Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 12/20/17
JR WPH proudly completed 2017 with more than 1,000 exciting junior handball clinics and tournaments in New York, Florida, Idaho, California, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Canada and Mexico, with junior handball players receiving instruction from the world’s best handball coaches and players. Alongside clinics and tournaments, JR WPH also proudly sponsors junior handball teams and programs across the country, providing youngsters with opportunities to play handball on organized and structured junior handball teams led by certified WPH instructors.
The mission of JR WPH is to inspire the next generation to develop discipline, sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity, and a physically active lifestyle through handball. Since JR WPH’s inception in 2013, JR WPH has provided opportunities for more than 7,000 youngsters to experience the challenge and thrill of learning and playing handball in structured, organized, safe, and supportive clinics and tournaments that emphasize camaraderie, having fun, and developing life skills and a lifelong commitment to physical fitness through handball.
JR WPH initiatives are supported by donors that are determined to grow the game and to provide opportunities for youth development through handball. If you are interested in becoming a JR WPH donor, you can donate on-line here, or send your generous gifts through PayPal (email@example.com) or by mailing checks to: WPH, 3561 E. Sunrise Dr. Suite 125, Tucson, AZ, 85718. All donations will be used to fund future junior handball initiatives.
Check out all of JR WPH’s sponsored clinics and programs 2017 below.
JR WPH Sponsored Clinics
JR WPH Westside YMCA 2017 Clinic (January): JR WPH was proud to sponsor the Harry Mellis Westside YMCA junior handball program for the second consecutive year. Led by WPH Certified Coach and Women’s Race 4 Eight and WPH Outdoor superstar Danielle Daskalakis, the JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program provides opportunities for hundreds of New York City youth to play 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall handball each year.
The JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program kicked off 2017 with a 4-Wall clinic for more than two-dozen youngsters between the ages of 13-17 at the Westside YMCA in Brooklyn, NY. Coach Daskalakis was joined by Coach Shirley Chen, Coach Steven Woo, Coach Kadeem Bush and recent Harry Mellis junior program graduates Jessenia and Melanie Garate, providing the youngsters the opportunity to learn from the game’s best coaches and players. Clinic instruction focused on 4-Wall fundamentals, back wall drills, and introducing “two-bounce” to the students.
“The clinic was a really great success,” stated Coach Daskalakis. “We had a lot of good food and prizes available. We also announced that we will be holding a Junior 4-Wall Big Ball tournament during the first weekend of February to promote junior cross over play.”
Congratulations to Coach Daskalakis and her coaching team and the JR WPH Harry Mellis Westside YMCA program!
JR WPH UWF Argos Classic (January): The WPH proudly sponsored the JR WPH University of West Florida Argos Classic for the fifth straight year, featuring more than 50 collegiate handball players from the University of West Florida, the University of Texas, and Missouri State University. UWF Argos Head Coach Alan Moore and UWF Handball Club Founder Michael Morgan hosted the sensational event, ensuring that all collegiate players played at least four matches throughout the weekend. WPH Certified Coach and Race 4 Eight superstar Luis Cordova made the five-hour trip from Atlanta to serve as the event’s handball pro emeritus, providing playing tips and coaching throughout the weekend to the collegiate players and organizing a “Play the Pro” challenge.
“It was a really cool event and I’m really glad I made the five-hour trip from Atlanta,” stated Cordova. “I’ve never seen so many college players at one event and they are all really into handball and they are all getting really good.”
Cordova continued his domination on the court at the Argos Classic in a strong open field that included Sam Esser, Max Langmack, Michael Morgan, and Matt Vollink. Cordova defeated Sam Esser in a tiebreaker to win the Argos Classic for the fourth straight year and teamed with UWF’s Alex Grochowski to slam the doubles. “Sam was playing really well, hitting a lot of cracks,” stated Cordova. “It was great to see how much he’s improving.”
“This was a very successful tournament,” stated Moore. “A lot of great matches were played throughout the weekend. The University of Texas and Missouri State University were a huge part of this tournament. All three universities had a lot of fun and we created new friends and strengthened old relationships. To sum up, all of us came out of it having a great time and that was the main goal for the tournament.”
Check out the rest of the 2017 Argos Classic results below. Thank you to Alan Moore, Michael Morgan, Luis Cordova, and all of the collegiate players who made the 2017 Argos Classic such a great event.
JR WPH Skills Competition at the Plummer Bash 8 (January): JR WPH proudly hosted a junior sports skills competition for more than a dozen youngsters between the ages of 3-19 attending the Bash. The youngsters were timed in a sports course that tested running, shooting basketball, and throwing a football, with each of the participants receiving a prize from tournament host Jake Plummer.
“Learning new skills is what sports is all about,” barked former NFL star quarterback Jake Plummer while catching passes from the skills participants. “It’s all about having fun!”
JR WPH aims to make learning and developing a healthy and active lifestyle fun by incorporating handball, cross-training, and other sports into clinics to develop all-around sports and life skills.
JR WPH Clinic at the WPH Outdoor IceMan (January): JR WPH proudly hosted a junior handball clinic for the second consecutive year at the IceMan, with WPH Outdoor superstars Juan Santos and Sal Duenas coaching a dozen boys and girls between the ages of 7-16. Coaches Santos and Duenas worked on drills for nearly an hour with the youngsters, focusing on the serve, kill, fly kill, stretching exercises, and ending the session with pro-junior challenge doubles matches. “I always enjoy working with the next generation of players,” stated Coach Duenas. “The kids are the future of our sport and its great to see them so excited about playing.” Thank you to Coaches Santos and Duenas for volunteering their time and expertise in Stockton!
The 2017 JR WPH Harry Mellis Winter Classics (February): JR WPH was thrilled to sponsor the 2017 Harry Mellis Winter Classics at Brooklyn’s Westside YMCA, featuring junior 4-Wall Big Ball singles and doubles. Tournament directors and JR WPH Coaches Danielle Daskalakis and Sandy Ng played host to 20 junior players between the ages of 15-18, many of whom participate in the bi-weekly JR WPH sponsored Harry Mellis Junior Handball program at the Westside YMCA.
The junior play was outstanding, with the teenagers demonstrating sensational skills throughout the tournament. Gary Luck slammed in the singles and doubles with Justin Quach, while Henry Santana, Albin Tahirovic and Vincent Chen took runner-up honors in the singles and doubles, respectively.
“The performance of the junior players at this event was impressive,” stated WPH Outdoor superstar Hector Velez. “With Danielle and Sandy’s coaching, these juniors are developing much faster at a younger age.”
Boy’s singles champion: Gary Luck
Boy’s singles runner up: Henry Santana
Boy’s doubles champions: Gary Luck and Justin Quach
Boy’s doubles runner up: Albin Tahirovic and Vincent Chen
“It is great to see the WPH run another successful junior play/clinic tournament,” stated R48 star and Harry Mellis Winter Classic Small Ball singles champion Stephen Cooney. “These tournaments are extremely important for the future of our sport as the stars of tomorrow are born and bred during these fun weekends. ”
Coaches Daskalakis and Ng also coached a clinic for the juniors during the event, aiming supplement the 1-Wall skills of many of the juniors into the 4-Wall game.
“The WPH cannot say enough about what Danielle and Sandy do for the game and inspiring the next generation of players,” stated WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “In addition to being handball role models and ambassadors worldwide, Danielle and Sandy spend countless hours each month mentoring and coaching junior players in the JR WPH Harry Mellis Program in Brooklyn, providing opportunities for young people to develop life skills through handball. Thank you!”
