The World Players of Handball and the New Orleans Handball Community are thrilled to host the WPH Race 4 Eight V Stop #3 Powered by ESPN and Mardi Gras Open, featuring the top Race 4 Eight stars competing on handball’s most prestigious professional handball tour live on the Watch ESPN App. The WPH Race 4 Eight V Stop #3 & Mardi Gras Open will be held at the Elmwood Fitness Center in Harahan, LA, January 22nd-24th, 2016, just nine miles from the French Quarter and eight miles from downtown New Orleans. The Elmwood Fitness Center played host to a WPH Pre Race stop in 2009 and features two spectacular three-glass exhibition courts.
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The Race 4 Eight #1 pro and 5-time defending World Champion Paul Brady will be making the 4300-mile transatlantic trip from his home in Ireland to New Orleans in search of his 11th Race 4 Eight title in his 13th Race 4 Eight start. Brady skipped the 2015 R48 V Stop #2 Tucson Memorial in November after winning October’s 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open, his first missed Race start since early 2014. “I have been really busy working and completing my Master’s degree in Ireland,” stated Brady towards the end of 2015. “I want to try to make all of the Race events for the rest of the season because I love the tour, the competition and what the WPH is doing for the sport.”
Brady will have to contend with his chief Race 4 Eight rivals in the “Big Easy,” as he aims to extend his Race titles’ lead to 12. Tucson’s R48 #2 and winner of two of the last three last Race 4 Eight events, Sean Lenning, nearly defeated Brady in their last encounter at the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open, taking the first game and leading 15-14 in the second before falling to “The Gunner” in a tiebreaker. A rejuvenated and in-form R48 #3 Luis Moreno has served as Brady’s top American rival since defeating the 5-time World Champion at the 2008 Simple Green U.S. Open and with a 14-2 record and two pro titles since the Plummer Helluva Family Bash in October of 2015, Moreno appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Southern California’s Mando Ortiz has advanced to the final of two of the last three Race 4 Eight finals and despite losing to Sean Lenning in both finals, is playing his best handball since becoming the second player to defeat Paul Brady since 2004 at the 2014 Race 4 Eight III Player’s Championships. Two-time R48 finalist Emmett Peixoto enters the R48 V New Orleans Mardi Gras Open slightly under the radar, but impressive 2015 victories against Luis Moreno, Sean Lenning and Andy Nett prove that “The Rock” is always dangerous.
New Orleans’ wildcard will almost assuredly be Ireland’s surging Killian Carroll. Carroll started the Race 4 Eight V season with no ranking, but a fifth place finish at the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open and a third place finish at the 2015 Tucson Memorial has catapulted Carroll to #10 on the Race 4 Eight Power Rankings. 2015 victories against Emmett Peixoto, Luis Moreno (2) and Mando Ortiz have announced the arrival of the Race 4 Eight’s next top star.
Mexico’s Daniel Cordova and Ireland’s Stephen Cooney lead an international contingent of top invited Race stars, as the young guns are search for Race glory. The top stars will have to contend with top qualifiers hopefuls from California, Wisconsin, New York and Texas, as each player will be vying for the prestigious Mardi Gras Open title in the third of seven 2015-2016 Race 4 Eight V events. Each match will be broadcast live on the ESPN App!
“Each Race 4 Eight event seems to present a highly interesting backstory and the New Orleans Mardi Gra Open is no different,” revealed WPH lead play-by-play analyst and Executive Director David Vincent. “Paul has dominated pro handball for so long, but with the rise of Sean Lenning, the resurgence of Luis Moreno, the firepower of Mando Ortiz, the recent breakthrough of Killian Carroll and the rest of the talented pros and qualifiers playing in New Orleans, I am excited to see who will come out on top. Players will not only have to deal with one another, but a three-glass court and the French Quarter being just minutes away!”
The WPH Race 4 Eight V Stop #3 & Mardi Gras Open Powered by ESPN features not only the best pro handball players in the game, but also exciting junior clinics and amateur competitions throughout the weekend, with Race 4 Eight pros coaching junior handball clinics and local handball stars and top regional handball talent competing for skill level and age division titles in the amateur portion of the Mardi Gras Open.
WPH RACE 4 EIGHT: The World Players of Handball’s Race 4 Eight V powered by ESPN features seven regular season stops, culminating in The Player’s Championship in Portland, OR to identify the top eight point earners on the tour. Similar to Nascar’s Nextel Cup and the FedEx PGA Playoffs, players earn points in the Race 4 Eight’s first six stops to qualify for the season-ending Player’s Championship and $20k first place prize. It all happens live on Watch ESPN!
The Race 4 Eight V held its first event in October of 2015 at the Simple Green U.S. Open in Fountain Valley, CA and its second event at the R48 V Tucson Memorial in November. Following a holiday break in December, Race 4 Eight hosts its third event in New Orleans in January of 2016, the fourth event in Houston in February, the fifth event in New York City, the sixth event in Salt Lake City, UT in April and The Player’s Championship in Portland, OR in May.
For more information on the Race 4 Eight V Tour please contact World Players of Handball Executive Director David Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org or World Players of Handball Development Director David Fink at email@example.com. For more information on the World Players of Handball, please visit wphlive.tv
WPH Senior Writer