’18 WPH Outdoor Schedule: Preview, Rules, Bios…

Posted on Dec 5 2017 - 4:30am by david

The 2018 WPH Outdoor 7 Full Preview: Schedule, Entries, Bios, Cities, Rules, and More!

Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 11/17/17-  WPH Outdoor is proud to announce the 2018 WPH Outdoor 7 schedule. The 2018 WPH Outdoor 7 features 9 events in seven different cities, starting in Florida and ending in Arizona, with stops in California, Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania, and New York. The WPH Outdoor 7 will test the overall skills of the WPH Outdoor stars, as players will need to demonstrate proficiency in 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall to challenge for the top men’s and women’s rankings.

The WPH Outdoor Tour was created in 2012 to inspire the next generation of players and to showcase the greatest WallBall (Big Ball) players in the world. Starting as a 3-Wall Big Ball tour based in Southern California in 2012, the WPH Outdoor Tour has added 1-Wall and 4-Wall events to the tour that has hosted 37 events in California, Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania and Mexico. The WPH Outdoor Tour not only provides opportunities for the world’s best WallBall players, but also hosts JR WPH youth handball clinics and tournaments in conjunction with virtually each WPH Outdoor stop. The WPH Outdoor Tour is a professional, competitive and family-friendly tour that promotes sportsmanship and community spirit while partnering with WPH Outdoor elite players to serve as mentors and coaches for the next generation of players. To learn more about WPH Outdoor, please visit our homepage here>

2018 WPH Outdoor 7 Schedule

Stop #1: Hollywood Beach, FL-  January 13-14 men’s and women’s 1-Wall Big Ball singles and doubles, mixed Big Ball doubles, men’s Small Ball singles

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Stop #2 Stockton, CA – January 27-28: Iceman in 4-Wall Big Ball men’s singles and doubles

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Stop #3 Las Vegas, NV – February Royal Flush (in conjunction with the R48 stop in Las Vegas Feb 9-11) 4-Wall Big Ball men’s doubles

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Stop #4 Phoenix, AZ – March 3-4:  Battle 4 Combined event with AZ Outdoor Racquetball 3-Wall men’s Big Ball singles and doubles, men’s 3-Wall Small Ball singles, Women’s Big Ball 3-Wall singles

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Stop #5 Salt Lake City, UT –  May 5-6 Salt Lake City Aces 3-Wall: men’s 3-Wall Big Ball singles only (1-Wall Big Ball singles for 9th place)

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Stop #6 Pittsburgh, PA – July 7-8 RFC Men’s and Women’s Outdoor 1-Wall X-fest format, men’s and women’s Small Ball and Big Ball 1-Wall singles

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Stop #7 Brooklyn, NY –  August 25 Big Blue Ballers 1-Wall Big Ball men’s singles, August 26, Lady Baller’s 1-Wall Big Ball Women’s Doubles (St. John’s Park, 1251 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY 11213)

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Stop #8 Tucson, AZ –  October 13-14 Pima in Tucson X-Fest format 3-Wall men’s Big Ball singles and doubles, women’s Small Ball 3-Wall singles, men’s Small Ball 3-Wall singles

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Stop #9 Tucson, AZ –  November date TBD WPH Outdoor Championship, 4-Wall Big Ball men’s singles and doubles

Entry coming

The Players

The WPH Outdoor tour boasts some of the best men’s and women’s athletes in the world, all of whom possess a deep love for the sport of handball and a passion for winning coveted WPH Outdoor titles. WPH Outdoor pros travel across the country to test their skills in 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall, relishing the challenge of playing different codes and finding ways to master the different games. Meet several of the top men’s and women’s WPH Outdoor stars below.

Samzon Hernandez: Samzon Hernandez was recognized as being the best Big Ball player in Southern California in his mid teens, traveling to virtually every court in L.A. to challenge and defeat the best player on his home court. Nothing changed with the inception of the WPH Outdoor tour in 2012, as Hernandez won nine of the first 16 WPH Outdoor events, all five WPH Outdoor Simple Green U.S. Opens, and a record 14 WPH Outdoor singles events overall. Hernandez appeared to be unbeatable throughout much of the first three seasons and reclaimed the WPH Outdoor #1 ranking during the 2017 WPH Outdoor 6 season. Hernandez possesses the skills and burning desire to continue to win to dominate, and “The Machine” has no plans to relinquish the top spot in the sport

Timbo Gonzalez: Timbo Gonzalez is one of the fiercest competitors in the sport, playing each point as if it’s his last. Gonzalez is the top 1-Wall Big Ball player in the world but has proven that he can adapt to 3-Wall and 4-Wall as well, as evidenced by his 3-Wall singles titles at the WPH Outdoor 3WallBall Vegas Lte ’16 and ’17 and 3WallBall 3-Wall Big Ball title at the 2017 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships. Gonzalez is also the two-time defending X-Fest champion (’16, ’17), proving that he is unquestionably the game’s greatest all-around outdoor star. Gonzalez’s matches are rarely lacking drama, as the opponent, the referee, the cameraman, and the fans become part of the spectacle. Gonzalez creates must-see matches with his sensational athleticism and compelling style of play and has his sites set on the WPH Outdoor #1 ranking

