R48Pro Player Bios Updated

Posted on Oct 13 2018 - 10:50am by DV

Race 4 Eight Player Bios

Learn about all of your favorite R48, WR48, SR48, and Race 4 Eight “Super Fans” here!

The Race 4 Eight Elite 8 (March 2018)

Killian Carroll

Age: 6/15/1993

Height: 5’7

Hometown: Cork County, Ireland

Residence: Boston, MA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Boston Athletic Club/L Street

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: random playlist

Best/Favorite shot: Right corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: speed, conditioning, relentlessness, tenaciousness, serve, back wall kill

Summary: In just his first season on the Race 4 Eight tour, Killian Carroll captured the crowned jewel of the Race, the Player’s Championship. Carroll redefines tenaciousness and consistently proves that no lead is safe. Carroll has quickly become a crowd favorite for his shot making and retrieving ability, as well as his willingness to give back to the fans and the game. In just his early 20’s, Carroll has already established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport, amassing multiple R48 Player’s Championships, multiple USHA pro singles national championships, and winning virtually every event he enters

Sean Lenning

Age: 4/18/1985

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Shoreline, WA

Residence: Shoreline, WA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Rickey Henderson

Best/favorite shot: Sapos (lucky shot)

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: power, serve, unorthodox style, offense from anywhere on the court, fly kill

Summary: Sean Lenning is one of the most feared offensive players in the history of the sport with the ability to dominate any opponent at any time with a rare blend of power serves, fly kills, back wall kills, and off-balance kills. Known simply as “The Freak” for his ability to consistently make seemingly impossible shots, Lenning is always must-see viewing. Lenning added a new moniker to his freak persona: “The Thrill.” During the 2017-2018 R48 7 season, Lenning played three of the most exciting matches in R48 history in three consecutive events, complete with outrageous comebacks, collapses, and drama, making Lenning the Phil Mickelson of handball

Sean Lenning Thrills With a Hat Trick here

David Fink

Age: 8/2/1977

Height: 5’11½

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Left

Home Club: Amerifit/Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Pete Sampras, Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: fly kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: aggressiveness from everywhere on the court, serve, fly kill, experience

Summary: David Fink has played in the second most Race 4 Eight stops of any player in the history of the tour and owns three finals appearances in Race 4 Eight events. Known for his fiery on-court persona, Fink puts his heart on the line for every point in every match. Fink is perhaps better known for his broadcasting duties on ESPN3, but make no mistake, Fink comes to every tournament prepared to make his mark, as evidenced by Race 4 Eight wins against Ortiz, Lenning, Peixoto, Moreno, and McCarthy. Fink continues to play alongside the top stars in the sport into his 40’s, defying Father Time and proving that age is just a number

Inspiration: My dad shared his love for handball with me from the time I was born, taking me to all of his tournaments and teaching me the game from the time I could walk. My dad continues to inspire me to play, while giving us wonderful memories and a shared passion through handball. The 2006 WPH Simple Green U.S. Open broadcast was also hugely inspirational. I had not played handball in a number of years and watching that broadcast from home lit a fire in me…I’ve been playing ever since

Mando Ortiz

Age: 10/21/1988

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Norwalk, CA

Residence: Norwalk, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Juan Manuel Marquez (boxer)

Favorite pre-match music: Kendrick Lamar/Black Sabbath/System of the Down/Game

Best/favorite shot: rollouts

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: two-handed offense, power, serve, ability to end rallies with either hand from anywhere on the court

Summary: Mando Ortiz demonstrated the ability to play with the best players in the world as a teenager, defeating then #1 Allan Garner and a host of other top players before turning 20. Ortiz experienced heart palpitations in his early 20’s and had open-heart surgery in 2010. Ortiz came back stronger than ever, defeating R48 #1 Paul Brady twice since 2014 and winning his first R48 title in January of 2016 in Houston by defeating four current or former WPH #1 pros en route to the title. Because of his ability to flat kill the ball from anywhere on the court with both hands and his magnetic personality, Ortiz is a fan-favorite and a player’s nightmare, possessing the ability to take the game out of the hands of the world’s best by serving and shooting his way to victory

Feature on Mando rising to #1 here

Luis Cordova

Age: 9/13/1990

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Juarez, MX

Residence: Atlanta, GA

Strong hand: Right

Home Club: San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Lionel Messi

Best/favorite shot: Right-handed right corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Strengths: Right corner kill with the right hand, back wall kill, court coverage, consistency

Summary: “Lucho” is the youngest player to ever finish inside the WPH Race 4 Eight Elite 8 at 21 years old in 2012 and has carried that tremendous start as a 21-year old to one of the most consistent careers on the R48 tour. Armed with one of the best right hands in the world, Cordova can end rallies from anywhere on the court with his stiletto right, even when his opponents know it’s coming. Cordova knows how to play against the best, as evidenced by his tour victories against Mando Ortiz, Luis Moreno, Sean Lenning, Allan Garner, and David Fink. Lucho makes up half of the “Flying Cordovas,” with both he and brother Danos earning their nicknames by diving, sliding, and flying all over the court to make outrageous retrieves

Inspiration: My grandfather, my dad, my brother, Ken Danembaum, David Chapman and Mike Dau are just a few of my inspirations. There was one event that stands out though. When I was about 12 years old there was a pro stop held in my hometown (Ciudad Jaurez). I had been playing on and off for about a year, so it was enough to understand the basics of the game. That event brought down some of the best players in the world. Seeing top players like David Chapman, Naty Alvarado Jr. and plenty of others compete at such a high level showed me the potential of the game. I was also very excited because Naty Jr. gave me a signed white Owen glove. I would say that was the event that really got me hooked on this game. 

Daniel Cordova

Age: 9/10/1992

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Residence: Atlanta, GA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite Athlete: Usain Bolt

Favorite pre-match music: Electronic Dance Music

Best/favorite shot: right-handed pass down the left with reverse hop

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6

Strengths: Hop serve, two strong hands, hops during the rally, mental toughness, speed

Summary: Danos burst onto the Race 4 Eight scene during the 2014-2015 R48 IV season, advancing to the quarterfinals in three of his first four starts as a qualifier and climbing into the Elite 8 after just five events. Daniel advanced to his first R48 semifinal at the 2015 WPH R48 IV Player’s Championship, clinching the 2015 R48 IV Rookie of the Year and solidifying his place amongst the game’s elite. Cordova combines a unique blend of power, speed, versatility, and hops with one of the greatest attitudes on tour to take down great players. Danos makes up half of the “Flying Cordovas,” with both he and brother Lucho earning their nicknames by diving, sliding, and flying all over the court to make outrageous retrieves. Danos is one of the game’s most exciting stars and regularly draws some of the largest galleries at virtually all of his R48 starts

Marcos Chavez

Age: 3/20/1974

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA

Residence: Yorba Linda, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Best/favorite shot: back wall kill, overhand paddle with spin to the corners rollout

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Strengths: Mixing up his game, preventing his opponents from gaining rhythm, back wall kill, psychological warfare

Summary: Playing as well in his 40’s as he did in his mid 20’s, this crowd-favorite dazzles galleries and frustrates opponents with a mixture of finesse, speed and sneaky power. Chavez is seemingly ageless, often playing his best handball in his sixth or seventh match of an event against players 10-20 years his junior. Chavez prepares for events with rigorous cross training exercises, to included biking, weights, stretching, and a lot of handball. Chavez is an ambassador on the tour and leader amongst his peers, making him one of the most respected players in the sport

Emmett Peixoto

Age: 10/15/1982

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Watsonville, CA

Residence: Pinole, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: The Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: David Chapman

Favorite pre-match music: ERock

Best/favorite shot: left-hand back wall kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Strengths: speed, consistency, strong off-hand (left), tenacity, strategy

Summary: Emmett Peixoto has been one of the sport’s top players since the early 2000’s and has consistently contended for the game’s biggest prizes. Known as “The Rock,” Peixoto is a throw back player in a predominately offensive era of pro handball, willing to rally, use the ceiling, and drive his opponents to the back court before seizing his offensive opportunities. Each Race 4 Eight pro knows he will need to bring his running shoes and hardhat to play “The Rock” because win or lose, Peixoto will take his opponents on a tour of the court and make every match a battle of skills and attrition

