Northshore Handball Tournament
August 16-17, 2019
Downtown YMCA, Duluth, MN
It took forty years but Duluth, Minnesota once again has a handball tournament!
Thanks to the gracious support of Duluth YMCA director Emily Ranta, the Northshore Handball Tournament and Clinics took place August 16th & 17th on two of the best courts in Minnesota...free of charge. In this showcase of the perfect game, the draw included National & World title holders, MSHA Top 10 awardees, Duluth's best player, and a former professional soccer player climbing the Minnesota 4-wall ranks just one year into the sport.
Court time was set aside each day for youth or adults to try out handball. An instructional video, posters, gloves, balls, and eye guards were provided by the USHA for clinics, and Duluth's Al Leveille kept half a dozen youth participants engaged for longer than the allotted time. Hopefully among these newcomers will emerge future Northshore champions!
Matches began on Friday with Mat Langhorst (Saint Paul), Jim Grota (Rochester), Donovan Foley (Mounds View), and Dave Schiller (Minneapolis) advancing to semis. On Saturday, Langhorst v. Grota (age 53) resulted in a win for youth after Langhorst, fearing the aggressive play of the elder, said "Grota never goes away". Schiller, recruited for his spectacular power-driven game, and Foley, for his unrelenting willingness to battle, provided the expected thriller in the other semifinal. Schiller prevailed in a tie breaker, setting up the final against Langhorst.
The championship was a near equal match. In the face of Schiller's powerful serves, front fist kills, and taking of early leads, Langhorst never went away, rallying with Schiller's best punches. Langhorst took a narrow lead late in the final game and was serving at 20. It looked like we were going to have a tie breaker, but deep into the rally Schiller took a gutsy left corner kill shot that stunned the crowd. The players battled at 20-20 with Langhorst putting Schiller on the ground multiple times, only for him to get up and save himself with an amazing retrieve. Schiller finally gained the hard fought win.
The inaugural awards banquet followed at Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub with all 8 contenders in attendance. Awards included cash prizes, woodcraft medallions, and the scrolling art of Mike Erdmanczyk.
The tournament was a complete success, and everyone is looking forward to next year.
For more, check out the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/585984171929890/.