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Picklemania MMXXII

Posted on June 11, 2022 by under Community, Pickleball.    

Our second annual pickleball tournament for the Rotary Club of Andover was a huge success. We engaged several sponsors this year that allowed us to provide shirts for our players and volunteers and just make the tournament 100x better. We decided to go with a team-style tournament this year, which meant fewer teams/players, but turned out to be way more fun because then the tournament wasn’t too serious.

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Lesli Toubassi provided some breakfast power bars and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co. Nick Gerstner (owner of Tea Taze) provided tea. Bryce Lob provided three bottles of Una Vida Tequila. Gamma Sports gave us some overgrips.

Besides in-kind sponsors, we received monetary support from the following generous people/companies:

  • PRESENTING SPONSOR — Palomino Petroleum
  • T-SHIRT SPONSORS
  • — Chicken N Pickle
  • — CoreNorth Capital Planning
  • — Expert Auto Center
  • — Royal Caribbean/Sunflower Travel
  • NET SPONSOR — Verity Jet

We also had a couple of teams travel from out of town to play in the tournament. One was a team that fellow Rotarian Kumar Krishnan put together. Kumar, along with Brent and Karen Taylor and Deana Holman, traveled from Bartlesville, Oklahoma to complete. They went by the team name Cucumbers.

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The other team that traveled a good distance to play was Did Someone Say Unlimited Drinks? From left: David Gleason, Karly Gleason (formerly Williams), Liz Sharp, and Ian Wright.

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I actually didn’t think these guys were going to make it. I got a text late on Friday night that they had a flat tire in Emporia. As it turns out, the key for the lugs weren’t in the car so they couldn’t replace the tire. They ended up towing the car back to Kansas City and changing vehicles. They made it to Wichita around 1 AM.

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They are such troopers! I’m glad they made it. Otherwise, we would have missed seeing their awesome team shirts that Liz made.

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I think everyone had a great time, except maybe Krystal Fosnight, who rolled her ankle in the first round of bracket play. Their team, The Experts, consisting of Tom Pham, Huyen Nguyen, and Tommy Chau had a really good shot at winning their pool also. I think they were just behind Klee Watchous and Chris Heck’s team in pool play.

Don’t worry, Krystal’s ankle is pretty much all better. She even won gold in 4.5 Mixed Doubles with her partner Hanbeen You in the ICT Classic pickleball tournament this past weekend.

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As far as the tournament went, Patti Mackey made us eight medals so we could have two sets of winners. After the pool play, we divided the 16 teams into 2 pools of 8 teams each. There was an upper pool and a lower pool.

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Dinkers and Bongers (from left: Ryan Kellenbarger, Krista Crawford, Chandi Bongers, and Bo Tolbert) defeated the CoreNorth team consisting of Ryan and Renae DeSantis and Dave and Lori Belew to win their division.

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There were lots of upsets in the upper division. First, with the Blazing Paddles team (consisting of Heather Griffin, Mike Ellison, Noi Sourinthone, and Amy Jaramillo pictured below) eliminating Palomino Petroleum (Chris Heck, Klee Watchous, Melissa Youngers, and Lacy Waugh – not pictured) but then falling to 1 Small 3 Mediums (next picture).

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The upper division champions (from left): Ian Carr, Fong Witte, Jen Reifschneider, and Ev Kim. Honestly, the tournament was stacked with amazing players and teams this year, anyone could have won but I think Palomino Petroleum was the favorite going in.

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For a fun, charity tournament, this one was full of talented players which made the matches very competitive, which I think, made it even more fun for everyone. Of course, the unlimited drinks was a great draw as well. The players and spectators got breakfast treats, lunch, and pretty much all the mimosas, margaritas, and beer they could drink. Maybe that’s why Chris’ team didn’t win. LOL.

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Anyway, I am so grateful to everyone who came to support our event (by playing, spectating, or volunteering), most specially these two: Brian and Jody Vinson. For someone who doesn’t enjoy pickleball and isn’t even a Rotarian, Brian was there from 6:30 AM all the way to the tear down at the end. And, Jody just makes tournaments run super smoothly. I’m so glad she was there to help me.

The event helped us raise over $6,000 toward our club service projects. Last year, we didn’t have any sponsors so we only raised $1,200. The sponsors really came through for us this year. The event was a huge success and I’m looking forward to having it again next year. Until next time, GNG.

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