Inspiration: My inspiration has always been the pros. I grew up looking up to David Chapman and John Bike and aspired to someday reach that level. My family also inspired me, as they gave me so many opportunities to play and travel to tournaments. Most importantly, my family always believed in me, which was and still is a constant source of motivation and inspiration


The Race 4 Eight Pros (listed alphabetically)

Dalton Beall

Age: 4/29/89

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Red Bluff, CA

Strong hand: Eugene, OR

Home court: Courtsports Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Brett Favre

Best/Favorite shot: pass shot

Strengths: two-handed offense, first-strike handball, speed

Summary: The Pride of Oregon (TPO) has established himself as one of the greatest players in the history of Oregon in his late 20’s, winning multiple Oregon state singles titles and many of the most prestigious tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. Beall is a dangerous marksman capable of ending rallies from anywhere on the court with either hand and when firing on all cylinders, is capable of overwhelming any player on the R48 tour

Inspiration: My dad, got me started and still inspires me to play 

Rob Bell

Age: 3/3/1993

Height: 6’ 1”

Hometown: Reno, NV

Residence: Millcreek, UT

Strong hand: Right

Home court: The Sports Mall

Favorite athlete: Steph Curry

Favorite pre-match music: Alt Rock

Inspiration: My Dad (Steve Bell) and my wife (Camilla Bell) are my biggest supporters. My Dad took me to tournament after tournament as a kid and taught me how fun the game is. My wife goes to every tournament with me and continues to support me in handball. She beats me all the time with her ace serves. Every city I’ve been lived has players that have inspired me. I left friends in Reno, Pocatello, Seattle, Buffalo, and more. Salt Lake is a great city for handball and working at a handball company (ACE Disposal) is great.

Best/Favorite shot: Side wall-Front wall kill

Strengths: strong two strong hands, ability to play offense and defense, quiet confidence

Summary: Rob “To Whom the Bell Tolls” is one of the game’s rising stars, armed with two great hands and a lifetime of handball experience. Bell has honed his skills in more than a half a dozen handball cities, always adding to his game. Bell has trained under the tutelage of Dave Chapman and other top pros, giving him the knowledge and skillset to compete against the best in the sport

Adam Bernhard

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Houston, TX

Residence: Austin, TX

Strong hand: right

Home court: Gregory Gym

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Inspiration: I am inspired by the challenge that is playing handball well against a variety of opponents.  I am inspired by the thought of reaching my potential.

Best/favorite shot: right hand v pass to the left

Strengths: patience, defense, back wall kill, strategy

Summary: “Weekend at Bernie’s” is a Harvard educated attorney who brings his courtroom wits to the handball court, putting his opponents to the test on virtually every rally by keeping the ball out of their strike zones and forcing them to play long and analytical rallies. This Texas handball legend has amassed dozen of major titles in the Lone Star State and has proven that he can compete against the best in the world on the R48

Inspiration: I am inspired by the challenge that is playing handball well against a variety of opponents.  I am inspired by the thought of reaching my potential.

Paul Brady

Age: 9/1/1979

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Cavan, Ireland

Residence: Dublin, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Kingscourt

Favorite athlete: Vince Munoz

Favorite pre-match music: Anything that’s loud

Best/favorite shot: Left-handed V pass

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: power, agility, lateral movement, shot selection, serve, two-wall pass, back wall kill, everything!

Summary: After five consecutive world titles and 13 R48 titles through the 2015-2016 R48 V season, Paul Brady established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport. Brady brings an unmatched attention to detail, preparation, focus, physical fitness and shot making to the sport, leaving nothing to chance and winning more than 95% of the matches he has played since 2005. Brady lost just three tournament matches from 2004-2015, undoubtedly one of the most dominant eras of any athlete in any sport’s history. This five-time world champion is either the greatest or on a very short list of greatest players to ever live. Brady lives by the manta, “Losing in not an option,” and proves it every time he steps on the court

Ryan Bowler

Age: 5/21/1986

Height: 6’1

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

Residence: Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

Strong hand: right

Home court: Valentine’s Club

Favorite athlete: DeMar DeRozan

Favorite shot: dump corner kill

Strengths: tenacity, court coverage, fist pass, dump kills

Summary: The “Bowl Dog” is one of the most tenacious players in the sport, always willing to do the grunt work to make matches a battle of skill and will. Bowler is the highest-ranked Canadian R48 pro in history, proudly representing the Great White North as he travels to R48 events across the U.S. With R48 wins against Emmett Peixoto, Loren Collado, and Billy O’Donnell, Bowler has proven that he’s a force against the sport’s top stars

Ivan Burgos

Age: April 10, 2001

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Residence: Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Fort Erie YMCA

Favorite athlete: Julio César Chávez Sr.

Favorite pre-match music: Rancheras

Inspiration: My passion comes from my father, Fernando Burgos. He passed the game onto me when I was young and I’ve always loved the bonding it gives us when he’s coaching me. I hope to do the same one day. Ryan Bowler also serves as an inspiration. I would always follow the qualifiers and the pro tournaments and seeing a friend I often spar with competing with some big names was definitely inspiring.

Best/Favorite shot: under/overhand fist killshot

Strengths: speed, tenacity, offense, passion for the game

Summary: Burgos is one of the game’s most exciting junior stars, willing to sacrifice his body for any ball, while challenging himself against the game’s best at every opportunity. This Canadian prodigy possesses an intense passion for the sport, coupled with blazing speed, two-handed power, and the willingness to go for his shots at any moment against any opponent. The Maple Leaf is in great hands!

Leo Canales

Age: 10/17/1995

Height:  5’8

Hometown: Ciudad Juarez Mexico

Residence: Chicago, IL

Strong hand: Right

Home court:  San Angel Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter

Favorite pre-match music: Rock

Best/Favorite shot: Right corner kill

Strengths: Consistency, court awareness, percentage shot selection

Summary: Leo Canales qualified for the first time at 21 years of age at the R48 6 Minnesota, defeating perennial R48 standout Anthony Selestow to earn his pro status. Canales’ steady and reliable game forces his opponents to play their best to beat him, while testing their patience and conditioning. Canales is part of the new group of R48 “Young Guns” poised to make noise on the Race 4 Eight for years to come. Look out for the “Juarez Kid” in the coming years

Inspiration: Passion comes from early on watching my dad play and from wanting to be the best player I can be, and watching the Flying Cordova’s success inspired me to take my game to the next level

Loren Collado

Age: 9/22/1993

Height: 6’2 ½

Hometown: Santa Clara, CA

Residence: Moraga, CA

Strong hand: right

Home court: Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: Ducksy Walsh/Tom Sheridan

Favorite shot: right hand, right corner kill

Strengths: discipline, percentage shot-making, right hand kill

Summary: The Olympic Club’s Loren Collado is a product of the strong Northern California handball tradition and plays an “old school” style of handball, always playing the percentages and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Collado is one of the sport’s rising young stars and will be a major factor in R48 events in the next decade

Inspiration: A lot of role models growing up in the handball scene in NorCal. Dean Crispen, Chris Tico, Mike McDonald and Lennart DeLatorre were gracious enough to let me get in the court with them throughout my college years.

Stephen Cooney

Age: 1/30/1991

Height: 5’8

Hometown: Ballaghaderreen Co. Roscommon Ireland

Residence: New York, NY

Strong hand: Right

Home court: New York Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Jordan Spieth, Michael Jordan

Favorite pre-match music: Varies

Best/favorite shot: Re-kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #8

Strengths: Consistency, paddle re kills, retrieving ability, passion for the game

Summary: “The Coon Dogg” relocated to New York City in 2014 in large part to compete on the Race 4 Eight tour. It did not take long for Cooney to make his mark on handball’s greatest professional tour, moving into the top 10 after just four events during the R48 IV season and earning consecutive Elite 8 invites by season’s end. Cooney is a tenacious bulldog that won’t give an inch to any player and prides himself on making each of his opponents earn every point. Cooney is one of the game’s greatest counter-punchers, almost always making his opponents pay for shooting in front of him or leaving kills up. Cooney’s dedication to his craft makes him one of the game’s true professionals.

