Handball player for life.

1977 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Al Torres defends the open singles championship he won three years earlier with an assortment of hooks serves that fleet-footed Ruben Gonzalez cannot deal with, rolling 21-10, 21-6. Torres then teams with Arty Reyer, who withstands the power barrage of Wally Ulbrich/Joel Wisotsky with the fastest hand in the game, frequently ending rallies with sharp angles or kills. After a slow start resulting in a first game loss, Torres cranks up his game and confounds his opponents with his serve and many kills hit from waist high to take the second and then eke out a 21-18 victory.

Mike Dikman wins the first one-wall masters singles, pasting Ron Berkowitz.

1978 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Super-cool 19-year-old old Billy Archival comes from nowhere to win three-games matches over Mike Dikman and Charlie Sheldon, sweeps Ken Ginty and then dethrones All Torres to reach the open singles final. Stu Kizner, son of the great “Lefty” Kizner, also reaches the final in an improbable march that includes a second comeback from a 17-4 deficit and a third-game win over Joe Durso after trailing 20-16. Kizner goes on to rout the heavily favored Archival 21-8, 21-4.

In the open doubles, John Richer/John Edwards beat Mark Levine/Morty Katz in three. Both teams had pulled major upsets, with Reicher/Edwards defeating Wally Ulbrich/Joel Wisotsky and Levine/Katz overcoming Torres/Arty Reyer.


Note: This tournament took place at the YMCA in Brooklyn.

1979 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Some 2,000 people watch at famed Garber Stadium as the tournament moves to the Brighton Beach Baths. The open singles is marked by the first semifinal appearance of Joe Durso, but he loses to John Edwards, who in turn is vanquished by Flip Wolfarth in the final. Wolfarth had beaten Danny Maroney in the semis.

In the open doubles, Howie Eisenberg/Joel Wisotsky defeat Steve Sandler/Don Weber in the semis. After an easy first-game final win over Mark Levine/Morty Katz, they come back from an 18-6 deficit in the second to take the championship


Note: This event took place at the Garber Stadium at the Brighton Beach Baths in Brooklyn.

1980 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Al Torres regains the open singles crown with a semifinal win over Albert Apuzzi and then a conquest of Joe Durso in Durso’s maiden attempt in the final.

Howie Eisenberg/Joel Wisotsky defend their open doubles championship with a 21-18 third-game semis victory over Durso/Albert Apuzzi followed by a 21-9, 21-20 win over Neil Bocian/Morty Katz, who had defeated Stu Kirzner/Mark Levine in the semis. This marks the fourth decade in which Eisenberg has reached the final of a national open championship, starting when he was 18 at the 1957 AAU with Vic Hershkowitz.


Note: This event took place at the Garber Stadium at the Brighton Beach Baths in Brooklyn.

1981 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Steve Sandler, 41 comes back to win his 14th national USHA or AAU one-wall open singles. He overcomes Albert Apuzzi in a three-game match in the semis and then Danny Maroney, erasing a 17-11 first-game deficit to score 10 straight followed by a 21-4 onslaught that left Maroney reeling.

The open doubles is taken by Arty Reyer/Mark Levine, prevailing over mark Golberg/Dan Flickstein in a three-game match that was controlled by the still-fast hands and steadiness of the 45-year-old Reyer.


Note: This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

1982 USHA National One-Wall Championships





The nationals move to a new venue, the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx, the spawning grounds of many champions. In this new setting, portentous of things to come, Joe Durso and Albert Apuzzi meet in the open singles final. Durso’s power and finesse dominate the first game, and the retrieving ability and hard driving effort of his determined opponent fall just short in the 21-19 second.

The open doubles is taken by Neil Bocian/Mark Levine over Buddy Shapiro/Frank De Vito, as Bocian’s all-out offense is complemented well by Levine’s steadiness and shot-making. In a reprise of their long rivalry, Steve Sandler and Howie Eisenberg battle each other in a three-hour master singles final in which Eisenberg reverses the scrip, losing the first and taking the next two for his first tournament victory over Sandler since 1960


Note: This event took place at the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx. 

1983 USHA National One-Wall Championships





In an epic battle of marvelous physical specimens, Al Torres tops the younger Joe Durso in a 21-19 third-game thriller to reclaim the singles championship. Neither has trouble advancing to the final, Torres beating Albert Apuzzi and Durso stopping Ed Golden.

