Tournament results

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.

To see photos from the tournament, click here.

 

Doug Lilly Wins Double Gold in Augusta    

by Jim Hughes

Newman Tennis Center in Augusta held its first Pickleball Slam on July 15 and 16.  The Aiken Pickledillys gave an outstanding performance.

We learned you can’t spell “Double Gold” without “Doug”.  Our very own Doug Lilly capped an impressive weekend by winning the Intermediate Mixed Doubles gold with partner Chris Powers in a thrilling three-game finals match with fellow Pickledillys Marian Garcia and Jim Kabel.  On Saturday, Doug shook off a sore neck, put his partner Jim Hughes on his back and carried the team to a gold medal in the Intermediate Men’s Doubles.  Let it never be said Doug can’t play with pain!

Marian and Chris already knew the way to the medals podium since they also won silver in the Women’s Doubles on Saturday.  They won three out of four matches in the round-robin format.  The Aiken contingent was also well represented by John Fuller, Jeff Beckner, Sue Talada and Russell Crews.

We also want to congratulate some Augusta players who often find their way to Odell Weeks.  Denisse Martinez won two golds (Women’s Doubles, Advanced Mixed Doubles), Anne Rheins won gold in Women’s Doubles and Daniel Davis won gold in Advanced Mixed Doubles.  Kim Sharpton fought his way through the consolation bracket twice, with his son Bilal in Intermediate Men’s Doubles and his wife QP in Intermediate Mixed Doubles.  Make sure you congratulate these players next time you see them!

 

Submitted by Josh Booth

Jordan and I played in the Powerade State Games in Winston-Salem on 06/10.

It was an indoor tennis facility for the Wake Forest Tennis team, with 8 temporary pickleball courts set up.  We played with the Onix II pure outdoor ball.  Jordan and I decided to play in the 19+ division in order to try to play some younger, better competition.  The 35+ draw, which Tony Quick and his partner, Franz Roland ​played in, was just as strong, and may actually have had more 4.5 teams competing.  But, since Jordan and I had played all of those teams recently, we opted for the 19+ division in order to get a shot at the 2 time US Open pro doubles champion, Kyle Yates.  We got our first chance to play Kyle after winning our first 3 matches in the main draw, beating some decent teams along the way.  Two of our matches went 3 games.  Yates and his partner, Daniel Parker, beat us handily 11-2 and 11-3.  Jordan and I both feel we did not give it our best effort.  We think a combination of nerves, and just plain over-thinking the fact that we were playing the best guy in the sport lead to a lack-luster performance.   After the loss to Yates and Parker, we next played the winner of the back-draw, who we beat for another chance to play Yates/Parker for the gold.  While we played them tougher in the next attempt, and got the best of Yates on several points, we were just not up to the challenge of taking down Goliath that day.  We lost 11-0 and 11-6...finally starting to play our game in that last game, but of course it was too late. Yate's partner, Daniel Parker is a rising 4.5 player whose game is getting better every time we see him at a tournament.  Overall, we had a great weekend.  We walked away with a silver medal.  Playing Yates was the highlight and lowlight, but regardless, it was good experience playing against someone of his caliber.  We want another shot at him, and hope to get it soon.

 

 

On May 22, 2017, Beverly and Keith Shaver participated in the High Country Senior Games in North Carolina.  Beverly and Keith had a hugely successful day.  Not only did they win the gold playing together in mixed doubles, but Beverly placed first in women's doubles (with partner Cookie Parker) and Keith placed first in men's doubles (with partner Don Blasberg).  By winning these medals, Beverly and Keith qualify to participate in the North Carolina Senior Games in Concord, NC in October.

