Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 3/16/17- The Women’s Race Eight 4 kicks off its second event of the WR48 4 at the New York Athletic Club March 24-26 in one of the strongest fields in the four-year history of the Women’s Race 4 Eight. WR48 #1 Catriona Casey headlines the talented draw that features Irish superstars and top eight WR48 stars Martina McMahon, Ciana Ni Churraoin, and Aoife McCarthy. Joining the Irish stars is American living legend and NYAC sponsored team member Tracy Davis and Tucson’s top 10 WR48 star Ashley Moler. Rounding out the strong field is Chicago’s (by way of Ireland) Hilary Rushe, Canada’s Leslie Amminson, New York’s Shirley Chen, Atlanta’s Aimee Ulbert, and Missouri’s Suzanne Koehler.
Catriona Casey could see her stronghold on the WR48 #1 ranking end with an early round loss and a NYAC win by Martina McMahon. McMahon became just the second player to defeat Casey in Pro/Senior competition at the “She’s Aces” GAA ranking tournament in January, proving that she is a legitimate threat to Casey’s supremacy. McMahon also ended Casey’s reign as the GAA All Ireland 60×30 champion last fall, stunning WR48 #1 in a sensational third game.
“Not much has really changed between us,” stated McMahon in reference to her budding rivalry with Casey. “If anything, I have changed a few things for myself to see if I could improve as a player. I enjoy the game so much more lately. Catriona and I have crossed paths a lot over the last couple of years and I’m just happy that I have been fortunate enough to come out the winner on a couple of occasions. However, I’m sure our rivalry will continue over the coming years, nothing can ever be taken for granted in this game of handball!”
“Martina is very athletic and serves and shoots extremely well,” stated Casey. “Martina has great power and difficult serves,” added Ashley Moler. “She keeps getting better every time I see her play.”
The second WR48 event of the 2016-2017 season is not only an event that brings the best women’s handball players from the U.S., Canada, and Ireland together at one of the country’s finest athletic clubs, but also part of handball’s “Women’s Revolution” that showcases the top women handball players in the world on the world’s greatest stage.
“Playing on the WR48 tour is a dream come true for me,” stated Casey. “I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to travel to all these different cities in the U.S. and compete with the best in the game. I have made so many friends on the tour and love both playing and spectating. I dread the day I have to miss an event!”
“I’m very excited to play at the NYAC,” stated Moler. It’s one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, so it’ll be great to see the top players there. The women’s draw is very stacked!”
“I’m really excited about making my first WR48 start,” stated Aimee Ulbert. “I haven’t played the Irish since the junior nationals and it’d be really cool to play the Irish again. I’m just excited to play!”
“The facilities at the NYAC are second to none, the courts are lively, the people are great and live every WR48 stop I attend, the respect we as players receive would entice anyone to return,” stated McMahon.
· The NYAC ’17 is the 12th WR48 stop in the four-year history of the tour
· The NYAC ’17 is the 2nd WR48 Stop on the WR48 4
· Catriona Casey has won 10 of the first 11 WR48 stops
· Casey has won 3 of 3 WR48 stops held at the NYAC (2014, 2015, 2016)
· Catriona Casey has lost just one game in 10 matches at the NYAC (Ni Churraoin ’15)
· Martina McMahon recorded her best WR48 finish at WR48 NYAC ‘16 (finalist)
· The NYAC’s Tracy Davis reached the final of the first WR48 NYAC in 2014
· Aoife McCarthy recorded her best WR48 finish at the NYAC ’15 (4th)
· Aimee Ulbert will be making her first WR48 start after finishing 3rd at the Plummer Bash ’17 women’s pro singles
· Casey has not dropped a game thus far this season on the WR48 (one event), defeating WR48 #9 Samantha Koehler, WR48 #3 Martina McMahon, and WR48 #2 Aisling Reilly by a combined score of 126-43 (2.9:1)
· NYAC WR48 defending champion: Catriona Casey
To watch the WR48 stars live on ESPN3 starting on Saturday, March 25, go to the ESPN3 home here
To follow the draws and results from the 2017 NYAC R48 6, click here
WPH Senior Writer