The WPH Aces Player’s Championship Senior Race 4 Eight Preview

Posted on Apr 11 2015 - 11:53am by DV

chavez3The Senior Race 4 Eight has featured three different winners in three events this season, as R48 stars Marcos Chavez and Naty Alvarado Jr. claimed Tucson and Houston, while SR48 stalwart Andy Schad claimed the NYAC. Schad moved to number one on the SR48 rankings after his victory at the NYAC and will aim to finish as the year-end SR48 number one with a strong performance in Salt Lake City


The SR48 Top Seeds in Salt Lake City:


SLC+Preview+AS+Trophy#1 Andy Schad: SR48 Match Record: 7-3

Schad claimed his first SR48 title at the 2013 SR48 Player’s Championship with a victory over longtime nemesis John Bike. Schad would have to wait 22 months before winning his second. Schad avenged an earlier season loss to Dan Armijo in the NYAC final, trouncing “The Hand” en route to the title and claiming the #1 SR48 ranking. Schad will finish the year number one if he advances to the final in Salt Lake City


#2 Marcos Chavez: SR48 Match Record: 5-1

Chavez defeated Naty Alvarado for just the second time in their 20-year pro rivalry to win the SR48 Tucson, but lost in the semifinals in Houston to Tyler Hamel. Chavez did jot play the SR48 NYAC, surrendering his #1 SR48 tour ranking to Andy Schad. Chavez has long been a crowd-favorite for his electrifying shot making and his on-court and off-court personality, and will aim to win the SR48 Player’s Championship for the second consecutive year


#3 Dan Armijo: SR48 Match Record: 3-4

At over 50 years old, Armijo is the oldest player in the SR48’s top five. Armijo entered the NYAC SR48 at the number one seed for the first time in his 30-year pro career, advancing to the final before losing to current SR48 #1 Andy Schad. “The Hand” is famous for his incredible speed and showmanship, thrilling galleries and broadcast viewers in all of his matches


#4 Chris Watkins: SR48 Match Record: 3-3

A former master’s national champion and weekly sparring partner to Naty Alvarado and John Bike, the “Waddy Dog” has the pedigree of a SR48 champion. Watkins played his first full season on the SR48 tour this season, advancing to two semifinals and losing a close match to Andy Schad in New York that would have earned him his first finals appearance. Watkins owns one of the SR48’s best serve-and-shoot games and will be targeting his first SR48 title in Salt Lake City


10888903_10205496572197688_7753267765017236088_nJohn Bike: SR48 Match Record: First Start

John Bike is the only current USHA Handball Hall of Fame member entered in the draw. Bike is a former #1 ranked pro, 2-time USHA 4-Wall Pro National Singles Champion, 1997 World Open Singles Champion and former #1 ranked SR48 pro (2013). Bike will be making his first SR48 start since the SR48 II Denver in 2013. Suffering through an assortment of injuries in 2013, Bike announced his retirement from competitive singles 13 months ago. A few months off led to a rejuvenated body and mind, and a healthy Bike will be dangerous in the wide-open SR48 Salt Lake City draw


Tom Sheridan: SR48 Match Record: First Start

Tom Sheridan will be making the 4500-mile trip from Ireland to Salt Lake City to compete in his first SR48 event. Sheridan is one of Ireland’s most decorated “Big Alley” and 40×20 Irish doubles champions in history, and in 2011 captured the USHA 4-Wall Pro Doubles Championship with partner Ducksy Walsh, defeating Luis Moreno and Sean Lenning in the final. Sheridan brings a dynamite left hand to every match, as well as unmatched intensity and gamesmanship. Despite never playing in a SR48 event, Sheridan will be on the short list of favorites to become the 2015 SR48 Player’s Champion


Andy Rousseau: SR48 Match Record: 1-1

Rousseau made a huge splash in hid first SR48 start at the New York Athletic Club, stunning Canadian legend Danny Bell in the round of 8 en route to an impressive third place finish. Rousseau’s tenacity is likely his greatest asset, as the affable New Yorker fights for every point. Long known in the Northeast as one of the game’s top players, Rousseau is making himself known nationally and will aim to continue his good form in Salt Lake City


To watch all of the action from Salt Lake City, tune into on Friday, April 17th and the Watch ESPN App ( on Saturday, April 18th and Sunday April 19th. The WPH Aces Player’s Championship is the culmination of a sensational Race season that has featured unparalleled dominance by Catriona Casey and Paul Brady and the emergence of new stars Daniel Cordova, Stephen Cooney, Danielle Daskalakis and Martina McMahon.





David Fink

WPH Senior Writer


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