney relocated to New York City in 2014 in large part to compete on the Race 4 Eight tour. It did not take long for Cooney to make his mark on handball’s greatest professional tour, moving into the top 10 after just four events during the R48 IV season and earning consecutive Elite 8 invites by season’s end. Cooney is a tenacious bulldog who won’t give an inch to any player and prides himself on making each of his opponents each every point. Cooney is one of the game’s greatest counterpunchers, almost always making his opponents pay for shooting in front of him or leaving kills up. Cooney struggled at the end of the 2015-2016 R48 V season but at just 25 years old, Cooney has a number of years and skills to continue his quest towards the pinnacle of the sport

Andy Nett

Age: 8/22/1980

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court:  Knopp Valley

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan

Favorite pre-match music: Hip hop

Best/Favorite shot: Serve

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7 (April 2013)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: Finalist (2015 NYAC)

Strengths: Crack serve, power, athleticism, pre-dive kills, court coverage

Summary: Andy Nett possesses perhaps the greatest weapon in pro handball: a devastating and often unreturnable serve. Nett once hit 18 ace serves in a one game match to 25 against a top 15 pro, demonstrating that when his serve is on, it’s going to be a short day for his opponent. A three-sport All American and Minnesota treasure, the “Minnesota Dreamboat” returned to the Race 4 Eight tour at the 2016 Minnesota R48 6 and quickly picked up where he left off as an Elite 8 staple from 2011-2014, defeating Jonathan Iglesias, Daniel Cordova, and Luis Moreno. Welcome back to the tour MDB!

Robbie McCarthy

Date of birth: 9/13/1987

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Mullingar

Strong hand: right

Home court: Mullingar Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Vince Munoz

Favorite pre-match music: None

Best/Favorite shot: Paddle Kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #14

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6 (April 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3 titles (U.S. Open ’11, ’16, Player’s Championship ’14)

Strengths: serve, anticipation, speed, power, adaptability, strategy, everything!

Summary: Robbie McCarthy is arguably the most decorated current handball champion, amassing major titles on the R48 tour, All Ireland 40×20 Championships, All Ireland 60×30 Championships, All Ireland WallBall Championships, and numerous doubles championships. McCarthy plays with an ease that makes the game seem effortless, often making the best players in the world look ordinary against him. Armed with a two-handed power attack, McCarthy can end rallies from anywhere on the court or rally endlessly until his opponents can no longer breathe. McCarthy has won three Race 4 Eight titles in just six starts, and is the only Race 4 Eight pro to have never finished outside the top five in a Race 4 Eight event. The pride of the McCarthy family in Mullingar, McCarthy always oozes with professionalism and a fierce desire to win

Anthony Selestow

Age: 12/24/1987

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Menomonee Falls, WI

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Wisconsin Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Lebron James

Favorite pre-match music: Dave Matthews Band, Rap

Best/favorite shot: Crack serve

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #9 (April 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 7th

Strengths: speed, court coverage, defense, fly kill, serve

Summary: Anthony Selestow is one of the sport’s most exciting players, possessing the ability to extend rallies with his speed and quickness. Selestow plays handball’s version of “Cirque du Soleil,” employing acrobatics and death-defying stunts to track down even the lowest and most seemingly impossible shots to return. Selestow has notched wins against some of the game’s top stars, including Sean Lenning, David Chapman, and David Fink, proving that his high-flying act can take down handball’s best. Selestow injured his knee at the 2016 R48 V Player’s Championships, but should be fit to start his R48 VI season healthy and ready to challenge for a spot in the Elite 8

Shorty Ruiz

Age: 6/2/1987

Height: 5’5

Hometown: Brea, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Obregon Park

Favorite athlete: Lebron James

Favorite music before a match: George Michael (Careless Whisper)

