Lombard, IL, WPH Press, 1/20/19- A star-studded field collided at the 2019 IHA Illinois State Championships at the Glass Court Swim & Fitness Club in Lombard, IL, with four current R48 pros joined by three former pros and a number of rising stars highlighting the Men’s Open Singles.
Men’s Open Singles
R48 # 18 Dave Munson (IL) entered the Men’s Open Singles as the top seed, but would face a strong field that included second-seeded and R48 #16 Max Langmack (KS), former USHA junior national champion Anthony Sullivan (CA), current junior national finalist Michael Gaulton (CAN), current collegiate national finalist and R48 #28 Sam Esser (KS), current USHA junior national champion Ray Ure (IL), Chicago sharpshooter Dane Szatkowski (IL), Midwest flamethrower Mike Munson (IL), rising collegiate star Garrett Bacon (MO), former collegiate national finalist and R48 #23 Tyler Stoffel (MN), and Chicago bulldog Bill Mehilos (IL).
Lombard showcased the rising stars in the sport throughout the three-day event, as the North America’s top high school and collegiate students served notice that handball’s youth movement is underway.
Current USHA 17-and-under national champion Ray Ure stunned R48 #28 Sam Esser in the first round, overcoming match point to sink the current collegiate national finalist 11-10 in the tiebreaker to earn his pro stripes. Michael Gaulton demonstrated the promise that has been apparent for many years, proudly waving the Maple Leaf en route to tiebreaker victories against defending champion and R48 #18 Dave Munson and Chicago legend Dane Szatkowski en route to the final. Max Langmack ensured the youth carnage continued on the bottom half of the draw, ousting Bill Mehilos and Mike Munson to meet Gaulton in the final.
In a rematch of the first round of the 2018 R48 7 Houston first round qualifier classic won by Langmack 26-24, Langmack and Gaulton faced off for the Illinois State Championship. Very little separated the 6’9 Gentle Giant and the Canadian prodigy in game one, as Langmack and Gaulton exchanged points and side outs en route to a 15-all tie. Langmack took control of the match from that point, using the entire court to setup offensive opportunities and to force errors.
“I felt good all weekend, really feeling like I was getting good contact,” stated Langmack. “Michael came out hard in the first. We battled back and forth. He’d played some really tough tiebreakers all weekend, so I tried to keep him running and focused on tried to hold center court. He put up a strong effort in the first, but I had a couple runs to get ahead and win the first 15. I got hot in the second and got more set up opportunities off the back wall, that I converted. I was really trying to serve and shoot, and that coupled with his fatigue really weighing on him allowed me to win the second.”
Gaulton def D. Munson 15-21, 21-10, 11-9
Szatkowski def R. Ure 21-6, 20-21, 11-6
Munson def Stoffel 21-15, 21-20
Langmack def Mehilos 21-3, 21-11
Gaulton def Szatkowski 15-21, 21-10, 11-9
Langmack def M. Munson 21-12, 21-20
Final: Langmack def Gaulton 21-15, 21-3
Follow all of the brackets from the 2019 IHA Illinois State Championships HERE
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WPH Senior Writer