Inspiration: John Gaffney, if it were not for him I would not be where I am today. He still inspires me throughout my handball career and life. Losing to my best friend Grant Deeney in an Under12 exhibition at my home court also inspired me. The game was for the handball great Joey Maher (1967 World Champion) who came to our town for a day of coaching. After I lost the game I cried and ran into the dressing room like a baby.  I remember Joey Maher following me in, putting his arm around me and telling me I would make a good player someday. It was very upstanding and good of him to say that, so to this day I am still trying to prove Joey right. Although to no avail.

Sam Esser

Age: 5/13/1996

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Olathe, KS

Residence: Springfield, MO

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Thomas H. Burnett Handball Courts

Favorite athlete: Patrick Mahomes

Favorite pre-match music: n/a

Best/Favorite shot: back wall pass or kill

Strengths: consistency, mental toughness, back wall kills, speed

Summary: Kansas’ Sam Esser is part of handball’s next generation of stars who will take handball in the 2020’s and beyond. Esser possesses two good hands and an aggressive style that poses problems for all of the sport’s best. The MO State collegiate All-American has his sights set on climbing the R48 rankings, an ascent that will likely commence very soon

Inspiration: My passion comes from simply just loving the game and being very competitive and wanting to be the best I can be. The players that have inspired me the most would have to be my dad and my Coaches at Missouri State. Not because of what they can do on the court but what they have meant to me off it. My dad, Jake Esser, and coaches, Tommy Burnett and Brian Watson, have done so much for the game and have all been big believers in me.

Patrick Funchion

Age: 3/14/1991

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Callan, Ireland

Residence: Callan, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Kells (Ireland)

Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps

Favorite music before a match: Luke Kelly

Favorite shot: Underarm kill

Strengths: consistency, patience, right hand offense

Summary: Funchion qualified for the R48 tour for the first time in Las Vegas ’18, ousting then #19 R48 pro Adam Bernhard to punch his ticket to the main draw. Funchion pushed then R48 #3 Mando Ortiz to a third game, taking the first game before falling in the third. Funchion was trained in the Irish school of handball, meaning he plays the percentages, makes very few mistakes, and can capitalize on opportunities with either hand

Peter Funchion

Age: 2/6/1993

Height: 5’7

Hometown: Callan, Ireland

Residence: Callan, Ireland

Strong hand: right

Home court: Callan Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Usain Bolt

Favorite shot: roll out

Strengths: all-around game, two-handed offense, discipline

Summary: Peter Funchion is one of the game’s most disciplined and dedicated stars, always seeking to improve and traveling thousands of miles, sometimes on back to back weekends, to challenge his game against the best players in the world. Funchion scored his biggest R48 win of his career against former R48 #2 Emmett Peixoto at the 2017 R48 7 Tucson Memorial, flummoxing the R48 star with a combination of kills and passes to advance to his first R48 quarterfinal. Funchion has the desire and dedication to rise to the elite of the sport and is on the short list of young stars to break into the game’s upper echelon

Inspiration: My passion for Handball comes from my father, Pat Funchion, and from my brothers Alan and Patrick. Additionally, there are so many players that have so many incredible and memorable games that inspired me to the Race Stops that it is hard to pick one. I think any Irish player of my generation would be lying if they didn’t say that Paul Brady broke every glass ceiling and proved how successfully you can be if you give your all to the game. However, a huge inspiration for me was the late, great Dave Chapman, who I had the honor of meeting when I was very young

George Garcia, Jr.

Age: 8/31/76

Height: 5’7

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Residence: Bakersfield, CA

Strong hand: right

Home court: IN SHAPE Bakersfield

Favorite athlete: Clayton Kershaw

Favorite music before a match: Linkin Park

Favorite shot: fist shot re kill

Strengths: relentless offense, fist punch service return, fly kill

Summary: Garcia is one of the most aggressive players in the sport, willing to end rallies from anywhere on the court with either hand. Garcia plays an up-tempo game that renders his victims feeling rushed and helpless, often leaving them bewildered and on their back foot. Garcia qualified for the first time at the age of 41, proving that his game continues to develop and improve into his fourth decade. Look out for Garcia in the coming years on the tour!

Inspiration: Inspiration: #1 my Dad George Garcia Sr. He not only introduced me to handball but he pushed me to be a better player on and off the court. #2 Al Moore, during my teen years he showed me positioning and strategy. As a young kid I remember watching my dad, my uncle Charlie and Poncho Monreal play cut throat, they were all so smooth on the court and it inspired me to play like them. 

Allan Garner

Age: 4/22/85

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX

Residence: San Antonio, TX

Strong hand: right

Home court: YMCA Thousand Oaks

Favorite athlete: Deion Sanders

Favorite music before a match: Rock

Favorite shot: left-hand right corner kill

Strengths: power, two-handed offense, back wall, pass shot

Summary: Known as “The Blond Bombshell,” Allan Garner is one of the greatest players of his generation, possessing the ability to end rallies from anywhere on the court with either hand, while also playing methodically and forcing errors. Garner won the 2013 R48 II Plummer and is a former WPH #1, proving he has what it takes to defeat any player in the sport. Since starting a family with his wife Erika in 2013, TBB has played sparingly on the R48 but it always a threat when he is entered in an event

Michael Gaulton

Age: 3/23/1999

Height: 6’1

Hometown: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Residence: Mankato, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Ches Penney Family YMCA St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Favorite athlete: Sean Lenning

Favorite pre-match music: Rap

Best/Favorite shot: Left-hand wrap

Strengths: strength, power, serve, discipline

Summary: Michael Gaulton is one of North America’s rising handball stars, capable of competing against the very best in the sport. Gaulton’s physical strength and height enables him to hit the ball with extreme power with both hands from any position on the court, enabling him to constantly pressure his opponents. Look for this Canadian prodigy to make his mark on the R48 in the near future

Inspiration: My passion for handball comes from the love of the game. I never really liked team sports so handball was perfect for me and I’d spend hours on the court just rallying with myself. Sean Lenning has inspired me most to take my game to the next level. He’ll always ask me how my games went and everyone enjoys watching Sean play, as his style and shot choice is unique

Jonathan Iglesias

Age: 7/10/1986

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Queens, NY

Residence: Vail, CO

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Denver Athletic Club

Favorite pre-match music: Hip-hop

Best/favorite shot: No-look paddle kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #9

Strengths: Front court play, unorthodox kills, back wall kill, fly kill

Summary: Jonathan Iglesias learned how to play handball as an 11-year-old on the 1-Wall courts in New York City, often playing handball for up to 10 hours a day. Iglesias developed a passion for 4-Wall handball, quickly becoming one of the top junior and collegiate 4-Wall players in the country. Iglesias further honed his 4-Wall game at Lake Forest College and has defeated many of the tour’s biggest names, to include Mando Ortiz, Sean Lenning, Luis Moreno, Luis Cordova, and Daniel Cordova. Iglesias plays his best against the best, a testament to his self-belief and imposing skill set.

