The boy’s 15-Under division final is an all-Santa Barbara match-up with Efren Sanchez taking on Jacob Rodriguez. The two finalists will also compete for the boy’s 15-Under Doubles title on Sunday
2010 USHA National juniors three-wall championships – Los Angeles - another city fit for a King – record turnout at Tyree’s last tournament- Irish players travel west to try to stop Tyree for the last time – Tyree to face more than 20 players in the 19-and-under division – Hollywood ending.
Above: Tyree serving the ball during 19-and-under finals
Above: Tyree hits the ball with his left hand as Stephen Cooney takes up position.
This was the last big show, the big fun and the last opportunity for handball players across the globe to beat the best junior player on the planet, Tyree Bastidas, the irresistible for a classy, supremely likable young man with ambitions far beyond the court.
It capped a dominant run by New York’s best junior player, Tyree Bastidas, who won a record of twelve (singles and doubles) USHA 3-wall national titles.
Teen Titan Tyree got his hand on the National junior three-wall Crown to complete his collection.
The biggest star belongs on the biggest stage –
Stephen Cooney's goal to stop Tyree at Venice Beach almost materialized when he met Tyree in the championship match. Stephen took his best shot at the nine-time reigning all-time USHA junior championship, but in the end succumbed to Tyree's wide arsenal of 1-, 3-, and 4-wall shots.
Tyree will always be remembered as the most dominant force at the USHA National Juniors 3-wall championships.
Tyree Bastidas in the center(green color gloves), surrounded by other players. Picture by Paula Porter, courtesy of USHA.
WORDS BY Dave Fink
The Next Generation
Who will be next in line to wear the crown?
An Editorial By Dave Fink
Handball’s next generation is quickly establishing itself as one of the most talented group of players in recent memory. These juniors are armed with the talent, the action, and the willingness to learn that will earn them a place at the top of the sport in the near future. Several in this group have already established themselves as pro level players, while others are soon to follow.
This dazzling group of 15-19 year old youngsters includes Americans, Mexicans, Canadians, and Irish. Many of these youngsters can be seen courtside at every pro match, studying and learning from the game’s best. While not watching the top players, these juniors are battling one another for championships in some of the most compelling handball at any event. Many of these juniors are taking lessons, clinics, and camps with the top players in the game, and studying the WPH library of over 150 DVDs to improve their games. This diligence is paying dividends as top junior handball is as strong and competitive as it has been in recent memory. The top juniors dazzled the crowd at the 2010 USHA Four Wall Nationals.
The top 19 and under superstars are a powerful group from three different countries.
Tyree Bastidas of Brooklyn, New York has become one of the top three one-wall players in the world, and he is taking his offensive prowess and ambidexterity to the four wall arena. Currently ranked in the top 20 in the world, Tyree is one of the most fun players in all of handball to watch. Tyree has won over 65 Junior National Championships, and has recently been in the finals of several prestigious open tournaments. Tyree could be the first player since Vic Hershkowitz to capture the one wall, three wall, and four wall national singles titles.
Mexico’s Luis Cordova plays a seemingly effortless game, and his effortless style has won him several national championships in the last year. Luis appears to be casual on the court, but his quickness and strength make him a formidable opponent against virtually any pro. Luis plays various forms of handball in his native Juarez, Mexico, including a two wall game with a ball similar to a baseball. He has developed the intensity and burning desire to win in this form of handball, and he is taking that intensity and desire to the junior and pro tour. Look for Luis’s name in the top 12 in the next year Ireland’s Fergal Collins is perhaps the friendliest and happiest person in the sport, but do not let that smile fool you. Fergal is an incredibly intense competitor, and he will not be intimidated by anyone on the court. His supreme fitness and court coverage will test anyone in the sport. Fergal has advanced to the round of 16 in the two biggest pro events in the last year, the World Championships and The USHA Nationals to earn a top 20 ranking. Fergal has spent his last two summers in Tucson, honing his game against the best handball community in the country. Resembling a young Eoin Kennedy, Fergie will notch some very big wins in the near future.
