2023 USATH COLLEGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS HEADED FOR OHIO
by Matthew Collins
USA Team Handball is excited to announce that the 2023 USA Team Handball College National Championships will be held on the campus of Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio in mid-April.
The tournament, slated for April 14-16, will showcase the best of college handball in the United States and bring men’s and women’s handball programs from across the country to northern Ohio.
Within a few hours drive of many of our collegiate programs, Tiffin University will provide a great location to support the high level of competition that is bound to take place.
The 2022 edition of the College National Championships saw a total of 14 teams competing, with 10 men’s teams from 7 different schools and 4 women’s teams from 3 different schools.
On the women’s side, Army West Point will be looking to defend their title, as last year saw a final between Army West Point Black and Army West Point Gold, with the former coming out on top in a match that saw the teams separated by one goal at the final whistle.
The Ohio State Scarlet men’s squad will be determined to change the outcome of last year’s final, falling to Army West Point Black by a score of 31-30.
The College National Championship tournament is the year’s culmination of work for USA Team Handball member clubs, with many having been to the tournament before and several being anticipated debutants this year, such as Case Western Reserve and SUNY-Cortland.
When asked about the tournament, Ohio State Head Coach JD Orr explained that, "College nationals is the zenith of our season. Everything we do throughout the year is in preparation for that weekend. The drills we focus on in practice, the film we watch on the weekends, and the gauntlet of games we play to prepare our bodies and minds for the event.”
When reflecting on last year’s tournament, Orr added, “After last season, we got a taste of the title game and plan to be back in the conversation a lot more moving forward. We have a strong program here at Ohio State and we are excited about what we can continue to build with our success, and excelling at nationals is key to that growth."
Coach Wade Sutton of Carolina Women’s Team Handball echoes that sentiment. “We are looking forward to college nationals. Last year was the first year back after the break for COVID and our team was almost all first year players playing in their first college nationals. I am excited to come back with Carolina and watch how the players perform in their 2nd college nationals.
“The players have progressed a lot this year and that extra year of exposure to handball has helped our team a lot. We also will be bringing a 2nd team, Tar Heels, to the tournament that will mostly be first year players playing in their first college nationals. It will be the first time since 2010 that we have been able to field 2 teams for college nationals. I am so excited about coaching both teams and watching them compete with all of the other college teams in the US and look forward to the increased number of women’s teams that are able to field teams.”
Carolina Women’s Team Handball student-athlete Beck Gonzalez sees this tournament as a chance to put their hard work over years to the test.
“This year’s college nationals means a lot to the team, especially our seniors, who’ve built the program up from just 2 players after COVID,” Gonzalez noted. “As for preparing…we’ve been preparing since last college nationals. We’ve gained a lot of confidence since then, and have been working hard on fitness, team bonding, and creativity on the court. This year we’re ready to show how much our program has grown and how much we’ve improved since last year.”
Stay tuned to USA Team Handball’s social media for updates as the tournament approaches.