T. Bastidas in action at Coney Island during a match.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Firstar Sports, Inc.
VANCOUVER, BC (June 16, 2008) - Firstar Sports, Inc. (“Firstar”), an innovative leader of performance
apparel, and World Pro Handball (WPH) are proud to announce the 2008 Firstar World Pro Handball
Top Player Rankings. The inaugural rankings include the World’s Top 10 Men, Top 2 Women and Top 2
Juniors. Headlining the list are the World’s best international Handball athletes representing Canada,
Ireland and the United States.
FIRSTAR WORLD PRO HANDBALL TOP 10 MENS
1. Paul Brady (Cavan, Ireland)
2. Tony Healy (Cork, Ireland)
3. Emmett Peixoto (Watsonville, California, USA)
4. Sean Lenning (Shoreline, Washington, USA)
5. Naty Alvarado Jr. (Spring Valley Lake, California, USA)
6. Allan Garner (San Antonio, Texas, USA)
7. David Fink (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
8. Ricky McCann (Belfast, Ireland)
9. Ricardo Diaz (San Jose, California, USA)
10. Eoin Kennedy (Dublin, Ireland)
FIRSTAR WORLD PRO HANDBALL TOP 2 WOMENS
1. Anna Christoff (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA)
2. Lisa Fraser-Gilmore (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
FIRSTAR WORLD PRO HANDBALL TOP 2 JUNIORS
1. Tyree Bastidas (Brooklyn, New York, USA)
2. Luis Cordova Jr. (Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Firstar didn’t invent performance clothing; they just made it better by designing a platinum level
of performance, game proven to be the best in the world. The brand’s leading innovation and
scientifically advanced performance technology is committed to revitalizing the tradition-rich sport of
Handball. Firstar’s technically advanced products are engineered with superior fabric construction and
an exclusive moisture management that will allow handball athletes of all levels to perform at their
“Our mission is to provide a higher level of performance to every athlete in the World so it is a privilege
to be associated with such an authentic sport,” said Firstar CEO Keith Gracey. “For years the sport of
Handball has demanded a higher level of performance and we are pleased to finally offer a product
that provides the level of functionality needed by these elite athletes who truly exemplify our slogan of
UP YOUR GAME™.”
November 20, 2008
HES Hosts Action-Packed, Exciting Handball Tourney
From left:Wright, Bastidas, Sala and Polanco.
This past Sunday, the Hebrew Educational Society on Seaview Avenue opened its doors to host a handball tournament. Organized by the U.S. Handball Association, it was a day of play in which 64 athletes — of all ages — took part in what was a wonderful event.
The day started with the 35 PLUS INVITATIONAL DOUBLES. The final pitted Reggie Langston and Jason Morgan against Andy Rousseau and Felix Zilberbrand. Jason and Reggie opened up a commanding 17-5 lead. Jason's drives and kill shots, combined with Reggie's steadiness, proved to be too much for their opponents as they prevailed 25-10.
The second part of the tournament was allocated to the "Pro Singles." The response was so good that the number of entries had to be capped and shortened matches held for early rounds in order for play to be completed in the allotted time. Whether the cause was the shorter matches or lack of court time, the results were often the same. The veterans simply weren't sharp and the kids came ready to play. Several players were sent home licking their wounds.
In the first semifinal match, the score was tied at 13 all before Polanco went ahead 19-13. Sala made his own run and knotted the score at 19. Then the points started coming slower until the score was 24 all.
Spectators were kept on the edge of their seats as Cesar and William got up a few times before Polanco failed to return one of Cesar's serves and end the match at 25-24.
In the other semifinal, Tyree held a rusty Rookie to just 12 points. Wright tried hard but couldn't even convince himself that he was in the game.
In the final it looked like Sala had a surprisingly easy time amassing a 15-3 lead. Tyree creeped back to 15-18 before serving off the court. Cesar went to 20 before Bastidas was able to get back into the service box and make 3 more points. At this point "wonder boy" served into the floor. Sala was able to capitalize and score 5 more leaving Tyree on 18.
HES, at 9502 Seaview Avenue, is open year round and offer their handball courts to all interested in playing a pick-up game. For more information on the tournament, or programs offered at the HES facility, contact Glenn at 1-718-241-3000 ext 37.
T. Bastidas, 18-year-old prodigy in a dark-blue shirt proved to be the best and most effective player on the court, in spite of losing the final game to national champion C. Sala.
