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!

Memorial Day Weekend – Kalamazoo Tourney “Pickleball Fever in the Zoo”

Hello Toledo PicklersKzoo Tourney

Happy & Healthy New Year wishes to you all!

As the new year starts, I am sure many of you are thinking and preparing for this year’s many Pickleball tournaments.  Each year it seems like there are more and more tournaments and thankfully for us, there are many in the local MI/OH area.

I wanted to send out a note on one that I think is going to be top-notch. “Pickleball Fever in the Zoo” will be held in Kalamazoo MI over the Memorial Day weekend. This tournament is a memorial tournament to honor the late Bob Northrop who was instrumental in growing the sport in the Kalamazoo area and who was also responsible for introducing Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg to the game. Jim and Yvonne will be the directors for this tournament and are really putting a lot of effort into making this an outstanding tournament and one that you won’t want to miss.

Here are two links with all the information as well as registration



This is a double elimination skill level tournament with events for Mixed Doubles, Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles.  There will be limited space so please consider registering early.  The trip over to Kzoo is an easy two-hour drive from the Toledo area.

Looking forward to seeing you all on the courts soon!


Toledo Pickleball Logo

2013 USAPA National Pickleball Tournament Recap

This was the fifth year for the USAPA National Tournament.  There were 640 registered participants from 39 different states and five countries.  It really was an amazing time with some of the best Pickleball players in the land. There were a total of 28 courts at the Del Webb Community in Buckeye AZ.

We had several players representing Ohio and Michigan at Nationals this year.  Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg – Kalamazoo MI, Carolyn Ebbinghaus – Traverse City MI, Jessica LeMire – Grand Rapids MI, Rafael Siebenschein – Grand Rapids, MI and Alice Dodgson – Norton Shores MI.  Al Hager and I represented Toledo Pickleball.

Here is a recap of the results:

Jim Hackenberg – Gold in Men’s 50+ Doubles, Gold in 65+ Mixed Doubles (with Yvonne), Gold in Men’s 65+ Singles, 4th in Men’s Open Doubles (out of more than 70 teams), 4th in Open Mixed Doubles (out of 97 teams).Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg Nationals 2013

Yvonne Hackenberg – Gold in Women’s 60+ Doubles, Gold in 65+ Mixed Doubles (with Jim), 4th in Open Mixed Doubles (with Jim).

Jessica LeMire  – Gold in Women’s 19+ Doubles (with Marsha Koch), Silver in 19+ Mixed Doubles (with Rafael Siebenschein), Bronze in Open Women’s Doubles (with Marsha Koch).Nationals 2013 Jess & Raf Medal stand

Alice Dodgson – Gold in Mixed Doubles 75+ (with John Browning), Silver in Women’s Doubles 75+ (with Rosalie Knutsen)

Carolyn Ebbinghaus – Bronze Women’s Singles 50+, Bronze Mixed Doubles 50+ (with Larry Moon)

Al Hager – Silver in Mixed Doubles 60+ (with Trish Graham)

Congratulations to all!  That’s a lot of hardware coming home with our Midwest Players.  Great job everyone and congrats!Nationals 2013 Marsha, Barney McCallum, Jessica

One of the highlights out at National’s for me was having Barney McCallum sit court side for our Bronze Open Women’s Doubles  match. Jessica and I spoke with him after the game and had a chance to personally thank him for helping invent the great game of Pickleball. For those of you who are not familiar, Barney and his buddy Joel Pritchard were the original co-founders of Pickleball! How cool is it that he came out to National’s to watch the games.

To get a feel for the level of play out at Nationals, here are the videos of the final match of the Open Women’s & Men’s Double Open matches, Open Mixed Doubles final and the Open Men’s and Women’s Singles.  Amazing play!


See you on the courts!