The Harry Mellis Winter Classics also featured 4-Wall Open Small Ball and Big Ball brackets, headlined by Harry Mellis junior stars, Race 4 Eight pro Stephen Cooney and one of New York’s top 4-Wall Big Ball players Ignazio Accardi. Cooney captured the small ball singles against WPH historian Babalola Ajisafe, Accardi grabbed the big ball singles against Robert Ortega, and Harry Mellis’ Jessenia Garate teamed with Gabriel Carbuccia to win the Mixed Doubles against 1-Wall stars Allan Sanchez and BeeBee Garcia.
JR WPH New Orleans Clinic (February): JR WPH proudly hosted an instructional clinic for the JR WPH sponsored University of West Florida Argonauts Handball Club at the 2017 New Orleans Race 4 Eight Mardi Gras Open. WPH Coaches David Fink and Daniel Cordova led the clinic, with the Elite 8 pros teaching the enthusiastic college students the proper footwork and swing for the power serve and the right corner kill. Following the demonstration by Coach Cordova, the UWF team played a skills competition trying to hit targets with the serve and kill shot. Each of the collegiate handballers then had the opportunity to play singles points with R48 #7 Daniel Cordova. “This group of players was one of the most eager and appreciative groups we’ve ever taught on the R48 tour,” stated Coach Fink. “You could see each player soaking in the information and really trying to apply it.”
JR WPH Houston Clinic (March): JR WPH was thrilled to coach a collegiate clinic for the University of Texas handball team at Houston’s R48 6 stop, with WPH Coaches David Fink and Luis Cordova leading the enthusiastic collegiate handball players in an instructional clinic focusing on strong-hand offense and footwork. Following demonstrations by R48 top 10 star Luis Cordova, each participant was given the opportunity to hit shots under the watchful eyes of Coach Fink and Coach Cordova.
“We really stressed the fundamentals and how to practice the fundamentals by simulating game-like scenarios,” stated Coach Fink. “We’ve been fortunate to have coach of the University of Texas handball team on several occasions and the players have improved dramatically from one lesson to the next. It’s inspiring to see.”
JR WPH Juarez Clinic with R48 Superstar Sean Lenning (March): JR WPH Juarez was thrilled to welcome special guest coach Sean Lenning to its Saturday morning junior handball clinics. The current 1-Wall world champion, current 3-Wall national champion, and 5-time R48 champion joined 2016 JR WPH Coach of the Year Drft Fernandez in leading the enthusiastic group of youngsters through an exiting clinic that stressed having fun, strategy, and serving. The clinic started with the popular game of “two-bounce” on multiple courts, followed by doubles, with Coach Lenning rotating from court to court advising the youngsters on proper shot selection and effective serves.
“We were thrilled to have handball superstar Sean Lenning working with one of our preeminent JR WPH programs in Juarez,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The youngsters that participate in JR WPH Juarez are some of the most eager and passionate junior handball players in the world, and for them to have an opportunity to learn from one of their idols was a thrill of a lifetime.”
WPH/USHA Clinic at the Hall of Fame & Women’s Classic (March)– The WPH proudly collaborated with the USHA in hosting a junior handball clinic at the 2017 USHA Hall of Fame & Women’s Classic Handball Tournament in Tucson, AZ. WPH Master Instructor David Fink led a group of junior and collegiate players through various drills to improve their techniques and skills, to include right and left handed kill shots, footwork, and return of serve strategy. The clinic concluded with doubles and conditioning exercises. Prior to the clinic, Coach Fink played an exhibition match with ASU first-year player and Hall of Fame “C” champion Qwaun Thomas, working with the first-year player on court positioning, strategy, and shot selection.
“We always enjoy collaborating with the USHA on junior handball clinics and tournaments,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The kids had an outstanding experience at the event all weekend and the clinic was an added bonus.”
JR WPH Exhibition and Clinic at the R48 NYAC (March): The day before the start of the Race 4 Eight NYAC ’17, R48 #1 pro and Master WPH Instructor David Fink played a special exhibition match against Alex Carew, one of Canada’s top junior stars. Fink sparred with the precocious 16-year-old for several games and provided tips on training, strategy, and diet following the practice session. Later in the day, Young Carew played SR48 #1 Marcos Chavez in the R48 NYAC qualifier, a huge thrill for the Newfoundland man. Following the qualifier match, Chavez demonstrated several serves for the future pro to use in his upcoming 19-and-under matches.
“There is nothing more exciting at the Race stops than seeing youngsters with tremendous talent and enthusiasm for the game entering the qualifiers and being a part of the event,” stated Fink. “The Race 4 Eight tour exists to inspire the next generation of players, and seeing young men like Alex Carew and a number of other top teenagers throughout the season is really awesome.”
JR WPH Heads to ASU (April)– JR WPH headed 100 miles west of its headquarters in Tucson to host an exciting collegiate handball clinic with the Arizona State University Handball Team. 16 collegians, ranging from “A” players to beginners, took part in the clinic led by R48 #1 pro and WPH Master Instructor David Fink that focused on the proper handball warm-up, fundamentals, drills, diet, and cross-training exercises to improve their handball abilities.
“I was so impressed when I walked into the ASU Rec Center and saw that every court was filled with collegiate handball players!” exclaimed Fink. “All of the collegiate players were having fun and were extremely eager to learn. Coach Dan Willeford has worked tirelessly to build one of the most flourishing junior handball programs in the country and JR WPH was thrilled to be able to supplement his weekly practice sessions with some tips. Thank you to ASU head coach and handball pioneer Dan Willeford for all he does for handball!”
JR WPH Salt Lake City Aces Pro/Junior Doubles and Clinic (April): JR WPH proudly hosted the Salt Lake City Pro/Junior Doubles and Instructional Clinic on the opening night of the 2017 WPH Race 4 Eight Salt Lake City Aces Player’s Championship 6. 10 WPH R48 and WR48 pros teamed with 10 JR WPH Salt Lake City Aces junior stars and newcomers in a special Pro/Junior Aces Doubles Shootout. Salt Lake City juniors and new players had the opportunity to team with and play against WR48 #1 Catriona Casey, R48 #1 Killian Carroll, 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open Champion Robbie McCarthy, WR48 #2 Martina McMahon, WR48 #3 Aoife McCarthy, R48 top 16 pro Abraham Montijo, Hall of Fame legend Fred Lewis, Hilary Rushe, Michael Gaulton, and Gabhain MCrystal. ! What an experience!
Robbie McCarthy and Carlos Sotelo advanced to the final in the upper bracket and met Abraham Montijo and Sergio Sotelo in the final. Montijo and Sergio Sotelo grabbed the title in the first Pro/Junior Aces Championship.
“This was just an outstanding night of handball,” stated JR WPH Aces Head Coach Ted McManus. “This far exceeded my expectations and this will be an experience our players will always remember. Having a chance to play with the pros will keep these players playing forever.”
Following the Aces Pro/Junior doubles, six-time USHA 4-Wall Pro National Singles Champion Fred Lewis coached a clinic for 10 Salt Lake City juniors and newcomers, emphasizing the importance of watching the ball and limiting errors. “Basically, what I’m trying to teach new players is to not lose by making errors and giving setups,” stated Coach Lewis.
Thank you to all of the Race 4 Eight superstars and living legend Fred Lewis for donating their time to growing the game on the eve of the biggest event of the year.
