Justin Balkenbush wins ninth state handball title

Justin Balkenbush wins ninth state handball title
From left, Chris Tico, Sean Sandau, Mike Meyer, Justin Balkenbush, and Jeff Armstrong are shown in this courtesy photo.

BILLINGS — Former Montana Tech defensive back Justin Balkenbush of Billings defeated Chris Tico of Sandpoint, Idaho 21-18, 21-17 in the Open Division final of the Montana State Singles Championships Sunday at the YMCA.

Tico is the reigning 50 plus national handball champion. He knocked out defending champion Brett Badovinac of Butte in the semifinals.

The title is Balkenbush’s ninth state singles title, breaking a tie with Ray Gallant and Steve Stanisich for the third most in Montana Handball history. Only Jim Ritter with 19 and Bill People with 15 have won more state open singles titles.

Gallant, Stanisich and Peoples are from Butte.

Sean Sandau of Missoula won the Golden Masters division. He defeated Butte’s Don Foley 21-14, 11-21, 11-2 in the deciding match. It is Sandau’s first state singles title.

Jeff Armstrong of Billings defeated Jay Stender of Sheridan, Wyoming 21-16, 21-15 in the final of the Super Golden Masters division to claim his first state singles title.

Billings’ Mike Meyer went undefeated in the Diamond Masters round robin format. He defeated East Helena’s John Larson in a tiebreaker Saturday in the match that ended up deciding the winner. It is Meyer’s fifth state singles title.

Clyde Barton of Billings captured the B division title, defeating Brad Kallevig of Williston, North Dakota 21-11, 11-21, 11-10 in the deciding match.

Billings’ Spencer Larsen defeated Bozeman’s Austin Meyer 21-14, 21-20 in the A division final, which is the consolation of the Open division.

Billing’s Craig Canfield defeated Butte’s Tom Madrazo to win the Super Golden consolation.

Open Division
Quarterfinals – Brett Badovinac, Butte d. Henry O’Brien, Missoula 21-9, 21-10; Chris Tico, Sandpoint, ID d. Spencer Larsen, Billings 21-19, 13-21, 11-1; Justin Balkenbush, Billings d. Austin Meyers, Bozeman 21-4, 21-2; Sam Sottosanti, Butte d. Marcus Madrazo, Butte 21-3, 21-3

Semifinal – Tico d. Badovinac 21-13, 21-10; Balkenbush d. Sottosanti 21-4, 21-7

Final – Balkenbush d. Tico 21-18, 21-17

Golden Masters (50-plus) – Round Robin
1st – Sean Sandau, Missoula 3-0; d. Mark Mirrell, Bozeman 21-9, 21-9; d. Chris Graham, Billings 21-6, 21-7; Don Foley, Butte 21-14, 11-21, 11-2
2nd – Don Foley, Butte 2-1; d. Graham 21-8, 21-5; d. Mirrell 21-12, 21-18
3rd – Mark Mirrell, Bozeman 1-2; d. Graham 21-14, 11-21, 11-7

Super Golden Masters (60 plus)
Quarterfinals – Mike Hitchcock, Butte d. Eric Howe, Melrose 21-17, 21-8; Jay Stender, Sheridan, WY d. Tom Madrazo, Butte 21-16, 21-7; Jeff Armstrong, Billings d. Steve Birrell, Bozeman 21-2, 21-13; Wayne Moller, Billings d. Craig Canfield, Billings 21-6, 21-8

Semifinals – Stender d. Hitchcock 11-20, 21-20, 11-0; Armstrong d. Moller 21-16, 21-8

Final – Armstrong d. Stender 21-16, 21-15

Diamond Masters (70-plus) – Round Robin
1st – Mike Meyer, Billings 4-0; d. Dick Fox, Billings 21-9, 21-15; d. John Larson, East Helena; d. Dan Scilley, Luther; D. Garth Kallevig, Sidney 21-9, 21-6

2nd – John Larson, East Helena 3-1; d. Fox 21-2, 21-9; d. Kallevig 21-6, 21-12; d. Scilley

T3rd – Dan Scilley 1-2-1; tied Kallevig 20-21; 21-8; d. Fox 21-2, 21-10

T3rd – Kallevig 1-2-1; tied Scilley 21-20, 2-21; d. Fox

B Division – Round Robin
1st – Clyde Barton, Billings 3-0; d. Brad Kallevig, Williston, ND 21-11, 11-21, 11-10; d. Darren Gellehon, Billings; d. Gunner Larsen, Billings

2nd – Brad Kallevig, Williston, ND 2-1; d. Larsen 21-11, 21-9; d. Gellhon

3rd – Gunner Larsen, Billings 1-2; d. Gellahon 21-11, 12-21, 11-6

A Division (Open Consolation)
Semifinals – Spencer Larsen, Billings d. Henry O’Brien, Missoula 21-16, 21-17; Austin Meyers, Bozeman d. Marcus Madrazo, Butte 21-3, 21-3

Third – O’Brien d. Madrazo 21-11, 21-19

Final – Larsen d. Meyers 21-14, 21-20

Super Golden Consolation
Semifinals – Tom Madrazo, Butte d. Eric Howe, Melrose; Craig Canfield, Billings d. Steve Birrell, Bozeman

Final – Canfield d. Madrazo

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