Sean Kerr

Age: 10/09/1998

Height: 5:7

Hometown: Brackey

Residence: Drumnakilly (Ireland)

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Brackey Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Favorite pre-match music: Chris brown -Forever

Best/Favorite shot: Fly Dumb Kill Right Corner

Strengths: power, speed, tenacity, clutch under pressure

Summary: Sean Kerr has been groomed from birth to become a handball star, traveling throughout Ireland to watch his father compete in the most prestigious championships in the sport. Kerr owns a sensational resume of junior championships and with his precocious skills and handball IQ, Kerr will undoubtedly become a force in the pro brackets in the near future

Inspiration: My passion of handball came from my grandpa, Mick Kerr, and my father, Niall Kerr. Going around Ireland at a young age and watching my father compete in a high level of handball has given me a dying passion. Additionally, Killian Carroll; how he adapted so quickly through the ranks at a young age and how he has become the best he can be and still improving  

Max Langmack

Age: 8/29/1995

Height: 6’8

Hometown: Olathe, KS

Residence: Springfield, MO

Strong hand: right

Home court: Dr. Thomas H. Burnett Handball Center

Favorite athlete: Sergei Federov

Favorite shot: right hand kill

Strengths: youth, length, two great hands, great attitude

Summary: At 6’8, Max Langmack became the tallest pro handball player in the history of pro handball with his qualifier win against Abraham Montijo at the 2018 R48 7 Houston. Langmack is one of the game’s most talented young stars and proved that he has the game to compete against the best, as evidenced by playoff wins against Gabhain McCrystal and Marcos Chavez in the R48 7 Houston. Langmack brings tremendous versatility and skill to the court, as well as one of the best attitudes in pro sports. Look for “The Gentle Giant” (TGG) to make headlines on the R48 tour in the near future

Inspiration: Junior contemporaries Sam Esser, Jeremy Young, Matt Vollink, Alex Birge, and their families for supporting me. collegiate coaches, Tommy Burnett and Brian Watson, have continued that support during my time at Missouri State and given us the means to play in places around the country.

Nick Mattioni

Age: 3/14/1979

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Reading, PA

Residence: Nashville, TN

Strong hand: right

Home court: Nashville, YMCA

Favorite athlete: Nolan Ryan

Favorite music before a match: Hells Bells AC/DC

Favorite shot: fist

Strengths: power, length, serve, fist pass

Summary: Mattioni is a former Triple A pitcher who was regularly clocked at 94 mph during his pro baseball career. Mattioni is also a former junior national handball champion who combines his 30 years of handball experience with nearly a decade in pro baseball to challenge the best R48 pros in the sport. Mattioni qualified for the R48 tour in his first two attempts and has quickly become one of the most dangerous floaters in the draw

Inspiration: My dad taught me handball and learned the game from him.  He learned in the Marine Corps.  I continue to play because it is a game that we can play the rest of our lives and to have that feel of competition 

Robbie McCarthy

Date of birth: 9/13/1987

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Mullingar (Ireland)

Residence: Mullingar (Ireland)

Strong hand: right

Home court: Mullingar Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Vince Munoz

Best/Favorite shot: Paddle Kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #6

Strengths: serve, anticipation, speed, power, adaptability, strategy, everything!

Summary: Robbie McCarthy is arguably handball’s most decorated current champion, amassing major titles on the R48 tour, All Ireland 40×20 Championships, All Ireland 60×30 Championships, All Ireland WallBall Championships, and numerous doubles championships. McCarthy appears to play effortlessly, often making the best players in the world look ordinary. Armed with a two-handed power attack, McCarthy can end rallies from anywhere on the court or rally endlessly until his opponents can no longer breathe. McCarthy won three Race 4 Eight titles in his first six R48 starts, including two U.S. Open championships. The pride of the McCarthy family in Mullingar, McCarthy exudes professionalism and a fierce desire to win

Gabhain McCrystal

Age: 7/19/1995

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Brackey co Tyrone, Ireland

Residence: San Jose, CA

Strong hand: right

Home court: Brackey

Favorite athlete: Ronaldo

Favorite music before a match: Calvin Harris

Favorite shot: two-wall pass

Strengths: left-hand offense, Irish school handball, speed

Summary: McCrystal is a former 19-and-under U.S. national champion and brings the Irish school of handball to the R48 tour. McCrystal is adept at playing the percentage game, but can also play offense from anywhere on the court, making him unpredictable and effective. With McCrystal now residing in the U.S., look for the rising R48 star to continue to climb the WPH rankings.

Inspiration: My passion for handball would probably come from when I lost my father whilst participating in the junior nationals in Chicago. Never really getting to say goodbye because I was away in America and he passed so quickly, now anytime I step in the court I try my best to make him proud. The player that inspired me to take my game to pro level would be Killian! Living with him in Boston, seeing his lifestyle and his work rate in not just handball but in any aspect of life is very motivating. He tries nothing but his best and practices everything until it’s perfect

Abraham Montijo

Age: 7/8/1988

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan, Larry Fitzgerald

Favorite pre-match music: Hip-hop

Best/favorite shot: Power serve to the right

Strengths: tenacity, speed, serve, right-hand offense

Summary: Abraham Montijo is a relentless competitor with an insatiable drive to challenge the best, while always trying to take his game to the next level. Montijo frequently spars with Elite 8 pros in Tucson, routinely pushing the Elite 8 to the limit in grueling practice matches. Montijo has taken down several of the best in Race 4 Eight play, to include Sean Lenning, Luis Cordova, and Stephen Cooney.

Inspiration: My inspiration at a young age came from our local players Fred Lewis and Andy Schad. They played the game the right way with lots of integrity and hustle. I was also inspired by Paul Brady and his decade + of dominance. Right now my inspiration lies in the kids in our program. While I do play the game because I love it, I find motivation is seeing growth in the kids I coach and seeing them in really intense, hard fought matches. It inspires me to keep improving so that hopefully they don’t beat me!.

Luis Moreno

Age: 1/24/1989

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Best/favorite shot: Fly kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: power with both hands, hops with both hands, serve, return of serve, intensity, competiveness

Summary: Luis Moreno is known as “The Natural” for his ability to make such a difficult game appear to be so easy. Make no mistake, Moreno’s ability to make the game look easy was the product of thousands of hours of practice, practice that enabled “The Natural” to win nine of the first 17 Race 4 Eight events from 2011-2014. When engaged and motivated, Moreno is one of the greatest in history to ever wear a pair of gloves

Martin Mulkerrins

Date of birth: 1/15/1993

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Moycullen, County Galway, Ireland

Residence: Moycullen, County Galway, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Moycullen

Favorite athlete: Joe Canning (Hurling)

Favorite pre-match music: whatever is popular at the time

Best/Favorite shot: back wall kill

Strengths: power, poise, ceiling game, pass shots, back wall kills

Summary: The 2018 All Ireland 40×20 champion and 2018 World Handball Championships finalist is one of the sport’s treasures, boasting unprecedented two-handed power and a throwback blue-collar approach to the sport. Mulkerrins is one of the game’s gentlemen and greatest ambassadors, as evidenced by building a 1-Wall court and introducing the game to hundreds of youngsters in Adraa, Uganda on his visit to Africa in 2017. When Mulkerrins is not traveling the world to grow the game, this flamethrower is overwhelming the best players in the sport with highlight-reel, 90 mph bottom-board rollouts with either hand and a deft touch the ceiling reminiscent of yesteryear. Mulkerrins has the game to beat anyone and win any title on either side of the Atlantic, so do not be surprised to see one of the game’s most popular players also became one of the game’s most successful players in the near future

Dave Munson

Age: 10/5/1982

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Williston, VT

Residence: Mt. Prospect, IL

Strong hand: right

Home court: Mt. Prospect L.A. Fitness

Favorite athlete: Tom Brady

Favorite music before a match: 90’s rap

Favorite shot: back wall

Strengths: two-handed offense, serve, back wall

Summary: The Midwest Sharpshooter (TMS) is one of the game’s most potent offensive juggernauts, possessing the ability to end rallies from anywhere on the court with either hand. Munson is willing to hit the bottom board from any spot on the court, as evidenced by his first R48 main draw win against Marcos Chavez at the R48 7 Houston, where TMS reached match point at 13-all with a 36-foot mouse rollout

Diarmaid Nash

Age: 12/16/1990

Height:  5’10

Hometown: Scariff, Co. Clare Ireland

Residence: Dublin, Ireland

Strong hand:  left

Home court: Tuamgraney

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite shot: fly kill

Strengths: speed, anticipation, consistency, court smarts

Summary: Diarmaid Nash is the only R48 pro to have never lost in the round of 16, a testament to his consistency and skills. Nash absorbs the pace of the game’s best players better than anyone in the sport, redirecting the fastest shots with dump kills into the corners with both hands. One of just two lefties on the tour gives Nash an advantage, although Nash’s smooth right with leave you questioning what handed the Irishman actually is

Andy Nett

Age: 8/22/1980

Height: 6’2

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Residence: Eden Prairie, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court:  Knopp Valley

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan

Favorite pre-match music: Hip hop

Best/Favorite shot: Serve

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Strengths: Crack serve, power, athleticism, pre-dive kills, court coverage

Summary: The Minnesota Dreamboat (MDB) possesses perhaps the greatest weapon in pro handball: a devastating and often impossible to return serve. Nett once hit 18 ace serves in a one game match to 25 against a top 15 pro, demonstrating that when his serve is on, it’s going to be a short day for his opponent. A three-sport All American and Minnesota treasure, Nett is capable of knocking off even the sport’s best, despite playing a limited R48 tour schedule. No pro wants to draw this gunslinger!

