WPH Press, Austin, TX, 11/7/16- The 2016 Texas State Championships featured collegiate handball teams from the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri State, University of West Florida, and Angelo State, with nearly 100 combined participants from Texas, California, Missouri, California, Florida, Kansas traveling to Austin for the fall classic. The college handball teams were the highlight of the event, with the five teams prepping for the USHA Collegiate Nationals at Arizona State University in February.
The Open Singles featured top 30 Race 4 Eight pros Memo Pallares and Adam Bernhard, in what has become the most intense rivalry in the Lone Star state. Pallares entered the Championships at Austin’s Gregory Gym as the number one seed, having won the Texas State Championship last year.
Game one saw Bernhard build a 5-0 lead before being tied at five by Pallares. Pallares would eventually take an 18-13 lead before Bernhard rallied, scoring five consecutive points to tie the score at 18. Six consecutive side outs left Pallares serving for the eighth time at 18 after more than an hour of play. Pallares would end the deadlock at 18, scoring two points to serve for the game at 20-18. A Pallares mishit punch-first rollout ended the epic first game and gave the University of Texas alum a one-game lead. “We were both playing a strategic game, with a lot of pass shots, ceilings, and waiting for the other to make a mistake,” stated Pallares. “I think towards the end of the first game Adam got a little bit worn out.”
Pallares rode the momentum into game two, building a quick 5-0 lead. Bernhard cut the deficit to three at 8-11, but a mid second-game lull from Bernhard and great play from Pallares saw the number one seed score nine straight to serve for the match at 20-8. Facing match point, Bernhard played his best ball of the match, reeling off nine straight points to pull within striking distance at 17-20. A Pallares kill earned him the side out and when a narrowly missed Bernhard left-handed return of serve kill shot attempt fell inches short, Pallares repeated as the Texas State Open Singles champion.
“Memo was exceptionally consistent and steady,” stated Bernhard. “I was shaky and could not put the ball down. It was a grueling two-game match and he was better that day.”
The Women’s Open Singles final pitted two stars from Texas, with Kayla Jones defeating Jessica Dimas in a tiebreaker.
To follow all of the brackets from the 2016 Texas State Handball Championships, click here
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WPH Senior Writer