JR WPH PNW Clinic (May): JR WPH was proud to partner with the PNW Regionals in hosting a JR WPH clinic on Saturday evening at the PNW Regionals, hosted by tournament director Nick Flores and led by WPH coaches Dalton Beall and Cody Townsend. Coaches Beall and Townsend started the clinic with the group of junior and collegiate players discussing the importance and benefits of the proper warm-up, then divided the groups into two, with Coach Beall teaching the Power Serve and Coach Townsend teaching the back wall kill. After 15 minutes, the groups switched, with Coach Beall’s group shifting to Coach Townsend’s court to learn the back wall kill and Coach Townsend’s group shifting to Coach Beall’s court to learn the Power Serve. Following the stroke instruction, the students played King of the Court singles against one another and the coaches, gaining valuable experience and knowledge in point-play situations against Oregon’s top two players. Coach Beall and Coach Townsend wrapped up the clinic with cross-training handball tips for the group. Huge thank you to Nick Flores, Dalton Beall, and Cody Townsend for the outstanding clinic.
JR WPH Clinic at the 2017 Canadian Nationals (May): Top-ranked Canadian Race 4 Eight pro Ryan Bowler and the Fred Lewis Foundation Executive Director Abraham Montijo teamed up for a sensational JR WPH Canada clinic. Coaches Bowler and Montijo worked with seven Canadian juniors on proper pre-shoot positioning and footwork, followed by ceiling, sidearm, serve, and back wall stroke technique. Following the instruction, the juniors played King of the Court points with one another and the pros. “The clinic was really awesome and the kids really enjoyed it,” stated Coach Bowler. “It’s really cool to be able to spend time with the juniors and help them with their games. Some promising young players participated!”
JR WPH Vegas Lte Clinic (May): WPH Outdoor #1 Samzon Hernandez teamed with WPH Outdoor #7 Chava Cordova for an exciting JR WPH clinic and skills competition at the 2017 WPH 3WallBall Vegas Lte Gold Cup. Coaches Hernandez and Cordova explained and demonstrated the proper techniques of the stiff arm left corer kill and stiff arm “out the door” kill. After practicing the shots, junior players had an opportunity to play points against the pros, with several of the junior players stunning the pros with exceptional skills to win points. Thank you to Coaches Samzon and Chava for inspiring the next generation of players!
JR WPH Clinic at the Wafe Risner (May): Race 4 Eight pros Vic Perez, Mando Ortiz, Sean Lenning, and Marcos Chavez kicked off the 2017 Wafe Risner with a sensational junior handball clinic on the first afternoon of the event, inspiring the next generation of Southern California handball superstars. The pros split the group of 15 junior players onto two courts, teaching serves, back wall technique, ceiling shots, kill shots, and introducing the proper pre-shot footwork and tactics. Following the instruction, the pros played doubles points with the youngsters, giving the next generation of players the opportunity to experience handball at the highest level.
“It was really nice to have all the kids around learning from the pros,” stated Coach Marcos Chavez. “The kids had played for two hours before the clinic and it was great seeing their passion for the sport. All of the kids were given WPH shirts, Owen Gloves, and lunch boxes and were all very appreciative.”
Huge thanks to Race 4 Eight pros Marcos Chavez, Sean Lenning, Vic Perez, and Mando Ortiz for coaching the clinic, the LAAC for hosting the clinic, and 2017 Wafe Risner/LAAC Spring Open tournament director Gary Cruz.
JR WPH Mega Clinic and Skills Competition and Junior WPH Singles the 2017 WPH Outdoor Fullerton (June): JR WPH proudly hosted a Junior Mega Clinic and Skills Competition for the fourth consecutive summer in Southern California, featuring more than three dozen junior handball players learning from four of the top WPH Outdoor pros. WPH Outdoor pros Sal Duenas, Kevin P. Gonzales, Pedro “Hershey” Carmona and Juan Santos split the youngsters into two groups, with Coaches Duenas and Carmona taking half the group and Coaches Gonzalez and Santos taking the other half. After watching demonstrations from the top pros, the youngsters practiced their kill shots with both hands, followed by service returns and singles and doubles points with the pros. The youngsters experienced the thrill of a lifetime, playing against their heroes and even winning some rallies!
“Any time I have an opportunity to work with the kids I’m all in,” stated Coach Duenas. “The kids are the future of our sport and I love being on the court with them and helping them improve.
Thank you to Sal Duenas, Juan Santos, Kevin P. Gonzalez and Pedro Carmona for working with the youngsters and setting an excellent example for the youngsters to follow.
JR WPH Singles
Juniors from San Diego, Orange County, L.A., and Stockton, CA competed in five junior singles brackets, with the youngsters demonstrating exceptional skill and sportsmanship on a spectacular June afternoon at Craig Park in Fullerton, CA. Each bracket was enthusiastically contested, with a number of the one game matches to 21 decided by less than three points.
In the 10-and-under bracket, Xavier Flores and Jose Arellano demonstrated skills far beyond their years in a scintillating battle. Flores was able to edge his rival, in large part due to a six-point streak in the middle of the match.
Abraham Espindola outlasted Moises Barrientes in the 12-and-under final, utilizing sensational ball control to clinch the title.
Current 13-and-under USHA national 4-Wall champion David Sanchez was impressive in defeating Ferman Victoria in the 15-and-under final, demonstrating his two –handed attack en route to another major junior title.
JR WPH star Jesus Mendez continued to excel at JR WPH events, ousting Michael Bautista in the 16-and-under final. Mendez captured his second trophy in winning the 18-and-under bracket, defeating Salvador Diaz in a high-level final. Mendez continues to improve and will soon by a force in the A division.
Champion: Xavier Flores
Finalist: Jose Arellanos
Champion: Abraham Espindola
Finalist: Moises Barrientes
Champion: David Sanchez
Finalist: Ferman Victoria
Champion: Jesus Mendez
Finalist: Michael Bautista
Champion: Jesus Mendez
Finalist: Salvador Diaz
JR WPH at the USHA/ICHA Junior Small Ball 1-Wall Nationals (June): JR WPH and New York handball ambassador Glenn Hall proudly sponsored players from California and Canada to participate in the USHA/ICHA Junior Small Ball 1-Wall Nationals. Junior standouts Ivan Burgos, Alex Carew, Michael Gaulton, Andrew Garcia, and David Sanchez were awarded with sponsorships based on stellar junior handball careers on and off the handball court. The five junior stars had the opportunity to develop friendships and handball rivalries with more than 90 ICHA New York City junior 1-Wall players playing 1-Wall handball at Coney Island’s famous 1-Wall courts. Thank you to Glenn Hall, Jared Vale, the ICHA and JR WPH.
“The sponsored kids were excellent and extremely well-behaved,” stated USHA/ICHA Junior Small Ball 1-Wall Nationals sponsor and tournament director Glenn Hall. “The kids were a wonderful contingent and we are all proud of having brought them to the event.”
JR WPH at the ’17 TRC Summer Camp (Summer): JR WPH is proud to lead the handball department at the Tucson Racquet Club All Sports Summer Camp for the fifth consecutive summer, coaching 25 4-Wall and 1-Wall handball clinics per week throughout the 10-week summer camp. Campers are rotated from basketball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, racquetball and handball, with each camper playing handball four times per week.
JR WPH focuses on the handball fundamentals, with the emphasis on having fun playing handball. With drills and games specifically designed for all ages and levels of campers, campers are able to enjoy learning and playing handball at their pace. JR WPH reaches more than 600 campers between the ages of 7-16 throughout the summer camp, introducing handball to many youngsters who would have otherwise not had the opportunity to play.