Billy O’Donnell

Age: 7/30/1987

Height: 5’8

Hometown: Bayside, NY

Residence: Bayside, NY

Strong hand: right

Home court: NYAC

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite music before a match: Led Zeppelin

Favorite shot: back wall kill

Strengths: unorthodox kills, trap kills, front court play

Summary: O’Donnell is one of the game’s most unique players, combining a mastery of the outdoor game with an equaled mastery of the indoor game. O’Donnell dominates the front court with lightning fast reflexes and the ability to intercept angled passes and kills, making him a very difficult challenge for any player on the tour

Vic Perez

Age: 3/7/1989

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Clayton Kershaw

Favorite pre-match music: EDM (house music)

Best/favorite shot: Underhand reverse spin kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Strengths: strength, even keel temperament, power, unorthodox rollouts

Summary: Vic Perez is the most calm and even-tempered top athlete in professional sports, always maintaining his concentration and focus, regardless of the score or the magnitude of the moment. Perez owns Race 4 Eight wins against Killian Carroll, Charly Shanks, Emmett Peixoto, David Fink, and Mando Ortiz, earning the Southern Californian the reputation as “The Giant Killer.” Perez is a dangerous sharpshooter, always adjusting to his opponent’s strengths and neutralizing what even the best do well. Perez’s right hand to the left corner kill is one of the most lethal on tour and has become one of the most feared weapons on the R48

Ryan Pesch

Age: 1/30/1989

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Ames, IA

Residence: Minneapolis, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court: University of Minnesota

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: Childish Gambino

Best/Favorite shot: The one least-expected

Strengths: Defense, fist shots, power

Summary: Known as “DePesch Mode,” Ryan Pesch became the second attorney to be ranked on the Race 4 Eight tour by qualifying in his first attempt at the 2017 R48 6 Minnesota. Pesch is meticulous in his preparation and approach to the game, always seeking to improve his weaknesses while playing to his strengths.

Inspiration: My initial inspiration came from Jim Howe in Ames, Iowa, but my continued passion was sustained mostly by my competitive nature and the fact that no matter how good you get, there is always some aspect of your game that is lacking. These days, my inspiration primarily comes from those I coach, who remind me how rewarding it is to pursue improvement in all facets of sport.

Shorty Ruiz

Age: 6/2/1987

Height: 5’5

Hometown: Brea, CA

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Tucson Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Lebron James

Favorite music before a match: George Michael (Careless Whisper)

Favorite shot: Right hand right-corner kill

Strengths: Power, unpredictable shot making, intensity, fly kill

Summary: Shorty Ruiz has been revered for his outstanding skills since his teenage years, combining power, a full arsenal of shots, and a crowd-pleasing style to his all-around game. Ruiz was the first player to be ranked on the Race 4 Eight and WPH Outdoor tours simultaneously, proving that his all-around skills translate indoors and outdoors with the big ball and small ball. Ruiz was carried off the court by his fans after slamming the 2011 WPH 3WallBall Championships, defeating David Chapman and Sean Lenning along the way.  Ruiz is a big-game player who loves the biggest stage and is always a threat to the top names in the sport

Mike Schneider

Age: 10/29/1984

Height: 6’1

Hometown: Richmond Hill, NY

Residence: New York, NY

Strong hand: right

Home court: 106 and Atlantic

Favorite athlete: Mike Schneider, Sr. (dad)

Favorite music before a match: something gentlemanly

Favorite shot: potato punch

Strengths: hooks, fist kill. Fly kill, serve

Summary: Mike Schneider has the game to befuddle the best, as evidenced by his win against Sean Lenning at the 2016 R48 NYAC. Schneider’s ability to keep players off-balance with hooks on the serve and during the rally yields him offensive opportunities, which he invariably converts

Anthony Selestow

Age: 12/24/1987

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Menomonee Falls, WI

Residence: Menomonee Falls, WI

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Wisconsin Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Lebron James

Favorite pre-match music: Dave Matthews Band, Rap

Best/favorite shot: Crack serve

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #9

Strengths: speed, court coverage, defense, fly kill, serve

Summary: Anthony Selestow is one of the sport’s most exciting players, possessing the ability to extend rallies with his speed and quickness. Selestow plays handball’s version of “Cirque du Soleil,” employing acrobatics and death-defying stunts to track down even the lowest and most seemingly impossible shots to return. Selestow has notched wins against some of the game’s top stars, including Sean Lenning, David Chapman, and David Fink, proving that his high-flying act is entertaining and highly effective

Tyler Stoffel

Age: 7/23/1996

Height: 6’0

Hometown: Mankato, MN

Residence: Mankato, MN

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Minnesota State University (Mankato)

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite pre-match music: Hip hop and rap

Best/Favorite shot: Back wall shot

Strengths: Ambidexterity, anticipation, back wall kill, demeanor 

Summary: Tyler Stoffel qualified for the Race 4 Eight tour for the first time at 20 years old and became the youngest ranked pro on the tour. Stoffel is a former All-American collegiate handball star at Mankato State University, having advanced to the USHA Collegiate National final in 2016. Stoffel plays with the poise of a veteran, seemingly always in control of his decision-making and temperament.

Passion comes from my dad. I started playing in tournaments at 7 years old and he’s been my coach ever since. I try and model my game after finesse players as I do not have the power of some of the top tour players. Players I’ve tried to emulate are Emmett and Chapman.

Erik Torres

Age: 2/16/1992

Height: 5’9

Hometown: East Palo Alto, CA

Residence: East Palo Alto, CA

Residence:

Strong hand: right

Home court: Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Favorite music before a match: G-easy

Favorite shot: left hand to the right corner (front wall first and cracking out on the right wall)

Strengths: poise, effortless power, serve, court coverage

Summary: The Olympic Club’s Torres is one of the R48 tour’s most stylish players, appearing to make every swing effortless, while generating a tremendous amount of two-handed power. Torres owns one of the best left crack serves in the sport, seemingly able to roll the ball out off the left side wall as often as anyone in the game. The sky is truly the limit for Torres on the R48 tour, as he possesses all of the skills to make a run for the R48 Elite 8 and beyond.

Inspiration: My passion comes from all other players, especially at the pro level. I love to see these guys play their hearts out, sacrificing their bodies and making amazing shots. My family has also played a big part in my passion, they push me to always be the best version of myself. Emmett Peixoto has inspired me to play at the pro level. Since I started playing in 2008 he has been the player to look up to and gun for..

Women’s Race 4 Eight (listed alphabetically)

Catriona Casey

Age: 10/8/1993

Height: 5’3

Hometown: Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, Ireland

Residence: Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Ballydesmond Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite pre-match music: Anything up temp

Best/favorite shot: Fly corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #1

Strengths: Adaptability, ball control, two-handed offense, defense, everything!

Summary: Catriona Casey is perhaps the most skilled women’s player in history, possessing no discernable weaknesses, two equally strong hands and the ability to make match-changing adjustments on the biggest stages. Casey plays must-see handball, as her on-court elegance and grace is unmatched in today’s game. A true perfectionist, Casey is always seeking to improve, regardless of the outcome of a match or tournament. By the end of Casey’s career, Casey could be the most accomplished athlete in sports history

Danielle Daskalakis

Age: 3/5/1990

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Strong hand: Left

Home court: Westside YMCA

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter and Ronda Rousey

Favorite pre-match music: Southpaw soundtrack

Best/favorite shot: Power serve with reverse

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Strengths: serve, front court play, hops, competitiveness

Summary: Danielle Daskalakis has established herself as one of the best all-around handball players in the world, ranking at or near the top in women’s 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall. Daskalakis owns the best serves in women’s handball and often follows her devastating serve with a first-strike kill. Daskalakis’ impressive all-around play makes her a fan favorite in every city in which she competes and a threat to any player on the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour. Daskalakis brings a hybrid outdoor-indoor style to the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour that befuddles even the greatest stars. Daskalakis is also one of the WPH’s top coaches, leading the WPH sponsored Harry Mellis Westside YMCA junior handball program in weekly clinics in New York City and coaching JR WPH clinics across the country. Danielle is truly an ambassador in the world of handball, idolized and by junior players and revered by fans and peers

Tracy Davis

Age: 3/30/1977

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Residence: Livermore, CA

Home court: Asser Levy/Coney Island/West 5th St.

