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Joe McDonald Award winners

The Joe McDonald Award was developed to give recognition to any Northern Californian for their achievements in handball during the past year, whether as a player or contributor. The award is presented annually at the Hall of Fame banquet by the NCHA president.

2019 - david sanchez III

The NCHA selected David Sanchez III, from Stockton, who has been blowing the doors off the record books, having fun, and is hell bent on reaching the Pro Tour someday soon. Still in his teens (16 years old), David's athletic accomplishments over the last year read like a grizzled tour veteran:

. Sep'18: Cal Cup 15U singles; 17U doubles
. Dec'18: USHA National Jr 15U Singles Big Ball Title
. Feb'19: St Patrick's Open Doubles (with Erik Torres)
. Mar'19: Men's "A" in Tucson, Arizona
. Mar'19: 2019 Scoop Junior Player of the Year
. May'19: Finalist in the Cinco De Mayo Open Doubles
. Apr'19: Men's "A" in Sac
. Apr'19: Named "Olympian of the Year" by the Olympic Club
. Jun'19: Finalist in Men's "A" in Concord
. Jun'19: USHA National 17-and-under Singles Title
. Jul'19: Top Gun Open Doubles (with Erik Torres)

Congratulations to David Sanchez III, aka Lil' Phenom, aka "D3", for outstanding accomplishments, both locally and nationally, as we look forward to your progress through the handball ranks from Open to Pro Qualifiers to (hopefully) the WPH Pro Tour some day. Good luck! The NCHA

Submitted by Mike Linnik

2018 - Juan Carlos OCampo

The Joe McDonald Award is for an outstanding achievement "on" or "off" the handball courts. The NCHA presents this award at the Hall-of-Fame banquet to deserving individuals.

This year's nominee was San Francisco's Juan Carlos OCampo:
. He has led the "renovation of the Golden Gate Park Courts".
. Run the "Father-Son" handball tournament at the South End Rowing Club.
. Coaches the growing community of women players (including daughter Karla).

So it's leaders like Juan, who step up and uses his valuable spare time to help cultivate the game, grow the game, and give a pristine jewel back to the players - The Golden Gate Park Handball Courts - to be enjoyed for years and decades to come.  Congratulations Juan!

In Juan's words: I am very grateful to all of you for thinking of me, Thank you very much.

My interest in the renovation of the handball courts in the Golden Gate Park is that it can be a safe place for all, especially the neighborhood that walks with their pets near the courts and tourists who walk through the park to stop for a few minutes to watch the games of Handball. I am working on keeping the Golden Gate Handball courts in good condition for people to enjoy.

The Golden Gate Park courts are historic, the building is more than 50 years old and has not been repainted on the outside for as many as 50 years or more.  I think that if we keep volunteering and helping the S.F. Recreational Park they will recognize our interest in maintaining the courts clean and together we can work on keeping them in better condition for many years more.

I also want to thank the players and families who help volunteer in this project. Especially to Bob Deltorre, Joe Tierney, and Al Sandoval.

The South End Rowing club has a group of about 25 very interested women who are learning and enjoying the game of handball every day. My motivation for teaching the women to play is because I want to see the women continue playing the game and to improve themselves and not losses interest because of lack of help. I want them to enjoy the game just as much as the men.

A Very special thanks to Kim Howard, for coordinating and getting the group of women in the game of handball. I hope that more new players can join the group and learn from this beautiful and addictive sport.

Submitted by Juan Carlos OCampo

 

2017 - Erik Torres

The best and most proficient player on the NorCal handball circuit over the last couple years has clearly been the Olympic
Club's Erik Torres. Erik's style is pure poetry, he has a silky smooth style and unleashes power like a Lamborghini
revving it's V12 6.5 litre engine. Erik's a runner, once actually ran the "Bay to Breakers" race before a South End Open finals
match! In the last year-and-a-half, Erik Torres has racked up the following Men's Open titles in the Bay Area:

He has won 8 titles:
. Olympic Club Singles
. Cinco de Mayo Doubles
. SoS Doubles
. Top Gun Doubles
. HoF Doubles
. Turkey Shoot Singles
. (2!) Super Bowl Singles

He won them with 4 different partners:
. Mike McDonald
. Arturo "Lefty" Suarez
. Sean Haley
. Dean Crispen

He is currently in the top-20 men on the WPH R48 Pro Tour. Congratulations on your tournament success, thank you for inspiring countless players, and good luck on the Pro Tour!