 

 

Submitted by Josh Booth

Jordan and I played in the Men’s age 40-45 "open" doubles draw, which was made up of 12 teams from all over the country, in a double elimination format.  Players aged 40-45 could enter the draw, and all of the players were either 4.5 or 5.0 rated.  Three of the teams in our draw were also entered in the “Pro” division of this year’s event, one of which (DJ Howard and Scott Tingley) we beat to win the bronze medal.  Interestingly, DJ and Scott went on to win 2 matches in the "Pro" doubles draw, giving Jordan and ​me a little bit of a barometer on how we might have done in that event.  Our path to the bronze medal followed a loss in the second round of the main draw, and then 4 straight wins in the back draw. So, we were 5-1 overall.  For some reason, the format didn’t allow the winner of the back-draw to compete for the gold or silver, so we finished with the bronze medal and just one loss, which we were pleased with.  Overall, it was a great experience.  It was awesome seeing the top players up-close.  Anyone who loves pickleball should make the trip to play, or just hang out at this event.  There were over 1800 people entered in the tournament, and the facility was unbelievable.   The only downsides were the wind and the heat.  We'll be back again next year for sure. 

 

Josh Booth and Jordan Goetzman played Men's Doubles, 4.5, in the Dink for Pink Outdoor Charity Pickleball Tournament in Leland, NC​,​ on March 18, 2017.  Congratulations to both of you on your continued success!

We are so happy and proud of you!  Following are Josh's impressions on their experience:

"We played 9 matches altogether, in a traditional draw set up.  The finals match was epic.  Jordan and I beat Tommy Boyette and Justin Smith in a 2 out of 3 game format, but then had to play them again (one game to 15) for the gold, because it was a double elimination tournament, and their loss to us in the 2 out of 3 game match was their first loss.  In the last game to 15, we were up 14-12 and had 2 or 3 high balls that we slammed pretty hard, and should have put away, but they somehow got them back, and won the point.   Then we ended up losing 16-14  It was heart-breaking, but we are still pretty proud. We beat some other awesome teams, including the #1 seed."

 

On February 10 - 12, 2017, seven Aiken pickleball players descended on the Pickled Peach Valentine Classic in Athens, GA with one thing in mind -  to bring home as many medals as possible while enjoying challenging competition in their skill levels!  And this is exactly what happened!

​Mo Garcia entered all three events ~~ Singles 4.0, Men's Doubles 4.0: 19+, 35+ 50+ and Mixed Doubles​ 4.0:  60+, 70+, 80+.  He medaled in all three events, bringing home the Bronze in MS, the Silver (with partner Les Massengale) in MD and the Gold (with partner Priscilla Chambers) in MX.  If you see Mo this week, and he can barely walk, it's not because his legs are tired, but it's the weight of those medals he's wearing around his neck that is pulling him down!  Great job, Mo!  

​Rob Bromley and Jim Kabel teamed up to play some exciting MD, 3.5, 60+ matches.  After losing a match in the main draw, they fought their way back in the lower draw to vie for the gold medal against the very team who handed them their first loss.  It was a tight three game match, which Rob and Jim lost, but the Silver medal was theirs!  Excellent showing, guys!​  

Vicki McNair and Joyce Noland represented Aiken well while competing in the WD 4.0, 4.5:  50+, ​60+ tournament.  There were 11 talented teams playing and each match was hard fought!  Joyce and Vicki won the Bronze medal.  Terrific win for both of you! 

​​Vicki was back on the court on Sunday partnering with a rested Tony Quick in MX 4.5, 5.0.  They, too, faced formidable competition, and after losing a match in the upper bracket, Vicki said they had fun "clawing" their way back to the Gold medal round, where they had their second loss, giving them the Silver medal.  ​Great effort at the highest skill level!  

While they may not have won a medal, Marian Garcia and Jim Kabel played hard and competed well in the MX 3.5: 60+, 70+, 80+, 90+ tournament.  The experience they gained will hold them in good stead in future competitions.

Many players commented on how great it was having other Aiken players/spectators at the tournament supporting them....it is that spirit that drives our players to play at the top of their game!  And bringing home six medals is something everyone can be proud of!

To see more pictures of the tournament, click here.

 

Helen Burgess and David Snyder (Aiken transplants to Florida) and Aiken’s Tony Quick competed in the Englewood Sun Coast Pickleball Classic III Tournament in Florida on December 3- 4, 2016.  The tournament featured outstanding competition from players in the Florida area.  David and Tony won a Silver Medal, and Tony and Helen won the Gold Medal, in their respective divisions.

