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Dink For Your Heart tournament fuels pickleball expansion at John Geigle YMCA


 Recreation facilities in Tampa Bay and beyond just can’t seem to keep up with the ongoing demand for pickleball courts. The John Geigle YMCA in Palm Harbor is no different.

That outdoor facility, which has four blended courts for pickleball and tennis, will be resurfaced and expanded to include four pickleball-only and two blended courts sometime this summer.

About $28,000 for that effort was raised from the recent Dink Your Heart Out tournament.

“Pickleball is so popular that we had people lining up for court time,” said tournament director Kat Orr, who got help organizing the event from fellow players and volunteers Kelly Westbrook and Robbie McKee. “We met our fundraising goal.”

Veronica Condren, program director at that YMCA, lauded Orr and her friends, as well as YMCA members who competed in the tourney.

“The best part for us was watching members come together and execute a plan for the better good of the pickleball community and the YMCA,” she said.

Orr said the tourney likely will become an annual event at the Palm Harbor-based YMCA, adding that it will continue in February as a tie-in with Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month.


Kelly Westbrook, Robbie McKee and tournament director Kat Orr organized the event.

“It was a big success,” Orr said. “The rewarding part was seeing everybody have a good time and it shed a light on the John Geigle YMCA.”

The double-elimination tourney drew 112 players with awards doled out in seven divisions. There were categories for men’s, women’s and mixed doubles with levels ranging from 3.0-3.5 to men’s only at 4.0. There also were under-50 and 50-and-older divisions.

“We had an overwhelming amount of mixed over-50 players,” Orr said.

Geigle, a longtime donor to the nonprofit organization, was on site to hand out medals. Formerly known as the North Pinellas YMCA, the facility was renamed in his honor last summer. Geigle, 71, is a real estate investor, former marathon runner, and U.S. Navy veteran.

In addition to the division competitions, an exhibition match was played between Fire and Rescue teams from East Lake and Palm Harbor. East Lake’s Jason Letzring and Devin Mormando won.|

Above: John Geigle and Robbie McKee stand on a deck near the courts.

Gold medalists in their respective divisions were: Mixed doubles 56+, Jim Fee and Elena Wiener; Mixed doubles under-50, Dalton Streitmatter and Claire McConnell; Men’s doubles 50+, Tom Sroda and Ed Rogers; Men’s doubles under-50, Lance Solevilla and Robert Gant; Women’s doubles 56+, Susan Bucci and Patricia Morocco; Women’s doubles under-56, Kathleen Cleary and Jasmine Blair; Men’s doubles 4.0+, Jay Didriksen and Patrick Dutter.

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