Favorite shot: Right hand right-corner kill

Strengths: Power, unpredictable shot making, intensity, fly kill

Summary: Shorty Ruiz has been revered for his outstanding skills since his teenage years, combining power, a full arsenal of shots, and a crowd-pleasing style to his all-around game. Ruiz was the first player to be ranked on the Race 4 Eight and WPH Outdoor tours simultaneously, proving that his all-around skills translate indoors and outdoors with the big ball and small ball. Ruiz was carried off the court by his fans after slamming the 2011 WPH 3WallBall Championships, defeating David Chapman and Sean Lenning along the way.  Ruiz is a big-game player who loves the biggest stage and is always a threat to the top names in the sport

Abraham Montijo

Age: 7/8/1988

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan, Larry Fitzgerald

Favorite pre-match music: Hip-hop

Best/favorite shot: Power serve to the right

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #10 (January 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 5th

Strengths: Tenacity, speed, serve, right-hand offense

Summary: Abraham Montijo is a relentless competitor with an insatiable drive to challenge the best, while always trying to take his game to the next level. Montijo frequently spars with top 8 pros in Tucson, routinely pushing the Elite 8 to the limit in grueling practice matches. Montijo has taken down several of the best in Race 4 Eight play, to include Sean Lenning, Luis Cordova, and Stephen Cooney

Tyler Stoffel

Age: 7/23/1996

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Mankato, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Minnesota State University (Mankato)

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite pre-match music: Hip hop and rap

Best/Favorite shot: Back wall shot

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #28 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: tied 11th

Strengths: Ambidexterity, anticipation, back wall kill, demeanor

Summary: 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 an 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. Look for Stoffel to climb the Race 4 Eight rankings in the coming years

Leo Canales

Age: 10/17/1995

Height:  5’8

Hometown: Ciudad Juarez Mexico

Strong hand: Right

Home court:  San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter

Favorite pre-match music: Rock

Best/Favorite shot: Right corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #32 (December ’16)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: tie 13th

Strengths: Consistency, court awareness, percentage shot selection

Summary: Leo Canales qualified for the first time at 21 years of age at the 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 2017!

Ryan Pesch

Age: 1/30/1989

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Ames, IA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: University of Minnesota

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: Childish Gambino

Best/Favorite shot: The one least-expected

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #24 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: tied 13th

Strengths: Defense, fist shots, speed

Summary: Known as “DePesch Mode,” Ryan Pesch became the second attorney to be ranked on the Race 4 Eight tour by qualifying in his first attempt at the Race 4 Eight 6 Minnesota. Although unknown to the Race 4 Eight tour until his breakout performance in Minnesota that saw “DePesch Mode” take down white hot Dalton Beaal, Pesch has made a name for himself in the Midwest, nearly pushing former R48 #2 Emmett Peixoto to a tiebreaker. Pesch has only been playing handball for seven years, giving him tremendous upside. Look out for “DePesch Mode!”

Women’s Race 4 Eight

Catriona Casey

Age: 10/8/1993

Height: 5’3

Hometown: Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Ballydesmond Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: Anything up temp

Best/favorite shot: Fly corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 9-time Champion

Strengths: Adaptability, ball control, two-handed offense, defense, everything!

Summary: 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 plays must-see handball, as her on-court elegance and grace in unmatched in today’s game. Casey has won nine of 10 WR48 events through the 2015-2016 WR48 III season and there does not seem to be anything to stop her from winning nine of the next 10

Aisling Reilly

Age: 2/8/1989

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Belfast, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: St. Paul’s G.A.C.

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams

Favorite pre-match music: Random playlist

Best/favorite shot: Back wall kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (October 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: Champion (2015 Simple Green U.S. Open)

Strengths: Power, ball control, confidence, deep court kills, rising to the occasion

Summary: Reilly is the 2012 and 2015 Women’s World Singles Champion and the game’s #2 ranked pro. Reilly’s power and finesse is lethal combination, as the Belfast superstar can dominate her opponents with great offense and great defense. Reilly has not lost to any women’s player outside of Catriona Casey in more than three years and picked up her first WR48 title in a thrilling tiebreaker against Casey at the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open

Martina McMahon

Age: 2/3/1995

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Strong hand: Left

Home court: Broadford HBC

Favorite athlete: Muhammad Ali

Favorite pre-match music: Mark McCabe Maniac 2000

Best/favorite shot: Left-handed left corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 2nd (NYAC ’16)

