KUNA’S FIRST PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENT – A GIFT FOR THIS CHRISTMAS

By Sill Lyra

It was a very cold morning and the first official snow fall in the Boise area: Saturday December 16,2017.

I was up at 6:00 AM and brought my gear to Kuna for the “First Kuna Pickleball tournament… …..organized by Glenn Spivey and Zack Pancheri. Glenn is a top Pickleball player and a member of BAPA. This year he won the Gold Medal at Nationals at the singles 50 4.5. Zack Pancheri, also a member of BAPA, is a local Idahoan who served the Air Force for 6 years. Zack started playing pickleball about 2 years ago and has developed into a very strong player and competitor. He currently has a USAPA rating of 4.5 but has been playing 5.0 tournaments as of late. Expectations for Zack are very high, his age athleticism and work ethic will take him deep into the 5.0 fields very soon. As we all can see, this is the level of the organizers of this event and their contribution to the growth of this wonderful sport in the Treasure Valley.

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You see, there are so many kinds of pickleball players. The recreational player, who plays for fun with friends for the love of the sport and exercise, as this sport is for everyone. And there are the athletes, who always love to improve, dedicating time to do drills, general daily training, and participating in every possible event, as this is the only way to improve in any sport.

So, Glenn and Zack, being extremely serious athletes, organized this wonderful event, in all aspects, for all of us who desire to work towards high levels in our sport. I can say it was a real Christmas gift for all of us who participated.

They make miracles with the total of 78 competitors; 47 teams in 9 events, representing Twin Falls, Mountain Home, Hailey and the Treasure Valley. A total of 154 matches refereed by 9 Refs.

At the site of the competition, there was just space for 3 nets. As for any Regional big event, the range of ranking players went from 3.0 to 4.0 +. An opportunity for everyone.

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Of course, in order to accomplish all the matches, time was not a priority. Any active competitor knows that an event can take a full day, even in places with several more nets in comparison with the number of participants. But this is something that recreational players don’t know and don’t understand, unfortunately. However, this first Kuna event was for hard core athletes, who faced intemperate weather and went to that Idaho town with hearts, bodies and minds ready for anything.

A very important note for the presence of a young athlete Keegan. A 11 years old athlete who played at the 3.0 rankings group and then at the 3.5. This is an example of the future of your sport…

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On Saturday, we had men’s and women’s doubles. We started at 8 AM and the games lasted until 11 PM…a reality of the necessary dedication and hard work of a real athlete, no matter the sport. And what about the dedication of the volunteers, who were always ready to help and keep the event as smooth as possible, always with a smile on their faces?

Can you imagine? We had one referee for each game! What professionalism and a great opportunity to train our referees! They refereed, and then they played as athletes when their game time arrived. This is the core of the amazing real athletes we have in this wonderful valley.

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You can also see the toned physique of these athletes, as the picture below illustrates…

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Of course with this form he medal…

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And medal again…

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What happened during the time between games? Well, we had fun, with social conversations and also used the breaks to learn, watching great advanced players trying their best to make the most of each game. It was a very rare opportunity, to have a venue with stands, where family members and friends could watch and cheer for their athletes.

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On Sunday, with less snow and the start time a little later at 9, we had the mixed doubles in the same levels of rankings. Some people left the gym at 11 PM on Saturday, but there they were on Sunday morning to work, play and give to us this wonderful example of serious professional event.

I have to mention Mike Dougherty, who arrived home very late night on Saturday, but knowing how the athletes appreciated his brownies, dead tired, he baked some for the Sunday games. He accomplished his goal to produce such wonderful delight again, even with the disastrous circumstances that happened during the cooking, as his mind and body was so drained from the hard day. On Sunday, he brought the brownies…

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and guess what?…He achieved 3rd place in the mixed 3.5 doubles with his partner Dee Uyeki.

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Never underestimate the power of his brownies…

This is a wonderful example of the kind of people/athletes we have in this valley.

On Sunday, I left at 8:00 PM, but the finalists were still playing, the second game out of three games to the score of 21, for the gold and silver medals in the 3.5 rankings level.

I had the honor to be the line judge for the first game. A game that I can say didn’t lack any of the fighting spirit and hard core competition of a national event. These athletes played a diehard game, which was the tone of most of the games for the whole two-day tournament.

