Top Photo: Cesar Sala and Tyree Bastidas played in one of the most dramatic tiebreakers in recent memory.
The No. 1 ranked player in the USHA, Tyree Bastidas, remained the No. 1 player to beat after he captured the 1-wall men's open singles finals at the nationals held at the Coney Island courts during the summer. He's reached the championship match five times since 2010 and has captured the most titles ever since.
Bastidas has been holding to the No. 1 top spot since he captured the 1-wall nationals as a teenager and has fought through six USHA 1-wall championships and other prestigious indoor and outdoor 1-wall open tournaments to hold on to the most coveted title in the association.
In the last day of the tournament, Tyree Bastidas became the youngest player to be ranked No. 1 for 260 consecutive weeks. He's on track to go through the 300 magical number never reached before by a player his age.
Myth - Vic Herskowitz is the first player to capture a USHA national title in every handball versions in the same year.
Fact - Actually, Oscar Obert is the first player to have captured a USHA national title in every handball version in the same year (1962). V. Hershkowitz needed to play in two different national tournaments (AAU & USHA) to achieve this feat.
Myth - In the past it was harder to slam for 1-wall players because there were more players registered to compete.
Fact - Actually, it was easier to slam because singles and doubles events were held separately as if they were two different tournaments "Doubles play used to start the week after all singles games were done" said Dan Flickstein, a former open player and author of many handball articles.
More than a dozen countries from four different continents represented the competition for the ultimate fronton showdown held in New York for the first time.
The fronton final showdown have taken place in Anglet, France for the past six years, but it was moved to New York, the mecca of 1-wall handball players who had shown interest in the fronton game due to the different types of physical abilities and handball skills required.
Orlando Diaz from Mexico is the only player to have captured the title in two different continents while his countryman Juan Medina is considered the second best overall.
Congratulations to the champions and runner-ups:
2009 Agustin Waltari (Cuba) vs Juan Medina (Mexico)
2010 Agustin Waltari (Cuba) vs Andy Aguirre (France)
2011 Orlando Diaz (Mexico) vs Agustin Waltary (Cuba)
2012 Orlando Diaz (Mexico) vs Yoan Heguiabehere (France)
2013 Orlando Diaz (Mexico) vs Mickel Poueyts (France)
2014 Orlando Diaz (Mexico) vs Juan Medina (Mexico)
2015 Orlando Diaz (Mexico) vs Juan Medina (Mexico)
Top two Photos by Keith Thode
Megan Mehilos won a record ninth 3-wall nationals singles titles to become the reigning Queen at the USHA 3-wall women's singles open division.
Former 3-wall Queen, Rosemarie Bellini, ascended to the throne in 1984 and in 1991 she established a new record in the women's open division that hasn't been broken in more than 30 years. She will retain her title with the most consecutive 3-wall singles titles (8) in the Association while the new Queen will have the honor of having captured the most 3-wall singles titles (9).
Mrs. Megan Dorneker was an impressive player on the 3-wall courts where she battled younger and older opponents during an entire decade (2005-2015) full of surprises and new handball stars who came to challenge her for supremacy, but ultimately she survived to be crowned surrounded by her family, friends and handball followers.
Congratulations to Mrs. Megan Dorneker
Have you seen this handball wizard?
It has become a trend for handball players to go out of their way and knock Bastidas out of the competition at some of the most important 1-wall events in recent years. But after they take him out they lose interest in winning the title, the honors and the tournament in general. Why?
There are two factors: Prestige and overwork.
Prestige. Most players are more interested in defeating Tyree for prestige. They all look forward to beat the youngest all-around handball player in the association. But in order to accomplish this, they need to play hard and usually overwork themselves so much they can not longer perform 100%, and consequently fail to win the next round or the tournament “Taking a game or a match from me is a personal affair for them as they consider their winning a mission- accomplished” said Tyree.
“Unfortunately they beat themselves up to the point of exhaustion when they play me”
We do have to agree with Tyree and his last statement as every game he plays is fought with such a tenacity and intensity by his opponents “Watching Tyree play in any round of competition is like watching the finals” said Raul Flores, a handball follower from Marine Park.
“Tyree's opponents leave everything on the court after they finish playing him and that's why they can't perform 100% the next day or the rest of the tournament.”
Some of these bizarre winnings by his opponents are:
2008 – USHA 1-wall nationals – Joe Kaplan plays his best to overcome Tyree in perhaps the longest match of the day, but loses his next match the following morning.
2012 – USHA 1-wall nationals – G. Vasquez takes Bastidas out in two long and close games, but gets forfeited the following day as he couldn't get up on time to play his next scheduled match.
2015 – World Handball Championships – V. Lopierre defeats T. Bastidas in the hardest tiebreaker Lopierre was pushed to play during the entire tournament, but in the end he loses his last match and the title.
2015 – Council Speaker's Cup – M. Schneider beats T. Bastidas in a long exhausting close game where Mr. Schneider found himself dragging his feet by the end of the game. The following morning he forfeited the championship match and lost the title.
Is it worth for players to go out of their way to take Bastidas out and then dump their game?
Apparently it is for some players.