Extracting a measure of solace, Durso/Apuzzi overcome the venerable Arty Reyer/Wally Ulbrich to take the doubles. Anna Calderon, 18, gains her third straight women’s singles title by devastating the field with serving and power never previously exhibited by a woman.


Note: This event took place at the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx.

1984 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Once again it’s Joe Durso vs Al Torres in the open singles final, but with the roles reversed. Durso rolls to a 21-2 third-game victory after they split the first two.

Albert Apuzzi’s drives yield numerous kill opportunities on which he and Durso capitalize in overwhelming open doubles finalists Lou Russo/Mike Dikman.

Anna Calderon again outclasses the women’s field.


Note: This event took place at the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx.

1985 USHA National One-Wall Championships





In the 25th anniversary of the USHA National One-Wall Championships, Ed Golden comes away with the gold. He fights to a 21-19 third-game upset of Joe Durso in the semis and repeats the scenario in the final with another two-point victory over Albert Apuzzi, whose speed and power had previously taken out Al Torres.

Apuzzi/Torres gain retribution, defeating Golden/Eric Vidal in the doubles final. Apuzzi/Torres overcome a 19-5 second-game deficit to run out the game after winning the first.

Anna Calderon again proves unbeatable, winning her fifth straight women’s singles title. In a final effort, 46-year-old Howie Eisenberg, playing with Neil Bocian, captures the seniors doubles, defeating defending champs Mike Dikman/Graham Palmore.

To commemorate last summer’s 50th USHA National One-Wall Championships, I shared some recollections of the first 25 years of the event.

Highlights of the rest of the 20th Century follow, with USHA Hall of Famers denoted by boldface type. A look at the national tournaments from the 21st Century will appear in the next issue.


Note: This event took place at the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx.

1986 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Albert Apuzzi conquers Mighty Joe Durso in the semis and garners his first national open singles championship by avenging his 85 final defeat by Ed Golden, who had outlasted Al Torres. Twin 21-17 victories for Apuzzi and Golden are key-notes of their path to the finals.

There are no surprises in the open doubles, as Durso/Apuzzi rejoin forces to romp over Golden/Eric Vidal.

Eric Klarman takes his second consecutive 19-and-under one-wall title to go along with his three-wall juniors crown.

Danny Maroney dominates the seniors singles by thrashing Graham Palmore 21-5, 21-3.

In the masters, it is Torres repeating with a 21-15, 21-6 over Palmore. Torres/Arty Reyer are not seriously challenged in defending their seniors doubles title as they win easily against Fred Feit/Maroney.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

1987 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Albert Apuzzi overcomes a 17-7 first-game deficit in the open singles semifinals to run out the game and then breezes to a 21-10 second-game victory over Al Torres. Joe Durso comes back from an 18-3 gap with devastating serves and shots to defeat 85 champ Ed Golden, then continues his onslaught by registering a 21-11, 21-3 win over Apuzzi.

Durso/Apuzzi go on to take the open doubles with a two-game win over Torres/Eric Klarman. Torres is not to be denied in age-group competition, as he dominates in earning an unprecedented double slam. He holds Charlie Sheldon under 10 points in both the seniors and masters finals and wins the doubles of both events comfortably with Arty Reyer. 


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn.

1988 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Joe Durso steamrolls to the open singles crown, running through Paul Lonergan in the semis and Al Torres in the final after the 44-year old capitalizes in his third service inning at 20-20 in the third game of his semifinals with Albert Apuzzi.

Durso/Apuzzi defeat Torres/Lonergan in an open doubles final featuring a five-point run by Apuzzi followed by 10 straight points powered by Durso as they come back from 12-6 in the third game.

Once again Torres accomplishes a double slam by beating Charlie Sheldon in the seniors and masters singles finals and repeating in both doubles with Arty Reyer.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn. 

1989 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Déjà vu. Joe Durso breezes to his seventh open singles title over Albert Apuzzi, who advances after trailing Danny Maroney 20-14 in the third game.

Durso/Apuzzi win the open doubles once again, defeating Al Torres/Lonergan in the final. The pressure of Apuzzi’s relentless drives augmenting Durso’s shotmaking is too great to overcome despite valiant efforts by the losers.

Again, Torres pulls off and age-group double slam, despite being pushed by the younger Danny Maroney in the seniors singles.

Torres demolishes his masters singles opponents, holding Dan Flickstein and Charlie Sheldon to a total of less tha 21 points in four games of the semis and final, respectively.

Torres/Arty Reyer have some difficulty with Maroney/John Stachetti but still emerge as senior doubles champs, then go on to beat Flickstein/Mark Godberg in two in the masters doubles.

