Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 1/18/20- The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department were proud to sponsor the 2020 Senior Olympics for Handball at the Tucson Racquet Club, honoring Tucson handball legend and Pima Sports Hall of Fame member Rene Zamarano. In addition to winning 350 handball tournaments, Rene Zamarano was an All-State baseball star at Tucson High School from 1954-56, won 12 national handball titles, one world handball title, coached Little League, handball, and racquetball at the YMCA and Tucson Racquet Club, and worked with the American Cancer Society and United Way for more than 20 years. The SR Olympics held a special memorial service for Rene on Saturday during the doubles championships.
Six-time USHA Pro National 4-Wall singles champion Fred Lewis dominated the 70+ singles at the 2020 SR Olympics, demonstrating the savvy and strategy that have made him one of the game’s all-time greats. “Fred just had Ken (Hartnett) all over the court in the final,” stated tournament director Abraham Montijo. “Ken moves better than Fred, but Fred would pass, pass, then kill in the corners. There was nothing Ken could do.”
Tucson’s Andy Wills used his power and offensive arsenal to dominate the 65+ singles, defeating the cagey Ron Kroll in the final.
Scott Hotchkiss advanced to the 50+ final with an impressive two-game sweep of Clark Park mega donor Paul Key in the upper bracket semifinal, while national volleyball star “Klondike” Mike Bonnell upset former top 12 pro Rick Hatcher in the bottom bracket to meet Hotchkiss in the final. Hotchkiss was too strong for MB in the final, winning two close games to claim gold. “Mike is very steady and he’s a good athlete,” stated Montijo. “Scott played well to get the win.”
Before the SR Olympics doubles finals, a large group of Rene’s closest friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of the Tucson legend, with many sharing stories about what made Rene so special.
“I was friends with Rene for 35 years,” stated Benny Young. “Rene and I would play on the old wooden courts at the U of A and I could barely score a point. Rene was more than a friend – he was a life coach. He let me play doubles with him and taught me Spanish. We’d talked strategy in Spanish outside the court, I never understood a word.”
“When Rene passed it hit me like a ton of bricks,” stated Chuy Manuel. “Rene was so charismatic and he made friends with everyone. When it was considered unmanly to do aerobics, Rene did it and we all eventually joined him. He’d get us to go dancing and he always made every day feel so special.”
“I played Rene for the first time in a tournament in Flagstaff,” recalled Rick Hatcher. “I was in my mid 20’s and he was in his 40’s and I thought there was no way this guy could hang with me, his shots had an arc to them, my shots would tear the paint off the walls. After the first game I was so tired I felt like I needed to go to the emergency room and I only scored two points. The second game was no different.” “If Rene were here and listening to all of these stories, he’d say, ‘Is that it, is that all you got,” laughed Alex Trujillo.
Tucson’s Mike Bonnell and Art Benitez teamed to win the 55+ doubles, overcoming Rick Hatcher and Andy Wills in a thrilling tiebreaker. Phoenix’s Mike Lockhart and Gordon Medill traveled home with gold after defeating Vince San Angelo and Doug Clark. Alex Trujillo and Pete Jorgenson captured the 65+ doubles.
Gold Medal Winners
70+ Singles: Fred Lewis
65+ Singles: Andy Wills
50+ Singles: Scott Hotchkiss
65+ Doubles: Alex Trujillo/Pete Jorgenson
55+ Doubles: Mike Bonnell/Art Benitez
Thank you to tournament director Abraham Montijo for running and organizing an outstanding 2020 SR Olympics event.
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WPH Senior Writer
Tucson, AZ- The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department are proud to sponsor the 2020 Senior Olympics for Handball at the Tucson Racquet Club, honoring Tucson handball legend and Pima Sports Hall of Fame member Rene Zamarano. In addition to winning 350 handball tournaments, Rene Zamarano was an All-State baseball star at Tucson High School from 1954-56, won 12 national handball titles, one world handball title, coached Little League, handball, and racquetball at the YMCA and Tucson Racquet Club, and worked with the American Cancer Society and United Way for more than 20 years.
The Tucson Racquet Club, located at 4001 N. Country Club Dr., Tucson, AZ, 85716, will play host to the 2020 Handball Senior Olympics. Saturday, January 17 will feature singles play ($8), starting at 9 AM and Sunday, January 18 will feature doubles play ($16), also starting at 9 AM. Divisions will be in five-year increments, beginning with the 50-54 age bracket, and including 80+.
The tournament format will be single elimination, with all matches using the best of three games format (21-21-11), 21 Ball and USHA rules apply.
Come to Tucson and become an Olympian!
For more information and to enter the 2020 Handball Senior Olympics honoring Rene Zamarano, go HERE
For more information and/or questions, contact event director Abraham Montijo at Abraham.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling at 520-791-5155.