“I’ve always said that handball is the best sport for forcing you to move your feet because you don’t have a racquet, you really have to move,” stated TRC Summer Camp indoor sports director Coach Anderson. “The handball coaches have always been prepared with great lessons and games and have done a great job with the kids every summer at camp, including this summer.”
JR WPH Clinic with Harisburg’s Hope in Handball (July): JR WPH proudly hosted one of the country’s most thriving junior handball programs at the 2017 RFC, as Harisburg’s Hope in Handball made the nearly four-hour drive across the state of PA to be a part of one of the country’s best events. “We just love everything the WP
H does and we are so happy to bring our kids to such a great event to watch the pros, learn, play and just be a part of it,” stated Hope in Handball’s founder and director David Botero.
The Hope in Handball juniors played in the 4-Wall singles and mixed doubles, while also taking a clinic and participating in a skills competition with WPH Master Instructor David Fink. After discussing the fundamentals of the sidearm stroke and learning several drills for self-practice, the junior competed in a lowest kill competition and a hit the target serve completion. Chris Persaud hit a flat roll out on his first attempt, winning a “Be the Beast” shirt prize.
“I really learned a lot from the clinic and I’m looking forward to practicing the new techniques,” stated Hope in Handball’s Hoang Le.
JR WPH Sportsmanship Award and JR Player of the Tournament
Hope in Handball’s Chris Persaud was awarded with the RFC’s Sportsmanship Award for his exemplary sportsmanship on and off the court throughout the day at the RFC. Hope in Handball’s Serenity Vidot was awarded with the RFC’s “Top Junior Player” for her outstanding play in the singles and mixed doubles. “Serenity is our best player and she definitely deserves the award,” stated David Botero. “She just loves the game and wants to learn as much as she can.”
JR WPH Summer Handball Camp in Juarez
(July): JR WPH is thrilled to sponsor the JR WPH Juarez Summer Handball Camp for the second consecutive summer at the Campestre Country Club in Juarez, Mexico, coached by 2016 JR WPH of the Year Richie “Drft” Fernandez. More than 100 youngsters between the ages of 3-14 are participating in the camp, with the 2016 JR WPH Coach of the Year teaching handball rules, fundamentals, strategies and games in organized and fun camp sessions.
“A lot of the kids in the camp are athletes and I think they can become really good handball players,” stated JR WPH Juarez program head coach and founder Drft Fernandez. “The new kids will join our weekly junior handball program in Juarez in the fall.”
Last year’s Juarez summer handball camp ended with a camp tournament, with the new handball enthusiasts playing for WPH prizes and gear. Expect the same at the end of this summer’s camp!
“We are so fortunate to have Coach Drft inspiring the next generation of players in Juarez,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “In just his early 20’s, Coach Drft is already one of the greatest ambassadors in the game. The WPH could not be more grateful for what Coach Drft is doing to grow the sport.”
JR WPH Pittsburgh Summer ’17 (summer): Pittsburgh’s Amerifit Handball Club has hosted numerous JR WPH junior handball clinics in the summer of 2017, with WPH Certified Coaches leading high-energy clinics for youngsters from Pittsburgh and eastern Pennsylvania. July’s Pittsburgh JR WPH clinics kicked off with Harisburg’s Hope in Handball team at the RFC 9 and continued with clinics for high school and collegiate athletes at the home of the RFC.
“Throughout July, Pittsburgh’s WPH Certified Coaches worked with young people that are very serious about handball and others that are using handball as cross-training for their upcoming high school and college sports seasons,” stated WPH Master Instructor David Fink. “Several of the cross-training athletes were collegiate lacrosse players, who really picked up the game quickly and had a great time. After struggling to rally initially, the lacrosse stars rallied 18 consecutive times and finished the lesson with a game to 11.”
To read about the Hope in Handball Clinic at the RFC 9 early in July, go here
Pittsburgh’s Amerifit Handball Club is proud to host year-round junior clinics, gathering dozens of young people each year into the WPH RFC’s home courts.
JR WPH at the JR Vasquez (July): JR WPH proudly hosted a junior handball clinic for 40 junior handball players for the fourth consecutive summer at the JR Vasquez Small Ball CA State Doubles Tournament in Los Angeles, CA. Big Ball specialists Manuel Yep and Steve “Bambi” Bermudez kicked off the clinic with a warm-up and ligh
t jog, followed by Big Ball instruction for the youngsters, demonstrating the proper footwork to hit kill shots. Race 4 Eight pros Shorty Ruiz and Abraham Montijo coached the second half of the clinic, focusing 3-5 shots rallies and Small Ball stroke technique and strategy. The clinic concluded with a discussion on the importance of eye protection and good sportsmanship.
“The kids had a double treat at the clinic,” stated WPH Outdoor Director Tom Flores. “Having s chance to learn from top Big Ball and Small Ball players is a rare opportunity. There is so much knowledge between the four of them!”
“The clinic went great,” stated WPH cross over star Shorty Ruiz. “There were some good talented kids with a great future to become great handball players.”
“The best part of the tournament was seeing all of the kids playing and learning,” stated SR48 #1 and JR Vasquez sponsor Marcos Chavez. “Great job.”
Thank you to all of the coaches, Tom Flores for the pictures and JR Vasquez tournament director Tom Martinez.
105 Junior Players @ the JR WPH NYC Shootout! (July): JR WPH and the Lincoln Terrace Handball Association proudly presented the JR WPH NYC 1WallBall Shootout for the second consecutive summer at Brooklyn’s St. John’s Park. 105 junior handball players between the ages of 12-19 filled St. Johns’ spectacular 1-Wall courts, making the JR WPH NYC 1WallBall Shootout one of the largest junior handball tournaments of the year. WPH ambassador Veronica Figueroa directed the event, recruited players and ran a sensational event.
“Everything was just perfect today,” stated Ms. V. “The kids had a great day, played tremendous handball and demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship. Thank you to all of the junior players for being so humble and patient. Thank you to everyone who made this event run so smoothly: my husband, George Figueroa, Carlin Rosa, Shena (from Prohandballalliance),Quasia Watson, Zeigler Christopher, Macho Martinez, Chullo Martinez, Henry Santana, Abismael Perez, Tristan Durbin, Donna Cummings, Shkysi Cummings and Javier Gonzalez. Thank you to Pika Shu for reffing the entire girls division. I’m so grateful for all of you’ll help,”
19 and under boys:
First place Tristian Durbin
Second place Edwin Troncoso
17 and under boys:
First place Edwin Troncoso
Second place Henry Santana
15 and under boys:
First place: Kelvin Garcia
Second place Joshua Rosa
13 and under boys:
First place Fernando Hernandez
Second place William LI
Girls 19 and under girls (WONDER TWINS):
First place Melanie Garante
Second place Jessenia Garante
17 and under girls:
First place: Jasmine.Chen
Second place: Celeste Luna
15 and under girls:
First place Cathy Chen
Second place Celeste Luna
13 and under girls:
First place Madison Borrego
Second place Veronica Figueroa
Thank you to Veronica Figueroa, the Lincoln Terrace Handball Association and JR WPH for a great event.
JR WPH in Fresno (August): JR WPH proudly hosted a JR WPH outdoor instructional at Fresno’s Hotter Than Hell 3-Wall event on the first weekend in August, with WPH Outdoor pro and WPH Certified Coach Sal Duenas educating the youngsters on the importance of hydration, stretching and point-play strategy.
