From Canada to Vegas to California: May 23, 2016-
The middle of May featured one of the busiest handball weekends of the year, as the top 4-Wall stars and WPH Outdoor stars were in action in major tournaments across North America, with each event hosting special Junior WPH clinics.
The WPH Outdoor V Stop #5 Vegas Lte
WPH Outdoor and the Stratosphere in Las Vegas proudly presented the WPH Outdoor V Stop #5 Vegas Lte and the Stratosphere’s permanent two-court 3-Wall handball complex. Five of the top eight men’s elite stars on the WPH Outdoor V tour made the trip to Vegas, as well as a number of former WPH Outdoor stars. The WPH Outdoor women’s stars competed in their first stop of the 2016 WPH Outdoor V season, with WPH Outdoor Women’s #1 Tanisha Groomes aiming for her 13th WPH Outdoor Women’s singles title in her 15th start.
Timbo Gonzalez slammed the 2016 Vegas Lte, winning a thrilling singles final against Juan Santos and teaming with Shorty Ruiz to defeat Juan Santos and Kevin Gonzalez to win the doubles. Ciana Ni Churraoin claimed her first WPH title with an incredible performance against WPH Outdoor Women’s #1 Tanisha Groomes. Groomes and Moler teamed to defeat Ni Churraoin and Kate Moran to win the women’s doubles. Manuel Yep, Jr. won the 17-and-under Junior WPH Vegas Lte, while Manuel’s brother Ramon won the 12-and-under. WPH Coaches David Fink, Shorty Ruiz and Tanisha Groomes led an inspiring junior clinic on Saturday during the Vegas Lte, with the trio teaching the right corner kill, the “out-the-door” serve and point-play strategy. “My youngest is just started to get into handball and he is so excited to play after the clinic,” stated Mnauel Yep, Sr. “He woke up this morning begging to go to the courts to play!”
To read the Saturday recap from the 2016 Vegas Lte, click here
To read the Sunday recap from the 2016 Vegas Lte, click here
To follow all of the results from the 2016 Vegas Lte, click here
The 2016 Canadian National Handball Championships
The Canadian National Handball Championships has long been recognized as one of the most prestigious titles in the sport, boasting David Chapman, Paul Brady, Tony Healy, Merv Deckert and Danny Bell amongst its illustrious group of former champions. The 2016 Canadian Nationals featured R48 #7 and 2015 R48 Rookie of the Year Daniel Cordova, Canada’s top-ranked R48 star Ryan “The Bowl Dog” Bowler, Chicago’s highest-ranked R48 star Dave Munson, and Canadian junior stars Michael Gaulton and the Burgos brothers, Alam and Ivan.
R48 #7 pro and top-seeded Canadian National Men’s Open seed Daniel Cordova cruised to the final with a straight sets semifinal victory against former national master’s champion Jim Karner. There was no cruising in the bottom bracket semifinal, as Chicago’s gunslinger Dave Munson met Canadian hero Ryan Bowler for the second time this year. Munson won their first encounter in the R48 qualifier final in Houston in February, stating during the middle of their intense qualifier final, “I heard about Bowler and now I see he’s the real deal.”
The Chicagoan would have to defeat “The Bowl Dog” for a second time this year on Bowler’s home soil for a spot in the Canadian National final. The pair staged the match of the tournament, with neither player able to separate himself throughout the nearly three-hour clash. Munson clinched the first game 21-18, holding on against one of the fiercest competitors in the sport. Munson held match point in game two, but Bowler thrilled his faithful Canadian supporters, surviving Munson’s attempts to close out the match to force a decider.
Munson continued to apply pressure in the tiebreaker, but Bowler hung in the match with multiple dives and stiff-arm kills. When the dust settled, Munson was able to overcome TBD, advancing to his first Canadian National Handball final, 21-18, 20-21, 11-9.
Munson met his frequent sparring partner and tournament adversary in the final, as recent Lake Forest College graduate Daniel Cordova and Munson renewed their heated Chi town rivalry. Not much separated the two R48 pros in the first two games, with the familiarity with playing one another producing scintillating rallies. Cordova caught fire in the second half of game one and led midway through game two before Munson caught fire, evening the game at one game each. Cordova jumped out to an early lead in the tiebreaker and never looked back, holding off Munson for his first Canadian National Championship.
Cordova was far from done in Toronto, as he added the doubles crown with Canadian superstar Kevin Kopchuk and won the 1-wall big ball singles title in a brilliant match with his Lake Forest teammate Matt Chu that saw Cordova trailing 6-19 before winning 25-21.
WPH Coaches Daniel Cordova, Ryan Bowler, and Kevin Kopchuk held a special Junior WPH handball clinic for the youngsters in attendance at the Canadian Nationals. Known as the “hop artist,” Cordova explained and demonstrated the techniques required to execute the reverse and natural hop, as well as the fundamentals to the correct sidearm handball stroke. Canadian superstars Bowler and Kopchuk discussed the importance of letting the ball drop and having fun. “It was nice also that many juniors were able to share an experience with Coach Daniel in the court and beautiful even more, to see the parents in the gallery watching their kids go through some drills with The Mexican Maestro….clapping if they hit the target and simply pumped that the kids were having so much fun,” stated Kopchuk.
Thank you for growing the game Daniel, Ryan and Kevin!
To follow all of the results from the 2016 Canadian National Handball Championships, click here
The 2016 LAAC Open, Wafe Risner Handball Tournament
The LAAC Open, Wafe Risner Handball Tournament has long attracted the game’s current greats and this year was no exception. LAAC sponsored superstars and R48 top 15 pros Marcos Chavez, Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez played host to the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s most esteemed event of the year, as the trio not only demonstrated their sensational handball skills, but also helped to run the event.
Chavez, Ortiz, and Perez were joined in the Wafe Risner draw by Race 4 Eight superstars Sean Lenning and Luis Moreno, with all five vying to have his name etched on the Wafe Risner trophy. Lenning advanced to the final with a close two-game semifinal victory against SR48 #1 Marcos Chavez, while Armando Ortiz was unstoppable in his two-game semifinal victory against nine-time R48 champion Luis Moreno. Lenning cruised in the final against Ortiz at Ortiz’s home club, dispatching his R48 rival in two games to win his first LAAC Wafe Risner title.
WPH Coach Vic Perez coached a sensational junior clinic during the LAAC Wafe Risner, leading a group of energetic youngsters through the handball warm-up and various shots and strategies to help the juniors play better handball and have more fun on the court. After reviewing techniques and fundamentals to improve shot execution, held a target-hitting competition and concluded the clinic with a game of cross-court two-bounce. Thank you to Coach Vic and to R48 stars Sean Lenning and Luis Moreno for helping coach the clinic.
To follow all of the results from the 2016 LAAC Open, Wafe Risner Handball Tournament, click here
Log onto wphlive.tv, Like the World Players of Handball on Facebook, or follow the WPH on Twitter @dfwph and @wphlive for all of the handball news from on and off the court! The World Players of Handball is a non-profit foundation aiming to grow the game of handball through innovation and inspiring the next generation of players through junior clinics with certified WPH coaches, junior tournaments and the Race 4 Eight tour.
WPH Senior Writer