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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
A sporting time: Lots of medal winners at first-ever pickleball tournament
NOTLers with their medals. From left, Mark Beamer and Karen Kennedy (silver), Vince Serratore and Cheryl Schwartz (gold), Mary Ann Enns and John Hillan (bronze). SUPPLIED

Steve Ferley
Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report

The organizers of last weekend’s NOTL Pickleball Classic can look back with pride on a hugely successful tournament.

The tourney kicked off with professional exhibition matches on Friday evening, featuring eight leading pros from across Ontario.

NOTL club pro Adam Eatock said, “It was amazing to see the one stand virtually full and to be playing in front of a crowd of maybe 300 or 400. They certainly made their presence felt. Exactly what we like to see and hear.”

In the tourney itself, NOTL players took home a host of medals across three skill levels and three age group subdivisions. 

GOLD for NOTL in the men’s doubles went to Ron Pychel and Enzo Mancuso (3.5 skill level; 50-64 age group). Ken McGillivray (with Jim Miles, 3.0; 65+) and David Bell and Damien Mendez (2.5; 65+). In women’s doubles, gold went to Margaret Sartor (with Karen Northgraves, 2.5; 65+). In mixed doubles, Tracy Booth and Danny Wiess (3.5; under 50), Mary Jane Sferrazza and Ed Blundell (3.0; 65+) and Cheryl Schwartz and Vince Serratore (2.5; 65+) all collected gold. 

SILVER NOTL medal winners in the women’s doubles were Tracy Booth and Shirley Anker (3.5; 50-64), Terri Champion and Shari Sartor (2.5; under 50). In men’s doubles, Jerry Eitze and Ken Forstinger (3.5; 65+) collected silver. In mixed doubles, Shirley Anker and Colin McAdorey (3.5; 50-64), Denise Hattin and David Bell (3.0; 65+) and Karen Kennedy and Mark Beaner (2.5; 65+) all took home silver.

BRONZE medal winners from NOTL in men’s doubles were Mark Beamer and George Schachtschneider (2.5; 65+), Patrick Donalds (with Paul Kenny (3.0; 50-64) and John Hindle (with Bob Jean (3.0; 65+). In mixed doubles, bronze medals went to Enzo Mancuso (with Christine Bozek, 3.5; 50-64), Stephanie Howcroft (with brother Nigel 3.0; 65+), Melanie Chittenden and Stewart Istvan (2.5; 50-64), Mary Ann Enns and John Hillan (2.5; 65+) and to Sari Paje (with Mike McAninch, 2.5; under 50). 

Reflecting on the tournament, its co-chair Ian Lagden commented, “We couldn’t have run an inaugural event of this size without huge volunteer input. We had over 100 local volunteers in areas such as front desk reception, facilities, food and beverage, liaison with sponsors, IT support in ‘the war room,’ referees, court monitors, TV colour commentators and social event organizers. These things don’t just happen. The members put it all together. And, I should add that the town staff and the arena staff could not have been more helpful.”

Local television coverage by Cogeco Your TV went very smoothly with the team headed by Jack Custers, manager of programming and community relations, able to stream live action on all three days across the Niagara region and to most of Cogeco’s local Ontario stations. A first for both the sport and Cogeco.

And a big thank-you to The Lake Report for being our print media sponsor for the tournament and helping to spread the word.

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