Strengths: Effortless power, smooth strokes, corner kills, back wall kill

Summary: 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 continued her dazzling play at the 2015 Women’s Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship, advancing to the semifinals for the second consecutive event and pushing Aisling Reilly to a tiebreaker. McMahon is a fixture in the final rounds of nearly every WR48 event in which she plays, as evidenced by her impressive run to the final of the WR48 NYAC ’16. McMahon’s athleticism and passion for the game should see her hoist WR48 crystal in the near future

Tracy Davis

Age: 3/30/1977

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Home court: Asser Levy/Coney Island/West 5th St.

Strong hand: Right

Favorite athlete: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Rookie Wright

Favorite pre-match music: HAM by Kanye West

Best/favorite shot: Any shot that ends the rally

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (March 2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 2nd

Strengths: Serve, fly kill, poise, paddle kills

Summary: At 39 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 in the WR48 IV season against the best players from both sides of the pond

Ciana Ni Churraoin

Age: 9/3/1996

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Invern, Galway (Ireland)

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Cumann liathroid laimhe Michael Breathnach

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: Sidearm corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3 (May 2016)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 2nd (2015 NYAC)

Strengths: power with both hands, balance, offense with both hands, work ethic

Summary: Ciana Ni Churraoin took the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour by storm, advancing to the final in her first WR48 start at the 2015 NYAC Invitational at just 18 years old. Ni Churraoin became the first woman to win a game in WR48 play against Catriona Casey in the final of the 2015 WR48 NYAC and pushing the WR48 #1 to the limit in the process. Ni Churraoin possesses the two-handed power and athleticism to make her one of the game’s top stars for the next two decades

Danielle Daskalakis

Age: 3/5/1990

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Strong hand: Left

Home court: Westside YMCA

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter and Ronda Rousey

Favorite pre-match music: Southpaw soundtrack

Best/favorite shot: Power serve with reverse

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #4

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3 (April 2016)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3rd

Strengths: serve, front court play, hops, competitiveness

Summary: Danielle Daskalakis has established herself as one of the best all-around handball players in the world, ranking at or near the top in women’s 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall. Daskalakis owns the best serves in women’s handball and often follows her devastating serve with a first-strike kill. Daskalakis’ impressive all-around play makes her a fan favorite in every city in which she competes and a threat to any player on the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour. Daskalakis brings a hybrid outdoor-indoor style to the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour that befuddles even the greatest stars in the women’s game, as evidenced by Daskalakis’ 15-point unanswered run to win game two against current two-time defending women’s world champion Aisling Reilly at the 2016 WR48 Player’s Championship. Daskalakis is also one of the WPH’s top coaches, leading the WPH sponsored Harry Mellis Westside YMCA junior handball program in weekly clinics in Brooklyn and coaching JR WPH clinics across the country. Danielle is truly an ambassador in the world of handball, idolized and by junior players and revered by fans and peers

Aoife McCarthy

Date of birth: 11/24/1992

Height: 5’1

Hometown: Mullingar

Strong hand: right

Home court: Mullingar Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Favorite pre-match music: None

Best/Favorite shot: Backwall Kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #8

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #4 (March 2015)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 4th (NYAC ’15, SGUSO ‘16)

Strengths: serve, back wall kill, intensity, first pass shots

Summary: Aoife McCarthy is perhaps best known as her brother Robbie’s biggest fan, but make no mistake, Ms. McCarthy possesses an outstanding game that has seen her take down several of the best women in the sport, to include American WR48 stars Danielle Daskalakis, Tracy Davis, and Ashley Moler. Aoife owns one of the best serves on the WR48 tour, capable of earning aces and first-strike opportunities with every first serve. McCarthy has finished fourth in two WR48 starts and will be aiming to climb into the top three in the coming years

Aimee Ulbert

Date of birth: 5/11/1988

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Acworth, GA

Strong hand: Ambidextrous

Home court: LA Fitness Sandy Springs, GA

Favorite athlete: Andre Agassi

Favorite pre-match music: Pop Country

Best/Favorite shot: Left hand back court kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: N/A

