2016 Toledo Pickleball Glass City Invitational – Results

The third annual Toledo Pickleball Glass City Invitational was held this past July at the TPC (Toledo Pickleball Club) courts in Rossford, OH and featured a little bit of everything. (Including: A full complement of 150 players from several states and even a few other countries, a heat advisory all three days of the event with the heat index topping out at 106 degrees, the hope and grace of rain holding off for the first two days and finally the skies giving way early afternoon on the last day, bringing on the “fear of all fears” and moving a working tournament from the six wet courts outdoors to the recreation center a half mile away with four dry courts indoors…)

There were two players who won three gold medal (winning every event they played in) and three more players with who won three medals (one for each event they played in)…Toledo Pickleball Logo

3 Golds-Tom Wells, Court Haslup

2 Golds, Bronze- Leonardo Gonzalez

Gold, 2 Silvers- Sue Yuan

2 Silvers, Bronze- Nancy Meyer

There were six players who won a gold medal and then medaled in another event also. And there were several other players that medaled in two events, along with all the gold medalists in just one event. (See the results list and most of their pics after the article…)

Gold, Silver- Matt McEwen, Mark Grimes, Karla Chesser, Mike Yuan, Andrea Rokicsak

Gold, Bronze- Pete Emch

Due to injury and defaults we had a couple of women, sub in for a male in the men’s doubles event. In both cases, the switch was a good one. In the Men’s 3.0 doubles, Mike Yuan’s partner left due to the weather delay and his wife Sue, stepped in and helped him win a silver medal. Early on Sunday morning, Eric Brown’s partner (and his dad) Dave, slipped, fell and broke his wrist while playing. The paramedics did a great job getting Dave to the hospital and then the docs got his wrist set in a cast. In the meantime, since the match had just started, Linda Hill jumped in to take Dave’s place and they won. (A special thanks to their first round opponents, Rick Potter & John Paul Aparicio, for being good sports and letting them make that substitution) Eric and Linda battled in the Men’s 4.0 doubles making to the semi-final round before losing the closest match of the tourney (12-10,10-12,12-10) to bronze medalists, Gordon Statz & Dan Kerr, and finished fourth overall.

Comebacks and Paybacks: What is a sporting event or tournament without great comebacks (or pay backs)? Take a look at the following comebacks and paybacks, with the best of them all at the end of this section:

Men’s Doubles 4.0: Mike & Brian Yunker def. Mark Grimes & Matt McEwen 11-9,11-4 in the semi-finals. Mark & Matt fought through the elimination matches to face the Yunkers in the gold medal match one more time. This time they prevail in three straight games to take the gold, 11-7,11-6,15-8. (Payback)

Men’s Singles (3.0-3.5): David Ronau defeated Craig Sloboda 11-9,11-3 in the first round. Craig fought through four elimination matches before getting his second chance against David. Craig lost the first game to David and then came back to win the next two games, the match and a silver medal (though he had to default in the gold medal match (fatigue)), 10-12,11-8,11-7. (Comeback/Payback)

Men’s Singles (4.0-5.0): Tom Wells lost the first game easily to Jay Simon in the gold medal match. Perhaps the heat or the lack of playing singles in more than a year was taking its toll on him. Tom found his rhythm in the second game and went on to win the last two games and the gold medal easily, 3-11,11-2,11-5.  (Comeback)

Mixed Doubles 4.0: Betsy Kenniston & Leonardo Gonzalez defeated Rachael Moritz & Matt McEwen 11-9,11-7 in the semi-final match. Rachel & Matt had to win two elimination matches to get a rematch. They won those matches and then defeated Betsy & Leonardo 11-9,11-5 in the bronze medal match. In the gold medal match, they won the first two games 11-3,11-4, before falling to the eventual champions, Court Haslup & Gene Rosswurm, 3-15 in the tiebreaker game. (Payback)

Women’s Doubles 4.5,4.0: Top seeded Andrea Rokicsak & Becky Selenko defeated Amy Rakowski & Nadine Geering 11-4,11-6 in the second round, but then lost to the mother-daughter team of Marilyn & Court Haslup in the winner’s bracket finals 11-1,11-1. Amy & Nadine won two elimination matches to get their rematch and revenge against Andrea & Becky, 11-4,11-5. Then they went on to take the first game in the gold medal match 11-1, before bowing out to the eventual champion Haslup team (who also won this division in 2014), 5-11,7-11. The 4.0 players took the top two spots in this combination bracket. (Payback)

