Minnesota State Handball Association
2019 State Open Doubles Handball Championships
March 14-15, 2019
University of Minnesota Recreation & Wellness Center
Ten straight Open Doubles titles for Andy Nett! Three years with younger brother Tomand seven before that with his father John. On the score card it looks easy with no team getting more than 13 points against the Netts. But the matches were entertaining. In the semis, the hard hitting, high flying Dave Schiller and Donovan Foley pushed hard but really couldn’t score enough points to ever break through and in the semifinals against Matt Hiber and Mike Gustafson both games were close in the first half but Andy and Tom just kept too much pressure on Hiber and Gustafson just made too many mistakes. Tom is the perfect steady defender with Andy’s great serving and offense. Even numerous great gets by Gustafson could not change the outcome. Brian Burke and Ryan Pesch really pushed Hiber and Gustafson loosing 11-10 in the semifinal tie-breaker. Burke and Pesch went on to claim 3rdplace. Mat Langhorst and Mike Miller defeated the ageless Chris Iverson and Jim Grota for the consolation prize.
Both new and familiar faces entered the A Division. It looks like a youth movement with fourth seeded Adrian Anderson and Clayton Edwards from Mankato taking top honors over third seeded David Abramson and Henry Arneson in a see-saw, three-game final match. Maybe that collegiate experience taught the Mankato guys how to finish? Josiah Hakala and Kristina Langhorst defeated Ed Brazman and Steve Tamminga in an entertaining, if not close on the score sheet third place match. The youngster Abdul Gandhi teamed with the oldest player in the tournament, Gary Rohrer to defeat Steve and John Laliberte for consolation honors.
Several of the Women’s collegiate team from Mankato were moved into the B Division to see some new competition and everyone had a good time. Veteran players Vern Miller and Jim Lash barely defeated youngsters Joseph Lallier and Edgar Jaurez Lopez for the championship 20-21, 21-7, 11-8. Isaac Alberg and his mother Nicole took third place over Kendra Kaupa and Maddie Kennedy while Andrew Unick and Matt Johnson fought their way for consolation honors over Ben Kleineschay and Alfonso Torrez Gonzalez.
What can you say about iron man Mike McQuillan? A glutton for punishment? Super human? Misguided? Mike played in both the Super Masters (60+) A and B divisions, winning both! That is six matches in two days (well really less than 24 hours!) The A bracket featured numerous strong players and former State Champions. Last year’s winner Don Reiter teamed with Bob Milliken and were seeded first. They eased into the semifinals where they nearly went down to Brian Coonce and Mike Kloos in a tough three-game match. Meanwhile Mike McQuillan and his returning partner Jay Spooner sailed through the lower half of the division to take on Reiter and Milliken. The defending champ had no answer for Spooner and McQuillan. Coonce and Kloos took third place over former great Scott Hannon and many-time champion John Nett. Mike Burk and Sergio Gonzalez barely defeated Dean Held and Phil Kleineschay in an 11-10 tie-breaker to claim consolation honors.
The Super Masters (60+) B division was a four team round robin. Mike Mcquillan with partner Lee Engele topped all teams only losing one game. Bruce Pesch and Pete Kaehler took second place and Sheldon Silberman and Will Bjornnes took third.
The committee did a great job avoiding match conflicts with a half dozen players entered in more than one division. Once again, the University of Minnesota Recreation & Wellness Center proved to be an excellent host for the nearly 80 particpants.