2016 - Frank Vasquez

Year after year, Frank has catered handball tournaments with outstanding lunches and dinners. He is well recognized for providing the food at South End Rowing Club and San Mateo Elks tournaments.  He is especially known for his
tasty BBQ pork. Somehow he makes it all happen while also competing and often winning events on those weekends. BTW He's also won 2 USHA National Doubles Titles in the Men's 55's with NorCal great Gary Stedman for the last 2 years, this alone could have given Frank the nod. A great player, and a great contributor - Norcal handball truly appreciates Frank's efforts and achievements!

2015 - Luis Bustos and Anthony Sullivan

Luis and Anthony are two outstanding young handball players who have worked their way up to becoming top competitors in the open and pro divisions. At the 2014 USHA Junior Nationals, Luis won the 17 and Under Singles Title and Anthony won the 19 and Under A Singles Title. They both won without losing a single game. Shortly afterward, they proved that they were highly skilled handball players by teaming up and winning the Fred Bancalari Super Bowl Open Doubles Title.

Luis and Anthony also won rounds in the Pro Tour. At the San Francisco Pro Stop in February, Anthony won his first round and made it to the top 16 bracket. At the USHA 4- Wall Nationals in June, both won their first rounds and made it to the top 16 bracket. Luis beat Kevin Price from Colorado in three games and Anthony beat David Walsh from Ireland in two games. Congratulations Luis and Anthony!

 

2014 - Ed Campbell

This year's recipient is Ed Campbell. Ed has had an extraordinary year of handball accomplishments.  While he has several national titles and routinely is in the finals, his success in 2014, probably resulted in the need for a room addition to store all of the hardware. Seldom does a player slam in the Nationals, but Ed slammed at the 2014 3-Wall Nationals in the 65+ Singles and Doubles. He also represented Northern California in the 2014 California Cup winning the 65+ singles competition. 

While not the champion, he was in the finals of the National Master 65+ Doubles with Vance McInnis, National 65+ Doubles with Vance McInnis, San Mateo Top Gun 60+ Doubles with Billy Wyrsch, and NorCal Hall of Fame 60+ Doubles with Jim Tamagni.  
Congratulations Ed Campbell!

 

2013 - Alan Sherrill

Alan Sherrill has had an outstanding year, winning three national titles:
* Masters Invitational 4-wall Doubles with Jay Capell
* USHA 4-wall Nationals Doubles with Jay Capell
* USHA 3-wall National Doubles with Jay Capell

 

2012 - Bob Braine

This year's recipient is San Jose's Bob Braine. Bob was 60yrs when he won his first 60B singles title in Las Vegas. 10 years later, in June 2012, Bob won his first USHA 70+ Singles 4-wall singles title at Los Caballeros in Fountain
Grove, California. Bob then "went on a roll" where he slammed (winning singles and doubles) in the 70’s at the 3-Wall USHA Nationals in Toldeo, Ohio. Bob also "gives back" by teaching handball at SJSU, working with students
to learn "The Perfect Game". Congratulations Bob!

2011 - Roberto Chavez

This year's receipient is Coach Roberto Chavez. Under 1993/2004 HoFer Sol Aber's guidance, Roberto wrote a handball curriculum for San Jose State University to implement "Beginning Handball". Since that time Coach Roberto, along with
players Jerry Schiffman and Bob Braine, has provided instruction to over 500 college students. With Sol's passing, Coach Roberto also took over as Coach for the San Jose YMCA's Junior handball program. Coach Roberto has run this
program for 12 years before passing this program over to HoFer Tom Urquhart. Roberto also sponsored a Summer Handball Camp for Juniors. Coach Roberto worked with the USHA to get funds from the "Development Funds", and worked to fund dozens of low-income players with help from numerous players. 1998/2010 HoFer Kevan Del Grande provided assistance to help any kid wishing to play to get involved. NCHA is very proud of Coach Roberto's efforts, energy, and leadership in promoting "The Perfect Game" ... Congratulations! This is well-deserved. As a side note: Roberto Chavez has over 10 Canadian National Handball Titles.