Women’s Singles: Andrea Rokicsak defeated Court Haslup in three tough, hard fought games 8-11,11-7,11-8 in the second round and then went on to defeat Nancy Meyer in the finals of the winner’s bracket 11-8,11-7. Meanwhile, Court marched through three elimination matches until she got her rematch with Andrea in the gold medal match. After losing the first game 5-11, Court came back and won the next two games 11-9,11-4. (So, after playing six games against each other, the score was tied at 3-3 in games and 54-53 points, with the slight edge to Andrea and one game to decide it all.) In the tie-breaker game, Court was just too strong, as she won 15-4, to win the gold medal and get the “Comeback and the Payback Match of the Tournament”. Great job ladies… 🙂

We would like to give a special thanks to our tournament sponsors for this year’s event including the Rossford Convention and Visitors Bureau, Billy V’s Restaurant, the law firm of Heban, Sommer and Murphree, Richard L. DeVaul Tax Service and the Burger Bar 419. Their generous contributions really helped us bring you this event, so if you get the chance, please patronize their services during the year.

We would also like to thank all of the many volunteers who helped with this year’s event. Without your time, effort and hard work, we would not be able to host our event each year. We would like to give a special shout out to our tournament chairperson, Connie Mierzejewski and her assistant, Charlie McKnight, who put in many long hours and to Co-ambassador Marsha Koch, who basically ran the operations desk this year. And one more special shout out to Jim Barnhart, who worked so hard as our court manager all three days in the 100 degree plus heat index, that he not only lost his voice, but he almost had to go to the hospital for dehydration. Thank you all for your gracious help in making this event our best (and biggest) one yet… 2016 Toledo Pickleball Glass City Photos

Tournament Results


Singles Skill Levels (3.0-3.5)

  1. Leonardo Gonzalez– (by Forfeit)
  2. Craig Sloboda– (10-12,11-8,11-7)
  3. David Ronau– (8-11,11-8,11-2)

Singles Skill Levels (4.0-5.0)

  1. Tom Wells-( 3-11,11-2,11-5)
  2. Jay Simon-( 11-9,11-5)
  3. Thomas Fischietto-(15-3)

Doubles Skill Groups 3.0

  1. Ron June – Scott Clites– (11-4,11-8)
  2. Sue Yuan-Mike Yuan– (11-2,11-2)
  3. Jerry Sloan-Terry Sappenfield– (11-2,11-8)

Doubles Skill Groups 3.5

  1. Leonardo Gonzalez – Pete Emch– (9-11,11-5,11-5)
  2. Steve Clay – Jay Ortlip– (11-6,11-6)
  3. Dave Rice – Robert Allen– (9-11,11-6,11-9)

Doubles Skill Groups 4.0

  1. Mark Grimes – Matt McEwen– (11-7,11-6,15-8)
  2. Mike Yunker – Brian Yunker– (11-7,12-10)
  3. Gordon Statz – Dan Kerr– (12-10,10-12,12-10)

Doubles Skill Groups 4.5

  1. Ryan Burdick-Darren Coleman– (15-11)
  2. John Collier-David Sabino– (8-11,11-6,11-4)
  3. Charlie McKnight-Gary Ball– (15-11)


Doubles Skill Groups 5.0

  1. Tom Wells-Paul Sprainitis– (11-7,11-5)
  2. David Seckel-Will Willson– (12-10,11-9)
  3. Ryan Clutter-Jim Hackenberg– (15-8)

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles 3.0

  1. Sue Yuan – Mike Yuan– (11-6,11-1)
  2. Kim O’Neal – Tom Lemaster– (11-8,11-1)
  3. Caitlin O’Neal – Lynn White– (16-14)


Mixed Doubles 3.5

  1. Renee Buettner – Mark Weaver– (11-8,11-8)
  2. Karla Chesser – Mark Grimes– (11-7,12-10)
  3. Carol Martin – Pete Emch– (11-0,11-1)

Mixed Doubles 4.0

  1. Court Haslup – Gene Rosswurm– (3-11,4-11,15-3)
  2. Rachael Moritz – Matt McEwen– (11-9,11-5)
  3. Betsy Kenniston – Leonardo Gonzalez– (11-9,11-7)

Mixed Doubles 5.0,4.5

  1. Marsha Koch-Tom Wells– (3W-99 pts.)
  2. Nancy Meyer-Duane Hill– (2W-68 pts.)
  3. Liz Sepeda-Charlie McKnight– (W-54 pts.)



