Aiken Players Keep Medals at Home in Tournament
By Jim Hughes
We all know pickleball is a game to eleven. So when you’re faced with a five-game round robin in mixed doubles and a six-game double round robin in women’s doubles, what do you do? If you are Joyce Noland, you sweep all eleven matches to win both gold medals. Joyce teamed with Vicki McNair to win the Women’s combined 4.0/4.5 to go with last year’s gold in Women’s 4.0 at the Aiken tournament. This year, she added a gold in the Mixed Doubles 4.0 by carrying her partner Jim Hughes to victory.
(Editor's note: Joyce's strongest pickleball skill is in picking excellent doubles partners. She gives most of the credit for the medals to Vicki McNair and Jim Hughes.)
In what might have been the longest event, Marie Tewkesbury and Walter Suescum won gold in the Mixed 3.5 50+. They lost two out of three games to Stephanie Benjamin and Dave Bailey in the winners bracket, then fought their way back to the gold medal match through the consolation bracket. There they met Benjamin and Bailey again. They dropped the first game but hung tough and won the final two which earned them a tiebreaker game. As night fell, they won the final battle to take the gold.
Susan and Bill Reynolds won the gold in the Mixed 3.0 70+. They won four out of five matches in the round robin, losing only to fellow Pickledillys Bobbie Atwell and George Carr. Bobbie and George won the bronze for their efforts.
Marian Garcia and Chris Powers swept a five team round robin in the Women’s 3.5 60+ event. They only dropped 21 points in four matches, while sporting matching black and green outfits. Domination and style in the same package! Jackie Walker paired with Augusta’s Anne Rheins to take the bronze in the same event.
Not to be outdone by Chris and Marian, Sally “The Blade” Fuller and Lisa “Hollywood” Miner also won gold in the Women’s 3.5 50+ by sweeping their five team round robin event. This was Lisa’s first taste of athletic competition ever. Could the Olympics be next?
Sally’s gold means she gets household bragging rights over husband John Fuller, who teamed with Dennis Vermilye to take silver in the Mens 3.5 19+. They actually outscored the gold medal winners in two matches. Doug Lilly and Ron Nelson also took silver in the Mens 3.5 70+, where Dick Diemar and Eric Oster got bronze. Doug and Ron took a game off the eventual gold medalists in the winners bracket, then fought their way back through the consolation bracket before dropping the final match to the winners.
George Carr and Bill Reynolds took the bronze in the Men’s 3.0 70+. They were one of three teams to win 2 games in a five-team round robin. The total points tiebreaker gave them the third place award. Rob Bromley and tournament co-director Keith Shaver also took bronze in the Men’s 4.0 60+, beating the eventual gold medalists along the way.
The Women’s Doubles also saw some bronze for Aiken players. In the Women’s 3.0 60+ Susan Reynolds and last minute sub Nancy Racki won bronze, as did Kathy Reiter and Joan Tuck in the Women’s 3.0 70+. Kathy and Joan had to outfight fellow Aikenites Bobbie Atwell and Jo Whitson for the medal. In the Women’s 3.5 19+, Woodside’s Tracy Hallen and Sherri Vogel won the bronze.