2010 - Carl Rice

The SOS junior handball program started in September, 2007. Carl Rice started it with his grandson, Garrett, and many of Garrett’s friends from the Riverbank youth baseball program. Carl’s theme was to provide off-season training in footwork, swing mechanics and endurance. Carl felt baseball and handball were a perfect fit.

On his own, Carl went about working out the arrangements for court usage with the SOS and learning how the USHA First Ace program works. He then approached the rest of the SOS players for help with the on-court instruction part. He does all recruiting, arranges for transportation to the SOS for the kids with his own car and car pools. He communicates with all the players, their parents and coaches, via his own phone and phone-trees. He always has juice and snacks at every practice.

Through Carl’s personal efforts the SOS junior roster includes over 40 names. Currently 30 are active with normally 10 present at any given practice session. That’s a 75% retention rate. He finds keeping our program fresh and growing not that difficult. The kids are always looking ahead to the next tournament and they eagerly participate in one of the two junior ladders. He have had as many as 24 of  players participating in a tournament (2010 SOS Memorial Day), and a core has developed that play in other local events, such as the Regionals, San Jose Y Labor Day, and the Hall of Fame. Carl has no national champions yet, but at last December’s USHA Junior Nationals four kids got second place in various events.

2009 - Sam Kass

This years Joe McDonald Award goes To Sam Kass. Sam Kass first started playing handball at age 9 at the San Jose YMCA. According to Bob Kass, Sam's father it was Joe Diaz who got Sam hooked. Joe took Sam down to the Royal Athletic Club in Burlingame to the Junior Nationals being held at the Royal Athletic Club in December 1999. Sam was hooked. Sam's first coach was Manny Nunez. Manny emphasized footwork and fluid stroking of the ball with both hands. One look at Sam today and you can see how it has paid-off with two great “smooth” hands. Sam won a national title (11 and under) in 2000 when the Junior Nationals were held in Des Moines, Iowa. Over the past year Sam has competed in many local and national tournaments with the following results:

2009 NorCal Regional-Open Division-1st
2009 SOS Open Division-1st
2009 San Jose Labor Day Open Division-1st
2009 Sacramento Open Division-2nd
2009 Superbowl Open Division-2nd
2008 Junior Nationals 19 and under-2nd

Sam currently attends University of California at Davis and is a junior majoring in material science and engineering. Sam is well deserving of the Joe McDonald Award as the most outstanding Northern Californian handball player in 2008-2009.

2008 - Rory Moore

This year's recipient is Rory Moore. Rory is being honored for his commitment to promoting handball as the founder and general manager of the Casey Lawlor Cup. The Casey Lawlor Cup is a team worldwide competition event held at the South End Rowing Club pitting the best United States handball players against the best Irish players.  Rory, a true Irishman, is from Westport, County Mayo. He started his handball career in Ireland playing in the large court but quickly adapted to the small courts in the US. Rory plays a very competitive game and is a regular at the South End Rowing Club.

The idea for the Casey Lawlor Cup came to Rory about four years ago during the USHA Nationals in Houston. He saw that the single elimination tournament format did not do a very good job of displaying the immense talent of the professional handball players. After discussing the idea of a team tournament with the Irish and US professionals, the event was scheduled.

In prior years there have been two matches with Team USA winning one while in 2006, Team Ireland squeaked out a win. The next Casey Lawlor Cup is in the process of being scheduled. Rory has put on this event at considerable personal expense and additional support will help to ensure that the event continues to be a part of Northern California handball. Anyone interested in helping Rory with promotion or sponsorships for this great event should contact him at 415-716-6083.