Doubles Skill Groups 3.0

  1. Baleigh Fleck – Taylor Favorite– (7-11,11-7,11-0)
  2. Sue Yuan – Lynn Gambrel– (11-9,11-0)
  3. Caitlin O’Neal – Kim O’Neal– (16-14)

Women’s Doubles Skill Groups 3.5

  1. Karla Chesser-Mary Massengill– (4W-84 pts.)
  2. Carol Martin-Annie Yunker– (2W-73 pts.)
  3. Cindy Brown-Dawn Brown– (2W-68 pts.)

Doubles Skill Groups 4.0

  1. Court Haslup-Marilyn Haslup– (1-11,11-5,11-7)
  2. Amy Rakowski-Nadine Geering– (11-4,11-5)
  3. Anne Butler-Mary Kozak– (15-8)

Doubles Skill Groups 4.5

  1. Andrea Rokicsak-Becky Selenko– (11-4,11-6)
  2. Nancy Meyer-Liz Sepeda– (15-5)



  1. Court Haslup– (5-11,11-9,11-4,15-4)
  2. Andrea Rokicsak– (11-8,11-7)
  3. Nancy Meyer– (11-7,11-7)


2015 Pickleball Fever in the Zoo – Bob Northrop Memorial Tournament Recap

The second annual Pickleball Fever in the Zoo – Bob Northrop Memorial Tournament took place this past Kzoo Tourneyweekend at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI.

More than 240 players from across the country competed at the tournament run by Jim Hackenberg and his rock-star crew of volunteers.  States represented included Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  This year, nationally ranked players, Dave Weinbach and Steve Wong, attended the event.  Several members of the Toledo Pickleball Club also contended.

The competition was housed inside an ice arena, lined with eight courts.  Two additional courts were set-up in ‘The Cube,’ an auxiliary rink in the building.  There was also a practice net available for players to warm-up on.

The venue provided excellent accommodations for spectators.  Stadium seating gave fans the opportunityRefereeZe Scoring Stand to keep tabs on all eight courts, watching their favorite players and multiple matches at once.  Furthermore, refs utilized a fan-friendly scoring device called the RefereeZe Scoring Stand.  During the matches, the refs manually flipped score cards for the teams when they scored points.  As a result, spectators could look across the arena and follow the scores of the matches being played.  This tournament was the first one to use the scoring stand on every court.

Below are the 2015 Pickleball Fever in the Zoo tournament results for the Toledo Pickleball Club players and charter members.  For a recap of all the results click here

Mixed Doubles Skill
Bracket Gold Silver Bronze
Mixed Doubles 5.0 Corrine Carr – Daniel OToole Marsha Koch – Tom Wells Jessica LeMire – Alex LeMire
Women’s Doubles Skill
Bracket Gold Silver Bronze
Women’s Doubles  4.5 Vivian Knieper – Jan Doke Susan Wiartalla – Merriann Murphy Nancy Meyer – Sherry Sanford
Women’s Doubles 5.0 Corrine Carr – Simone Jardim Marsha Koch – Jessica LeMire Nicole Hobson – Dee Davison

2015 Arnold Classic Pickleball Tournament – Toledo Pickleball

The first annual Arnold Classic Pickleball Tournament was held earlier this month at the BuckeyeToledo Pickleball Logo Building in the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, OH. Several Toledo Pickleball Club players participated and took home medals at this inaugural event. The venue was a little darker than what we are used to and the ball was a different, heavier indoor ball than we normally use. (And no, the real Arnold Schwarzenegger did not come and watch us play… 🙂

In the top women’s doubles division, Marsha Koch and Jessica LeMire won gold medals by winning all of their matches without losing a game. They defeated the team of Laura Fenton-Kovanda & Jodi Elliott (11-7, 11-7) in the finals. In the 3.5 women’s doubles, Betsy Kenniston & Liz Sepeda took home the silver medals after a very, very close loss (9-11, 6-11, 16-14) in the finals to the gold medalists, Lynn Dickerson & Denise Fulgham. Susan DeAngelis and Carol Martin also played in this division and narrowly lost (16-14) their consolation match to the eventual bronze medalists, Brenda Young & Linda Heimann.

