pickleball players celebrate the success of their first tournament | New

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Players involved in Tahlequah’s first-ever pickleball tournament described it as a major success.

The Northeastern State University Oklahoma School of Optometry Pickleball Doubles Tournament kicked off this weekend. The tournament was a joint venture between the NSUOCO Student Association and the Tahlequah Lions Club.

The tournament began as a fundraiser for both organizations just over two months ago.

NSUOCO student union president Dalton Cunningham said 31 of the 36 registered teams participated on Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be an annual event,” he said. “We have already spoken to the Lions Club and we have already found younger student members who are interested in taking the lead next year and running the tournament as well.”

Proceeds from the tournament will be used to fund scholarships for students who attend and represent NSUOCO and provide Lions Club side eyewear.

Cunningham said they were able to raise $2,000 and he expects they will be able to raise more next year.

“It went really well, it was amazing and I was very happy with the result,” Cunningham said.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Pickleball is a mixture of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It is played on a court with a low net and players use rackets larger than ping pong paddles and a ball. The sport can be played indoors or outdoors, singles or doubles.

Wes Horton and Casey Dominguez placed first and won $400, while Andrew Schulz and Josh Smittle received two $100 gift cards to Tahlequah Lumber Co. for taking second place. Nate Lighthizer and his daughter placed third and received two $75 gift cards to Vidalia’s Cafe & Catering.

To be involved

Those interested in learning this burgeoning sport can do so at Kaufman Park, where two courts have been constructed.


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