The Memorial & The Cuevas Tiebreaker (+10%): The Tucson R48 V Memorial paid tribute to those in the handball community that passed away in the past year, celebrating the lives of those who touched so many in the tight community.
In honor of Tucson’s Al Cuevas, Sean Lenning and Mando Ortiz played a “Cuevas Tiebreaker” after completing their two-game R48 final. “Al Cuevas was a great member of our Tucson handball community that we sadly lost this year and he created the “Cuevas tiebreaker,” stated WPH board member and Tucson handball ambassador Doug Clark. “When you lost the first two games you played a third and if you won that, you won the match. That’s the Cuevas tiebreaker.” Sean Lenning trailed 14-9 in the one game “Cuevas Tiebreaker” final to 15 before rallying to score the final seven points to win, 16-14. “We loved the Cuevas Tiebreaker and we’re going to make it a traditional every year at The Memorial,” stated WPH board member Jeff Healam.”
White Hot Sean Lenning (+10%): Sean Lenning continues to obliterate top R48 pros, extending his record to 26-2 in his last 28 non-Brady matches. Lenning swept each of his four Tucson Memorial matches in two games, simply overpowering and outplaying each of his four opponents. Lenning now owns two Race titles in 2015 (Player’s Championship, Tucson Memorial), an undefeated small ball 3-Wall campaign (Venice Xrossover, USHA 3-Wall Nationals, Vegas WPH 3WallBall), and the World 1-Wall small ball title. Best season in history? It’s in the discussion at the very least.
Junior Handball (+10%): Junior handball players from Arizona, New Mexico, California, Ohio, Mexico, and Canada were unquestionably the highlight of the 2015 Tucson Memorial. More than 50 junior players from across North America demonstrated handball skills, enthusiasm, sportsmanship, and a willingness to learn that inspired every player and fan that attended The Memorial. The game is in good hands
17th Place Playoffs (+9%): Each player that lost in the Tucson Memorial Qualifier was placed into the first 17th place Playoff for a R48 ranking. Ryan Bowler and Catriona Casey advanced through a deep and very talented draw to meet in the finals, with Bowler coming back to win 15-12 to earn a R48 ranking. “The 17th place Playoff is incredibly exciting and provides an opportunity for top players that just missed qualifying to gain experience and court time against other great players from around the world,” declared R48 administrator David Fink. “I love it and I hope we are able to host more 17th place Playoffs in upcoming R48 events.”
Juan Santos (+8%): Not known for his indoor prowess, Santos cruised to the Big Ball Pro Singles title and finished second in the Big Ball Pro Doubles. The 2015 WPH Outdoor Hemborg Cup champion proved he has the game to play with any ball in any code, and according to handball legend Fred Lewis, Juan has the game to become a top small ball player if he has the desire to do so
Ryan Bowler (+7%): Named “The Toronto Tank” by Elite 8 R48 Pro Stephen Cooney, “TTT” played 10 matches on day one at the Tucson Memorial, going 8-2 and claiming the first 17th place R48 tournament by defeating WR48 #1 Catriona Casey in a thrilling final. “TTT” continued to demonstrate his ironman proclivities, playing another 10 big ball and small ball matches on day two. I hope there’s an ice bath waiting for The Tank in Toronto!
Catriona Casey (+5%): Entering the R48 Qualifier, Men’s A, Pro-am Doubles, and Big Ball Singles, the WR48 #1 played 16 matches in three days, playing as well in her first as she did in her last. Casey finished 18th in the R48 17th place Playoff, defeating several future qualifiers along the way. Casey also finished second in the Men’s A singles and Pro-am doubles. A true ambassador and role model for the sport, Casey’s passion and talent for the game is truly remarkable
Round of 16 R48 Blowouts (-4%): Three R48 pros advanced in the R48 main draw, winning by combined scores of 30-3, 30-2, and 30-5. We know these guys are good, but a 90-10 combined score in three matches? Shouldn’t happen
WPH Senior Writer