Strong hand: Right

Favorite athlete: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Rookie Wright

Favorite pre-match music: HAM by Kanye West

Best/favorite shot: Any shot that ends the rally

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Strengths: Serve, fly kill, poise, paddle kills

Summary: Now in her 40’s, Tracy Davis is a living legend in the sport and still one of the best players in the game. Davis is unquestionably the fittest player competing in any of the Race 4 Eight brackets, as well as being one of the most well liked. Davis wins and loses with class, always serving as an ambassador to the sport. Davis’ “serve-and-shoot” style makes her dangerous against any opponent, and her mental toughness keeps her in every match.

Inspiration: Cesar Sala and Priscilla Shumate were the biggest inspirations for me when I started playing pro, both in my attitude toward the sport (Sala) and technical skill and playing style (Shumate). Shumate was so graceful in the court, especially being so tall, with which I could identify. I loved watching her play. .

Ciana Ni Churraoin

Age: 9/3/1996

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Invern, Galway, Ireland

Residence: Invern, Galway, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Cumann liathroid laimhe Michael Breathnach

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Best/favorite shot: Sidearm corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Strengths: power with both hands, balance, offense with both hands, work ethic

Summary: Ciana Ni Churraoin took the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour by storm, advancing to the final in her first WR48 start at the 2015 NYAC Invitational at just 18 years old. Ni Churraoin became the first woman to win a game in WR48 play against Catriona Casey in the final of the 2015 WR48 NYAC and pushing the WR48 #1 to the limit in the process. Ni Churraoin possesses the two-handed power and athleticism to make her one of the game’s top stars for the next two decades

Suz Entzeroth

Age: 5/20/1990

Height: 5’8 ½

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Residence: St. Louis, MO

Strong hand: right

Home court: St. Louis Hinder Club

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams (boss)

Favorite music before a match: hip hop/rap—mostly Drake

Favorite shot: fist shot

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #12

Strengths: athleticism, length, competitiveness

Summary: The Missouri Dynamo (TMD) is one of the WR48’s most dynamic players, forcing all of her opponents to play their best to beat her. Koehler is a student of the game, taking lessons from the late great David Chapman and always studying the techniques and strategies of today’s top players. Koehler is one of the tour’s heroes, serving in the military to preserve our freedom. Koehler is a fan favorite everywhere she plays, a testament to her great attitude and relentless determination

Inspiration: The person who I have to thank for being a handball player is Tommy Burnett (Missouri State Coach) He pushed me to play, taught me the game, and his support over the years has led me to where I am today. His dedication to his players is what inspired me to push myself to be better.  He’s the type of coach you just want to make proud. Another person that helped me in my handball career was David Chapman, he inspired me to be a better technical and mentally focused player than I was.  I still have his DVD’s he gave me of his tutorial sessions, so even though he’s gone I can still watch those videos to keep my fundamentals grounded.  He even signed them for me, along with a handful of his jerseys.  I am very honored to have these cherished items that he gave me just months before he passed. 

Aoife McCarthy

Date of birth: 11/24/1992

Height: 5’1

Hometown: Mullingar, Ireland

Residence: Mullingar, Ireland

Strong hand: right

Home court: Mullingar Handball Club

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Best/Favorite shot: Back wall Kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Strengths: serve, back wall kill, intensity, fist pass shots

Summary: Aoife McCarthy is perhaps best known as her brother Robbie’s biggest fan, but make no mistake, Ms. McCarthy possesses an outstanding game that has seen her take down several of the best women in the sport, to include American WR48 stars Danielle Daskalakis, Tracy Davis, and Ashley Moler. Aoife owns one of the best serves on the WR48 tour, capable of earning aces and first-strike opportunities

Martina McMahon

Age: 2/3/1995

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Residence: Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Strong hand: Left

Home court: Broadford HBC

Favorite athlete: Muhammad Ali

Favorite pre-match music: Mark McCabe Maniac 2000

Best/favorite shot: Left-handed left corner kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Strengths: Effortless power, smooth strokes, corner kills, back wall kill

Summary: Martina McMahon is grace personified, from her elegant strokes to her breathtaking shot making. McMahon burst onto the Women’s Race 4 Eight scene as a 20-year old at the Women’s Race 4 Eight ’15 at the New York Athletic Club, advancing to the semifinals and taking third. McMahon is a WR48 champion (Tucson ’17), placing herself on the very short list of women to ever defeat Catriona Casey. McMahon trains more than 20 hours per week to prepare for tournaments, making her one of the most devoted athletes in the sport

Ashley Moler

Age: 1/23/1987

Height: 5’7

Hometown: Burlington, IA

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Giancarlo Stanton

Favorite music before a match: country

Favorite shot: fist tomahawk

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #7

Strengths: fist kill, back wall kill, power

Summary: Dr. Ashley Moler is a former collegiate softball star that shifted her focus and passion to handball. Dr. Moler is part of the thriving Tucson handball community, often playing top level players up to five times per week in preparation for WR48 events. Moler advanced to her first WR48 semifinal at the Las Vegas WR48 ’18, displaying the talent that is on display weekly in Tucson sparring matches. Dr. Moler possesses the ability to flummox her WR48 peers with tomahawk kills, fist kills, and fist passes, often leaving her opponents bewildered.

Inspiration: I was inspired to play handball mostly by my dad and brother. After playing softball a year in college I quit and was so bored without having competitive sports, we made handball a family ritual. The event that got me hooked was the Tallcorn in Des Moines. Currently, my inspiration to continue playing is from Shorty (Ruiz) and our (Tucson) round table crew. Some days I don’t feel like playing, but our group is like family, so I don’t want to let them down. .

Courtney Peixoto de Melo

Age: 3/17/1984

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Watsonville, CA

Residence: Watsonville, CA

Strong hand: right

Home court: Imperial Courts in Aptos, CA

Favorite athlete: Dominique Dawes

Favorite music before a match: Gangster rap

Inspiration: The reason I started playing was because (my brother) Emmett played and he was my best friend so I wanted to play too. I’d say Emmett is still my inspiration because somehow he has never gotten tired of handball after playing nonstop and training all the time. He has always encouraged me to keep playing. 

Favorite shot: fly kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #5

Strengths: hooks, fly kill, serve, corner kills

Summary: CPM was a childhood prodigy from Northern California, winning multiple junior national titles and advancing to her first pro national singles final at just 20. Peixoto de Melo is one of the game’s most popular players, both for her personality and exciting style. Armed with the best hop serve in women’s handball, CPM follows up her dominating serve with a two-handed offensive attack, making her one of the most dangerous competitors on the WR48. This mother of two has returned to the top of her game and served notice to the WR48 at the WR48 Las Vegas ’18, advancing to the final with impressive wins against Tracy Davis and Aimee Tuohey

Aisling Reilly

Age: 2/8/1989

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Belfast, Ireland

Residence: Belfast, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: St. Paul’s G.A.C.