In the Mixed Doubles 5.0 division, Jess teamed up with Rafael Siebenschein to take the gold medals, by defeating the husband/wife team of Jodi Elliott & Robert Elliott (11-9, 11-7, 15-12) in the finals after fighting their way back through three consolation bracket victories. Marsha teamed with Josh Grubbs to take home the bronze medals. In the Mixed Doubles 4.5 division, Susan Wiartalla & Daniel O’Toole took home the gold medals without losing a match. They defeated the team of Marie Eatough & Brian Murphy in the finals (11-4, 5-11, 11-6). Gary Ball teamed up with Gale Bagwell to win the bronze medals.

In the 4.5 men’s doubles, Charlie McKnight and Dave Kovanda teamed together for the first time and took home the silver medals. They lost to the gold medalists, Daniel O’Toole & Glenn Geda in the finals (5-11, 11-0, 11-8). Gary also teamed with Joe Valenti in the 5.0 men’s doubles division.
2015 Arnold Classic Pickleball Tournament Results for Toledo Pickleball Club Players

Mens Doubles Skill Groups
Bracket Gold Silver Bronze
Men’s Doubles Skill Groups 4.5 Daniel OToole –  Glenn Geda Dave Kovanda –  Charlie McKnight Brian Murphy –  Mike Murphy
Mixed Doubles Skill Groups
Bracket Gold Silver Bronze
Mixed Doubles Skill Groups 4.5 Susan Wiartalla –  Daniel OToole Marie Eatough –  Brian Murphy Gale Bagwell –  Gary Ball
Mixed Doubles Skill Groups 5.0 Jessica LeMire –  Rafael Siebenschein Jodi Elliott –  Robert Elliott Marsha Koch –  Josh Grubbs
Womens Doubles Skill Groups
Bracket Gold Silver Bronze
Women’s Doubles Skill Groups 3.5 Lynn Dickerson –  Denise Fulgham Betsy Kenniston – Liz Sepeda  Brenda Young –  Linda Heimann
Women’s Doubles Skill Groups 5.0,4.5,4.0 Marsha Koch –  Jessica LeMire  Laura Fenton –  Jodi Elliott Susan Schneider –  Shonda Schallenberger

Pickleball Tournament – Howell, MI May 18 & 19, 2013

Anyone interested in participating in a local skill level tournament?  If that is you, then you are in luck.  There will be a nice tournament in Howell, Michigan May 18 & 19, the 2nd annual “Hartland Mix It Up In May”!  This is a skill level tournament for levels 3.0-5.0 and is USAPA sanctioned.  They will host men’s and women’s doubles on Saturday and mixed doubles on Sunday.  Deadline to register is Wednesday, May 8th so you still have time to find a partner and enter!

Several of our players have already signed up, so if you are interested I would encourage you to get on board.  Please email me if you have any questions. Here is a link to the flyer for all of the details http://www.usapa.org/file/mi/2013_0518_hartland_flyer.pdf

See you on the courts and hopefully in Hartland!



Rules/Strategy and Review – Hitting the “Third Shot”

Wow, here we are already in the month of April. I am smiling as I type this because to me this means we will soon be able to play the great game of Pickleball outside!  I don’t know about you, but to me, there is no comparison between the indoor game and the outdoor game.  I personally enjoy the outdoor game much more with all of its different challenges: wind, sun, less forgiving outdoor ball, court surface, etc.  I am also looking forward to outside play this year because of our awesome six-court facility!

This month’s rules and strategy review was requested by Charlie McKnight. Charlie sent me the request to discuss the all important “Third Shot”.


Charlie McKnight

Many of you might be asking: “What in the world is the third shot?”  Here is the scenario: The serving team is at a disadvantage because the returning team will be at the net before the return of serve is touched by the receiving team.  The serving team serves the ball with both players on the baseline (this would be the first shot), the receiving team already has half of their team at the net. Ideally the receiver hits a deep return of serve (the second shot) and moves quickly to the kitchen line–thus the receivers have “taken over the net.”  The serving team is pinned on the baseline because they have to wait for the ball to bounce (double bounce rule).  Once the ball bounces, this is the “third shot” and at this point the serving team has several options.  Do they lob it, bang it hard and low, or hit a soft dink shot low over the net that drops in the kitchen?  Let’s break down the three options and I will make my suggestion on what I believe the highest percentage shot is.  Remember the goal of the “third shot” is to safely get your team up to the net and in an offensive position to win the point.