Reyer also takes the golden doubles, playing with Mike Dikman, as they outclass the field easily.

This tournament marks the emergence of Robert Sostre, who provides indications of things to come by running through the juniors field.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn. 

1990 USHA National One-Wall Championships





With Albert Apuzzi out with an injury, four-wall stalwart Eric Klarman advances to the open singles final and actually takes a game from Joe Durso between 21-8 and 21-5 first-and third-game losses.

Klarman shows that his singles finish is no fluke as he teams with Danny Maroney to take the open doubles over Al Torres/Paul Lonergan.

Torres repeats the seniors singles script with another final victory over David Sheldon, who this time achieve doubles figures in each game.

The seniors doubles is spiced by a cameo appearance by 51-year-old Howie Eisenberg, visiting from the West Coast. Playing with Tom Hopkins, he runs 13 points on his first serve on a one-wall court in four years but succumbs in three games to Pete Stefano/Kevin Kenny, who are taken down in the final by perennial champs Torres/Arty Reyer. When Maroney wins the master singles over Sheldon, he completes an open doubles-masters singles slam last accomplished by Eisenberg in 1980.

Future multiple champion Satish Jagnandan announces his presence on the handball scene as he takes the boys 16-and-under title without being pressed.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn

1991 USHA National One-Wall Championships





The multiple-week format of the one-wall nationals is transformed to a four-day event. This has the twofold effect of facilitating participation from players from all over the country but precluding playing in a host of events.

Administration of the tournament is now performed by USHA directors augmented by the New York-base one-wall committee. Along with this, hospitality and prize money are provided for the first time in a one-wall event.

Despite the new format, the established one-wall stars rise to their customary positions in the semis of the open singles. The ageless Al Torres overcomes talented New York Police Department Detective Roger Casuso before being swept away by Joe Durso.

Albert Apuzzi, returning after an enforced hiatus due to an arterioplasty to repair a necrotic right arm, successfully knocks out Robert Sostre, Eric Klarman and Danny Maroney to gain his customary final berth. Durso emerges triumphant.

The open doubles is taken by brothers Paul and Joe Lonergan over Torres/Paul Williams.

The re-created women’s singles goes to four-wall champ Rosemary Bellini over Dori Ten in two close games.

The juniors events are truly portentous of championships to come as Joe Kaplan is defeated by Satish Jagnandan, who is beaten by Kendell Lewis in the 19-and-under competition. After that, the 16-and-under is child’s play for Jagnandan, a native of Guyana, as he overwhelms the field.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn 

1992 USHA National One-Wall Championships





John Bike returns to one-wall, beating Danny Maroney and Albert Apuzzi to gain the final against Joe Durso, who had taken out Fred Sylvia in the semis. The valiant effort by the three and four-wall champ is predictably shut down by the irrepressible Durso in dual 21-11 victories.

The open doubles goes to Apuzzi/Ed Golden, who beat Al Torres/Sostre easily after being pushed to three games by the Lonergan brothers.

In a reversal of the 91 finish, Ten prevails over Bellini in an 11-10 tiebreaker that included multiple service exchanges at championship point. Morris Levitsky, referee extraordinaire, is presented with the Kendler Award for his unfailing contributions to the game.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn

1993 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Eleven-to -10 are the standards odds that a bettor has to lay with a bookie no matter which side of the point spread he favors, but 11-10 is the repetitive story of the open singles. Eric Klarman upsets Joe Durso and Angel Marquez defeats John Bike in quarterfinal matches, followed by semifinal wins by Fred Sylvia over Klarman and Albert Apuzzi over Marquez, all by that score. In the final, Apuzzi dispenses with the cliffhanging and takes down Sylvia 21-2, 21-16.

Barbara Canton defeats Dori Ten in the women’s singles, and the two of them combine to capture the doubles championship.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn 

1994 USHA National One-Wall Championships





Albert Apuzzi beats Eric Klarman 21-10, 21-19 in the semis. Joe Durso beats “Fast Eddie” Maisonet 21-13, 21-2, then regains the open singles championship with a hard-fought but dominant victory over defending champion Apuzzi.

In the open doubles, Maisonet/Paul Williams emerge Triumphant by beating Apuzzi/Ed Golden in two after three-game wins over the Lonergans and Al Torres/Mike Demetriou.

Barbara Canton repeats over Dori Ten in the women’s singles and slams with her in the doubles.


This event took place at Coney Island in Brooklyn