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Third Pickleman tournament crowns champions in three divisions

While pickleball competitions often are played at larger facilities with numerous courts, the Pickleman Mid-Summer tournament on Aug. 5 took place on a more intimate scale.

It marked the third tourney played on the lone court in the front yard of a Lutz homeowner.

Tournament host Alex Wadsworth presents trophies to Cate White and Semir Elezovic, doubles winners in the beginners’ intermediate division.
Tournament host Alex Wadsworth presented trophies to Cate White and Semir Elezovic, doubles winners in the beginners’ intermediate division.

Alex Wadsworth had a court built on his property earlier this year. It is his way of finding more time to play for himself and his friends while promoting the increasingly popular sport.

“It was a big dill,” he said, jokingly alluding to the Pickleman moniker.

Trophies were doled out for three levels of competition — beginners-intermediate, a kids division and intermediate-advanced. Aside from players matched up for random doubles, a

unique aspect was players receiving a free paddle that they had to play with as part of the $45 registration fee.

“Everybody loved it,” Wadsworth said.

Wayne Walton and children in the pickleball girls and boys divisions pose for a group photo on the pickleball court.
Wayne Walton, who plays pickleball, worked with boys and girls in the kids division.

In the beginners-intermediate series, Cate White and Semir Elezovic defeated Jake Devita and Julianna White in the doubles final. White then let her daughter take her place in a singles match for the individual title won by Elezovic.

Semi-finalists included Velando Hunter, Joe Alers, Michelle Guenter and Nik Visic.

“I like the fact that anybody can play in it,” said Chris Heinish, who picked up pickleball six months ago and played in the tourney.

Wayne Walton, who has only played pickleball for six months and won Wadsworth’s first tourney, ran the kids series.

Augie Regazzi, 10, warms up on the pickleball court before the kids division tourney got underway.
Augie Regazzi, 10, warms up before the kids division tourney got underway.

“It’s cool,” he said of the event. “He’s even got play-by-play.”

That play-by-play came in the form of the tourney being streamed on All Things Pickleball by Barrett and Danea Bass, a husband-and-wife team.

“You’re really trying to educate people so they can watch (pickleball) and so they’re not lost,” Danea said.

As for the kids tourney for ages 7-12, Christian Walton won with sisters Avalina and Eleanor Wadsworth coming in second and third, respectively.

Terra Heath, 6, serves the ball on the pickleball court.
Terra Heath, 6, serves the ball.

Carter Pittman, a 7-year-old who competed, said, “I like swinging with my backhand.”

In the late games, Dave Adams captured the overall Pickleman title. He teamed up with Brandon Kemp to defeat Ray Harrison and Kamden Bradstreet in the doubles final.

Semi-finalists were Sherri Kapetanakos, Nik Visic, Meredith Tenouri and Dylan Leighton.

The next Pickleman tourney at Wadsworth’s property is Nov. 4. He plans on hosting as many as five tourneys per year, although he is unlikely to distribute the same type of paddles to

participants in the future.

By Steve Lee

Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos by Steve Lee

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