The 17-and-under phenoms are equally impressive. Mexico’s Daniel Cordova, younger brother of current 19-and-under national champion Luis Cordova, is reminiscent of a young Vince Munoz. At just 140 pounds, Daniel generates phenomenal power with both hands and... the quickness to match. Daniel has the opportunity to play his older brother daily, and this has elevated his game tremendously. Daniel’s ability to retrieve and roll the ball from anywhere on the court is a scary proposition for his opponents. Look for Daniel to qualify in the pro ranks in the next year.
Canada’s John Audet has been the top junior player in Canada for the past two years, and he is now displaying that talent in the big United States events. John possesses more power than he knows what to do with, but he is slowly learning to harness that power.
His ball control and decision- making is his biggest weakness, but young Johnny is improving dramatically in those areas. John is very similar to another John from 25 years ago. That John went on to become a national champion in the states, and one of the all-time greats in the sport. When young Johnny learns to control his power as Mr. Bike was able to do 25 years ago, he will be a dominating force.
Ireland’s Peter Funchion is the most unheralded and least well-known top junior in the game because he rarely travels to the United States, but he is the top 1 7 year old in the world right now. Peter plays the game systematically and tactically with no emotion or negative self-talk. His precision and ball control have earned him the nickname “The Surgeon”. Peter dissected his competition in the 17- and-under at the USHA 4 Wall Nationals. His game is eerily similar to his countryman, Tony Healy. Peter would be a pro qualifier if he entered the top level of the sport right now. Peter’s unshakable concentration and percentage handball mastery at just 17 make him the player to beat in junior handball.
The 15-and-under group has a dynamic group of athletically gifted youngsters who appear to have been born to play the sport. Displaying the footwork and swing technique of the top pros in the game, these youngsters may not be able to drive, but they can play some serious handball. Tyler Stoeffel of Minnesota is silky smooth, and possesses the poise of a top pro. Jacob Rodriguez has the incredible court sense and shot- making ability of a seasoned pro. Anthony Collado captured the 15-and- under National Title with ferocious power and ball control.
Thirteen year old brothers Evan Sheridan and Robert Fox were the class of the 13 year old field. Coached by current national open doubles champion (and their dad) Tom Sheridan, these brothers are Ireland’s next generation of dominant superstars. John Bike Ill, known simply as JAB also has a highly decorated coach, his legendary father, captured the 11-and-under title. JAB has already developed the left-handed cannon of his dad, and JAB will carry the left handed torch on the pro tour someday.
These juniors and a list of others not mentioned, make this a very exciting time for the sport. These youngsters mirror the generation of Emmett Peixoto, Sean Lenning, and Allan Garner from six-eight years ago, and David Chapman, Vince Munoz, and Tati Silveyra from twenty years ago. The onslaught of domination from these phenoms will be happening very soon. The top pros should be looking in their rear-view mirror because the next generation is quickly approaching.
During the last decade and since the USHA added the doubles division to the junior 3-wall championships, no player in the 19-and-under division has been able to slam in his last year of junior eligibility. It’s a spell that Tyree broke in his last junior tournament of eligibility this past weekend. Handball players at
Anatomy of the 3-wall handball spell of the 19-and-under graduating class in the past six years:
Tyree Bastidas (graduating) wins 19-and-under Singles division Tyree Bastidas (graduating) wins 19-and-under Doubles division Stephen Cooney (graduating) 19-and-under singles division finalist
Tyree Bastidas wins 19-and-under Singles division Tyree Bastidas wins 19-and-under Doubles division Fergal Collins (graduating) 19-and-under singles division finalist
Tyree Bastidas wins 17-and-under Singles division Tyree Bastidas wins 19-and-under Doubles division Armando Ortiz (graduating) wins 19-and-under Singles division
Luis Moreno (graduating) wins 19-and-under singles division Ricardo Ruiz and Armando Ortiz win 19-and-under Doubles division Luis Moreno (graduating) 19-and-under doubles division finalist
Luis Moreno wins 19-and-under Singles division Ricardo Ruiz and Armando Ortiz win 19-and-under Doubles division Braulio Ruiz (graduating) 19-and-under Doubles division finalist
2005Braulio Ruiz wins 19-and-under Singles division Braulio Ruiz and Jonathan Iglesias win 19-and-under Doubles division Victor LoPierre (graduating) 19-and-under Singles division finalist