The last weekend of January featured top handball stars and junior handball players from both coasts in action in the prestigious Long Island Open outside of New York City and the WPH Iceman 4-Wall Big Ball Tourney in Stockton, CA.
Newly minted WPH R48 pro Billy O’Donnell dominated the Long Island Open, slamming the small ball open singles and open doubles. The R48 #31 defeated 1-Wall superstar Cesar Sala in two games to capture the open singles and teamed with fellow R48 pro Mike Schneider to defeat SR48 star Andy Rousseau and Darwin Lee in two games to win the open doubles. Ignazio “Iggy” Accardi defeated Mike Schneider in two games to win the big ball open singles.
Billy O’Donnell joined WPH Coach and WR48 pro and Westside YMCA Harry Mellis Junior Handball Director Danielle Daskalakis in a WPH and ICHA sponsored junior handball clinic. Daskalakis and O’Donnell shared lessons they learned as youngsters in the ICHA program with the next generation of New York junior handball stars, including kill shot fundamentals and the “line drill.” After listening and watching the coaches explain and demonstrate the proper swinging fundamentals, the junior players applied what they learned in a WPH sponsored target-hitting competition. Melanie Garate, Dan Pitre and Gary Luk won WPH prizes, with each managing to knock down targets with precise kills. Thank you to Danielle, Billy, Paul Williams and all of the junior players!
Northern California’s WPH Iceman Big Ball event boasted five of the top seven WPH Outdoor pros, with Samzon Hernandez and Juan Santos nabbing the first and second seeds, respectively. Hernandez needed tiebreakers to defeat Noe Garcia in the quarterfinals and Sal Duenas in the semifinals, while second-seeded Juan Santos was upset in a quarterfinal tiebreaker by Alfredo Morales. Seventh-seeded “El Hombre” Morales advanced to the final to face Hernandez with a straight sets victory against Kevin Gonzalez in the bottom bracket semifinal. The rivalry which saw “El Hombre” defeat “The Machine” in two of three 2015 WPH Outdoor Player’s Cup season did not disappoint in the final, as the pair split the first two games with sensational shot making and electrified the frenzied NorCal galleries. Hernandez survived his third consecutive tiebreaker to clinch the IceMan, making him the “coldest 4-Wall big baller in the game.”
Morales regrouped after his singles loss, teaming with good friend and WPH Outdoor #2 Juan Santos to defeat frequent rivals Chava Cordova and Noe Garcia in a 15-13 tiebreaker to claim the Iceman Open Doubles. Already known as two of the coolest stars on the WPH Outdoor Player’s Cup tour, Morales and Santos officially became the “coldest 4-wall big ball doubles team in the game.”
In the junior singles portion of the Iceman 4-Wall Big Ball Junior Tournament, Xavier Flores captured the 13-and-under singles, defeating Tristen Hernandez, while Daniel Sanchez took third. David Sanchez III won the 16-and-under, overcoming runner-up Dorothy Sanchez and third-place finisher Felipe Mora-Ochoa. Gabe Delao captured the 19-and-under, with Luis Bustos taking second and Dorothy Ramirez taking third.
WPH Outdoor Director and WPH Coach Tom Flores, WR48 star Betty Fabain and “The Magic Man” Miguel Ochoa hosted an outstanding Junior WPH Clinic for eight enthusiastic junior players, focusing on the importance of safety on the court, most notably wearing eye protection at all times. The coaches also focused on sportsmanship, fairness, friendship and respect, the cornerstone of all Junior WPH clinics and programs. After emphasizing the core values of handball, the coaches explained and demonstrated various serves and back wall returns. Each of the students practiced numerous repetitions of each shot under the watchful eye of the coaches. Thank you to coaches Tom Flores, Betty Fabian and Miguel Ochoa and thank you to Javi Flores for the pictures.
To follow all of the draws and results from the WPH Iceman 4-Wall Big Ball Tourney, click here>
The Houston R48 V Stop #3 in less than three weeks away, so if you are planning on entering the qualifier and/or playing in the Texas State Doubles Championships, register here>
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