St. Louis, MO, WPH Press, 4/10/18- The newly revamped St. Louis Hinder Club played host to the 2018 Missouri State Singles Championships, featuring R48 and WR48 pros, former and current collegiate All-Americans, and the brightest young handball talent in the Midwest.
The Men’s Open singles field featured newly minted R48 pro Max “The Gentle Giant” Langmack (read about TGG here), collegiate All-American Sam Esser. St. Louis stars Kevin Pettus and Jeff Streibig, former WPH pro Eric Hilgren, Missouri State star Garrett Bacon, Richard Lynch, and George Watson. The talented field of young superstars produced tremendous handball, with TGG, Sam Esser, Kevin Pettus, and Jeff Streibig advancing to the semifinals.
Langmack faced future R48 pro Jeff Streibig in the upper bracket semifinal and dropped game one against the tenacious and hard-charging St. Louis native, 21-18. “Jeff was making great retrievals and shooting flat kills down the right side that couldn’t be dug,” stated TGG. TGG evened the match by winning game two, utilizing a reverse to the left to earn offensive opportunities and continuing his momentum in the tiebreaker, cruising past Streibig en route to the final.
Sam Esser faced one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets, Kevin Pettus, in the bottom bracket semifinals. Pettus rarely travels to tournaments but possesses the pro style game that makes him a threat against virtually any player on the planet. Esser was up to the challenge, playing flawlessly en route to a comprehensive two-game win. “Sam showed a complete performance, keeping his serve and shoot style off balance with v-passes, low power serves, while attacking with flat back wall kills and corner rollouts,” reported Langmack.
Missouri State teammates and great buddies Langmack and Esser met in the final, with Esser controlling the action from the outset.
“Sam took control of the final from the get go, playing red hot in all aspects,” stated Langmack.
“I was much fresher in the finals than Max was,” declared the humble Esser. “Max had a very tough quarterfinal and semifinal, whereas I was able to get in and out fast and had one less match.”
Final: Esser def Langmack 21-9, 21-7
The Women’s Singles featured Suz Koehler, The Most Interesting Woman in the World (read here), Missouri State’s future WR48 star Mikaila Mitchell, Missouri State’s All-American Taylor Rumping, and Missouri State’s Maggie Mackie. Koehler and Mitchell cruised to the final to face one another, ousting Rumping and Mackie, respectively.
The best women’s rivalry in the Midwest was dominated by Koehler in the final, as the world’s most interesting woman adding a Missouri State championship to a resume that includes expert marksman, extreme sports master, Air force National Guard Tech Sergeant, among other impressive accomplishments for this 27-year old role model.
“Great tourney and very exciting for Missouri to see all the talent!” barked Suz. “Makes me proud to be a MO State Bear and represent the Show Me State.”
Final: Koeher def Mitchell 21-13, 21-4
Thank you to WPH reporters Max Langmack, Sam Esser, Suz Koehler, and Mikaila Mitchell for updates from the 2018 MO State Handball Championships.
WPH Senior Writer