Hitting the Ball Hard

In my opinion this is the new player’s default shot.  Intuitively players think they will just blast the ball so hard that the other team will not be able to handle it and that is how they will win the point.  Remember, most points are won at the net, not on the baseline. In fact, when your team is on the baseline you are in a “defensive” position, not an “offensive” position.  Hitting the ball  hard from the baseline will work sometimes if you are playing against a fairly new or lower level player. If you hit a hard shot from the baseline against a higher level opponent you will give them all kinds of angles to hit a winning shot right back at you.  In fact it will require very little effort on their part to just put their paddle up and block the ball at an angle or at your feet, which will be difficult for you and your partner to handle while you are trying to work your way to the net.  Banging the ball from the baseline is the lowest percentage shot selection to get you and your partner to the net.

I will add one other statement here regarding the hard hit shot from the baseline: At the 5.0 level you will see a very hard hit shot with a load of topspin being hit. This is much different than just smacking the ball.  The topspin keeps the ball low to the net and makes it a very effective shot for the higher level play, especially when it is hit in combination with the slower shot. This keeps the opposing team on their toes and will mix it up a bit. The key here is that it is a low shot and is dropping towards the floor, making it very difficult to return.

Hitting a Lob

The lob shot is a difficult shot to master and becomes even more difficult in outdoor play because you have to judge the wind. A lob hit from the baseline has to be hit so precisely for it to be effective that it is almost not worth trying.  If your opponent has hit you a very difficult, deep return, you might throw up a lob as a sort of “hail Mary” play, but it’s rarely effective against good, physically quick players.  If the lob is perfect–meaning it forces your opponents back to the baseline–you and your partner should race to the kitchen line and thus claim the offensive position on the court.  If it is not a “well-hit” lob, you must ready yourself to play defense.

Obviously, different teams handle lobs more or less effectively depending on their physicality.  Your opponents’ physical strength is a factor as the pace of their overheads will vary accordingly. If you do lob, you should be aiming for one of your opponents’ backhands–ensuring a weaker overhead return if you fall short.

The lob can be highly effective if executed correctly and especially successful if the opposing team doesn’t communicate and move well.  Throwing up lobs can change the momentum of a game and can be used to tire out opponents.  But the likelihood of executing the shot as accurately as it needs to be is low.  Therefore, in my opinion, it is not the best choice for the third shot.

Soft Dink Shot

I believe that the soft dink shot is the best choice for your third shot. What exactly is the soft dink shot from the baseline?  It is a looping, softly hit ball that just makes it over the net and lands midway in the kitchen (non-volley zone).  This is one of the most difficult shots to master in the game and will take some practice to execute.  One of the mistakes that people make when they are first trying to learn this shot is they hit a soft shot and then race to the kitchen.  This is a mistake because when you are just learning to hit this shot, you most often will hit it too high and it will be a kill shot for the other team. Or, you will hit the soft shot into the net.  This is a “good miss” because you are trying to hit the right shot.  I would rather have a partner trying to hit a soft third shot into the net than blasting the third shot and we just eat it.  So what to do when you hit it too high? If you watch some of the higher level players, you will notice that this third shot has very little back swing. It almost looks as if they push the ball over the net.

If it is too high the other team will put it away, however many times when players go to put the ball away they hit directly at you, so in this case get ready to block it back over.  If you hit the soft shot and you can get a couple of steps closer to the net, take those steps and then split step [both feet parallel to each other in your volley ready position]  and get ready to hit another soft approach shot over the net. It is better to stop in no man’s land balanced and ready to move in any direction than a little closer to the net and not balanced or ready.  You will know that your third shot is successful when the only thing the other team can do is hit a soft dink back at you.  This will allow you and your partner to get to the net and then get in a good dink game until a mistake is made. One other way you will know that you hit a great third shot is if the other team pops it up and it becomes a kill for your team.  It is so much fun to set up your partner for the kill!

Practicing and mastering this third shot strategy will also improve your overall game because you will gain control in taking pace off the ball–successful Pickleball players need to reliably execute both soft and hard shots.  At a higher level, pickleball becomes a game of placement to create opportunities to employ power  (put away) shots.

So, when warming up, find a partner to feed you balls and you try to hit the ball into the kitchen at different distances from the net and then you feed your partner.  The person on the baseline is practicing hitting a soft third shot, the person who remains at the kitchen line is working on hitting a low, deep, controlled shot to different spots on the baseline as accurately as possible.

See you on the court!