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St. Patrick’s Day Classic is a smash

Photo by Anthony Capris
These were the top three teams in the lower intermediate upper division.

Like many pickleball tournaments, the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Classic hosted by Tampa Bay Pickleball had its share of friends as well as fierce competitors among the 140 entrants, ranging from teens to the 70s.

For the finalists in the high intermediate division, it turned out to be a bit of both.

Jeffrey and Chardea Singer defeated Peter Tragos and Lucas Spoerl 11-4 for the overall championship to avenge an earlier round loss to their friends. All four often play pickleball together.

Photo by Anthony Capris
Jeffrey Singer and his wife Chardea won the overall championship.

“There’s a lot on the line when you play your friends; bragging rights on the line,” said Singer, who played in just the second tournament with his wife.

In all, there were 140 entrants with awards doled out for the top three doubles finishers in five divisions.

Winners in other divisions were as follows: lower intermediate middle — Sydney Brennan/Will Chau; lower intermediate upper — Frank Gonzalez/Alex Good; ladies intermediate lower — Lori McCarthey/Melanie Dunn; ladies intermediate high — Ashley LaRosa/Susan Antepara.

Photo by Anthony Capris
First place in the lower intermediate middle division went to Sydney Brennan and Will Chau.

The event went over so well that co-owner Andrew Giancola, who along with his father Andy joined the ownership group of the Klaus family, announced that the classic will become an annual tradition.

“I think it could be an awesome tournament to gear up for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities,” Singer said.

Tampa Bay Pickleball, which opened last spring, has hosted a handful of tourneys and already has a monthly high school series in place. Giancola, noting that the owners relish bouncing ideas for pickleball play off one another, said plans are in the works for a summer series as well.

“We’re going to do summer tournaments because this went over so well,” he said. “A lot of people have an appetite for tournaments and we’re excited about that.”

Photos by Anthony Capris
Shown are the first, second, and third-place winners from the ladies lower intermediate category.

Giancola, a former basketball standout who played on a Calvary Christian team that played in a 2007 state championship game, got to share in the players’ excitement when he was asked to be a fill-in during the classic.

“It was fun to play in an event for the first time because I could kind of look at the other side,” said Giancola, who has played pickleball for about a year.

For Singer and his wife, picking up the sport was not difficult since both have played tennis and Ping Pong. Singer also played college tennis at Georgia Southwestern State before moving to Florida and meeting his wife.

“We’re tennis players so it was an easy conversion,” he said. “It felt like a good fit.”


Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos by Anthony Capris

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