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The Best of 2022

Posted on December 23, 2022 by under Life, Pickleball.    

Each year I take time to reflect on the best parts of the year and recall all of my favorite moments. This year it seems all of my best memories revolve around pickleball, which is not surprising considering I spent New Year’s Day playing pickleball. We always believed that whatever you are doing on New Year’s Day is what you will be doing all year long and so I ended up playing in a ton of tournaments this year, starting with the Vetta Dink in the New Year tournament.

I guess we can just start this recap with my most favorite tournaments this year (listed somewhat chronologically).

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  • Dink in the New Year – I played 3.5/4.0 singles, 4.0 mixed doubles with Devon Fuller, and 3.5 women’s doubles with Tiffany Lesperance. We traveled with Tiffany and Donnie to that tournament and had such a great time spending the weekend with them.
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  • Oak Tree – I played 3.5 singles, 4.0 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 4.0 women’s with Jen Reifshneider. Even though this tournament was a complete shit show, it was a ton of fun. Not only did a learn so much, but I also met some people at that tournament that are really good friends now. I played against Katie Merrill and now we are thick as thieves. Also, I was going through some old tournament footage and found a Tanner Rice cameo. It’s so wild that he was in one of my YouTube videos before we actually knew each other.
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  • US Open – I played women’s doubles with my friend Erica Case and we won our first US Open gold medal. I only got to play in one event but Brian and I stayed the entire week and it was amazing. I can’t wait to try again next year!

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  • WPT Kansas City Classic – I played 3.5 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ryan Kellenbarger and 3.5 women’s with Kimberly Howe. This was a money tournament so I was hoping (and had a real shot at getting gold medals at both events). Kimberly and I finished in 3rd place and Ryan and I won gold and actually made money. One of best memories is getting stuck with some people during the rain delay who are good friends of mine now.
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  • ICT Classic – I played 3.5 singles, 5.0 mixed with Matt Nola, and 4.0 women’s with Jenny Corley. This is worth a mention because it was my first time playing 5.0 level and, even though we went 0-2, I actually didn’t suck and I didn’t feel out of place. Looking back, I feel like I was actually a lot better than some of the other players, as crazy as that sounds. This is the beginning of me realizing I can absolutely play any level I want to play.
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  • Middle States – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s with Kendra Wicks. This is only my second time playing in this tournament (the first time I played with my friend Chris Wilson) and my first time winning triple gold. This tournament qualified me for the Diamond Amateur Championships (DAC) earlier this month in Florida.

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  • USAP Newport Beach – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s doubles with Nancy Kaplan (blind date). I agreed to play in this tournament at the beginning of the year thinking I was going to try to qualify for Nationals but then, once I qualified for the DAC, I realized I couldn’t swing both trips so I was completely unmotivated. I couldn’t say no to Ramon, though. Around this time of the year, he was my #1 favorite mixed doubles partner. He could have asked me to play on Jupiter and I probably would’ve figured out a way to make it work. Anyway, it was a fun trip. Brian and I had a great time vacationing in California and it was nice to meet Ramon’s family.
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  • Tulsa Pickleball Classic – I played Intermediate 50/50 with Robert Mansfield, 4.5 mixed with Tanner Rice, and 4.0 women’s with Huyen Nguyen. This was my first tournament team up with my fake daughter who everyone thinks is my real daughter. Also, I ended up teaming up with Tanner completely by accident when I meant to send a message to Tanner Blaske on Facebook. Tanner and I chatted and, even though we didn’t really know each other in person at the time, we agreed to play a couple of tournaments together. This was our first one. I actually felt pretty special that Robert agreed to play with me because 50/50 was the same day as singles and he normally prefers to play singles over doubles.

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  • Bartlesville Pickleball Classic – I played Advanced 50/50 with Chris Wilson, 4.0 mixed with Michael Douglas, and 4.0 women’s with Jenny Corley. It felt so good to team up with Chris Wilson again. We actually did really well together. Fourth was not too shabby considering that draw. My other events didn’t go so well but it was my first time playing Bartlesville and I had an amazing time.

