USHA National Junior Four-Wall Championships – Tyree Bastidas foresees a new wave of junior players who can capture more USHA crowns than he did.
From left: Tyree Bastidas, Gabriel Gosselin, Raphael Santerre and Jerome Santerre.
T. Bastidas and R. Santerre do not qualify to play at the junior level anymore, but Jerome Santerre does. Jerome is a native of Quebec, Canada and will be playing his last USHA junior event on the way out of the junior competition. He'll be taking anyone on his way out. So watch out for this kid!
Picture courtesy of Jean Santerre from Quebec, Canada.
The 4-wall junior national will take place in Tucson, Arizona at the end of the year, and is expected to draw the most talented players from various countries.
Bastidas, who won the most USHA national titles as a junior player believes there are a lot of talented junior players out there, who can easily win more titles than he did.
Indeed, Bastidas might be right as he only captured one national title by the time he turned 14.
Currently, there are close to ten players registered to play at the USHA 4-wall junior national, who are 14 years old or younger and already have at least one USHA title.
If they continue to play at this rate and continue to play at the USHA 1-wall national in New York and at the 3-wall national in California, they can easily reach and surpass Bastidas’ record.
Above from left: Pro finalists Dori Ten and Annie Huang.
Above: A. Huang (front) serves the ball to D. Ten.
Above: Pay-up time for Tournament Director Albert Apuzzi.
The tournament was played indoors and outdoors.
There were eight national open champions registered to compete in the men’s open.
It took three balls for the men’s championship game to end.
The H.E.S. 1-wall Pro stop has been captured only by USHA national champions.
Upset of the tournament: Joe Kaplan defeated defending national champion Yuber Castro.
Youngest player at the Men’s Open: Sheikh Hossain (15).
Oldest player at the Men’s Open: Joe Durso (56).
The women’s open final featured the oldest and one of the youngest players.
For the first time: The championship game was recorded with four different cameras from four different angles.
Missing in action; S. Jagnandan and J. Wright.
Above: Picture of Team New York at the USHA junior 4-wall championships in 2009. From left (standing): Eric Brandman, Coach Mike Watson, Tyree Bastidas, Babalola Ajisafe and Matthew Chu. From left (front): Sandy Ng, Shirley Chen, Cheryl Chen and Amy Li. Isaac Acosta and Jose Garcia not pictured.
Optimism is high for U.S. handball players competing this year in Tucson, Arizona.
The 4-wall junior championships will be an opportunity for all players to find out where they stand in terms of skills and athleticism, prior to the Worlds Handball Championships next year.
Every player is aiming to go to the Worlds in Ireland in 2012 and the USHA 4-wall championships would be the best venue to prove if they are ready or not.
“The crowd will be going wild,” said Tyree Bastidas. “I know there will be a high pressure atmosphere. They can’t get their emotions caught up in the game. They know their goal (meaning getting to the finals) and they know what they have to do in order to get there.”
Once again, New York will be sending a handball team to the 4-wall junior national. New York has kept a tradition of sending junior handball players to the nationals every year for more than 10 years. New York is the only State that sends its players to all USHA national junior championships across the nation.
2011 New York Handball Team: Shirley Chen (19), Cheryl Chen (19), George Xue (19) and Matthew Chu (17).
Above from left: Danielle Santiago (center-court) and Albert Apuzzi during opening ceremonies.
Above: Team China vs Team Israel (black shirt).
Above: Team China vs Team Dominican Republic.
Above: Team Ukraine (yellow shirt) vs Team U.S.
There were 14 teams from different countries participating at this event.
Most games were officiated by paid referees.
The SkyBounce ball was the official ball for the tournament.
For the first time: Eric Cruz, a big ball player, arranged for Danielle Santiago to sing the U.S. national anthem during the opening ceremony.
Upset of the Tournament: Team Italy (men) eliminated team Dominican Republic.
Longest game: Team Israel and China battled for almost two hours. Team Israel emerged victorious.
Most improved teams: Team Puerto Rico (men and women).
Teams to watch in the future: Team China (men and women), team Italy and team Dominican Republic (women).
Above from left: C. Churraoin and C. Casey pose for our cameras back in 2009 in Chicago.
Above: Killian Carrol (white and green uniform) squeezes by to retrieve the ball in Chicago, Illinois.
Tyree Bastidas has seen Irish players come and go while playing at the junior nationals. But only three players managed to get his attention in his last year of junior eligibility; Catriona Casey, Killian Carrol and Ciana Ni Churraoin.
C. Casey: She is really above the competition and should not have any problems winning her age (singles) division. She has been around for a while and her experience should take it to the title. said Bastidas.
K. Carrol: I saw him for the first time in 2009. said Bastidas. “He is a pure 4-wall player with a fierce attitude. He rarely smiles. He just takes his games very serious. He should be able to win the 19-and under (singles) division”
C. Churraoin: She is the best junior player I have ever seen. said Bastidas.
“She is the best out there and she is my favorite player to win anything in the junior divisions. I told her back in 2009, she’ll capture the women’s open division at the Irish nationals as a teenager.
If people think Chapman and Bastidas are players above the competition, they need to watch her play. Players like her don’t come around too often"