The 22nd Annual Council Speaker’s Cup, the USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships and JR WPH Clinic, and the 27th Annual LaGrange 3-Wall Open: July 17, 2016
The third weekend in July featured three sensational handball tournaments in three of the largest cities in the U.S, with New York City playing host to the 22nd Annual Council Speaker’s Cup, Venice Beach hosting the USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships and JR WPH Clinic, and Chicago playing host to the 27th Annual LaGrange 3-Wall Open.
22nd Annual Council Speaker’s Cup
The ICHA hosted one of 1-Wall Small Ball’s most prestigious events in New York City’s Central Park, with defending 1-Wall Small Ball pro singles national champion Tyree Bastidas, defending Speaker’s Cup champion William Polanco, and 2015 national finalist Cesar Sala headlining a stellar field. The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals, but neither the first or second seed would make the final. Mike Schneider defeated Tyree Bastidas with an impressive display of controlled 1-Wall handball to advance to the final in the bottom bracket. “Tyree was serving well and hitting well but Mike just seemed to have an answer for Tyree’s shots,” stated WPH reporter James Flaherty. Billy O’Donnell defeated #1 seed William Polanco 25-20 in the upper bracket semifinal. “The game was tied at 17 with the volleys going back and forth,” stated Flaherty. “It was a long and grueling game that lasted almost an hour.”
Schneider raced to a big lead in the final and held off a late charge to defeat O’Donnell 25-15 in the final. “Nice serving and hard shots from Mike (Schneider) throughout the game,” stated Flaherty. “Billy started coming back but was never able to catch Mike.”
“I’m just happy to win a major,” declared Schneider. “I’ve been working hard for a few years now and it feels good to have it pay off.”
Thank you to WPH reporter James Flaherty for the on-site updates and recaps and congratulations to Mike Schneider.
For results from all of the brackets from the 22nd Annual Council Speaker’s Cup, go here
USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships and JR WPH Clinic
Nearly 50 junior players from California and Arizona competed in eight singles brackets at the USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships at Venice Beach. Tucson’s Carlos Espinoza won the 19-and-under singles in a thrilling tiebreaker against Bryan Pacheco, L.A.’s Andrew Garcia dominated the 17-and-under singles, Tucson’s Jorge Pimentel defeated his FLF teammate Isaac Rios in the finals of the 15-and-under singles, Stockton’s David Sanchez III clinched the 13-and-under singles, and Santa Barbara’s Daniel Mora won the 11-and-under singles. Tucson’s Kena Byrd Jackson overcame a strong girl’s 17-and-under field to clinch the girl’s 17-and-under singles.
Junior WPH was thrilled to collaborate with the USHA on a sensational junior handball clinic during the USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships. WPH Outdoor superstar and WPH Certified Coach Shorty Ruiz hosted the clinic for 15 enthusiastic junior handball stars, focusing on ceiling shots, out-the-door serves, and target-hitting competitions. “The kids had a great time and didn’t want the clinic to end,” stated Coach Ruiz. “It felt great to give back to the juniors on the courts in which I’ve had so much success.”
Huge thanks to Coach Ruiz, JR WPH and the USHA for providing the kids with a spectacular clinic and opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greatest coaches and players.
For results from all of the brackets from the USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championships, go here
27th Annual LaGrange 3-Wall Open
The LaGrange 3-Wall Open has long been considered one of the most prestigious prizes in 3-Wall Small Ball Handball, as many of the game’s best 3-Wallers have traveled through Chicago as preparation for the USHA 3-Wall National Championships. Chicago’s Dane Szatkowski entered the event as the top seed, while fellow Chicagoan Bill Mehilos grabbed the second seed. Szatkowski cruised to the final with a straight sets victory against Mike Dorneker. Mehilos faced Chicago 3-Wall superstar Marco Lemus and was ousted in two games by the enormously talented 3-Wall powerhouse to setup the Szatkowski vs. Lemus final. Lemus continued his impressive play in the final, upsetting Szatkowski in one of the best LaGrange finals in history, dropping the first game 12-21, winning the second 21-9 and winning a sensational 11-10 tiebreaker. “Marco has a real big serve and a great power game,” reported multiple-time 3-Wall national champion Bill Mehilos.
“I’m happy for the win,” declared Lemus. “It was a long battle. I used a deep three-wall serve and a fly kill or fly pass on my next shot to try to keep the front court position.”
For results from all of the brackets from the 27th Annual LaGrange 3-Wall Open, go here
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WPH Senior Writer