Shorty Ruiz: 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 has since added two more 3WallBall 3-Wall small ball singles titles, making him the most winning small ball pro in 3WallBall history. Ruiz is a big-game player who loves the biggest stage and should hoist many WPH Outdoor huge titles in the coming years

Chava Cordova: The freakishly talented Chava Cordova has been a regular in WPH Outdoor semifinals since his early 20’s, always on the cusp on breaking into the elite group of WPH Outdoor singles champions. Cordova possesses two equally strong hands that can end rallies from virtually anywhere on the court. Cordova often plays the most exciting matches against the game’s top players and as he comes into his prime, Cordova will be on the short list of favorites in each WPH Outdoor event in which he competes

Juan Santos: Playing with serenity unique to pro handball, Juan Santos appears to simply float around the court. Santos is never rattled or rushed, even in the closest matches. Santos has won four Player’s Cup Player of the Year trophies in the first six years of the tour, making him the most successful player in WPH Outdoor history. Santos relies on his unmatched anticipation to be in the perfect position to hit virtually every shot, and once in position, Santos delivers precision kills or passes. Santos plays the game unlike any other on the WPH Outdoor tour, making him a treat to watch and the greatest challenge for his peers

Sal Duenas: Known as the Wizard of Orange County, the Wiz has been a fixture in the WPH Outdoor top 10 since the inception of the tour in 2012. Duenas is the WPH Outdoor “Ironman,” holding the distinction of being the only player in WPH Outdoor history to have played in every official WPH Outdoor event, no small feat considering events have spanned two countries and four states over the history of the tour. Duenas uses his lifetime of handball experience to find ways to win, even when the odds seems to be stacked against him. Duenas’ adaptability is likely his greatest strength, as the proud father of two is one of the best in the sport at making mid-match adjustments to frustrate and overcome his rivals

Tracy Davis: At 40 years of age, Tracy Davis is a living legend in the sport and became the oldest WPH pro on the Race 4 Eight or the WPH Outdoor tour to finish a season at #1 by clinching the year-end WPH Outdoor #1 ranking in 2017. Davis is unquestionably the fittest player competing in any of the WPH Outdoor brackets, as well as being one of the most well liked superstars in the game. 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 a threat to hoist any trophy on the WPH Outdoor series. With age, Davis’s desire to compete has only intensified, while her ability to win remains a constant

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 plays must-see handball, as her on-court elegance and grace in unmatched in today’s game. Casey won the 1-Wall Big Ball singles at the 2017 WPH Outdoor RFC and finished second overall in the WPH Outdoor RFC X-Fest, narrowly losing to WPH Outdoor #1. Casey is a multiple-time WPH Outdoor champion capable of beating any woman in the sport at any version of the outdoor game

Sandy Ng: Long known as one of the most talented women’s stars in the sport. Sandy Ng fulfilled her immense talent at the 2017 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships, winning the 2017 Women’s X-Fest by winning the 1-Wall Small Ball singles and the 3-Wall Big Ball singles, and finishing second in the 1-Wall Big Ball singles. Although reserved on and off the court, Ng is fiercely competitive and her all-around game makes her a contender to win any WPH Outdoor event in any code of the game

Jenny Qu: New York’s Jenny Qu exploded onto the WPH Outdoor scene with a dominant victory in her first WPH Outdoor start at the 2016 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships, overwhelming 1-Wall superstars Danielle Daskalakis and Sandy Ng to win the 1-Wall Big Ball singles title. Qu returned to Las Vegas in 2017 to repeat in the 3WallBall 1-Wall Big Ball singles and is now the player to beat in the 1-Wall WPH Outdoor women’s field. Qu may be small in stature, but hits one of the hardest balls in the sport and combined power with sensational placement and strategy. Look for Qu to continue to win yellow jerseys in the coming years

Danielle Daskalakis: 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 WPH outdoor tour. Daskalakis brings a hybrid outdoor-indoor style to the Women’s WPH Outdoor tour that befuddles even the greatest stars in the women’s game, as evidenced by Daskalakis’ impressive tiebreaker victory against WPH Outdoor #1 Tanisha Groomes at the 2014 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships. 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

The Cities

The WPH Outdoor 7 will feature stops in Florida, Arizona, and New York for the first time, while returning to California, Nevada, Utah, and Pennsylvania. Each city is thrilled to host the game’s greatest outdoor stars, as the sport’s best will inspire fans, current players, and new players. The season will kickoff on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, head 3,000 miles to California just two weeks later, return to Las Vegas for the seventh consecutive year, host a spring event in Arizona, hit the 3-Wall courts at Ace Disposal in Salt Lake City, UT, tackle the Steel City in July, debut in New York City in August, and wrap up the season with consecutive events in the Grand Canyon state.