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: N/A

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: N/A

Strengths: Two great hands, fitness, consistency, competitiveness

Summary: Aimee Ulbert is on the short list of future American stars on the WR48 tour. Armed with two deadly hands, Ulbert 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. Living legend Tracy Davis referred to Ulbert’s game as simply remarkable, demonstrating that even the game’s best have taken notice. Ulbert has the opportunity to train alongside the R48 Elite 8 pros Luis and Daniel Cordova in Atlanta, which will enable her to enter WR48 events well prepared and supremely confident

Senior Race 4 Eight

Marcos Chavez

Age: 3/20/1974

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club/Henry Boissenranc Park (outdoor)

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite pre-match music:

Best/favorite shot: back wall kill, overhand paddle with spin to the corners rollout

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: R48 #12, SR48 #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: R48 #8 (March 2014), SR48 #1 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: R48 semifinals (Denver ’14), SR48 8-time champion

Strengths: Mixing up his game, preventing his opponents from rhythm, back wall kill, psychological warfare

Summary: The two-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 look to reclaim his SR48 Player’s Championship during the 2016-2017 SR48 season

Gavin Buggy

Age: 1/12/1974

Height: 6’5

Hometown: Wexford, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: St. Josephs Wexford

Favorite athlete: Austin Gleeson (hurling)

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: Deep court Irish whip kill

Current Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Highest Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (current)

Best Senior Race 4 Eight Finish: Champion (Player’s Championship 2016)

Strengths: Fist to the ceiling, back wall kill, Irish whip kill, court coverage, return of serve

Summary: Gavin Buggy is the only player to have ever started a SR48 match and never lost and is also the only player to have started a match on ESPN and never lost (through September of 2016). Unknown to most American fans and aided by a super fan, Buggy stormed into the 2016 SR48 Player’s Championship and dominated the best SR48 field of the season, including squashing Marcos Chavez’s perfect SR48 season and bid for his third straight SR48 title. Buggy’s unorthodox style and his nearly 6’5 frame make him one of the most interesting players to watch in the sport

Dan Zimet

Age: 5/13/1970

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Columbia, MD

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Supreme Athletic Club (indoor), Centennial North 3-Wall Courts (outdoor)

Favorite athlete: Novak Djokovic

Favorite pre-match music: One Republic

Best/favorite shot: Hook serve that slides the wall

Current Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #5

Highest Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #5 (current)

Best Senior Race 4 Eight Finish: 3rd

Strengths: Strategy, preparation, fitness, serve

Summary: “Dr. Z” is one of the game’s greatest master’s champions, having won more than 20 national titles in 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall combined. Dr. Z. has taken his game to the SR48, where he has demonstrated his sensational handball skills. 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

Andy Schad

Age: 12/27/1972

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Fort Belvoir, VA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Fort Belvoir, VA

Favorite athlete: Faith Schad, Grace Schad (swimming)

Favorite pre-match music: Christian praise and worship

Best/favorite shot: Right corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 2-Time Champion (Seattle ’13, NYAC ’15)

Strengths: Hustle, court coverage, determination

Summary: Known as being one of the nicest guys to ever put on a pair of handball gloves, Andy Schad is also one of the most competitive. Schad scratches and claws for every point, often turning matches into street fights. Schad won the first SR48 Player’s Championship in 2013 and added his second SR48 title at the 2015 NYAC. Schad will aim for his third title and to maintain his elite status on the SR48 tour during the 2016-2017 SR48 season

Chris Watkins

Age: 7/19/1970

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Spring Valley Lake, Victorville, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Spring Valley Lake Country Club

Favorite athlete: Magic Johnson, Fred Couples, Rod Carew, Naty “El Gato” Alvarado

Favorite pre-match music: None

Best/favorite shot: Right side power serve slider

Current Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #8

Highest Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #4 (2014)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: tied 3rd

Strengths: Serve, back wall kill, sneaky power

Summary: Known affectionately as the “Waddy Dog,” Chris Watkins combines several decades of pro experience with a lot of talent. Watkins has sparred with the best players in the world weekly, sharing the court weekly with Naty Alvarado Sr, Naty Alvarado Jr, and John Bike. Waddy has used this experience and knowledge gained from playing the best to become one of the best over 40 players in the world

Naty Alvarado, Jr.