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams

Favorite pre-match music: Random playlist

Best/favorite shot: Back wall kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #2

Strengths: Power, ball control, confidence, deep court kills, rising to the occasion

Summary: Reilly is the two-time world champion (’12 and ’15), making her one of the sport’s best big-game players. Reilly’s power and finesse is lethal combination, as the Belfast superstar can dominate her opponents with great offense and great defense. Reilly thrives on the biggest stages and relishes the opportunity to face the best of the best on the sport’s biggest matches

Hilary Rushe

Age: 1/2/1990

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Roscommon, Roscommon county, Ireland

Residence: Chicago, IL

Strong hand: right

Home court: St. Comans

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams and Roger Federer

Favorite music before a match: Lil Wayne

Favorite shot: right hand kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #9

Strengths: length, right hand offense, mental toughness

Summary: Rushe is one of the game’s top cross over stars, having won multiple 3-Wall national titles, as well as holding a top 10 WR48 ranking. Originally from Ireland, Rushe now makes her home in Chicago, where she trains daily to challenge the best WR48 stars in the game. Rushe is nearly automatic with her right hand kill, forcing her opponents to make perfect shots or pay the price.

Aimee Tuohey

Date of birth: 5/11/1988

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Acworth, GA

Residence: Acworth, GA

Strong hand: Ambidextrous

Home court: LA Fitness Sandy Springs, GA

Favorite athlete: Andre Agassi

Favorite pre-match music: Pop Country

Best/Favorite shot: Left hand back court kill

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: 4th (NYAC ’17, Salt Lake City ‘17)

Strengths: Two great hands, fitness, consistency, competitiveness

Summary: Aimee Tuohey is one of the future American stars on the WR48 tour. Armed with two deadly hands, Tuohey is capable of ending rallies with either hand from virtually any spot on the court, while also possessing the ability to defend from anywhere on the court with either hand. Tuohey’s supreme fitness makes her a favorite in long matches, as she is as fresh late in a third game as she in to start a match.

Inspiration: (Growing up): Suhn Lee and Nikolai Nahorniak. I grew up with them and they were awesome players and I was inspired to beat them, which never happened, but I did practice close to every single day from 12 years old through the end of high school trying to accomplish that goal. People who inspire me now: My Sandy Springs LA Fitness Atlanta players, Bruce Handleman, Catriona Casey, Martina McMahon, and Killian Carroll. My Atlanta people because they love me and are supportive and awesome people, Bruce because he believes in me, Catriona and Martina because they’re bomb women players who kick *** and don’t get involved in drama and they are at tourneys to play and win, and Killian because he’s an incredibly hard worker and I love how he plays.

Senior Race 4 Eight (listed alphabetically)

Naty Alvarado, Jr.

Age: 8/6/1973

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Victorville, CA

Residence: Spring Valley Lake, Victorville, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Spring Valley Lake Country Club, LAAC

Favorite athlete: Bo Jackson

Favorite pre-match music: Industrial music

Best/favorite shot: Crack serves

Strengths: Serve, offense, experience, everything!

Summary: Naty Alvarado Jr. is one of the greatest handball players to ever wear a pair of gloves. Ranked inside the top five from the mid 1990’s through 2014 on the pro tour, Alvarado is one of the most consistently great players the game has ever seen. Armed with incredible discipline and dedication to his craft, Alvarado’s skills north of the age of 40 are still very close to his years at the top of the sport. Alvarado’s serve, power, competitiveness, and aura make him one of the must-see attractions on the SR48 tour.

Dan Armijo

Height: 5’11

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

Residence: Rotan, Honduras

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Rotan, Honduras

Best/favorite shot: back wall kill

Strengths: Two good hands, anticipation, speed, shot selection, back wall kill

Summary: Known as “The Hand,” Dan Armijo is a living legend in pro handball. Armijo turned pro more than 30 years ago and has embarked upon a sensational career that has seen him defeat every big name in the sport, including Naty Alvarado Sr, Naty Alvarado, Jr, David Chapman, Sean Lenning, Luis Moreno, Emmett Peixoto, and the rest of the who’s who in the sport. Still as enthused about playing the game now as he was when he turned pro in the 1980’s, Armijo puts all of his opponents to the test with a cerebral strategy that examines every aspect of their skills

Gavin Buggy

Age: 1/12/1974

Height: 6’5

Hometown: Wexford, Ireland

Residence: Wexford, Ireland

Strong hand: Right

Home court: St. Josephs Wexford

Favorite athlete: Austin Gleeson (hurling)

Favorite pre-match music: none

Best/favorite shot: Deep court Irish whip kill

Best Senior Race 4 Eight Finish: Champion (Player’s Championship 2016)

Strengths: Fist to the ceiling, back wall kill, Irish whip kill, court coverage, return of serve

Summary: Unknown to most American fans and aided by a super fan, Buggy stormed into the 2016 SR48 Player’s Championship and dominated the best SR48 field of the season, including squashing Marcos Chavez’s perfect SR48 season and bid for his third straight SR48 title in the Portland final. Buggy’s unorthodox style and 6’5 frame make him one of the most interesting players to watch in the sport.

Marcos Chavez

Age: 3/20/1974

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA

Residence: Yorba Linda, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Los Angeles Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Best/favorite shot: back wall kill, overhand paddle with spin to the corners rollout

Highest SR48 Ranking: #1 (2016)

Best Race 4 Eight Finish: SR48 9-time champion

Strengths: Mixing up his game, preventing his opponents from rhythm, back wall kill, psychological warfare

Summary: The SR48 Player’s Champion is a force on not just the SR48 tour, but the R48 tour as well. Playing as well in his early 40’s as he did in his mid 20’s, this crowd-favorite dazzles galleries and frustrates opponents with a mixture of finesse, speed and sneaky power. Chavez owns the most SR48 titles in the history of the tour and possesses the game to defeat any player on any tour

David Fink

Age: 8/2/1977

Height: 5’11½

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Residence: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: left

Home court: Amerifit (Pittsburgh), Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer, Pete Sampras

Favorite shot: every shot

Highest SR48 Ranking: #1 (2018)

Strengths: two-handed offense, fly kill, serve, deep court kills, back wall

Summary: Former R48 #1 David Fink has quickly transitioned into a R48/SR48 star after turning 40, remaining in the top four on the R48 tour, while ascending to the #1 spot on the SR48 tour with victories in his first two SR48 starts in Las Vegas ’18 and Houston ’18. After dispatching of Marcos Chavez for the second consecutive event in the Houston ’18 SR48 final, nine-time SR48 champion Chavez quipped, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Fink plans to be a force on both the R48 and SR48 tour for years to come.

George Garcia, Jr.

Age: 8/31/1976

Height: 5’7

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Residence: Bakersfield, CA

Strong hand: right

Home court: In Shape Bakersfield, CA

Favorite athlete: Clayton Kershaw

Favorite pre-match music: Linkin Park

Strengths: poise, experience, consistency

Summary: Garcia brings a complete game to the SR48, complete with two-handed consistency, big-match experience, and fitness. Garcia defeated then Elite 8 Andy Nett at the R48 I Fresno qualifier in 2012 and won the 2017 LAAC R48 Pre Qualifier, proving that Garcia has the game to beat anyone. Garcia will be a factor on the SR48 for years to come.

Inspiration: #1 my Dad George Garcia Sr. He not only introduced me to handball but he pushed me to be a better player on and off the court. #2 Al Moore, during my teen years he showed me positioning and strategy. As a young kid I remember watching my dad, my uncle Charlie and Poncho Monreal play cut throat, they were all so smooth on the court and it inspired me to play like them. 

Joe Harris

Age: 10/22/1971

Height: 6’3

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Residence: Las Vegas, NV

Strong hand: right

Home court: Las Vegas Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Roger Federer

Favorite music before a match: prayer

Favorite shot: straight punch fist left hand return of serve

Highest SR48 Ranking: #3 (2018)

Strengths: unpredictability, court coverage, deep court kills

Summary: Las Vegas’ Joe Harris established himself as one of the stars of the SR48, finishing third in consecutive 2018 SR48 stops in Las Vegas and Houston by taking down Dan Zimet, George Garcia, and Dan Armijo. Harris is playing his best ball of his career in his mid 40’s, a testament to his fitness and decades of court experience

Inspiration: The person that originally inspired me to play handball was my father, Bob.  He instilled in me both the physical and mental benefits you receive from the game.  The people who inspire me to continue to play the game are my fellow Senior players, they as a group refuse to be the “norm” out there.  We don’t give up on fitness and strive to continue to get better at our craft, specifically Marcos Chavez, David Fink, Dan Zimet and George Garcia Jr.  Given the chance, each one of the guys would love to give you a donut.  I know they are training to get better each year, which inspires me to improve.