“A lot of athletes, both young and old, do not take the sun seriously enough when they train and compete outside in the summer,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Failure to hydrate and prepare for the sun can have dramatic and even fatal consequences. Our goal in Fresno was to stress the importance of hydrating before, during and after training and competing in the sun, making sure that athletes fuel and replenish with electrolytes and the necessary minerals to avoid heat stroke and dehydration.”
Along with the hydration education, Coach Duenas introduced various stretching and warm-up exercises to prepare the junior players for playing a handball match. Coach Duenas then observed and coached the junior players during point-play situations. Thank you very much to Coach Duenas for teaching important lessons to the next generation of handball stars.
JR WPH in the Southeast (August): JR WPH Coach Joel Levy continues to enthusiastically grow the game in the Southeast, hosting handball clinics for dozens of juniors in Gulf Breeze, FL and Pensacola, FL, while recruiting softball, football, and basketball coaches at the University of West Florida in Pensacola to play and coach handball. In
the coming months, Coach Levy plans to visit the University of South Alabama, University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and LSU to coach handball clinics for college students. Wow!
“UWF softball coach Ashleigh Mclean and I recently coached a great clinic in Gulf Breeze, FL for the Parks and Rec with 25 students,” stated the Pensacola-based Levy. “This semester, I’ll be working as a volunteer instructor for the UWF Recreation and Sports, offering handball classes several times per week for all of the students, staff, faculty, and athletes. With UWF Handball Club founder Michael Morgan recently named the UWF Outdoor Recreation Director, handball has an extremely bright future at UWF.”
Thank you to Coach Levy for his inspiring and sensational efforts to grow the game throughout the Southeast!
Coach Peixoto Leads the OC JR WPH Summer Camp (August): The Second Annual Handball Junior Camp at the Olympic Club was a major success! At this four-day intensive junior camp, Olympic Club Handball Coach and WPH Master Instructor, Emmett Peixoto, coached seventeen junior campers of all levels of play. The camp included focused instruction on the sidearm, overhand, and underhand swings, drills for foot-speed, back-wall, and kill shots, and guidance on basic handball strategy. Each day began with stretches and the David Chapman Warm-up Routine and culminated in a mini handball tournament, in which all of the kids played in front of each other and cheered on their fellow campers.
“It was a lot of fun,” exclaimed Amaya Ruiz after being asked what she thought of the camp, “I hope I can come back next year.” By the end of camp, Antonio Rosas was able to make the switch from the big ball to the small ball. “I am getting used to the small ball. It is hard, but fun,” remarked a thrilled Antonio. Due to the contagious enthusiasm of the handball campers, some members of the concurrent squash camp stepped on the handball court and joined the handball camp for a bit. “I like handball,” surprised squash camper Audrey said with a smile, “next year I am going to enroll in the handball camp!”
Due to the outstanding largesse of the Olympic club members and the San Jose Handball Club, a total of nine non-Olympic Club members were sponsored into the camp, shuttled to and from San Jose all four days, and provided with lunch. “The generosity is just overwhelming,” reported Emmett. “Many people donated tons of time and money to make this camp a success. I would like to especially thank Dean Crispen, Kevan Del Grande, Mike Linnik, Ron Strausbaugh, Girlie Manuel, Isabella Engler, the WPH, and all the members of the Olympic Club and San Jose Handball Club that chipped in to make this camp s
uccessful. I can’t wait until next year.” -Written by Emmett Peixoto
JR WPH Harry Mellis Updates (August): The JR WPH sponsored Harry Mellis New York City junior handball program continues to flourish under the direction of WPH superstar coach and player Danielle Daskalakis. Coach Daskalakis, one of the world’s premiere 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall Small Ball and Big Ball cross over stars leads an enthusiastic group of junior handball players weekly throughout the each fall, winter, and spring at the Westside YMCA in Brooklyn, New York, teaching handball fundamentals and strategies, but most importantly, life lessons and values through handball to prepare the young adults to become mature, healthy, physically active, and disciplined community leaders.
“We are really excited to kickoff our fall sessions this November,” stated Coach Daskalakis. “The Westside YMCA’s courts were just renovated this summer, adding beautiful glass doors. I have a lot of kids coming up to me asking me about the program, so it’s going to be a great fall session. Thank you to the WPH for all it does for the Harry Mellis program!”
In addition to weekly clinics at the Westide YMCA, the JR WPH sponsored Westside YMCA program plays in local tournaments and travels to regional and national tournaments. “The JR WPH Harry Mellis program traveled to the WPH’s RFC last summer and we loved having them,” stated WPH Development Director and RFC tournament director David Fink. “The youngsters were so respectful, appreciative, and all excellent players with great personalities. We can’t wait to welcome Coach D and the juniors back to the RFC next summer.”
Coach Daskalakis also travels the world to conduct junior handball clinics, most recently visiting the thriving junior handball community in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada to work with several of Canada’s top junior players, as well as a number of less experienced junior players.
Thank you to Coach Daskalakis for making a huge difference in Brooklyn and beyond and inspiring so many junior handball players.
JR WPH UWF Summer ’17 Updates (August): JR WPH sponsored University of West Florida continues to flourish under the direction of UWF Handball Club founder and current UWF Outdoor Recreation Director Michael Morgan. 2016 JR WPH Collegiate Coach of the Year Mike Morgan led summer clinics for West Florida youth, as well as weekly clinics and tournaments during the school year for University of West Florida collegiate athletes and handball team members.
This summer saw the UWF Handball Club leads numerous you
th handball clinics for 200 local kids, emphasizing the fundamentals and rules of handball, with the emphasis on having fun on the court. Following a sensational summer of junior handball coaching, Coach Morgan and the UWF Handball Club kicked off freshman orientation at the beginning of the fall semester at UWF, introducing 400 incoming freshman to handball during UWF’s freshman orientation. The collegiate newbies were taught the basics of handball, starting with the proper swing mechanics to develop the correct handball stroke. The UWF Handball Team’s practices will kickoff this fall with a number of the incoming freshman joining, with the UWF Handball Team holding three practices during the week and an optional Sunday practice for UWF team members.
In addition to the summer youth clinics, orientation handball introduction, and weekly practices, the UWF Handball Team will embark upon an ambitious fall and winter tournament schedule. “We have a full slate of tournaments this year,” barked a proud Coach Morgan. “In the fall we plan on hitting the University of Texas in late September, the Atlanta Race Stop in early October, hosting our fall tournament at UWF, which the players have appropriately changed the named to the “I Love Handball” Classic (I love these kids) October 20-22. To finish out the fall tournaments, we head to Missouri State in early November. As fun as the fall is, the spring semester is where we really start to see players get excited. We hit the ground running by hosting another tournament just after the start of the semester in mid-January, then get ready for the grand daddy of them all the Collegiate Nationals in mid-February. Our state tournament has us going to the University of South Florida (USF) in early March and we will finish off the school year with another trip out to the University of Texas in April.”
“Coach Morgan is truly one of handball’s greatest treasures,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Coach Morgan’s passion and endless enthusiasm for growing the game is unsurpassed and the WPH cannot possibly express our gratitude for what Coach Morgan brings to this great sport. Thank you Coach Mike!”
