Written by Mattie Powers // Photo by Balazs Balassa
Harding Recreation hosted its second annual pickleball tournament the weekend of Feb. 17-18 in the Ganus Activities Complex.
12 teams signed up for the advanced tournament, and 10 teams signed up for the novice tournament, including sophomores Madison Soper and Aya Giggleman, with the team name “Pickleball Gals.”
“Aya, my teammate, and I spend a lot of time playing pickleball together as a way to find time to see each other,” Soper said. “So, since the tournament was coming up, it seemed like a good way to see her and also have some fun.”
Similar to last year’s tournament, there were two different brackets, one for an advanced category and the other for a novice division. The players started competing on Friday evening and went through Saturday morning. Each of the brackets for the tournament had eight teams of single elimination play.
Senior Gabe Hosticka played in one of the teams, called “A Box of Pickles.”
“This game is a great way to build friendships because it can be played in so many different ways,” Hosticka said. “You can play super fast and competitive, slow and conversational or anywhere in between.”
Junior Emilie Wilkinson was one of the players in this competition who consistently plays pickleball in her free time. Wilkinson shared her past experience with the sport, noting she had participated in a pickleball tournament before.
“Yes, but it wasn’t very legit,” Wilkinson said. “It was my freshman year, and I think it was just like [Pi Theta Phi] girls.”
Of the many teams involved in the competition, only two duos won the pickleball tournament: “The Pickle Blinders” and “2 Cooks 1 Kitchen.” Seniors Mason Rush and Anna Voss were the players on “The Pickle Blinders,” who won the novice division, and sophomore Fin Cummings and junior Samuel Tandy were a part of “2 Cooks 1 Kitchen,” who won the advanced division.
Wilkinson wrapped it up by sharing a final thought about this weekend tournament.
“Eat, sleep, pickleball,” Wilkinson said.