Hollywood Beach, FL: WPH Outdoor pros will travel to the beautiful beaches of South Florida just after the New Year’s to compete in the WPH Outdoor Castle Hill Florida Cup at Hollywood Beach. Hollywood Beach boasts one of the premiere 1-Wall handball facilities in the country, just 50 yards from the beach. “We can’t wait to host the game’s best 1-Wall stars on Hollywood Beach in the first WPH Outdoor stop in Florida,” stated Hollywood Beach resident and Florida Cup co-tournament director Mike “DTV” Dembin.”

Tournament directors: David Fink, Richie Vera, Mike Dembin

Defending champion: n/a

Stockton, CA: The WPH Outdoor returns to Stockton, CA for the third consecutive year, with the WPH Outdoor pros transitioning from the 1-Wall courts in Florida to the 4-Wall courts at the IceMan in Stockton. Stockton was built during the Gold Rush in the 1800’s, and in the last weekend in January, WPH Outdoor pros will be seeking gold in the second stop of the WPH Outdoor 7 season.

Tournament director: Angel Hernandez

Defending champion: Manny Suarez

Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas has been a hotbed for WPH Outdoor action and 2018 will be no different as the City of Sin hosts the third event of the WPH Outdoor 7 season and second consecutive 4-Wall Big Ball event. Las Vegas has provided the backdrop for several of the best matches in WPH Outdoor history and February’s Royal Flush will very likely add to the WPH Outdoor Vegas lore.

Tournament directors: David Vincent, David Fink

Defending champion: Samzon Hernandez

Phoenix, AZ: The WPH Outdoor will host its first official event in Arizona with an exciting 3-Wall event in March at Tolleson Union High School in Phoenix, AZ, as WPH Outdoor and AZ Outdoor Racquetball team up for the first of two WPH Outdoor events in Arizona in 2018. “We love working with the WPH and bringing handball and racquetball together,” stated AZ Outdoor Racquetball founder Darold Keys. “Don’t miss this Phoenix stop, as we’ll have great weather and great hospitality.”

Tournament director: David Fink

Defending champion: n/a

Salt Lake City, UT: WPH Outdoor will host its third ranking event at the Salt Lake City Aces Race 4 Eight stop in May and first on the pristine 3-Wall courts at Ace Disposal. Known for late-night Big Ball doubles after the Aces banquet, this year the WPH Outdoor pros will play for real, with men’s 3-Wall singles running its semifinals and finals under the lights during the Saturday night banquet. “The atmosphere is going to be electric under the lights for the Aces 3-Wall title,” stated tournament director David Fink. “We may have more people watching the Aces 3-Wall semifinals and finals than any matches all season.”

Tournament director: David Fink, David Vincent, Ruben Garza

Defending champion: Alfredo Morales

Pittsburgh, PA: The Steel City will host a WPH Outdoor stop for the second straight summer, with 1-Wall men’s and women’s Small Ball and Big Ball singles. Pittsburgh’s WPH RFC 10 is the WPH’s longest running tournament and without question, one of its best. Endless hospitality, great weather, a great nightlife, and so many cultural activities to enjoy, this is a must-attend event.

Tournament director: David Fink

Defending champion: Catriona Casey

Brooklyn, NY: New York City will host its first WPH Outdoor event, teaming with WPH ambassador and Volunteer of the Year Veronica Figueroa to host the Big Blue Baller’s men’s 1-Wall Big Ball singles and the Lady Baller’s 1-Wall Big Ball doubles. Expect one of the biggest draws of the year at St. John’s Park in Brooklyn, where the action will be intense amongst the world’s best.

Tournament director: Veronica Figueroa

Defending champion: Kadeem Bush

Tucson, AZ: Tucson will host its first two WPH Outdoor ranking stops to end the 2018 WPH Outdoor 7 season, with the WPH playing host to a 3-Wall event in October and a 4-Wall event in November just miles from the WPH headquarters. Boasting one of the best 3-Wall court complexes in the Southwest and one of the biggest 4-Wall tournaments in the world, October’s Pima Battle and November’s Memorial will provide a ton of excitement while offering the final opportunities for valuable WPH Outdoor ranking points to end the season.

Tournament directors: David Fink, David Vincent

Defending champion: n/a

“I’m going to make every stop this season,” stated WPH Outdoor #1 and holder of the most WPH Outdoor singles titles in history Samzon Hernandez. “I love the competition and challenging myself in the different codes and I’m looking forward to all of the events.”