Stay in School Handball Tournament in Brooklyn (September): JR WPH was proud to be one of the sponsors of the Labor Day Weekend Castle Hill Handball Association’s 2nd Annual Stay in School Handball Tournament, featuring 110 junior handball players at Castle Hill Ave. Handball Courts in Brooklyn, NY. Each participant of the Stay in School Handball Tournament received a free backpack with school supplies fill with school year essentials. In addition to receiving backpacks and school supplies for participating, the top three finishers in each age group won laptops, bicycles, tablets, and more. Wow!
“Big shout out to Castle Hill’s Richie Vera for the 2017 Stay in School tournament,” barked Brooklyn’s Francisco Aponte. “It was amazing to see 110 kids playing handball. Thank you Richie for loving and giving back so much to our sport, our youth will never forget events like this one.”
“Big shout out to Richie Vera for always doing great things for the Handball community and the youth at the Stay in School tournament at Castle Hill,” expressed 1-Wall Big Ball #1 Timbo Gonzalez. “Richie and his Castle Hill staff truly does this from the heart and the love for handball.”
“Richie Vera and the Castle Hill Handball Association are doing incredible things for young people in Brooklyn and JR WPH is so proud to support Richie, the Castle Hill Handball Association, and the young people playing handball,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Nothing could be better than inspiring the next generation of handball players in a positive and organized Labor Day Weekend event, all while providing the youngsters back to school supplies to ensure that the kids are prepared to succeed in the upcoming school year. Thank you Richie and the Castle Hill Handball Association!”
JR WPH Battle of the Border V (September): JR WPH was thrilled to present the fifth edition of the Battle of the Border, pitting Team Fred Lewis Foundation vs. Team JR WPH Juarez in one of the most competitive and friendliest junior sports rivalries in international junior sports. Team FLF was seeking to regain the Battle of the Border Cup after losing the last two Cup encounters, while Team JR WPH Juarez was aiming to take the Cup across the border for the third consecutive time.
Team FLF and Team JR WPH Juarez split the eight exciting singles Cup matches, with a one game doubles tiebreaker needed to determine the BOTB V champion. Team FLF’s Kena Byrd-Jackson and Sophie Dellacroce were too strong for Team JR WPH Juarez’s Andres Cordoba and Angel Luna in the tiebreaker, meaning the Cup would stay in Tucson.
Battle of the Border V Results
Eder Renteria (Team JR WPH Juarez) def Belisa Camach (Team FLF) 25-16
Andres Cordova (Team JR WPH Juarez) def Josh Webster (Team FLF) 25-17
Sebastian Canales (Team JR WPH Juarez) def Kena Byrd-Jackson (Team FLF) 25-17
Angel Luna (Team JR WPH Juarez) def (Team FLF) Sophia Dellacroce 26-24
Jensen Payton (Team FLF) def Angel Araiza (Team JR WPH Juarez) 25-17
Ayden Brule (Team FLF) def (Team JR WPH Juarez) Moises Gardea 25-8
Trevor Payton (Team FLF) def (Team JR WPH Juarez) Andy Araiza 25-22
Jorge Pimental def (Team FLF) Alejandro Garcia (Team JR WPH Juarez) 25-16
*Tiebreaker: Kena Byrd-Jackson/Sophie Dellacroce (Team FLF) def Andres Cordoba/Angel Luna (Team JR WPH Juarez) 25-4
Thank you to Team FLF Executive Director and Head Coach Abraham Montijo and Team JR WPH Juarez Coach Richie “Drft” Fernandez for coaching these two incredible junior handball teams. The incredible sportsmanship and great play from the youngsters is a credit to their coaches, and the sport is incredibly fortunate to have Coach Abe and Coach Drft. If you see these two incredible handball promoters and coaches, say thank you!
JR WPH Clinic and JR WPH Singles at the ’17 3WB (July): JR WPH was proud to present an exciting junior handball clinic for 12 youngsters competing in the 2017 3WallBall Outdoor Championships. WPH Coaches and 2017 3WallBall World Champions Shorty Ruiz and Martina McMahon played doubles points with the 12 youngsters, alternating partners after each rally. Following the doubles points with the pros, Coaches Ruiz and McMahon discussed the importance of practice and dedication to improve. “I spend 20 hours a week training and playing handball,” explained Coach McMahon. “You need to pay 5-6 games per day and work on different shots while you are playing, then practice by yourself for two hours,” added Coach Ruiz.
“The 3WallBall junior handball clinic is one of the WPH highlights from the 3WallBall,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “There is no other sport where junior players can play points with the top pros in the middle of a world championship event. The mission of the WPH is to inspire the next generation of players and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to inspire the youngsters at this great 3WallBall venue. To see families traveling to WPH events together and competing in adult and junior brackets, while watching fathers and sons bonding through handball is the true highlight of the event for our organization.”
JR WPH Singles
JR WPH proudly hosted the 2017 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships JR WPH singles, with more than 25 youngsters competing on handball’s greatest stage. The youngsters demonstrated exceptional skills and passion for the game during the singles event. “We’ve been watching a lot of these juniors for the past four or five years and it’s incredible to see how much they’ve improved,” stated WPH Executive Director David Vincent. “We especially love watching the great sportsmanship and friendships the junior players have developed at the tournaments over the past few years.”
12-and-under: Abraham Espindola def Jacob Marin 12-4, 12-2
15-and-under: Eddie Rocha, Jr. def Michael Bautista 12-2, 12-4
17-and-under: Mauricio Molina def Jesus Mendez 12-4, 12-5
19-and-under: Daniel Barrientos def Octavio Romero 12-10, 12-9
2017 JR WPH Season-Ending Rankings (September): JR WPH held four junior ranking events in 2017, with more than 200 junior handball players between the ages of 8-19 competing in the four JR WPH stops in California (IceMan, Fullerton), Brooklyn (NYC JR WPH Shootout), and Las Vegas (3WallBall). Each JR WPH stop featured a JR WPH clinic alongside the JR WPH competitions, with the junior players having a chance to learn from and play alongside top WPH Outdoor pros and coaches.
The 19-and-under JR WPH singles featured four different boy’s winners in four events, as New York’s Tristian Durbin, and California’s Marco Alatorre, Jesus Mendez, and Daniel Barrientos all collected titles. One-half of Brooklyn’s “Wonder Twins” Melanie Garante won the girls 19-and-under singles at the 2017 NYC JR WPH Shootout.
New York’s Edwin Troncoso won the 17-and-under singles at Brooklyn’s 2017 NYC JR WPH Shootout, while California’s Mauricio Molina won the 17-and-under 3WallBall JR WPH singles at the 3WallBall Championships. New York City’s Jasmine Chen captured the Girl’s 2017 NYC JR WPH Shootout in Brooklyn.
Central California’s Michael Bautista finished the season as the #1 ranked 15-and-under JR WPH star, finishing second at Fullerton and the 3WallBall Championships. Bautista edged David Sanchez III, Eddie Rocha, Jesus Mendez, and Kelvin Garcia for the top spot.
David Sanchez III won the 13-and-under 4-Wall national title in December of 2016 and added the 14-and-under Fullerton title to his glittering resume. New York’s Fernando Hernandez and California’s Abraham Espindola shared the top 14-and-under honors with Sanchez, winning the NYC JR WPH Shootout and the 3WallBall, respectively.
Abraham Espindola added the #1 JR WPH 12-and-under ranking to his stellar season, winning Fullerton in June. Southern California’s Xavier Flores and Northern California’s Daniel Sanchez shared the top spot in the 10-and-under JR WPH season, with Sanchez winning the IceMan and Flores winning in Fullerton.