Andy Schad

Age: 12/27/1972

Height: 5’10

Residence: Fort Belvoir, VA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Fort Belvoir, VA

Favorite athlete: Faith Schad, Grace Schad (swimming)

Favorite pre-match music: Christian praise and worship

Best/favorite shot: Right corner kill

Highest SR48 Ranking: #2 (2013)

Strengths: Hustle, court coverage, determination

Summary: Known as being one of the nicest guys to ever put on a pair of handball gloves, Andy Schad is also one of the most competitive. Schad scratches and claws for every point, often turning matches into street fights. Schad won the first SR48 Player’s Championship in 2013 and is a contender in every SR48 event he enters

Chris Watkins

Age: 7/19/1970

Height: 5’10

Hometown: Spring Valley Lake, CA

Residence: Spring Valley Lake, Victorville, CA

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Spring Valley Lake Country Club

Favorite athlete: Magic Johnson, Fred Couples, Rod Carew, Naty “El Gato” Alvarado

Best/favorite shot: Right side power serve slider

Strengths: Serve, back wall kill, sneaky power

Summary: Known affectionately as the “Waddy Dog,” Chris Watkins combines several decades of pro experience with a lot of talent. Watkins has sparred with the best players in the world, sharing the court weekly with Naty Alvarado Sr, Naty Alvarado Jr, John Robles, and John Bike. Waddy has used this experience and knowledge gained from playing the best to become one of the best over 40 players in the world.

Inspiration: Naty Alvarado, Sr. and his sons to model the “grind” to them for achieving goals.

Dan Zimet

Age: 5/13/1970

Height: 5’6

Hometown: Columbia, MD

Residence: Columbia, MD

Strong hand: Right

Home court: Supreme Athletic Club (indoor), Centennial North 3-Wall Courts (outdoor)

Favorite athlete: Novak Djokovic

Favorite pre-match music: One Republic

Best/favorite shot: Hook serve that slides the wall

Highest SR48 Ranking: #3 (2018)

Strengths: Strategy, preparation, fitness, serve

Summary: “Dr. Z” is one of the game’s greatest master’s champions, having won more than 25 combined national titles in 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall. Dr. Z. has taken his game to the SR48, where he has demonstrated his sensational handball skills in challenging the best 40+ players in the world with an all-around game that combines a great serve with reliable offense and defense. Dr. Z also writes a monthly column for WPH social media titled “Dr. Z’s Wrap-Around,” while serving as a part-time broadcast analyst during Race 4 Eight broadcasts

Inspiration: I’d say my original inspiration to play came from watching my Dad on the 1-wall court, and being able to play with my grandfather in Brooklyn as a kid.  As I got older and moved around I always wanted to be able to compete with the best guys wherever I lived.  In Philadelphia that as Jeff Sokol, in Maryland it was Alan Frank and Roger Berry, and in NorCal it was the Dunne brothers.  Now I try to compete with guys like Andy Shad, Marcos Chavez, Chris Watkins and John Robles.  Just being on the court with that kind of talent inspires me to work hard on and off the court. 

Race 4 Eight Super Fans

Fred Banfield

Age: Nov 1st, 1942

Height: 5’8

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Strong hand: right

Home court: Tucson Racquet Club

Favorite athlete: Any pro from Tucson

Best/favorite shot: dump kill

Current Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #1

Highest Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #1

Best Race 4 Eight Fan Finish: Champion Emeritus

Strengths: kindness, humility, generosity, leadership, modesty

Summary: Fred Banfield is simply the heart and soul of the WPH and is the reason the WPH is able to undertake all of our incredible initiatives. Fred’s vision and passion for handball is unmatched, and he is truly the pioneer of promoting and growing handball in the 21st century. Never one to want or seek attention, Fred watches and observes in the background, admiring the best handball players in the world while likely having no idea how much more those players admire him.

Jessica Peixoto

Age: 5/22/1981

Height: 5’4

Hometown: Pinole, CA

Strong hand: Left

 

Home court: The Olympic Club

Favorite athlete: Emmett Peixoto

Favorite pre-match music: Emmett Rock

 

Best/favorite shot: Left-corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #2

Highest Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #1 (May 2016)

Best Race 4 Eight Fan Finish: 3-Time Champion (2014, 2015, 2016)

 

Strengths: Consistency, Stamina, Enthusiasm, Positivity, Pragmatic manner

Summary: Jessica Peixoto arrived on the Race 4 Eight scene in 2013 as the girlfriend to Elite 8 R48 pro Emmett Peixoto but quickly established herself as much more. Now Mrs. Peixoto, Jessica attended 26 consecutive Race 4 Eight events as a fan before a maternity leave from the tour in 2018, a record unmatched in the history of the tour. Mrs. Peixoto was awarded her first yellow jersey in 2014 for winning the Race 4 Eight 3 Fan of the Year and has since added to that total with two more year-end fan honors. Jessica serves not only as a fan, but also a coach and sounding board to her husband, always offering encouragement and positive thoughts to the Race 4 Eight’s ironman. Mrs. Peixoto is not only a fan of her husband, but to all of the Race 4 Eight stars and can always be seen watching the matches of all of the top players and supporting great shots and rallies. In addition to being the Race 4 Eight’s undisputed top fan, Jessica has been interviewed courtside more times than any player or fan by ESPN’s Kara Mack. Look for Jessica to add to her year-end honors at the end of the Race 4 Eight 6 season.

Rodney Fink

Age: 10/14/1947

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Strong hand: right

Home court: Amerifit

 

 

Favorite athlete: David Fink

Favorite pre-match music: Bruce Springsteen

Best/Favorite shot: Right-hand Tomahawk left-corner kill

Current Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Highest Race 4 Eight Ranking: #3

Strengths: enthusiasm, loud cheering, refereeing, generosity, positivity

 

 

Summary: Rodney Fink is the proud father of one-time R48 #1 David Fink, while also being one of the WPH’s most enthusiastic and generous supporters. From sponsoring R48 pros to attend tournaments to donating to the WPH and serving as a top R48 referee, Rodney Fink is the total fan package. When he is not supporting the WPH, Fink is an accomplished former open player and current master’s player who, now in his 70’s, plays more handball than anyone on the planet. The WPH is very fortunate to have Rodney Fink on our team. Thank you!

Dr. Bruce Handelman

 

Age: 74

Height: 5’9

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

 

Strong hand: right

Home court: Las Vegas Athletic Club

Best/Favorite shot: dump kill

 

Current Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #4

 

Highest Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #3 (January 2017)

Strengths: passion for the game, knowledge, willingness to travel, analytical

 

Summary: Dr. Bruce Handelman is one of the Race 4 Eight’s greatest fans, showing up to virtually every stop in every season on both coasts. An accomplished handball player himself, Dr. Bruce enjoys watching the best handball players in the world as much as playing the game he started more than five decades ago. Armed with knowledge of past greats and the current greats, Dr. Bruce is a handball encyclopedia that can bridge the gap between the past and current greats as accurately as anyone alive. Dr. Bruce is also one of the WPH’s greatest supporters, providing professional and financial contributions that are virtually unmatched. Thank you!

 

Chatten Hayes

Height:  5’9

Hometown: Portland, OR

Strong hand: right

Home court: Multnomah Athletic Club

Favorite athlete: Whoever plays Marcos Chavez

Favorite pre-match music: Irish Folk

Best/Favorite shot: Irish whip

 

 

Current Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #5

 

Highest Race 4 Eight Fan Ranking: #2 (May 2016)

 

Strengths: enthusiasm, energy, intensity, endurance

Summary: Chatten Hayes announced herself as a “Super Fan” at the 2016 WPH Player’s Championship in Portland, passionately supporting eventual SR48 Player’s Champion Gavin Buggy en route to his maiden SR48 title. Ms. Hayes is no stranger to supporting a winner, as she has supported her husband to multiple national championships since the 1980’s. If you desperately want to win a big match, you need Chatten in your corner!