Not even a late winter snowstorm could dampen the excitement of the First Annual Warren County Winter Hibernation Pickleball Tournament as more than 50 entrants tested their skills in the sport that combines tennis, badminton, ping pong and racquetball techniques.
The tournament, sponsored by the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department and Warrenton Pickleball Club of the Two Lakes North Carolina Group, was held Feb. 20-22 at the John Graham gym in Warrenton. A highlight of the event was the placement of a framed photograph in the gym of Sylvia Fletcher, recognizing her for bringing the sport of pickleball to Warren County in 2011.
Pickleball club members Stan Brothers and Linda Kidd oversaw the competition aspect of the double elimination event. Susie Deschenes, Nancy Kelley Cram, Jim Chism, Brothers, Dalton Butler and John Burd served as scorekeepers/referees.
Brothers said that the tournament drew 52 pickleball players, ranging in age from 18 to 82, from Warren County, Oxford, Emporia, Va., and as far away as the Triangle area.
Competition began on Thursday, Feb. 20, with men’s doubles, and continued with women’s doubles on Feb. 21 and mixed doubles on Feb. 22.
Brothers said that Warren County’s proximity to Raleigh made the tournament attractive to players from the Triangle area. When they were not in competition, they visited downtown Warrenton.
The wintry weather which came through North Carolina on Feb. 20 didn’t have much impact on the tournament. Brothers said that one couple from Raleigh stayed in Warrenton. Only two people who registered were not able to participate on Feb. 21 because of the snow.
The double elimination tournament featured a tough schedule of matches. Brothers estimates that mixed doubles competition took about eight hours. Men’s doubles took six-seven hours, while women’s doubles took about five hours.
Tournament winners are as follows:
Over 70 mixed doubles: Susie Deschenes and John Burd, first place; Patti and Terry Cowhey, second place; Linda Kidd and Stan Brothers, third place
Under 70 mixed doubles: Coreen Oei and Nick Galvez, first place; Eva Aguirre and Dallas Mackie, second place; Mandy Peacock and Tom Traylor, third place
Over 70 women’s doubles: Susie Deschenes and Linda Kidd, first place
Under 70 women doubles: Eva Aguirre and Lisa Groeschner, first place; Suzanne Rabon and Cindy Trice, second place; Beth Brewer and Bettsy Maxwell, third place
Over 70 men’s doubles: Terry Cowhey and Doug Ditter, first place; Claude Brasseale and Donald Fitzgerald, second place; Steve McMillian and Thornton Stovall, third place
Under 70 men’s doubles: Tom Traylor and Matt Matthews, first place; Glenn Woodleif and Dallas Mackie, second place; Tad Lewis and Dawson Butler, third place
Brothers expressed appreciation to Warren County Parks and Recreation and the Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission for making the tournament possible. Describing the event as a success, he said that organizers plan to hold another winter pickleball tournament here next year.