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  • PPA Championships – I played 3.5 mixed with Zach Nguyen and 4.0 women’s with Jen Reifschneider. This was actually not on the list for the year so it was a last minute addition. This format was double elimination with a consolation bracket (not an opportunity bracket) which means once you lose the best you can do is bronze. We lost in the semis in both events. Zach and I came so close to playing for gold and silver too. We were literally up 10-6 in the third game of our semi-final match. We ended up losing 10-12. It was a heart-breaker!
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  • Shangri-la Pickleball Open – I played 4.5 mixed with Devon Fuller and 3.5 women’s with Molly Sager. This was another tournament that wasn’t on the list but my friend Kumar Krishnan told me about it and offered to host me and Brian at his lake house so I couldn’t pass it up. I’d never been to this part of Oklahoma before so it was a great adventure for me and Brian and I’m actually looking forward to playing in this again next year.

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  • ICT Fall-out – I played 4.0 singles, 4.5 mixed with Tanner Rice, and 4.0 women’s doubles with Jenny Corley. The funny part of this is, I was originally signed up for 3.5 singles but then moved myself up to 4.0 singles when I only saw two players signed up but then apparently Chanell Nguyen and Fong Witte had the same idea and signed up for 4.0 singles also. Instead of getting a bronze medal handed to me, I actually had to work for it. Also, this is the tournament that Tanner took over as my #1 favorite mixed doubles partner.
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  • SMASH 5 – I played 4.5 mixed with Isaiah McAllister and 4.0 women’s with Nicole Mathis. I was originally signed up for 4.0 35+ with Jason Doll but then ended up grabbing another partner for mixed so he wouldn’t have to play on both days because he’s still nursing his knees. It worked out great because I ended up moving up to 4.5 19+ with Isaiah who I had such an amazing time playing with. Also, 4.0 35+ might have been too easy for Jason because he is so dang good! I think my most favorite part of this tournament is finally winning a match against Ramon who I always end up playing in the first round whenever we are signed up for the same division.

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  • Diamond Amateur Championships – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s with Kendra Wicks. I qualified, played, and medaled in the first ever DAC. And, I punched my singles and women’s doubles tickets to 2023 USAP National Championships. I actually thought this was going to be my final tournament of the year but I ended up tacking on a couple of last minute team events at the end of the year.

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  • Mother’s Day Tournament – I played in a Mother’s Day pickleball tournament at Chicken N Pickle with Huyen. It was one of several little tournaments (most of them charity tournaments benefiting local non-profits) that I played this year.

Besides playing in tournaments, I actually organized and helped with several events this year. Here’s a few of them:

  • Picklemania MMXXII – Second tournament for my Rotary club. We made it a team event this time and it made the event so much for fun. I feel like team events are the way to go.

  • Picklepalooza – I didn’t have much to do for this tournament actually other than help spread the board but I did join the Senior Services of Wichita board this year so I will probably have a lot more to do this next year.

  • One Last Dink – This one isn’t until next weekend. I pitched the idea to the Pickle Club owners and they came up with the name for the event. I’m super excited for this team tournament, not just because it will my final event for the year, but because I’m part of a super awesome team. Also, it means that I’ve basically started and ended the entire year with pickleball.

This was also the year of the DUPRs. I started a digital club on DUPR so that I could help our local rec players (those who don’t normally play in tournaments) get official ratings. I hosted a bunch of DUPR match sessions over the summer and entered scores so everyone could get ratings.

Besides organizing DUPR play, I also participated in DUPR events myself — a couple in Oklahoma during my DUPR double dip weekend and a couple in Kansas City hosted by iPickleNation. I also brought back the Queen of Courts but beefed up because now they are DUPR QoCs.

Other notable things that happened this year… Nahola sold and then re-opened a few months later. It is now the Pickle Club. Other than being limited to two courts, it’s still hands down the best place to play in town. Except when the weather is nice, then my favorite spot is Wichita State where they have four lighted courts that you can use free of charge. The county also converted two of the tennis courts at Sedgwick County Park into pickleball courts this fall and it’s been quite popular with the players. We even had a couple of cookouts there already.

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In terms of travel, we didn’t get to do much but we did go to Mexico in August to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary slash crash Erica’s wedding. LOL. It was fun. I always enjoy and appreciate any time I can spend with my girlfriends. Brian and I stayed in our first Airbnb during Middle States Regional and now he’s not anti Airbnbs anymore.

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And, finally, in non-pickleball news, grandma turned 100 this year. That pretty much sums up 2022 in a nutshell (or long post). Can’t wait to see what the new year will bring. Until then, GNG.

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  • Looking Back at 2021 on January 27, 2022
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  • Happy New Year on January 1, 2014
  • The Best of 2017 on January 30, 2018

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