Olathe, KS, WPH Press, 10/14/18- The 2018 Heart of America Tournament featured more than 80 players in 15 divisions, highlighted by R48 Next Generation stars and Kansas handball ambassadors Max Langmack and Sam Esser in the Men’s Open singles and Taylor Rumping in the Women’s Open singles.
Men’s Open Singles
Langmack entered the 2018 Heart of America Tournament as the top seed and cruised to the final in the upper bracket, dismissing Kansas’ Max Vollink and Missouri’s Ryan Willis. Esser was equally dominant in the bottom bracket, dispatching Missouri’s Ryan Colyer and Missouri’s Garrett Bacon.
The Kansas junior prodigies, All-Americans, and R48 Next Gen stars played a classic in the final, complete with great serves, incredible retrieves, bottom-board kills, and a number of momentum shifts.
Esser took game one of the final with consistent, all-around handball. “Sam came out (in the first game) with some crack serves and was putting all the passes I tried away with back wall kills,” Langmack would later say. “Sam also showed his speed and touch in the front court, re killing nearly every kill shot I tried.”
“I felt like I was controlling the front court and dictating the rallies in the first game,” stated Esser.
Langmack gained control of the match in game two, playing with more assertiveness. “tried to put the pressure on and get aggressive in game two after having dropped the first,” stated Langmack. “I went for some more kills and was more consistent with my serve.”
“Max got hot in the second game with his kill shot, especially of the back wall,” stated Esser.
The tiebreaker featured several lead changes and great shot making from the Next Gen stars. “The tiebreaker was back and forth, as all of them between us usually are,” stated Langmack. “Sam jumped out to a 4-0 lead but I turned the momentum a bit with a diving re kill off a kill shot that just stayed up. I got on a run to tie the score and we traded points and kills until I got a slight advantage at 8-6. I had enough to serve well for the last three points.”
“Max continued to stay hot with his back wall kill in the tiebreaker,” stated Esser. “Max was controlling the front court and dictating all of the rallies in the tiebreaker, as he had done in game two”
Final: Langmack def Esser 12-21, 21-13, 11-7
Women’s Open Singles
Missouri State’s women’s star Taylor Rumping continued to impress on the Midwest handball circuit, defeating Missouri’s Meghan Mudd (3M) to advance to the final to face Missouri’s Laura Blankenship, who defeated Minnesota’s Joelle Anderson and Carina Aguilar to meet Rumping in the final.
Rumping was too strong in the final, dominating the action and controlling the match en route to a two-game sweep and the 2018 Heart of America Women’s Singles title.
Final: Rumping def Blankenship 21-12, 21-4
To view all of the brackets and results from the 2018 Heart of America Tournament, go HERE
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WPH Senior Writer