Springfield, MO, WPH Press, 11/13/16- Missouri State University’s Plaster Sports Stadium proudly played host to the 2016 Bear Bash, featuring current and former Race 4 Eight stars, college handball teams from Missouri State, the University of Texas, the University of West Florida, and the University of Illinois, and more than 100 combined handball players traveling to Springfield from Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Missouri to compete in one of the Midwest’s premiere events.
Two-time WPH Yellow Jersey winner Nikolai Nahorniak and top 25 Race 4 Eight pros Adam Bernhard and Memo Pallares headlined a strong Men’s Open Singles field that also included Kansas’ junior star Sam Esser, 2016 JR WPH Collegiate Coach of the Year Michael Morgan, and St. Louis’ Kevin Pettus.
Texas’ Adam Bernhard advanced to the final in the upper bracket after top-seeded Nik Nahorniak was forced to withdraw after the first game of their semifinal match with a leg injury. “Nik was having a leg issue after about 10-10 in the first game,” stated Bernhard. “I felt for him.”
In the bottom bracket, Memo Pallares survived an 11-8 tiebreaker in the quarterfinals against Kansas’ Max Langmack and defeated Sam Esser in the semifinals to advance to the final.
Austin sparring partners Adam Bernhard and Memo Pallares met with a major singles title at stake for the second consecutive Sunday, with Pallares edging Bernhard last weekend in Austin’s Texas State Championships 650 miles southeast of Springfield. Bernhard would gain his revenge decisively in the Bear Bash, dominating his rival in clinical fashion. “Memo was tired and he knew he would have to spend it all (energy) for a chance to win,” stated Bernhard. “I could kill the ball this weekend-which is key against him.”
Final: Bernhard def Pallares 21-5, 21-3
Texas’ Kelsey Haeger completed the Texas sweep in the Open Singles, clinching the Women’s Open Singles round robin with three impressive victories against Laura Blankenship, Caylen Vinson, and Alexa Jones.
To view the full list of brackets and results from the 2016 Bear Bash, click here
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WPH Senior Writer