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Featured Picklers

These top players challenged in a recent Labor Day tourney.

Local players display their medals at a recent Labor Day pickleball tournament in Weeki Wachee.
Advanced mixed doubles medalists in the Labor Day tourney were: (left to right) Brian Ridge, Kathy McCausey, Kiera and Brian Little, Val Thomopalos and Ron Fields.

Val Thomopalos and Kathy McCausey, who run the Land O’Lakes-based PickleballFanatcs.biz, were among dozens of local players who traveled to Weeki Wachee to compete in a Labor Day tournament hosted by the Christian Church in the Wildwood.


For that series they took a backseat to advanced mixed doubles winners Brian and Kiera Little. Brian Ridge, of Tampa, and McCausey earned silver medals in that division with Thomopalos and Ron Fields of Land O’Lakes taking third.


Thomopalos and McCausey also placed second in the advanced women’s bracket, won by Amber Hankins and Tina Ruebensaal, both of Hernando County.


“We came so close this time. Well done ladies,” McCausey said.


Next on the docket at that facility in Hernando County is a Valentine’s Day tourney.


“Frank Chiapperino, the Minister of Pickleball at CCW, puts on outstanding semiannual tournaments with the support of volunteers,” McCausey said. “This year’s Labor Day tournament was no exception. It was thrilling for Val and me and Brian and me to compete against some pretty fierce teams. We can’t wait for the 2024 Valentine’s Day tournament to take out the gold medalists.”


Kiera Little will be in Land O’Lakes soon. Having run a pickleball program for children at the church in Spring Hill she plans on bringing several boys and girls to compete in a kids division of the Spinner Invitational set for Oct. 13-14.


Photo courtesy of Kathy McCausey

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