San Mateo Elks Lodge
Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2015
Written by Billy Wyrsch
Dave Wyrsch is a Bay Area legend who dominated NorCal handball for 20 years from 1982 to 2001. He made it to the Pro level, and was ranked as high as No.5 on the Spaulding/Gatorade Pro Tour. In his prime, Dave had wins over the best players of his day such as John Bike Jr, Poncho Monreal, Fred Lewis, Vern Roberts, Rick Christian, Eric Klarman, Randy Morones, David Steinberg, and Richard Lopez.
David started playing handball at the age of 5. Our Dad (Howie) would take David to the South End Rowing Club every Saturday and Sunday. David played Freddie Stadlberger and Lennart Delatorre. You could see he had natural talent. He was lucky he inherited my Mother's left hand. Sometimes he would play older players, George the Waiter and Jean Parrett with a racketball. Dad took David to all the tournaments. During timeouts David would run on the court with his kneepads and eye guards on and start hitting the ball. All the fans would cheer for David and boo the players when they tried to come back. Every year you could see him getting stronger.
In 1980, David teamed up with his dad Howie to win 1st place at the "Father and Son" Handball tournament at the South End Rowing Club.
As he got older he was winning all the tournaments. Then came the Jr. Nationals, he had won the 17s already. In the 19s, my brother Howie Jr., my sister Noreen, Dad and me told David if he trained really hard and won we would all chip in and buy him a Chevy Camaro that he had his eyes on. David, never much of a trainer, trained really hard and beat Poncho Monreal in three games. It was 1983 in Burlingame, California, Dave defeated Poncho Monreal 21-9,19-21,11-5 to become the 19-and-under Junior National Champion. I can still remember that day, it was one of the greatest shooting days I have ever seen. I remember how sweaty Dad and I were and how proud my Dad was of David. If you were playing great, Dad would say, "That's my Son playing just like me." If you missed a shot Dad would say, "That is not my son. He is adopted, I was overseas."
In the 1986 National Collegiates, Dave faced the future USHA HoFer John Bike Jr. The match was played at the University of Berkeley (California) and Dave defeated John 21-2, 21-2 to earn the Men's "A" National Collegiate Champion title.
David's great nemesis was Rick Christian. When David was still young and coming up, Rick would work David over. Dave's breakthrough came in 1985 when David was 21 years old beating the great Rick Christian in the Santa Cruz Suntan Singles 21-15, (12-21), 11-1. Once David beat Rick you knew there was a new king on the court.
David's most devastating loss was in the NorCal Doubles against Joe McDonald and me. David was playing with Lennart Delatorre. Before the match Al Delatorre was interviewing David and Lennart for The Scoop. They said we were a bunch of Twinkies and then they lost the match.
[From Pro David Steinberg] "A bit more history for David Wyrsch, he and I qualified in a Pro doubles event in Tuscon, 1986, coming from behind against John Bike and Gordie Pfeiffer, down 17-3 in second, Wyrsch goes nutz flattening every shot to win 21-17 11-8."
In 1987 Dave qualified for the Pro Tour beating No.2 seed Vern Roberts in Round-of-16, Jon Kendler in Quarters, and was just edged out in the Semi's by Poncho Monreal 11-7 in the tiebreaker. Also in this year David teamed up with John Bike Jr and made it to the finals of the US Nationals Doubles in Baltimore, Maryland losing by only 5 points in the tiebreaker to Jon Kendler/Poncho Monreal (11-21),21-9,11-6.
Dave was involved in the toughest draws ever seen in NorCal. One epic battle took place in 1988 at the "NCHA Hall of Fame Doubles" on the famous wooden courts of the Olympic Club.
Dave's matches were:
- Quarters: David Wyrsch/John Bike d. Mike Dunne Jr/Rich Dunne.
- Semis: David Wyrsch/John Bike d. Don Chamberlin/Jon Kendler 11-10 tiebreak.
- Finals: David Wyrsch/John Bike d. Jaimie Paredes/Richard Lopez 21-8, 21-15.
Dave won numerous NCHA Regionals Open Titles, California State Championships, at least six NorCal Hall-of-Fame Doubles, and overall captured an incredible 40+ Open Titles winning in Singles and Doubles divisions. He won at the SoS/Modesto Memorial, the San Jose Labor Day, the Park Point Turkey Shoot, the Sacramento Open, and Santa Cruz Suntan Singles, Chabot College, and the San Mateo Elk Lodge's Top Gun to name a few.
Special thanks go out to Joe McDonald for sponsoring all the Juniors back then. He gave gloves and uniforms to all the kids. Thanks Joe! David lives in Ft. Myers, Florida with his girlfriend Mila.
David is a certified tennis instructor in his free time. In ending this story, I wish my Mom, Pat and Dad Howie were here to see David inducted into the Hall of Fame. I would have loved to have had my Dad on stage with me so we could have made fun of David together.
"May your next shot be a kill shot".