Photo by Bill Fand
We have seen both brothers: Tyree and Jurell Bastidas, corner local, out of State, indoors and outdoor 1-wall tournaments in the past, but we have never seen them corner the 1-wall nationals, the most important 1-wall tournament in the United States.
On August 2014, Tyree and Jurell crossed each other’s path in the championship match after sweeping both sides of the brackets.
Tyree didn’t have it that easy as he had to go through former five-time national champion, Satish Jagnandan whom he beat in two close games.
Jurell didn’t have it easy either; he had to go through another tough side of the draw, where he was pushed to the limits by former national champion, Cesar Sala, and later on pushed by Mike Schneider in two tough games during the semifinals.
The Skies weren’t that friendly the morning of the championship match and threatened to send the finals game indoor. It did scare a lot of people away, but eventually it took place at the Coney Island handball courts.
Tyree and Jurell Bastidas became the first brothers in the Association to corner the USHA 1-wall national men's open singles division at the famous Coney Island handball courts, a goal previously reached by the Obert brothers in an indoor facility.
Tyree and Jurell Bastidas also became the youngest brothers to face each other in the championship match of the men’s singles open division in any USHA national 1-, 3-, and 4-wall handball version, a distinction previously held by the Obert brothers.
On November 17, The NYAC will be inviting at its Headquarters: all NYAC national, international and world champions around the world to celebrate their achievements while representing the most famous private club in America.
It will be the second consecutive year that handball champion Tyree Bastidas will be honored at this special celebration where singles and doubles teams of most sports will be attending.
Congratulations to all handball champions representing the NYAC.
Once again, Tracy Davis surprised everyone when she came to Toledo to win another title to add to her great trophy collection. In the finals she derailed defending champion, Megan Mehillos’ dream of winning her No 9th title.
This year Tracy Davis is on a mission and is trying her best to capture the Grand National Series honor title that eluded her last year. It’s going to be tough, but in handball everything is possible.
The Grand National Series end in October with the Simple Green handball marathon in 1-, 3- and 4-wall events.
Congratulations to Tracy for winning her second 3-wall singles title. She also slammed by capturing the women’s open doubles title with New York handball partner Na Liu.
Top photo by Sean Delevan.
Gio Vasquez a.k.a. “the human torch” was a terrific player in the big ball handball community as he destroyed the big ball competition at the top of his game. “When Gio was on, he was unstoppable” a handball fan said.
“Handball players used to fear him”
But lately, Gio’s performance at the big ball tournaments has decreased to the point where he’s not longer feared or even respected.
Many handball fans thought that once rookie retired from big ball competition, Gio would have taken over. But it hasn’t happened that way as Timbo Gonzalez has taken over both; the USHA 1-wall nationals and the KOTC. But where has Gio’s game gone wrong?
Gio’s big ball game has remained the same, but has lost the luster and sharpness. He has also lacked enthusiasm, focus, aggressiveness, poise, energy and heart - among other things.
Ever since Gio decided to chase Tyree to prevent him from winning so many honors, it’s taken a toll on his own game, and perhaps this is the main reason for his mediocre performance in the past year.
There is nothing wrong with chasing Tyree in New York; other players have also chased Tyree in the past.
Marco Lemus from Chicago, Illinois devoted his last four years in the junior divisions, chasing Tyree across the continent. In the end, Tyree ended up as the most decorated junior player in the USHA.
Likewise, Gio’s goal to stop Tyree from winning more open tournaments hasn’t stopped Tyree from being selected as the “Best player of the year" and/or the first USHA Grand National champion.
We do give credit to Gio for going out of his way and trying to stop Tyree, but like in any sport, his extra efforts came with a price – his own downfall.
The quarter finals match of these two young players was one of the most exciting and interesting games of the tourney, but few players got to watch it as it was played around midday in a hot day, and where players and fans were busy enjoying their lunch at the hospitality tent or at the barbecue tables under the trees. To make things worst, this match was played on the other side of the main courts.
But none of these things mattered when both players started the game and Armando Ortiz took the first game where Nick couldn’t find his rhythm or the ball within his reach.
During the second game, Nick and his Chicago friends also found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by California handball fans cheering for Armando. This obvious fact was perhaps the main reason for Nick Nahorniack to summons his best abilities to confront his rival for the remaining of the match.
Nick was so determined to win the second game there was nothing on his way to stop from doing so. He defeated Armando Ortiz in the second and third game, but it wasn’t easy or fast.
Ortiz fought back in the third game, but nick was on a roll and there was nothing stopping him. Nick also didn’t want to disappoint his father who was to arrive later that night to watch him play over the weekend. "My father couldn't make it on Thursday, but he'll arrive on Friday night to watch the games" Nick said.
For those who missed this match, they missed three great games along with the big rivalry both players have had since playing in the junior divisions.