“We are extremely proud of all of the youngsters who participated in the 2017 JR WPH events,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “Although we recognize the winners of each event, the real winners are those who had fun playing, gave their best effort, and are determined to continue playing and improving in the future.”
1. Tristian Durbin (NY) 10
1. Marco Alatorre (CA) 10
1. Jesus Mendez (CA) 10
1. Daniel Barrientos (CA) 10
5. Salvador Diaz (CA) 8
5. Edwin Troncoso (NY) 8
5. Octavio Romero (CA) 8
1. Melanie Garate (NY) 10
2. Jessenia Garate (NY) 8
2. Emily Sanchez (CA) 8
1. Edwin Troncoso (NY) 10
1. Mauricio Molina (CA) 10
3. Henry Santana (NY) 8
3. Jesus Mendez (CA) 8
1. Jasmine Chen (NY) 10
2. Celeste Luna (NY) 8
1. Michael Bautista (CA) 16
2. David Sanchez III (CA) 10
2. Eddie Rocha Jr. (CA) 10
2. Jesus Mendez (CA) 10
2. Kelvin Garcia (NY) 10
6. Alex Trujillo (CA) 8
6. Joshua Rosa (NY) 8
8. Louis Montes (CA) 6
1. Cathy Chen (NY) 10
2. Celeste Luna (NY 8
1. David Sanchez III (CA) 10
1. Fernando Hernandez (NY) 10
1. Abraham Espindola (CA) 10
4. Ferman Victoria (CA) 8
4. William Li (NY 8
4. Jacob Marin (CA) 8
1. Madison Borrego (NY) 10
2. Veronica Figueroa (NY) 8
1. Abraham Espindola (CA) 10
2. Moises Barrientos (CA) 8
1. Daniel Sanchez (CA) 10
1. Xavier Flores (CA) 10
3. Victor Serrato (CA) 8
3. Jose Arellanos (CA) 8
5. Emilio Serrato (CA) 6
JR WPH Singles at Tucson’s Battle I (September): More than 20 youngsters from Phoenix, Arizona State University, Pima College, and the Fred Lewis Foundation competed in the WPH Outdoor Battle I at Tucson’s Pima West College, producing a number of exciting 3-Wall matches and inspiring sportsmanship and camaraderie amongst the youngsters.
Fred Lewis Foundation superstar Ayden Brule continued to shine, adding the JR WPH 14-and-under Battle I title to his resume, overcoming Jensen Payton, Miguel Sandoval, and Andres Sandoval to win the title.
First: Ayden Brule
Second: Miguel Sandoval
Alejandro Sandoval cruised in the Junior B singles, ousting ASU’s Austen Bennett, David Frances, and Phoenix’s Donavyn Doyle
First: Alejandro Sandoval
Second: Donavyn Doyle
Cassie Coolidge defeated Carly Coolidge in the final of the Junior Big Ball Novice bracket, finishing the Junior Big Ball Novice undefeated. Cassie also defeated Bella Alvarez and Alex Gonzalez
First: Cassie Coolidge
Second: Carly Coolidge
FLF standout juniors Kena Byrd and Sophie Della Cruce competed in the women’s singles, performing admirably against current 3-Wall national pro finalist Ashley Moler in the round robin format. Kena took second, while Sophie captured third.
“We are so grateful for Fred Lewis and Abraham Montijo for sending a group of their Fred Lewis Foundation youngsters to the Battle I, as well as Arizona State’s Dan Willeford for driving three of his team members to Tucson to participate,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “We saw seasoned junior stars with national championships, juniors playing in the first tournament, and all levels in between at the Battle I. The common denominator was that each of the youngsters had a great time and developed friendships that they’ll maintain for years to come.”
R48 #1 Carroll Hits UWF For Collegiate Clinics (October): By JR WPH UWF Coach Michael Morgan: The weekend with Coach Killian was a huge success, with the UWF handball team and JR WPH sponsoring R48 #1 Killian Carroll to travel to Pensacola, FL to conduct clinics for 30 collegiate handball players from the University of West Florida and the University of Texas. All of the players had a great time playing handball, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and learning from Killian.
Killian was incredible with the players, conducting five hour-long clinics and adding extra time throughout the weekend for any player who wasn’t too awestruck to ask the number one player in the world specific questions about their own game. With the clinics, we were able to split players into small groups for a more personal touch and separate the new and experienced players into separate groups to cover more of the fundamentals of the game and more advanced material for the players with more experience. Throughout the clinics, Killian gave each player individual critiques to help improve their personal style of play. One player mentioned, “These were the best clinics he had ever been a part of.”
All weekend Killian showed why on and off the court he is an incredible champion and ambassador for the sport of handball. I’m confident in saying through his tireless efforts with the players this weekend if he didn’t already have them, he now has 30 new fans that will be cheering him on at tournaments for years to come, check that, 31. Thank you, Killian and a big thank you to the WPH for the continued support in helping the UWF Handball team grow.
Editor’s note: Thank you to JR WPH collegiate Coach of the Year Michael Morgan and Race 4 Eight #1 Killian Carroll for an outstanding weekend of clinics for nearly three-dozen collegiate handball players. The WPH is extremely fortunate to have Coach Morgan and Killian as ambassadors to the sport and willing to give back so much of their time and energy to this great game.
JR WPH Clinic and Singles at the ’17 Memorial (November): JR WPH proudly hosted a clinic, skills competition, and JR WPH singles for two-dozen youngsters between the ages of 8-19 from Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Mexico. The junior players learned the fundamentals from R48 pros and aimed for targets on kill shots and serves to improve their accuracy and technique. During the skills competition, several of the junior players were interviewed by ESPN’s Kara Mack and discussed what they love about handball.
Following the clinic, the juniors played in age bracket JR WPH singles, with each of the participants demonstrating exceptional sportsmanship and skills.
“All of the donations we receive at the Memorial and throughout the year go towards hosting junior clinics and competitions throughout each year,” stated WPH Donor Development Director David Fink. “We are very proud to have hosted more than 1,000 junior handball clinics thus far in 2017. Thank you to all of our generous donors for helping us to inspire the next generation of players.”
JR WPH Singles at the ’17 Memorial
Champion: Andres Araiza
Finalist: Yareli Leon
Champion: Jesus Mendez
Finalist: Andres Cordova
Champion: Miguel Sandoval
Finalist: Jensen Payton
Champion: Alejandro Sandoval
Finalist: Rodrigo Silva
Champion: Esteban Camacho
Finalist: Alex Clarke, Jr.
Thank you to ASU’s Dan Willeford, JR WPH Juarez’s Drft Fernandez, the Fred Lewis Foundation’s Abraham Montijo for organizing for their junior players to play and running the ’17 Memorial singles. Thank you to all of the junior players for the sportsmanship and passion for the game.
JR WPH Clinic at the LAAC R48 Pre Qualifier (December): WPH R48 Elite 8 pros Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez hosted a sensational junior clinic for Patrick Saito’s Southern California junior handball group. Coaches Ortiz and Perez focused on fundamentals of the sidearm stroke, footwork, making solid contact, fist ceiling shots, return of serve, and having fun on the court. “The WPH cannot thank Mando and Vic enough for giving back to the next generation of players,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “We are so grateful that our top players are willing to inspire youngsters to develop a lifelong passion for our great game.”