“I’m looking forward to the new stops across the country this season,” stated WPH Outdoor Ironman Sal Duenas. “The new events are going to be very exciting, as well as the cities we’ve visited in previous seasons. I looking forward to play more 3-Wall small ball next season.”

WPH History of Champions

To view the WPH Outdoor History of Champions, go here

The Preparation

WPH Outdoor superstars will need to be prepared for the grueling 11-month 2018 WPH Outdoor 7 season that starts in January and ends in November, spanning seven states and 10 events. To reach the top of the rankings, players will need to demonstrate mastery in 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall singles and doubles, meaning only the most skilled and well-conditioned players will be left standing in November.

“I am really going to make a push for the year-end #1 ranking,” stated two-time defending X-Fest champion and current WPH Outdoor #2 Timbo Gonzalez. “I’m training twice a day at the YMCA by my house, swimming every morning and doing cross fit in the afternoons. I’ll also be playing a lot of handball to be sharp for the season.”

“I’m going to play a lot of handball,” stated current 3WallBall Small Ball champion and current WPH Outdoor #3 Shorty Ruiz. “There is no substitute for being on the court and I plan on playing as much as possible to be ready for next season.”

“I’m looking forward to performing at a higher level this next season,” stated WPH Ironman Sal Duenas. “I’ve added some training, which includes plenty of swimming. I expect to push harder than ever before.”

The Rankings Rules and Seeding

Rules

Scoring format:

3-Wall Big Ball: 15-15-15 rally, win by one

1-Wall Big Ball: one game to 25, win by one

3-Wall small ball: 15-15-15 traditional scoring or one game to 25 (depending on size of draw)

1-Wall small ball: one game to 25, traditional scoring

Rankings Points

Singles:

1st: 10, 2nd: 8, 3rd: 6, 4th: 5, tied 5th: 4

Doubles (per player):

1st: 5, 2nd: 4, tied 3rd: 3

Must be a full round of 16 singles and doubles draw for full ranking points and prize money in men’s brackets

Must be a draw of four of more women for full ranking points and prize money

In events in which a player enter three divisions, only your two best finishes count towards a player’s ranking

Mixed Doubles does not count towards a player’s ranking

Seedings

Because WPH Outdoor events encompass 1-Wall Big Ball and Small Ball, 3-Wall Big Ball and Small Ball, and 4-Wall Big Ball, the WPH Outdoor seeding committee will seed the respective draws taking current rankings, specialties in different codes, recent tournament history, and avoiding repeat matchups to make the draws. The WPH Outdoor seeding committee will create draws that aim to be fair to all of the players

JR WPH Clinics at WPH Outdoor Events

The World Players of Handball is extremely proud to provide opportunities for junior and collegiate players to learn from the greatest handball players in the world at all of our WPH Outdoor stops. WPH Outdoor pros lead clinics at each event that focus on the handball fundamentals, cross training exercises, and mostly, having fun on the handball court. WPH Outdoor junior clinics have featured players as young as five years old to college seniors. Every level of player from beginner to WPH Outdoor pro hopefuls have taken part in the clinics, with each gaining valuable knowledge from WPH Outdoor pros and WPH Certified Coaches. The goal of the WPH Outdoor tour is to inspire the next generation of players and through the first six seasons of the WPH Outdoor tour, hundreds of youngsters from across the country have developed a love for the great game of handball through the WPH Outdoor junior handball clinics. Several of the largest clinics in JR WPH history have been held at WPH Outdoor events, including 105 juniors at the 2015 Venice Beach X-Fest and 110 juniors at the 2016 Back to School Bash.

“We are extremely proud of the commitment our coaches and pros have made to introducing and teaching the next generation of players at WPH Outdoor stops,” declared WPH Outdoor Director David Fink. “WPH Outdoor events provide opportunities for new players to not only watch the best players in the world from the front row, but also to share the court with the game’s greats.”

WPH Outdoor Sponsors

The World Players of Handball’s WPH Outdoor tour is possible because of our incredibly generous sponsors and partners that share the WPH’s passion for growing the game handball and providing opportunities for junior players, pro players, skill level players, and master’s players to play on the greatest stages in outdoor handball. Our sponsors not only support the WPH Outdoor tour, but also the hundreds of junior handball clinics the World Players of Handball host each year. Please promote our sponsors by supporting their products and thanking them!

Here is our incredibly generous list of WPH Outdoor sponsors:

Sports Mall

Tucson Racquet & fitness

Mesch, Clark & Rothchild

Tucson Rolling Shutters

E4

Mined Out

R & A CPA’s

3WallBall.com

The Ron Cole Company

Ace Disposal

Ace Advertising

JR WPH

To view the 2017 WPH Outdoor rankings, go here

To view the WPH Outdoor Player bios, go here

To view the WPH Outdoor By the Numbers, go here

David Fink

WPH Senior Writer