Photo from l-to-r: Bastidas watches as Acosta shoots the ball. Photo by Keith Thode
Tyree Bastidas had an early scare this year at the USHA nationals, when Isaac Acosta took him to the tiebreaker.
Acosta, the most improved player of the tournament went out of his way to try to defeat Bastidas at the national level, and he almost did. He pushed Bastidas to the limit but fell short of his goal and had to settle as the only player to take Bastidas to the third game during the entire tournament.
Bastidas is the youngest player to remain undefeated at tiebreakers at the 1-wall national since he debuted at the USHA National One-Wall Championships at the age of 17 in 2008.
No other teenager in any handball version has been able to keep undefeated for such a long period of time at the national level.
This year’s new champion, Castro (Pewee) did his best and rushed to beat Bastidas in two games as Castro knew that a tiebreaker would have spelled disaster.
Bastidas’ undefeated period of time since his debut at the nationals covers 2008-2009-2010-2011.
Can he remain undefeated in 2012?
Can American junior players rise again? Yes, they can.
With the group of young talented handball players gaining the exposure that they so long needed, most of them have shown signs of raw talent and future success.
The players included; B. Bidegain, Brant Bidegain, T. Stoffel, C. McGrath, J. Rodriguez, L. Mendez, A. Sullivan, L. Bustos, A. Ibarra, A. Marquez, G. Botello, A. Martin, A. Collado, J. Garcia, etc, etc, etc. These players have shown that they are capable of holding their own under tough conditions.
In spite of the American players losing to Irish and Mexican counterparts, the players showed their eagerness to compete but were outclassed. With a little bit more training and more exposure to the game they can really become excellent players in the near future and take back the prestigious 19-, 17-, and 15-and under singles divisions crowns (boys and girls).
Ironically, the last time the U.S. captured the top three titles in the last decade was in 2007 in Tucson, Arizona, handball’s headquarters.
Congratulations to that fantastic group of champions:
19-and under – Luis Moreno (Arizona)
17-and under – Tyree Bastidas (New York)
15-and under – Eric Matiasek (Illinois)
Above from l to r: Jurell Bastidas and Johnatan Lee watch Tyree Bastidas pick up a ball during competition at the HES. Photo by S. Schilder.
It’s been an odd and bumpy ride for Tyree this year.
There was an unprecedented number of bad news that surrounded Bastidas as he played during the year.
But on the bright side, he managed to play and win as many tournaments under the worst circumstances.
Some of the 5 worst events in 2011:
1.- For the first time, he fractured his foot.
2.- He missed the entire winter handball season.
3.- While playing handball, he cut his hand with glass as he landed on his hands 1 week before the nationals.
4.- He only practiced 3-wall twice before the nationals as August was declared the wettest month ever in the area.
5.- He busted his finger wide-opened while riding his bicycle during the week of the HES 1-wall pro stop.
Some of the 5 best events in 2011:
1.- He won the Mayor’s Cup 1-wall pro stop.
2.- He reached the USHA championship match for two consecutive years.
3.- He won the HES 1-wall pro stop three years in a row.
4.- He reached the finals of the Albany Open for the 5th year in a row with three consecutive wins.
5.- He kept the USHA No. 1 ranking two years in a row.
Above: Photos from Tyree's last USHA junior 4-wall national competition.
As a teenager, Tyree Bastidas had played in various 4-wall junior national tournaments across the states and abroad and found out the Annual USHA junior 4-wall competition was the best.
Over a hundred and thirty boys and girls from Mexico, Canada, U.S. and Ireland competed recently at the USHA 4-wall junior championships, the largest junior handball tournament in the U.S. They descended on the courts to vie for the top places from Dec 27- 30.
For more than fifty years, the USHA has welcomed any eligible male or female player from any country. “The USHA strives to be all-inclusive, which is why participation from several countries is still possible and affordable.” said Tyree.
“The USHA is proud to welcome this year’s foreign participants, whose involvement can only raise the level of excitement throughout the tournament and further its mission to remain the gold-standard in junior handball competition around the world.”
Thanks to all players for making this tournament the most exciting and competitive. We are looking forward to another successful national championship. said Tyree.
Team: Kaplan/Sala Team: Ng/Daskalakis
Team: Castro/Polanco Team McCourt/Lopez
Team Puerto Rico
As the year comes to an end we look back at the best 1-wall handball teams playing with the small and the big ball.
Handball teams which had competed and won in the past weren’t usually afforded the proper recognition they deserved. But this year, we are going to highlight their achievements to honor them.
Winning a tournament with a partner is not as easy as it looks as very few partners are compatible to play as a team, unless both partners have already been playing together for quite sometime. Such is the case of team Sala/Kaplan or Castro/Polanco.
Best 1-wall handball doubles teams of 2011:
C. Sala/J. Kaplan – USHA - small ball
D. Daskalakis/ S. Ng – USHA – small ball
E. Neville/J. Wright – USHA – big ball
K. McConney/A. Floyd – USHA – big ball
T. Bastidas/V. LoPierre – Mayor’s Cup - small ball
T. McCourt/ J. Lopez – International Team Competition - small ball
Y. Castro/W. Polanco – International Team Competition - small ball