2014 Pickleball Nationals VI – Jessica LeMire Reporting

With its mountainous views, crystal clear blue skies, 80 something degree temperatures, prickly 2014 Nationalscactus, and golf cart infested roads, the city of Buckeye, Arizona welcomed a record number of 730 participants, ages 8 to 80+ from all over the U.S. and beyond, to compete at the sixth annual USAPA National Pickleball Tournament. A total of 28 lighted courts at the Del Webb community of Sun City Festival accommodated more than 2000 matches over eight days of competition, which began at 8 a.m. and ended well into the evenings on most nights with one day finishing as late as 10 p.m. This year’s tournament was the largest in the history of the sport!

The atmosphere at the tournament buzzed with action and excitement. Vendors sold every kind of pickleball paddle, apparel, and bling imaginable, fans scurried from court to court cheering on their Camp Hack 2014favorite players, and pickleball legends could be seen battling one another on the courts. Nationals is a place where one feels at home chatting with fellow ballers about strategy, paddles, tournament brackets, and partner match-ups. Needless to say, this tourney is unlike any other one around.

This year’s trip kicked off a couple days before the actual tournament began. Marsha and I arrived in Hilary & Alice 2014Arizona on Halloween day, and that evening we went to the public courts to practice. There, the local pickleballers threw a costume party where players came dressed up as bumblebees, ladybugs, hippies, crayons, and pirates. Believe it or not it is difficult to play seriously against a Star Trek Spock monkey!

Jess Cindy & VonnieA special memory of this year’s tournament for me was having my parents and two aunts there cheering me on. My parents have been a strong support system at the local tourneys, but this was their first time out to the Nationals. Having two of my biggest fans there for me at this type of arena was unforgettable.

Several individuals represented Ohio and Michigan this year including: Corrine Carr (East Lansing, MI), Alice Dodgson (Norton Shores, MI), Yvonne Hackenberg (Kalamazoo, MI), Ronald Hohman (Oscoda, MI), Laura Fenton Kovanda (Columbus, OH), Dave Kovanda (Columbus, OH), Jessica LeMire (Grand Rapids, MI), Daniel McLaughlin (Portage, MI), and Will Willson (Commerce Township, MI)—Marsha Koch and Al Hager represented Toledo Pickleball.

Here is a recap of the results:

Yvonne Hackenberg – Gold, Women’s Doubles 60+ (with Hilary Marold); Bronze, Mixed Doubles 65+ (with Daniel McLaughlin)

Al Hager – Gold, Men’s Doubles 60+ (with Pat Kane)

Ronald Hohman – Bronze, Mixed Doubles 70+ (with Alice Tym); Bronze, Men’s Singles 70+

Laura Fenton Kovanda– Silver, Women’s Doubles 19+ (with Julie Haney)

Dave Kovanda – Silver, Men’s Singles 65+

Marsha Koch – Gold, Women’s Doubles 19+ (with Jessica LeMire); Bronze, Open Women’s Doubles (with Jessica LeMire)

Jessica LeMire – Gold, Women’s Doubles 19+ (with Marsha Koch); Bronze, Open Women’s Doubles (with Marsha Koch); Bronze, Mixed Doubles 19+ (with Brian Staub)

Daniel McLaughlin – Bronze, Mixed Doubles 65+ (with Yvonne Hackenberg)

William Willson – Bronze, Open Men’s Singles

Congratulations to these Mid-Westerners!

Now begins the countdown until the 2015 USAPA Nationals VII!

Toledo Pickleball – 2014 Outdoor Court Opener, Sunday April 27th @1pm

Today is the perfect spring day to announce the 2014 Toledo Pickleball Court Opener.  It has been one long winterRossford Courts Post Conversion 6 courts- Courts are full! here in Ohio and I am sure you are all as excited as I am to be thinking of outdoor pickleball.

We will be hosting our 2014 Season Court Opener, Sunday April 27, 2014 at 1 pm at the Rossford Outdoor Pickleball Complex ( 313 Glenwood Road, Rossford OH). Of course this will be “weather permitting” and if needed a back up date will be announced.

Toledo Pickleball will be providing the hot dogs, paper plates/forks and napkins for the event. We ask that each person in attendance please bring a non-alcoholic beverage of their choice and a dish to pass.  If you are on the active Toledo Pickleball Roster you will be receiving an email, sometime prior to the opener, with all the details of the 2 membership options and ladder league options that will be available this year. If you are not on the active roster and would like to be or your contact information has changed, please email me so we can get this up to date.

We will be discussing our goals, exciting new ladder leagues, clinics and membership options for the 2014 season.  After all the food and formalities, we will be playing some fun outdoor pickleball so bring your paddle and a friend!

Please email me at toledopickleball@gmail.com with any questions that you might have or if you need be added to or update your roster information.

See you on the courts!


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