Age: 8/6/1973

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Spring Valley Lake, Victorville, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Spring Valley Lake Country Club, LAAC

Favorite athlete: Bo Jackson

Favorite pre-match music: Industrial music

Best/favorite shot: Crack serves

Current Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6

Highest Senior Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1 (2013)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 3-time champion

Strengths: Serve, offense, experience, everything!

Summary: Naty Alvarado Jr. is one of the greatest handball players to ever wear a pair of gloves. Ranked inside the top five from the mid 1990’s through 2014 on the pro tour, Alvarado is one of the most consistently great players the game has ever seen. Armed with incredible discipline and dedication to his craft, Alvarado’s skills north of the age of 40 are still very close to his years at the top of the sport. Alvarado’s serve, power, competitiveness, and aura make him one of the must-see attractions on the SR48 tour

Dan Armijo

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Rotan, Honduras

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Rotan, Honduras

Best Senior Race 4 Eight Finish: 2nd

Strengths: Two good hands, anticipation, speed, shot selection, back wall kill

Summary: Known as “The Hand,” Dan Armijo is a living legend in pro handball. Armijo turned pro more than 30 years ago and has embarked upon a sensational career that has seen him defeat every big name in the sport, including Naty Alvarado Sr, Naty Alvarado, Jr, David Chapman, Sean Lenning, Luis Moreno, Emmett Peixoto, and the rest of the who’s who in the sport. Still as enthused about playing the game now as he was when he turned pro in the 1980’s, Armijo puts all of his opponents to the test with a cerebral strategy that examines every aspect of their skills

Race 4 Eight Super Fans

Jessica Peixoto

Age: 5/22/1981

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Pinole, CA

Strong hand: Left

Home court: The Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: Emmett Peixoto

Favorite pre-match music: Emmett Rock

Best/favorite shot: Left-corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #1

Best Race 4 Eight Fan Finish: 3-Time Champion (2014, 2015, 2016)

Strengths: Consistency, Stamina, Enthusiasm, Positivity, Pragmatic manner

Summary: Jessica Peixoto arrived on the Race 4 Eight scene in 2013 as the girlfriend to then #6 R48 pro Emmett Peixoto but quickly established herself as much more. Now Mrs. Peixoto, Jessica has currently attended 16 consecutive Race 4 Eight events as a fan, a record unmatched in the history of the tour. Mrs. Peixoto was awarded her first yellow jersey in 2014 for winning the Race 4 Eight 3 Fan of the Year and has since added to that total with two more year-end fan honors. Jessica serves not only as a fan, but also a coach and sounding board to her husband, always offering encouragement and positive thoughts to the Race 4 Eight’s ironman. Mrs. Peixoto is not only a fan of her husband, but to all of the Race 4 Eight stars and can always be seen watching the matches of all of the top players and supporting great shots and rallies. In addition to being the Race 4 Eight’s undisputed top fan, Jessica has been interviewed courtside more times than any player or fan by ESPN’s Kara Mack. Look for Jessica to add to her year-end honors at the end of the Race 4 Eight 6 season

Chatten Hayes

Height:  5’9

Hometown: Portland, OR

Strong hand: right

Home court: Multnomah Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Whoever plays Marcos Chavez

Favorite pre-match music: Irish Folk

Best/Favorite shot: Irish whip

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2 (current)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 1st (Player’s Championship ’16)

Strengths: enthusiasm, energy, intensity, endurance

Summary: Chatten Hayes announced herself as a “Super Fan” at the 2016 WPH Player’s Championship in Portland, passionately supporting eventual SR48 Player’s Champion Gavin Buggy en route to his maiden SR48 title. Ms. Hayes is no stranger to supporting a winner, as she has supported her husband to multiple national championships since the 1980’s. If you desperately want to win a big match, you need Chatten in your corner!

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