The 2023 USA Team Handball National Championships throw off Friday at 3:00 PM US ET at the Heminger Center on the campus of Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio. Twelve Men’s and 4 Women’s teams will be competing with matches taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a brief overview of the event:
The four women’s teams participating West Point’s 1st and 2nd teams, Ohio St and North Carolina. (The 1st team is identified as West Point-Black and the 2nd team is West Point-Gold). The four teams will first play a round robin which will be used to seed the teams for a knockout tournament with the Final being played on Sunday at 12 noon.
The teams are familiar foes as they are the same teams that participated in last year’s championships and they have already played each other several times this season. West Point-Black hasn’t lost to the other sides this season and is a strong favorite to defend their title.
Twelve Men’s teams will take part in the tournament and they have been drawn into four groups of three teams. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout tournament while the 3rd place teams will play in a consolation round robin group. Here’s a quick summary of the groups:
Note: West Point, Ohio St and North Carolina each have 2 team participating and a (1st) or (2nd) is used to initially define which is the designated 1st and 2nd team
- Group A: Air Force, Tar Heels (2nd), SUNY Cortland: Air Force is the favorite to win the group with the Tar Heels likely to take second. Cortland is a brand new club playing in their first tournament so they will be looking to learn from these opening matches.
- Group B: Ohio St-Scarlet (1st), West Point-Gold (2nd), Cincinnati: Ohio St-Scarlet narrowly lost to West Point’s 1st team in the championship match so they are the clear favorite to win the group. That said, they probably won’t want to overlook West Point-Gold which is the most competitive 2nd team in college handball. Cincinnati has not played Ohio St close this season so they are the likely 3rd place team
- Group C: West Point-Black (1st), Ohio St-Gray (2nd), Auburn. Having won 14 straight titles it’s hard not to see West Point taking 1st place. Ohio St-Gray and Auburn will battle for 2nd place
- Group D: Carolina (1st), Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Miami (OH): Carolina took 3rd place last year and is the favorite here. CWRU and Miami are relative newcomers and will face off for 2nd
U21 Players to Watch: 6 athletes represented the U.S. at the 2022 North American & Caribbean Handball Confederation Jr Championships (U21) where the U.S. finished 2nd and qualified for the World Championships this summer. Those athletes are
- Charlie Harper, Left Back, Ohio St-Scarlet,#43
- Mark Miller, Right Back, West Point-Black, #9
- Gary Phillips, Right Wing, West Point-Black, #11
- Samuel Proctor, Pivot, West Point-Black, #15