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Pickleballers dominate the RSC

More than 160 players compete in April 22-23 tournament
Westlock pickleball players Tim Bennett, left, and Vance Nakonechny, stay focused on the ball during the men’s 4.0 round robin event in the Westlock spring pickleball doubles tournament April 22-23 at the Rotary Spirit Centre.

WESTLOCK — More than 160 pickleballers from around the region competed in the spring pickleball doubles tournament April 22-23 at the Rotary Spirit Centre.

Hosted by the Westlock Pickleball Society, which has witnessed its membership grow to over 80 in the last year, the event saw 85 teams competed on eight courts in men’s, women’s, and mixed events in several skill-level categories, including 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0. Local players were joined at the event by players from St. Paul, Spruce Grove, Edmonton, St. Albert, Barrhead, Red Deer, Fort Saskatchewan and Rocky Mountain House.

Society president Wes Latimer said this is second event they’ve been able to host following the pandemic, noting they run spring and fall tournaments.

“It was a fun tournament with some small (cash) prizes,” he added. 

Cassey Campbell from Spruce Grove has been pickleballing for seven years and enjoys coming to Westlock for tournaments. He was competing in the 4.0 mixed event Sunday morning and noted the tough, albeit fun, competition.  

“There were some pretty good players in the 4.0 division this morning. The team we played at the end (of round robin) went undefeated throughout the tournament,” said Campbell. “We try to come out to Westlock every time they host a tournament. It’s a lot of fun so we enjoy it. It takes a lot to perfect the game, but you can start at any level and play at any level,” he added.   

Westlock’s Helen Miller has been playing pickleball since she joined the society about four years ago and finished first in the 3.0 women’s event April 22, with her partner Pauline Elaschuk who is also from Westlock.  

“It’s very exciting, the competition was really good,” said Miller noting it was great to see teams from other communities participate in the event. “It’s a fantastic tournament.”   

Miller noted the “great community support” in Westlock for the event that’s held every spring and fall as well as the social aspect and increasing popularity of the sport that can also appeal to families and people of all ages. “I believe it’s going to be an Olympic sport before you know it. It’s just so popular worldwide,” she said.

Kristine Jean,

Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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