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Now the overall results:

MENS DOUBLES 4.0 PLUS
GOLD JIM MCMILLAN AND KEVIN REDDISH
SILVER MARK JOHNSON AND MARK COOLS
BRONZE SCOTT MICHAELSON AND ERIC RICH/ DAVE SLONAKER

 MENS DOUBLES 3.5
GOLD ERIC RICH AND TRAVIS RICHENS/ ROBERT MORTENSEN
SILVER TODD MCCLAIN AND KEN KROLL
BRONZE RUDY WHITTAKER AND GAYLAN MOORE

 MENS DOUBLES 3.0
GOLD ROBERT AND KYLE MORTENSEN
SILVER SILVINO LYRA AND YOUNG KEEGAN

 WOMENS 4.0 PLUS
GOLD SUSANNAH BARR AND KAREN BUICH
SILVER LISA GRIFFEN AND SUZIE CHRISTIE
BRONZE KATHY GETTO AND LORI SPIVEY

 WOMENS 3.5 
GOLD BECCA ROBERTS AND DEBBIE MILLER
SILVER BARBARA DUMLER AND EVA MCKELVEY
BRONZE DEB PAIGE AND THRESSA FOGLEMAN

 WOMENS 3.0
GOLD YVONNE HART AND DOREEN BURNHAM
SILVER TERRY BOWNS AND SARAH HART
BRONZE AMBER CORNWELL AND JUDY LOWE

 MIXED 4.0 PLUS
GOLD LORI AND DARYL SPIVEY
SILVER LISA GRIFFEN AND MARK JOHNSON
BRONZE SUSANNAH BARR AND SCOTT MICHAELSON

 MIXED 3.5
GOLD PAULA AND STEVE TERRANO
SILVER DRB PAIGE AND TODD MCLAIN
BRONZE DEE UYEKI AND MIKE DOUGHERTY

 MIXED 3.0
GOLD SARAH HART AND SILVINO LYRA
SILVER MARI ANNE BATTEN AND DWIGHT ECK
BRONZE YVONNE HART AND JOHN MCNICHOLL

Now a message from Glenn Spivey…

VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MY WIFE. SHE HELPED ORGANIZE THE LIST OF PLAYERS AND SPENT HOURS ON THE COMPUTER AS WELL AS HELPING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TAPING COURTS AND ORGANIZING MATCHES…DEBBIE RICHTER, BARBARA DUMLER FOR THE IR HELP AT THE CHECK IN AND ORGANIZING NEXT MATCHES. BARBARA FOR PHOTOS

 VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO KUNA SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY AND A PLACE TO HOLD THE EVENT.

 SPECIAL THANKS TO JOHN AND LEAH MCNICHOLL AND IDAHO PIZZA COMPANY FOR SUPPLYING DINNER SUNDAY NIGHT.

THANK YOU TO LISA AND KATHY AND B.A.P.A. FOR THEIR HELP IN GETTING INFORMATION OUT TO THE PUBLIC TO HELP MAKE THIS EVENT A SUCCESS.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST TO MY REFS. ZACK, LANCE, GAYLAN, JIM, TAMI, RUDY, DEB R., KATHY, HOPE IM NOT FORGETTING ANYONE. ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY THANK YOU ALL.

 WE ARE LOOKING AT DOING IT AGAIN IN LATE JANUARY, AS SOON AS A LOCATION IS NAILED DOWN SO KEEP LOOKING FOR UPDATES ON THIS EVENT COMING SOON. THANK YOU ALL. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR…

 GLENN SPIVEY

In conclusion, I would like to express my deep thanks to Glenn and Zack, volunteers, and all the athletes that participated in this wonderful weekend of well-organized, highly energized, and very fun pickleball competition!

A perfect closure for 2017, with the Thanksgiving event from BAPA and this first event in Kuna .

With all this said…in February we will have more!!! A BAPA event that will place Idaho on the map of the national events.

Go to https://www.secure.pickleballtournaments.com/welcome.pl?tid=1646 and see all the information that you need to know. Then, on the bottom of that page, you can sign up as I and my partner Sarah Hart already did. Maybe it is a little hard to navigate on the page, but if I could do it for the events in Bend and Brigham City last summer, you also can do it. We already have 17 participants registered!

Paddles up, guys…

My best regards…Sill