Tyree Bastidas (NY) and Nikolai Nahorniak (IL) pose for our cameras at the 3-wall handball courts. Their body language pretty much tells the story of their run to the championship match in the last two years.
Hardly could there be a more vivid depiction of the pure joy of sports that the photograph of Bastidas and Nahorniak smiling after the USHA men’s open singles final.
The moment captured the essence of a remarkable duo of young players from the Northeast. What unites the two is pride in achievement based on commitment to excellence while playing away from their home courts.
Bastidas and Nahorniak met for the first time at the USHA National Juniors Four-Wall Championships in 2004, where Nahorniak beat Bastidas in two games. The last time they played against each other was at the USHA National Juniors Four-Wall Championships, where Bastidas beat Nahorniak in 2008.
When Bastidas won the Three-Wall Open Championship in Jersey City in 2010, he also reached the championship match of the USHA 3-wall championships in the men’s singles division.
On the other hand, Nahorniak won the Rainbow Beach Three-Wall Open Championship in Chicago in 2011 and reached the championship match of the USHA 3-wall championships in the men’s singles division.
Both players have come a long way since playing in the USHA juniors divisions. They are the youngest players to have reached the championship match in the last two years, and play for the rewards of fulfilling their God-given potentials. It’s just a question of being the best they can be. And damn, weren’t they super?
Above: T. Bastidas gets ready to return the ball as R.Willies watches.
Above: Action during the men's doubles gets video coverage.
Above: Team Bastidas (front) serves the ball to team Szatkowski.
Above: V. Perez returns a ball during the match against Bastidas.
Jurell and Tyree Bastidas played several tiebreaker matches to reach the semifinal match at the 3-wall nationals in Ohio, before succumbing to the heat and experience of their rivals. It was a repeat of the 1-wall nationals in NY when they also played tiebreaker matches to reach the semifinal match.
Team Bastidas actually did perform beyond expectations as they didn’t practice enough due to the constant rain in the Northeast.
First, team Bastidas had to go the three-game route against the solid Midwest team of W. Lemp and R. Willis and then had to play the more experienced team of D. Szatkowski and A. Szatkowski. In the end, team Bastidas was stopped by team V. Perez and S. Lee of the Chicago area.
The men’s open doubles division drew the most teams to play for the title in the last five years.
Above: No 2 seed Tyree Bastidas made sure Andy Nett didn't walk away with an upset on Saturday.
There were several upsets in the singles and doubles divisions throughout the day.
The first upset of the day was when B. Ruiz defeated No 1-seed D. Chapman in two games.
Later on, N. Nahorniak also defeated No 4-seed L. Moreno in two games.
During the night, team Bastidas defeated No 3-seed team Szatkowski in an exciting tiebreaker.
Later on, team V. Perez and S. Lee defeated No 2-seed team S. Lenning and L. Moreno in another exciting tiebreaker.
Above from left: Tom Kopp poses with Tyree Bastidas at the 3-wall nationals.
Above: Play stopped momentarily for safety reasons.
Above: Players looked for cover to talk with each other during the rain.
Above: The handball courts were being dried immediately to resume play.
Above: Handball players took advantage of the rain to catch up with some of the games.
The USHA 3-wall championship matches came to a hold on Sunday afternoon, after Tournament Director, Vern Roberts announced over the speakers to stop the games for safety reasons. Fans and players looked for cover as soon as the clouds sprayed and misted rain for an hour.
The Toledo handball players teamed up with the USHA staff to dry the courts in less than an hour by using torches and other equipment.
Play resumed as soon as the courts were dried and continued into the night.
Tom Kopp, President of Owen Gloves and a big supporter of handball, was on site to supply T. Bastidas with more than six pair of gloves. “The gloves came in handy. "I almost used all the gloves he game me due to the heat and persistent humidity during my games." Said Bastidas.
Please consider buying Owen gloves whenever you can.
Above: Jurell Bastidas and Sean Lenning during a break. Lenning got an early scare while trailing Bastidas 3-9 in the first game. After the break, he figured he blasted his way to win both games.
Above: S. Lenning watches the match of A. Nett and T. Bastidas as he wants to make sure who his next rival would be.
Above: Championship match of N. Nahorniak and S. Lenning while is being watched and filmed by a television station crew.
Bastidas, the youngest player in the men’s draw played his first match by beating the ever improving V. Perez from Forest Lake College on Friday.
On Saturday the 20-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., busted his way into the semifinal match by beating Andy Nett in a 96+ degrees temperature. He reached the semifinal match of the men’s open singles division for the second consecutive year. He is the youngest New Yorker to have gone this deep as far as people can remember. In the end, he was overpowered by S. Lenning on Sunday morning. Lenning went on to win the title.
In a display of power while serving, S. Lenning aced Bastidas to score the most points. “I wish he engages me in playing the game instead of acing me. I had no chance against his power-serve, zero chance” said Bastidas.
“C. Sala, S. Jagnandan, L. Moreno and D. Fink, they let you play. It would have been a different score if he would have stopped overpowering me. I guess this is the only way some players feel they can beat me” added Tyree.
Above: Competition continued into the night.
Above: Jurell Bastidas returns a shot in the preliminary match.
Above: Tracy Davis, Tyree Bastidas and Sandy Ng at the 3-wall courts.
Above: Handball players get together during the rain.
Above from left: Victor Perez and Nikolai Nahorniak from Lake Forest College.
Upset of the tournament (Open, singles):
Braulio Ruiz of California shocked No 1 seed D. Chapman of Missouri. Nikolai Nahorniak from Illinois shocked No 4 seed L. Moreno from Arizona.
Upset of the tournament (Open, doubles):
Team Bastidas from New York shocked No 3 seed team Szatkowski from Illinois.
Team Perez/Lee from Chicago shocked No 2 seed Lenning/Moreno from Arizona.
Brittyn Bidegain. She won the boy’s 17-and-under title.
Sandy Ng won the Women’s doubles title for the second consecutive year.
Upset of the tournament (juniors, singles):
Brant Bidegain defeated recent 3-wall junior national champion Julio Garcia.
Battle of the brothers:
Team Bastidas played against team Szatkowski.
Team Bardwell played against team Anderson.
Must improved player:
Victor Perez from Lake Forest College.