The 52nd Heart of America Tournament featured nearly 100 collegiate, junior, men’s, women’s, and master’s players at the Athletic Club of Overland Park in Overland Park, KS. The Men’s Open Singles draw featured 16 of the top stars from the Midwest, while the Men’s Open Doubles featured a former Race 4 Eight star and a number of top teams in the Midwest’s early fall 4-Wall kickoff event.
Tyler Stoffel entered the Men’s Open Singles as the top seed and demonstrated his immense talent throughout the weekend in Overland Park. Long regarded as a blue-chip prospect, Stoffel is quickly advancing beyond simply a prospect and into pro qualifier status. Stoffel didn’t drop a game in his four singles matches, overcoming Alex Birge in the round of 16, Senior Race 4 Eight star Matt Mclaughlin in the quarterfinals, surviving a close two-game match against Kansas’ Max Langmack in the semifinals, and dominating Lake Forest College’s Leo Canales, Jr. in the final.
“Tyler has great court awareness and anticipates the ball very well, has speed and great getability,” stated former Race 4 Eight Elie 8 invitee Chip Morales. “I was really impressed with his left hand. I’d love to see Tyler start to try qualifying on the Race 4 Eight.”
Eddie “Chip” Morales continued his comeback after nearly four years away from the game, returning from a family vacation to the Philippines the night before the event to team with Hector Facio, Jr. to win the Open Doubles. Team Morales/Facio ousted open singles champion Tyler Stoffel and Luis Bustos in their only tiebreaker in the semifinals and cruised past Leo Canales Jr. and Anthony Collado in the final.
Oregon’s teen sensation Austin Biddle captured the A Singles, Paul Pfannenstiel outlasted Dave Streibig in the match of the tournament to win the 50+ singles, and Laura Blankenship won the Women’s Open singles.
“The thing that impressed me most about the tournament was the fact that Missouri State had 28 players and Minnesota State brought along 16,” stated Matt Mclaughlin. “With Lake Forest College bringing their top seven guys, we had 51 collegiate players in one place and it was a great preview of the battles that will come on Arizona in February. It’s great to see so many young players taking up the game.”
To follow all of the brackets from the 52nd Heart of America Tournament, click here
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WPH Senior Writer