The tournament was played outside, in hot and humid conditions, with plenty of wind.  Tony appreciates the new Odell Week outdoor courts, because he is now able to play outside and prepare for the conditions outdoor tournaments necessarily present.

David and Tony were hoping for the Gold Medal in the Men’s Doubles, but had difficulty executing a good 3rd shot in the windy conditions. They tried soft 3rd shots, lobs, top spin and underspin drives, but with no consistency or success.  Tony's “Josh Booth” whip, “Around the Post” winner, and “Frank Anthony Davis” down the line volley shots weren’t enough, either. Nonetheless, they will build on this experience, and along with more practice, there will be gold medals in their future!

Helen and Tony won the MX Gold Medal!  According to Tony, Helen played fantastically.  She was put to the test as both of her opponents attacked her with their shots.  Her dinks and volleys were really good, and Tony’s job was to put away her set-up shots.   They beat the Bronze winners in bracket play 11-3, 11-2 (no let-up) and the Silver winners in bracket play 11-3, 11-3 (beat down).   They faced the Silver winners again in the Gold Medal match, and beat them 11-7, 11-4. The opponents changed their strategy and lobbed Helen and Tony, taking advantage of Tony’s sore shoulder.   In the 2nd set of this match, Darlene’s confidence started to falter, so Helen and Tony capitalized on that to close out the match.

One of the highlights of their visit was watching the 5.0 Mixed Doubles final.  They got to watch Simone Jardim, who is currently the best female pickleball player in the world.  She had every shot in the book, a blazing two-handed backhand, fantastic touch, and a killer overhead.  According to Tony, she was, by far, the best player at the tournament.

Hearty congratulations to Tony, Helen and David on their great showing at this tournament!

Tony Quick & David Snyder win 4.0 (50+) Silver at Englewood Sun Coast Pickleball Classic III

Tony Quick & Helen Burgess win 4.0 (60+) Gold at Englewood Sun Coast Pickleball Classic III

 

Josh Booth and Jordan Goetzman made all of Aiken proud by winning the gold medal at the 5.0 level in Concord, NC.  The tournament on November 19th featured outstanding play by some of the top players in the region.  Josh and Jordan played in a round robin format with seven other teams.

Congratulations, guys!  Aiken is happy to have players of your caliber among us! 

 

 

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Huntsman World Senior Games, which are played annually in St. George, Utah.  The Games is the largest Olympic style multi-sport event for seniors age 50 or above.  Over 10,500 athletes participated in 30 sports during the two week period.  

Pickleball was introduced to the Games 13 years ago, and this year's participation was the largest and most competitive to date.  A total of 635 players from 34 states, including Hawaii, as well as two Canadian provinces, competed in the event.   Our very own Mo Garcia competed in three different events in this very popular tournament.   Play was held at two public facilities, Little Valley Park, with 24 purpose built courts, and Sun River Pickleball Club, with 14 purpose built courts.   Both venues had views of the serene mesa tops that surround the courts.   The Games were conducive to outdoor play with temperatures varying from 60 - 85 degrees.

Mo and his partner, Dan Sturzenbecker from Myrtle Beach, won the Gold medal in Men's Doubles in the 55-59 age category.  He and his partner, Robin Wyrick from Casa Grande, AZ, won a Bronze medal in the Mixed Doubles, 55 - 59 age category.  They beat the eventual Gold medal winners in the preliminary rounds!  Mo said "...the level of competition was as strong as any Tier 1 event in the nation.  In my case, each match (Men's and Mixed) went to three sets!"  On day 3, when Mo and Dan competed in the Men's Skill Doubles, 4.0: 50+, he and Dan had nothing left in the tank to compete the way they would have liked.

Mo estimates that out of the 635 players represented, 12-14 players were from the Carolinas.  Ten of these players were awarded medals!  Mo commented that pickleball is alive and well and continues to grow at an unprecedented rate throughout the USA.  He encourages our Aiken players to set a goal to compete at next year's Huntsman Games.

Congratulations, Mo, on your success at the Huntsman Games....you certainly earned your medals given the highly competitive three set matches you played!  We are so proud of you!