At the conclusion of the final game, he turned out to be the player with the best point differential in the tournament. He also turned out to be the only player with the the least points scored on him, and the best player who allowed his opponents to score the lowest point average per game.
T. Bastidas' accomplishments could not be matched at the HES 1-wall handball event, as he walked away with the honors and merits vested only on champions.
These are the final results at the conclusion of the the USHA 1-wall Open tournament on 11/16/2008
C. Sala T. Bastidas
Total points scored by them 117 110
Total points scored against them 70 51
Total point differential 47+ 59+
Point average per game other players scored on them: 14.00 10.20Both players played five games, but only Bastidas held all his opponents under twenty points(see chart above).
The Boston Open
By Marc Seigle and 2009 Boston Open Tournament Committee.
The book has closed on the 33rd edition of the Boston Open. It has a number of interesting chapters.
Sean Lenning is no stranger to the Boston Open. He won the championship two years ago and was a semi-finalist last year. We expected a high level of play from him. What we got was amazing---one of those rare occasions when a top flight athlete is as focused mentally as he is conditioned physically and is in a special zone.
Lenning dominated the weekend. We got some inkling of how well he was playing when he defeated David Fink 21-16, 21-7 in their semi-final match. I was a bit surprised with the result. David was coming off a big win at the New York Athletic Club Event, is in terrific condition and was looking forward to repeating as a finalist, having played for the title last year. But I just took it to be that David had a bad day at the office.
The first one to recognize the zone in which Lenning was playing was his opponent in the championship match, David Chapman. David sensed what was happening before anyone in the packed gallery appreciated what they witnessing. He called a time out three points into the first game, followed by a second just a few Lenning points later, attempting to distract from Lenning’s focus and change the flow of the game. It was not to be.
Lenning was simply unstoppable. He mixed seemingly laser guided corner kills with ceiling shots, so precise and well placed that David couldn’t cut off the ball and dump it into the corner as he likes to do, yet struck softly enough that Dave was unable to take advantage of balls off the back wall. Lenning’s eyes were riveted to the ball, his footwork flawless and he suffered very few unforced errors. He never allowed Chapman to find a comfortable rhythm.
Chapman’s effort was superb, running down pass shots deep into the court, diving to dig out what would have been kills, or going to his knees to cut off passing drives. Whatever David tried, Lenning had an effective response.
David Fink, took third place, beating an un-inspired and languid Tyree Bastidas, (12, 8) in a match which was not nearly as close as the score might indicate.
This year’s Boston open also featured a contingent we have come to call “The Irish Guys”. Each year a group of players come over from Ireland and bring with them a joi de verve and brightness which sets a tone for the tournament. They are simply fun to have around.
They also bring “Game”. The past several years one or another of “The Irish Guys” have won division titles in every division in which we offered competition. This year they claimed the A and B Division titles.
Shane O’Neill, last year’s A Division runner up, defeated Jurell Bastidas, in a close two game match. Jurell can score points in bunches and made several runs at Shane who built an early lead in the second game. Shane managed to regain his serve on critical points and denied Jurell the chance to make the last run which could have tied the match.
Shane was also the recipient of the Willy Winslow Prize for the best performance, on and off the court, by an under 25 Player. Willy’s award is in memory of a good friend and is given annually to the player who best personified what Willy brought to the game, joy and competitiveness.
Eugene O’Reilly, in his first appearance at the Boston Open, won the B Division.
The Master’s final held great interest for the local players. John McDonough, defending National Three-Wall Doubles Titlist(with Ron Lescinskas) qualified for the finals with a 4 point win over Ken Ayube in the last qualifying match. Tom Coute Stormed into the finals, winning every qualifying match (the only player in the tournament to have done so).
It was Johnny Mac however who stormed though the first game, and then held off the steady and dogged Coute, to prevail in a tie-breaker.
Both David Fink and Dave Chapman were visibly and vocally disappointed with their performances against Lenning. While they are entitled to be disappointed with result, they have no reason to be disappointed with their effort. Both players flat out, and gave everything they had to try and affect the result.
So I close, offering them the words of the great American philosopher-athlete, James Augustus Hunter after a bad outing by the Catfish: “The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s ass everyday.”
In Boston last weekend it was Sean Lenning’s time in the sun.
