Bozeman, MT – March 19, 2023
Justin Balkenbush and Spencer Larson of Billings captured the Montana State Open Doubles Handball Championship at the Ridge in Bozeman Sunday. They defeated three-time champions Chance Wachholz of Kalispell and Shelby native Pete Svennungsen of Spokane 21-11, 21-12 in the final. It is Balkenbush’s seventh State Open Doubles championship and first playing with Larson. Only Great Fall’s Marv Smith and Ted Greely who teamed to win eight Montana Open Doubles titles in the 1950s and 1960s have won more Open titles than Balkenbush.
The Missoula team of Jared Wierson and Moe Johnson teamed to win the Golden Masters Division for players 50 and over. They defeated Sean Sandau of Missoula and Ken Scott of Lander Wyoming 21-8, 21-18 in the deciding match of the round robin format.
Kirk Johnson of Missoula and Lance Wachholz of Atlanta Georgia won the Super Golden Masters Division for players 60 and over. They defeated Carl Warren of Bozeman and Rick Edwards of Belgrade by injury default in the deciding match of the round robin format.
Rick Harrington of Missoula and Mike Meyer of Billings teamed to win the Diamond Masters Division for players 70 and over. The defeated the Bozeman team of Steve Birrell and Carl Warren 21-5, 21-5 in the deciding match of the round robin format.
Brett Badovinac and Don Foley defeated Sam Sottosanti and Marcus Madrazo 21-17,21-20 in an all Butte final to capture the A Division.
Forty players competed in the tournament. It was the first Montana State Tournament in Bozeman since 2013.
1st Round – Jared Wierson and Moe Johnson, Missoula d. Sam Sottosanti and Marcus Madrazo, Butte 10-21, 21-13, 11-8; Dane Swanson, Jackson, WY and Ken Scott, Lander, WY d. Don Schmidt, Missoula and Eric Schmidt, Lolo 21-6, 21-14
Quarterfinals – Chance Wachholz, Kalispell and Pete Svennungsen, Spokane d. Wierson and Johnson 21-13, 21-3; Austin Meyer and Todd Williamson, Bozeman d. Sean Sandau and Chris Riley, Missoula 21-13, 21-14; Justin Balkenbush and Spencer Larson, Billings d. Brett Badovinac and Don Foley, Butte 21-5, 21-8; Rick Edwards, Belgrade and Les Seago, Emigrant d. Swanson and Scott 21-10, 21-5
Semifinals – Wachholz and Svennungsen d. Meyer and Williamson 21-6, 21-13; Balkenbush and Larson d. Edwards and Seago 21-2, 21-8
Third – Meyer and Williamson d. Edwards and Seago by injury default
Final – Balkenbush and Larson d. Wachholz and Svennungsen 21-11, 21-12
Quarterfinals – Sam Sottosanti and Marcus Madrazo, Butte d. Sean Sandau and Chris Riley, Missoula 21-4, 21-7; Brett Badovinac and Don Foley, Butte d. Don Schmidt, Missoula and Erick Schmidt, Lolo 21-6, 21-18
Semifinals – Sottosanti and Madrazo d. Dane Swanson, Jackson, WY and Ken Scott, Lander, WY 21-18, 21-6; Badovinac and Foley d. Jared Wierson and Moe Johnson, Missoula 21-15, 21-17
Final – Badovinac and Foley d. Sottosanti and Madrazo 21-17, 21-20
Golden Masters (50+)
1st – Jared Wierson and Moe Johnson, Missoula (4-0) d. Mike Meyer, Billings and Will Brooke, Bozeman 21-11, 21-4; d. Alex Fox, Bozeman and Dick Fox, Billings; d. Mark Morrill and Steve Birrell, Bozeman 21-5, 21-6; d. Sean Sandau, Missoula and Ken Scott, Lander, WY 21-8, 21-18
2nd – Sean Sandau, Missoula and Ken Scott, Lander, WY (3-1) d. Meyer and Brooke 21-7, 21-9; d. Fox and Fox 21-4, 21-5; d. Morrill and Birrell 21-16, 21-7
3rd – Alex Fox, Bozeman and Dick Fox, Billings (2-2) d. Morrill and Birrell 17-21, 21-14, 11-1; d. Meyer and Brooke 21-8, 21-7
4th – Mark Morrill and Steve Birrell, Bozeman (1-3) d. Meyer and Brook, 21-8, 21-19
Super Golden Masters (60+)
1st – Kirk Johnson, Missoula and Lance Wachholz, Atlanta, GA (4-0) d. John Larson, East Helena and Mike Hitchcock, Butte 21-15, 21-6; d. Jeff Armstrong, Billings and Dan Adams, Helena 21-17, 21-20; d. Will Brooke and Sandy Gagnon, Bozeman 21-2, 21-2; d. Carl Warren, Bozeman and Rick Edwards, Belgrade by injury default
2nd – Carl Warren, Bozeman and Rick Edwards, Belgrade (3-1) d. Brooke and Gagnon 21-0, 21-3; d. Larson and Hitchcock 21-17, 21-10; d. Armstrong and Adams
3rd – Jeff Armstrong, Billings and Dan Adams, Helena (2-2) d. Larson and Hitchcock 21-13, 9-21, 11-0; d. Brooke and Gagnon 21-8, 21-0
4th – John Larson, East Helena and Mike Hitchcock, Butte d. Brooke and Gagnon 21-10, 21-6
Diamond Masters (70+)
1st – Rick Harrington, Missoula and Mike Meyer, Billings (4-0) d. Joe Urbani and John Ford, Bozeman 21-6, 21-2; d. Wendell Morrill and Emil Erhardt, Bozeman 21-4, 21-2; d. Sandy Gagnon and Rich Jones, Bozeman 21-9, 21-10; d. Steve Birrell and Carl Warren, Bozeman 21-5, 21-11
2nd – Steve Birrell and Carl Warren, Bozeman (3-1) d. Gagnon and Jones 21-14, 21-12; d. Urbani and Ford 21-8, 21-11; d. Morrill and Erhardt 21-8, 21-11
3rd – Sandy Gagnon and Rich Jones, Bozeman (2-2) d. Urbani and Ford 21-20, 17-21, 11-5; d. Morrill and Erhardt 21-8, 21-20
4th – Joe Urbani and John Ford d. Morrill and Erhardt 21-12, 21-14