Austin, TX, WPH Press, 7/8/18- The University of Texas Handball Team proudly hosted the 2018 Longhorn Classic at Gregory Gym on the University of Texas campus, with one of the nation’s strongest collegiate handball programs welcoming collegiate players, former R48 pros, top open players from the Southwest and Master’s stars from throughout the Southwest.
Women’s Open Singles
Tournament director, University of Texas Handball Club President, and future WR48 pro Kristen Hughes headlined the women’s field alongside University of Texas teammate and rising star Scarlett Smith. Hughes lost in the finals of last year’s Longhorn Classic but was determined to take the title in her first event as a tournament director.
Hughes swept Group 1 in the women’s round robin, ousting Avery Shepherd and Rachel Deschner to advance to the final. Smith was equally dominant in the Group 2, overcoming Brooke Edwards and Bella Smith to setup a clash with Hughes in the final.
Hughes and Smith demonstrated the great strides both young ladies have made in their games in the past few years, playing a number of sensational rallies and demonstrating outstanding shot making.
Hughes took game one comfortably, but Smith rallied in game two, locating a great serve to Hughes’ left to apply pressure on the University of Texas Handball Team President. Just as in the men’s final, the second game was tied at 20 before Hughes closed out the match. “I was having a lot of trouble with the serve Scarlett was hitting to my left,” stated Hughes. “My left hand is definitely the weakest part of my game, and she figured that out after the first game. We’ve been on the (University of Texas) team together for three years now, and I was excited to play her in a more official setting than our casual team matches.”
Women’s Group 1
Hughes def Shepherd 21-2, 21-1
Hughes def Deschner 21-2, 19-21, 11-4
Women’s Group 2
Smith def Edwards 21-12, 21-7
Smith def B. Smith 21-3, 21-18
Final: Hughes def S. Smith 21-7, 21-20
Memo Pallares entered the 2018 Longhorn Classic as the defending Men’s Open Singles champion, having overcome chief rival Adam Bernhard in a three-hour epic final in last year’s Longhorn Classic, surviving match points to win 11-10 in the tiebreaker.
Pallares cruised in the upper bracket, defeating Ian Schlesinger and Holden Smith en route to the final. “Weekend at Bernie’s” Adam Bernhard was aiming for a rematch with Pallares in the final and was clinical in overcoming Jonathan Pollard and Adam Berliner to cruise to the final in the bottom bracket.
Bernhard took control in game one, building a 20-9 lead. Pallares staged a comeback, scoring five unanswered points before Bernhard closed out the first game with a back wall kill, 21-14.
Pallares maintained his late game one momentum, taking an 18-12 second game lead, seemingly on the verge of forcing a tiebreaker. Bernhard thwarted his Austin rival’s plans by scoring eight straight points to serve for the match at 20-18, but Pallares tied the game at 20, only to stall at game point. Bernhard closed out the match and the championship with another of his patented back wall kills. “Neither of us played very well,” stated Bernhard after the match. “I was hitting very good and very bad shots. Memo was a bit sloppy but got better as the match went on.”
To watch the Longhorn Classic Men’s Open Singles Final, go to the University of Texas Handball Team Facebook page HERE
Men’s Open Semifinals
Pallares def Smith
Bernhard def Berliner 21-9, 21-14
Final: Bernhard def Pallares 21-14, 21-20
Thank you to 2018 Longhorn Classic tournament director and WPH reporter Kristen Hughes. “Running this tournament was definitely great practice for me. I am very happy to say it ran very smoothly!”
Photo of the University of Texas Handball Team courtesy of the University of Texas Handball Team Facebook page. Photo of Kristen Hughes courtesy of Arnold J Ward Studio Photography/WPH.
To follow all of the brackets and results from the 2018 Longhorn Classic, go HERE
WPH Senior Writer