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Whistler Racket Club hosts Fall Pickleball Classic

Pickleball events are scheduled all through the winter at the Whistler Racket Club
Participants watch on as pickleball action gets underway at the Whistler Racket Club last weekend

With the weather turning brisk and the rain falling last weekend, the Whistler Racket Club (WRC) moved from the open-air outdoor courts to the dome for its Pickleball Fall Classic Tournament.

Despite the Summer Series tournaments last month supposedly being the finale of pickleball season, the demand for more pickleball has changed the plan, according to WRC co-owner Jamie Grant.

“We had the series, but now we’ll be continuing it into the winter. We’re going to have a holiday classic, probably in early December and then, because of the demand for more tournaments, we’ll probably follow that up with one in February and then one at Easter and then we’re into the spring and summer again,” said Grant. “So this is going to be a pretty consistent thing where every couple of months we’re going to have a big tournament in Whistler.”

Last weekend’s tournament kicked off on Friday, Oct. 15 with the Racket Club’s first-ever junior tournament, which drew 16 participants. The tournament continued through Saturday and Sunday and saw a total of 176 players of all different skill levels (3.0-4.5) compete in five different categories including Men’s singles, Men’s and Women’s Doubles, Juniors and Mixed Doubles.

While the gold medals were largely owned by out-of-town players—aside from Karen Ellott and her two partners Ash Hegland and Karen Ripper, who won the 4.0 Mixed Doubles and Women’s Double’s categories, respectively—the podiums were filled with locals.

Other notable performances include Alex Emm and Oliver Lane, who won silver and bronze in the Junior category, Barbara Woodbridge and Molly Marland, who finished second and third in the Women’s Singles category and Steve Cartner and Norm Binion, who finished two and three in the Men’s single’s.

On the doubles side, Cheryl Young and partner WRC co-owner Jamie Grant  took silver in 4.0 Mixed Doubles. Lois Neu and Laura Puckett also finished second in the 3.0 Women’s Doubles, while Hegland and Davi Singh and Roberta Horn and Jessica Brown both took home bronze in the 4.5 Men’s Doubles and 3.5 Women’s Doubles, respectively.

Following the success of the junior tournament, the Racket Club plans to start after school pickleball programs this fall and winter to get more kids into the sport and help grow the skills of the ones who are already playing.

On top of that, as part of the WRC’s fall schedule that will be released soon, the club plans to host more pickleball clinics for players of all skill levels, including intro, intermediate and advanced clinics.