published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Local Pickler's strong at Heartland Games
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING - On Friday, March 15, 23 men's and 15 women's pickleball teams arrived at Tanglewood to play in the Heartland Games for Active Adults coordinated by South Florida State College.
Players came from several local clubs; Tanglewood, Highlands Ridge, Sebring Village, Sun n Lake and Crystal Lake as well as from clubs in Zolfo Springs, Solivita, Orlando, Leesburg, Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce.
Before play started there was a draw for several prizes donated by Mt. Olive Pickles, the tournament sponsor.
Gloria Soltes of Tanglewood won a pickleball paddle donated by PickleballNow.
Play in five men's age divisions and four women's age categories started in very chilly conditions.
As the day warmed up, the competition heated up as well on Tanglewood's eight courts.
Local teams fared very well with Tanglewood taking home five gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
Highlands Ridge emerged with two golds while Sun 'N Lake captured a silver and Sebring Village a bronze.
Tanglewood's gold medals were earned by: Randy Crawfis and Gary Sewell, Debi Yandell, