The 2016 Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship was highlighted by outstanding efforts on and off the court, as players, staffers, fans and volunteers exceeded all expectations to make Portland one of the greatest Race 4 Eight stops in history. Check out the top moments from Portland below.
Killian Carroll Wins His First R48 Title: Killian Carroll bounced back from a last place finish in his most recent start to win his first R48 title and the 2016 R48 Player’s Championship in Portland. Carroll ousted Paul Brady in the semifinals and defeated Sean Lenning in a 2016 Match of the Year contender in a sensational final to become the fifth different R48 Player’s Champion in five R48 Player’s Championships
Gavin Buggy Qualifies and Stuns Marcos Chavez in the SR48 Final! Relatively unknown Gavin Buggy will no longer fly under the radar. Buggy qualified for the R48 by defeating top 20 R48 pro Shorty Ruiz and dominated the SR48 Player’s Championship by defeating SR48 #2 Andy Schad and SR48 #1 Marcos Chavez to clinch the title. Buggy’s crowd-pleasing style and prodigious talent made him an instant fan-favorite, as evidenced by the boisterous super fan in his cheering section
R48 Pros Stepping up to Referee and Doing Everything Necessary to make the Player’s Championship a Huge Success: The Race 4 Eight Elite 8 and a number of the qualifiers and senior stars volunteered their time throughout the weekend to referee, do interviews, and serve as ambassadors to the sport. Killian Carroll had to be pulled down from the referee box for trying to referee a WR48 9th place playoff match 15 minutes before playing Paul Brady in the semifinals, insisting that he just wanted to help! #theseguysaregreat
Junior WPH Clinic with Coach Paul Brady: Nearly a dozen junior handball players from Canada, Portland and the University of Texas were treated to a special Junior WPH clinic with the world’s greatest player Paul Brady. The awestruck junior players between the ages of 6-22 were treated to stroke, strategy and cross-training instruction from one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived. Following the instruction, the juniors each played a point with the five-time world champion, with two of the older players winning the rally and a WPH prize. “My daughter went to lacrosse practice after the clinic and could not wait to tell her teammates that she played handball with the world’s best player,” stated WPH Executive Board Member Steve Soto. “She had a great time and cannot wait to play again.”
Catriona Casey Plays Virtually Flawlessly in Winning her Third WR48 Player’s Championship: Catriona continues to insist that she needs to improve, but how much better can she get? Casey was nearly flawless in winning her third consecutive WR48 Player’s Championship and ninth WR48 event in 10 WR48 starts. Casey outscored her three opponents in Portland by a combined 90-24 (3:75:1), remarkable even by her lofty standards. After dropping the first WR48 event of the season at the Simple Green U.S. Open, Casey stamped the WR48 III season with an emphatic statement victory in Portland
WPH Broadcast Team Providing the Best Live Coverage in Handball History: Portland two-glass court provided sensational angles of the R48, WR48 and SR48 play, but it was the WPH Broadcast Team of Linda Manning, Che Lowenstein, Kara Mack, Jeff Kastner, Kris Gurrad, Ben Manning that brought the action to life in the highest quality live handball production in history. Thank you! Special thanks to Dr Dan Zimet for his play-by-play analysis in Portland.
Portland Nightlife: With the Multnomah Athletic Club located just a 10-minute walk from Portland’s hopping downtown, the R48 and WR48 stars headed on the town, with the Irish crew, the Southern California crew and the Texas crew running into one another throughout the weekend in Rip City
Irish Domination: With 68 combined R48 qualifiers, R48 Elite, WR48 and SR48 players entering the 2016 Player’s Championship, only seven came from Ireland. Despite boasting just 10% of the competitors, 100% of the 2016 WPH Player’s Champions were from Ireland. Congratulations to Killian Carroll, Catriona Casey and Gavin Buggy!
WPH Staffers Working Around the Clock to Finish the Race 4 Eight V With a Bang: The Race 4 Eight tour is a year-round around-the-clock effort involving a lot of blood, sweat and tears to showcase the greatest handball players in the world. Not only do WPH staffers work 18 hours days on site, but also work daily throughout the year on the Race 4 Eight tour to ensure that every possible I is dotted and T is crossed when the pros and fans arrive on site. We’re already planning the 2017-2018 season! Thank you to Dave Vincent, David Fink, Lolita de Vincent, Tom Flores, Javi Flores, Kris Gurrad, Jeff Kastner, Linda Manning, Ben Manning, Matt Titaino, Samantha Kotcher, Che Lowenstein, Kara Mack, Jean Kastner and all of the volunteers that make the Race 4 Eight the most exciting, most well-organized, and most publicized pro handball tour in history
The Race 4 Eight V Elite 8: Fueled by their passion to play the game, grow the sport, and play against the best players in the world, the Race 4 Eight pros travel across the United States from October through May with the singular goal of finishing the season inside the prestigious Elite 8. Congratulations to Paul Brady, Sean Lenning, Mando Ortiz, Killian Carroll, Luis Moreno, Emmett Peixoto, Daniel Cordova and David Fink on tremendous seasons and we can’t wait to see them at the Race 4 Eight VI Stop #1 Simple Green U.S. Open five months from now in Southern California
Super Fans in Portland: The Northwest handball fans provided the best atmosphere in the history of the R48 tour at the 2016 WPH Player’s Championship. The Race 4 eight stars were treated to unmatched energy and electricity from the sold out MAC galleries and were truly honored to play in front of such appreciative handball supporters
Naty Alvarado Says Goodbye: After more than 20 years of playing pro handball, reaching #1, appearing in countless pro finals and serving as an ambassador to the sport for two decades, Naty Alvarado announced that he will be hanging up his gloves. From all of the handball players and fans from around the world, thank you Naty and we will miss you
Oregonians Represent in their Home State: Oregon’s finest stars shined in their home state’s biggest event in years, with Aaron Garner qualifying after an 18-month hiatus from the R48 tour, Dalton Beall qualifying for the first time with a tremendous upset win against Stephen Cooney and Cody Townsend representing himself as a future R48 qualifier. Go Ducks
WPH Senior Writer