September 10, 2016- The Washington Athletic Club and the World Players of Handball were proud to present the 2016 Pre Race 4 Eight Kickoff and “Chat with the Pros” on Saturday, September 10th, 2016, with the event raising more than $1,000 for the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Sean Lenning entered The Washington Athletic Club’s 2016 Pre-Race Kickoff as the defending champion, while Emmett Peixoto was hoping to improve on his second place finish from last season’s WAC Pre-Race Kickoff. Mando Ortiz and Luis Cordova were both making their first appearances at the 2012 and 2013 home of the WPH Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship.
The first match of the day pitted frequent rivals Mando Ortiz and Emmett Peixoto battling for a spot in the final. Ortiz and Peixoto played virtually even for much of the first game, with Ortiz ultimately closing out the first game with an ace, 15-12. Peixoto dominated game two, needing just 12 minutes to force a tiebreaker. Ortiz and Peixoto dazzled the appreciative WAC galleries in the tiebreaker, trading incredible kill shots and retrieves throughout. Peixoto appeared to have the match within his grasp, reaching match point at 14-13, but Ortiz rallied, earning a side out and scoring the next point to force overtime. Ortiz closed out the match with two consecutive points to advance to the final. “Emmett was playing mostly defense, so I felt confident,” stated Ortiz. “I felt I was going for more shots and making them.”
Luis Cordova played sensationally in the second match of the day to advance to the final, upsetting local favorite and top-seeded Sean Lenning in two games. “I played really well and I was really happy to get the win,” stated 9th ranked R48 pro Luis Cordova after the match.
Ortiz and Cordova last met at the R48 V Salt Lake City, with Cordova holding match point in game two before losing in a tiebreaker. Both were in mid-season form in the WAC Pre-Race final, with both superstars hitting remarkable shots with both hands from virtually everywhere on the court. Ortiz continued his momentum from earlier in the day, cruising in two games to clinch the title.
“Mando played great,” asserted Cordova. “He hit crazy serves and very good kill shots. He hit about nine aces in the two games and the most of the serves that I could return were setups for him.”
“I felt really in control playing Luis,” declared Ortiz. “I was more comfortable than in the first match and felt like I could really play loose.”
“Great handball today at the Washington Athletic Club,” boasted WAC Pre-Race Kickoff fan Joel Carlson.
The pros held a handball Q&A for the fans in between the semifinals and finals, with the awestruck fans picking the brains of the game’s best players. Peixoto and Cordova teamed to defeat Lenning and Ortiz in a special one-game doubles exhibition, 21-19.
Cordova def Lenning 15-6, 15-13
Ortiz def Peixoto 15-12, 4-15, 16-14
Third place: Peixoto def Lenning 15-4, 15-1
Final: Ortiz def Cordova 15-7, 15-9
Doubles: Peixoto/Cordova def Lenning/Ortiz 21-19
WPH RACE 4 EIGHT: The World Players of Handball’s Race 4 Eight VI powered by ESPN and features seven regular season stops, culminating in The Player’s Championship in Salt Lake City in April of 2017 for the top eight point earners on the tour. Similar to Nascar’s Nextel Cup and the FedEx PGA Playoffs, players earn points in the Race 4 Eight’s first six stops to qualify for the season-ending Player’s Championship and bonus prizes. Each Race event is broadcast live on the Watch ESPN app.
The Race 4 Eight V Powered by ESPN will hold regular season stops from October 2016 through April of 2017 in Fountain Valley, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Coeur d’Alene, ID, New Orleans, LA, Houston, TX, New York, NY, and Salt Lake City, UT.
For the full Race 4 Eight VI Schedule, click here
For more information on the Pre-Race invitational and all of the World Players of Handball’s upcoming initiatives, please visit wphlive.tv or contact David Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Washington Athletic Club, please visit wac.net or contact Pre-Race Invitational director Randy Multack at email@example.com.
WPH Senior Writer