Thanks to Dave Vincent of the World pro Handball and Weplayhandball.com and Martin Kerr for their help in recruiting player. Special thanks to Sam Jackson and Jimbo Daly of the Boston Athletic Club for great hospitality and getting the courts in as good shape as they could be
The 2008 USHA National Juniors One-wall action moved indoors at the B.P.O. Elks Sports Center to finalize the 19-and-under age division.
Queens Borough B.P.O. Elks 878
By Michael Watson:
With clouds gathering on Thursday, June 25th, 2009, secretary Mike Watson and USHA event coordinator Gary Cruz huddled at the registration table contemplating their options for starting the 2009 Junior Nationals Handball Tournament. Weather conditions played havoc with the prior weekend’s event, the Mayor’s Cup, with many participants also registered for the Jr. Nationals awaiting their games of the rain-delayed Mayor’s Cup finals. Attendance on Thursday was low. Cruz wondered aloud if many will be no-shows due to the conflicting schedules. Watson assured him that no matter what, the Jr. Nationals will continue as this is the premier junior’s event for the USHA. By Friday morning, the clouds had parted and the tournament was in full swing with more than 180 participants in action. Some games were moved indoors but there were no rain delays of note. Pitted against some of the toughest high school teams in the area, including Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and St. Francis Prep, Queens Borough Antlers shined, taking most of the divisions. Andy Chen slammed the Boys 15 by winning the 15 Open Singles and the Doubles with Fellow antler Wei Zeng. Matthew Chu won the Boys 15 A Singles, Boris Yunatanov won the Boys 15 B singles and Herman Wu won the Boys 15 C singles. Tyree Bastidas won the Boys 19 Singles and Eric Brandman won the Boys 17 A Singles. Eric also won the Boys 17 Doubles with Andres Paz. Antlers all. Sandy Ng won the Girls event. The Antlers also utilized this opportunity to distribute nearly 200 Drug Awareness pamphlets to all of the participants. A Queens Ledger reporter was on hand to record the event.
Big Bush Park in Woodside, Queens was the place to be for all handball players across the nation last weekend, as the United States Handball Association (USHA) Junior Nationals 1-Wall Handball Tournament invaded the borough. The tournament, which was sponsored by the Queens Borough Elk Lodge, ran from Thursday June 25th to Sunday June 28th, and brought over 150 participants; all competing to become national champions.
The players, with ages ranging from 11-19, were spread out in different divisions, according to gender, age and expertise, and played in either singles or doubles matches. The handball courts were packed with energetic athletes from different backgrounds and neighborhoods, ready to perform to the best of their abilities.
And although this was a national tournament, the five boroughs were proudly represented.
One local stand out from the tourney, Keymonaie Kearse from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, spoke of his intense training regiment, saying: “In my sophomore year, I played eight hours a day, literally.”
Another student Andy Chen, from Brooklyn Tech, honed his skills by playing in parks. Chen said he used the learning experiences on the handball court to improve his performance, “I started going to other parks traveling,” Chen said, “and I got a little bit from everybody.”
However, unlike the typical cocky 15 year old, Andy Chen never forgot his roots, and credited Elk Lodge Secretary Michael Watson for his success on the handball court, “He [Watson] teaches me. Mike Watson coaches me”.
Watson has done more than just coach handballers. Under Watson’s guidance, the tournament is in its 18th year. For the past five years, Watson has committed to running the Junior National Handball Tournament and spreading his mission as an “Elk” to the promotion of future handball players.
The main purpose of this handball tournament, as stated by the Elk Lodge, was to inscribe these certain qualities on the players: sportsmanship, good character, integrity, fitness, and teamwork. Throughout the tournament these qualities were fully exhibited. Most of the players found themselves working with such qualities like teamwork while playing along with friends in doubles matches, or sportsmanship when there’s nothing harder then admitting defeat.
The tournament has given birth to numerous professional handball players, including Tyree Bastidas, ranked 21st in the USHA Pro Handball rankings as of June 6th.
In the end, the tournament’s goal is not to crown champions or produce pros. Program Director Gary Cruz summed up the goal of the tournament, saying that the tournament hopes “to have more handball players, to promote youth handball, and with the hope of creating more lifetime handball players.”
Tyree’s favorite Northeast tournaments:
N.Y.S. Hall Of Fame Championship
The Mayor's Cup http://www.icha.org/players.cfm
The New England Handball Tournament http://www.mainehandball.com/Default.htm
George Miller Sr. Memorial Tournament http://rickandsandy.us/thc/results/results.html
The Pennsylvania State Open http://www.keystonehandball.com/
The Rodney Fink Classic