Los Angeles, CA, WPH Press, 12/9/17- The Los Angeles Athletic Club and the WPH were pleased to present the 2017 LAAC R48 Pre Qualifier, featuring the Southern California’s George Garcia, Carlos Chavez, Dylann Hernandez, John Wayne Cortez, and Christian Luna, as well as WPH Outdoor stars Samzon Hernandez, Brian Medina, and Alfredo Morales. The 18 R48 Pre Qualifier hopefuls were playing for a travel stipend to the R48 7 event of their choice between January and May of 2018 in the one-day R48 Pre Qualifier.
The LAAC’s Dylann Hernandez entered the event as the top seed and cruised to the semifinals with a dominant performance against WPH Outdoor yellow jersey winner Brian Medina. Christian Luna stunned WPH Outdoor #1 Samzon Hernandez to face Bakersfield’s George Garcia. Garcia ended Luna’s Cinderella Run with an impressive showing against the 20-something to setup a semifinal clash with Dylann Hernandez. Garcia continued to play impressively in the semifinals, downing Hernandez on his home court to advance to the final.
The bottom half of the draw featured former R48 qualifier Carlos Chavez and perennial R48 qualifier contender John Wayne Cortez. Chavez advanced to the semifinal by overcoming Faustro Castro, while Cortez ousted Southern California veteran Eli Barajas. Chavez’s guile and court generalship was enough to overcome the power-hitting Cortez, as Chavez advanced to play his greatest rival George Garcia in the final.
The final featured a winner-take all R48 travel stipend. With the stakes high, Chavez was in need of pickles at halftime to overcome legs cramps in his fourth match of the day. Despite playing through excruciating pain, Chavez made a dramatic comeback from a first half deficit to serve for the match at 24-21. Garcia saved his best ball of the day for the final moments of the match, earning a side out and scoring the final five points of the match to win in overtime.
“What a great final,” stated WPH reporter and qualifier hopeful Pete Papathemetrios. “George pulled it together at the end with some icy kills and perfect pass shots.”
“What a great rivalry going on between the two of you,” barked tournament director and R48 Elite 8 pro Marcos Chavez.”
“Thank you to the LAAC, the WPH, and everyone who made this tournament run smoothly,” stated Garcia. “And thank you to all of the tough competitors who played in this event. You all showed a lot of great class and a lot of heart.”
Hernandez def Medina 25-4
Garcia def Luna 25-16
Cortez def Barajas 25-18
C. Chavez def Castro 25-15
Garcia def Hernandez 25-17
C. Chavez def Cortez 25-19
Final: Garcia def C. Chavez 26-24
JR WPH Clinic
WPH R48 Elite 8 pros Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez hosted a sensational junior clinic for Patrick Saito’s Southern California junior handball group. Coaches Ortiz and Perez focused on fundamentals of the sidearm stroke, footwork, making solid contact, fist ceiling shots, return of serve, and having fun on the court. “The WPH cannot thank Mando and Vic enough for giving back to the next generation of players,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “We are so grateful that our top players are willing to inspire youngsters to develop a lifelong passion for our great game.”
Thank you to Marcos Chavez and Vic Perez for running the event and thank you to Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez for coaching a clinic to inspire the next generation of players. Thank you to all of the players for participating.
To see all of the results from the ’17 LAAC R48 Pre Qualifier, go here
WPH Senior Writer