JR WPH Tucson Collegiate Singles (December): A dozen collegiate stars from Pima College and Arizona State University battled for the first JR WPH Collegiate Championship. Fred Lewis Foundation star Carlos Espinoza entered the event as the top seed and cruised to the semifinal with an impressive win against Arizona State’s Esteban Morales. FLF star Noe Rios and FLF alum and current Arizona State star Esteban Camacho played the closest match in the quarterfinals, with the longtime friends and rivals needing overtime to decide a winner. Rios rallied from a 24-25 deficit to score the last three points and advance to the face Espinoza.
In the bottom bracket quarterfinals, ASU’s Derek Doyle edged FLF’s Alejandro Sandoval, while Pima College’s Dylan Key ousted ASU’s Javier Davila.
Espinoza was too strong for Rios in the upper bracket semifinal, while Key cruised past ASU’s Doyle in the bottom bracket semifinals.
Despite both living in Tucson, Espinoza and Key met for the first time in the Collegiate Final. Key started strong in the final, racing to a 10-2 lead and seemingly on the verge of a one-game lead in the best of three game final. Espinoza closed the gap and eventually tied Key at 11, then carried the momentum to a one-game lead.
Espinoza continued to apply pressure in game two, building an 11-6 lead and eventually reaching match point at 14-11. Key played his best ball of the match with his back against the wall, tying the score at 14. With the score tied at 15, Espinoza was able to win consecutive points to clinch the title. “Carlos just played great,” stated a gracious Key. “That was a really fun match.”
Carlos Espinoza def Esteban Morales 25-5
Noe Rios def Esteban Camacho 27-25
Derek Doyle def Alejandro Sandoval 25-20
Dylan Key def Javier Davila 25-4
Carlos Espinoza def Noe Rios 25-10
Buddy Key def Derek Doyle 25-7
Final: C. Espinoza def Key 15-12, 17-15
3rd Place Final: Rios def Doyle 25-20
JR WPH Sponsored Teams
JR WPH also sponsors junior handball programs and teams across the country with certified coaches that teach handball fundamentals, as well as sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline through handball. Check out the junior handball programs that JR WPH proudly supports below.
Junior WPH Park City (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to support JR WPH Park City (Utah), home of the annual Race 4 Eight Salt Lake City Aces. WPH Coaches Ted and Zac McManus started a youth/collegiate group with six players late in 2015 that has blossomed into 25 enthusiastic players that play in the local league and up to four times a week. Coach Ted and Coach Zac emphasize fun and learning from the pros, as Jr WPH Park City players have the opportunity to watch the pros live every April at the R48 Aces, while also watching all of the R48 events on the ESPN3. “The Utah Handball Association would like to thank the World Players of Handball for supporting our youth/collegiate handball club at the Wasatch County Rec Center, just outside Park City, Utah,” stated Coach Ted McManus. “Thank you to the World Players of Handball for all that you do for handball.”
Junior WPH Natty Gonzalez cd. Juarez, Mexico (yearly): Junior WPH Juarez continues to thrive in 2016, setting the standard for all junior handball programs in North America. Led by WPH Certified Coach and Texas State Doubles Champion Richie “Drft” Fernandez, Junior WPH Juarez holds weekly practices for more than 20 active junior players in the JR WPH Juarez program, as well as holding local junior tournaments and organizing trips for the junior players to compete in indoor and outdoor junior handball events across the United States. Thank you to Coach Drft and the entire Juarez handball community for providing the opportunity for dozens on young people to become active, responsible, and goal-oriented people through handball.
Junior WPH Program at the University of West Florida (yearly): Junior WPH is pleased to sponsor the University of West Florida Argonauts Handball Club in Pensacola, FL for the fourth consecutive year. In just its fifth year in existence, the UWF Handball Club has become one of the preeminent collegiate handball programs in the country, as UWF Handball Club founder Michael Morgan and the UWF handball team recruits new players year-round, holds weekly practices, hosts collegiate and open tournaments throughout the year, and travels to various handball tournaments across the country. “The UWF Handball Club has become a model for all new and future collegiate handball programs,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The Argonauts have shown that dedication, organization, and passion can inspire dozens of new collegiate handball players to make enjoy handball for a lifetime.”
WPH Sponsored Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to sponsor the Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program in New York City, led by WPH Coach Danielle Daskalakis. WPH Coach Daskalakis leads two 4-Wall clinics each week in the winter and fall seasons, as well as organizing New York City junior handball tournaments and arranging trips for the Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program to regional and national small ball and big ball junior handball tournaments. “The Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Program has become the premiere junior handball program in the Northeast, and the WPH is honored to be able to support the youngsters in their quest to play recreational and tournament handball,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink.” Thank you to Coach Daskalakis for all she does to grow the game and to all of the junior handball players for their passion for the game.”
Junior WPH Clinics at the Columbus, MS YMCA (yearly): Junior WPH is proud to be coaching weekly clinics at the YMCA in Columbus, MS, lead by WPH Coach Joel Levy. Coach Levy leads twice-weekly clinics at the Columbus YMCA, focusing on safety, footwork, hitting the ball, serving, returning of serve, introduction to singles and doubles. The juniors start learning with half court and eventually graduate to full court. Upcoming classes will focus on the back wall, rules, and teamwork.
“The clinics are going really well,” stated Coach Levy. “In the last class some of the boys and girls asked to play full court. They are really enjoying the game.”
“The WPH proudly hosted a clinic at the Columbus YMCA over the summer with Coach Cordova, Coach Morgan, and Coach Levy,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “The administration at the YMCA was so impressed with the clinics and how much fun the kids were having that Coach Levy is now coaching multiple clinics per week. Thank you Coach Levy!”
JR WPH Pittsburgh (yearly): JR WPH Pittsburgh enthusiastically kicked off its junior handball program in 2014 with weekly handball clinics at Amerifit Handball Club, home of the WPH’s RFC. WPH Coaches Rodney Fink and Mike Semplice lead weekly sessions for the young handballers, with handball serving as a cross-training vehicle for Pittsburgh baseball, football, and basketball stars. The athletic juniors quickly progress on Amerifit’s 4-Wall courts, hitting the ball well with both hands and rallying after just a few sessions. The juniors are inspired by the annual RFC, in which Race 4 Eight, WPH Outdoor, and junior stars travel from Arizona, New York, Canada, and Ireland to compete.
“We like to introduce handball as a cross-training tool to get new players on the court,” stated Coach Fink. “Once the kids are on the court, we hope they become addicted to the game, as I did 50 years ago, and play handball for a lifetime.”
To follow all of the JR WPH initiatives from 2017 and throughout our history, go to juniorhandball.org
Thank you to all of our JR WPH donors, supporters, coaches, and players for enabling the World Players of Handball to provide opportunities for thousands of young people to learn and play handball in 2017. JR WPH looks forward to a great 2018, complete with exciting initiatives to grow the sport and inspire the next generation of handball players.
Keep an eye out on juniorhandball.org, as new clinic opportunities and recaps pop up weekly. Want to coach a clinic or a junior handball program? Need more information regarding junior handball? The Junior WPH group spans multiple countries, continents and oceans with clinics happening daily. We can help! Contact WPH Development Director David Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org
To enable Junior WPH to continue to host junior handball clinics and tournaments across North America with Certified WPH Coaches, the World Players of Handball invites you to make a tax-deductible donation today in supporting the growth of the game. 100% of the donations received by the WPH go towards junior handball development. Donate on-line here, or send your generous gifts through PayPal (email@example.com) or by mailing checks to: WPH, 3561 E. Sunrise Dr. Suite 125, Tucson, AZ, 85718.
WPH Senior Writer