2007 - Emmett Peixoto

The Joe MacDonald Award is presented to a Northern California Handball Player for outstanding contributions or performance during the previous year. Emmett Peixoto has had an outstanding year: 

  • 3-wall National Champion 

  • Olympic Club Champion 

  • winning the Australia Victoria Cup and national 3-wall title 

  • Canadian National 4-wall singles and double title 

  • fourth place at the Simple Green US Open 

  • first place at USHA Championship Series tournaments in Athens Georgia 

  • placed Second in New York and Concord 

  • winning ing this year's 3-wall doubles at Watsonville and Kansas City.

To top it off, he entered Cal this fall as a Junior philosophy major. Congratulations to Emmett for an outstanding year. 

2006 - Ricardo Diaz

This year's recipient is Ricardo Diaz, the 2006 Collegiate Singles Champion. The Collegiate Tournament was hosted by Texas AM last February. Ricardo won the "Open" singles category against a Brian Carroll in an epic "come-from-behind" match. After losing the first game 21-18, Ricardo was watching his opponent serve with an 18-16 advantage in the second game. Ricardo responded by getting the side-out he needed, which he serve out to force the tiebreaker. In the deciding game, Ricardo raised his intensity while he noticed his opponent starting to tire. The end result was tie breaker (11-6) victory and championship for Ricardo.  Ricardo is well deserving of the 2006 Joe McDonald Award as both a handball champion and a fine example of an ambassador representing our sport. 

2005 - Mike Linnik

The 2005 Joe McDonald Award goes to Mike Linnik in recognition of 2005 wins: 2005 Nationals Houston, Texas-45+ Singles Division Champion, 2005 San Mateo Top Gun Doubles-Open Division, 2005 Watsonville Singles Open Finalist, 2005 Modesto Singles Open Finalists, 2005 NorCal Regional Masters Singles Champion.

2004 - Jim Peixoto

The 2004 Joe McDonald Award goes to Jim Peixoto in recognition for his work in founding and promoting the Professional Handball Association (PHA). The PHA was responsible for The Ultimate Handball Showdown, held earlier this year at the Washington Athletic Club. This tournament featured $135,000 in prize money, the largest purse ever for a handball event, and brought handball to a national television audience. Under Jim's leadership, the PHA is continuing to promote the perfect game, with new professional events for men and women.

2003 - Kevan Del Grande

The winner of the 2003 Joe McDonald award is Kevan Del Grande. Kevan is the most dominant player in the nation in the 70's division winning three national titles this year in both singles and doubles, his latest being the singles and doubles slam at the USHA national championships at the Michigan Athletic Club in East Lansing. He is a USHA Grand Master, winning more than ten national championships and puts him in the United States Handball Association Hall of Fame. In 1998 he was also inducted into the Northern California Handball Hall of Fame.

Kevan has a long history of masters handball victories. He has won almost every handball tournament held in the bay area including many regional titles. His tremendous victories for the San Jose YMCA during the infamous Bay Counties League days are legendary. Kevin is most known for his retrieving abilities, quick hands, fist kills, and his tremendous competitiveness. He is a true winner. He is the winner of the Joe McDonald Award because of his strong play for the year of 2003.

2002 - Brendan McDevitt

The 2002 Joe McDonald Award goes to Brendan McDevitt for his work in revitalizing the Golden Gate Handball courts and spearheading the youth program in San Francisco schools. Brendan has been in involved in all aspects of this project. Brendan took the initiative of developing detail plans to restore the handball courts. He created a non-profit vehicle to receive donations, met with City Officials and got the plans approved. He organized a small group of dedicated Golden Gate Handball players to assist with implementation and fundraising activities. A new roof will be installed at the courts beginning September 23rd. Future improvements have also been planned. This semester, a number of schools in San Francisco will include handball in the P.E. classes with special field trips planned to the revitalized Golden Gate Park Handball Courts.

2001 - Rich Dunne

The inaugural award goes to Rich Dunne for his achievements on the court this year. Starting in June, 2000 he won the 4-wall national 35 doubles with his brother, Mike, followed by the 3-wall national 35 doubles in September. In October Rich teamed with Rich Vasquez to win the world 35 doubles. Then came the national masters invitational 35 doubles title, again with Mike, and then a repeat in the 2001 4-wall national 35 doubles. Five major tournaments, five titles, and the Joe McDonald Award!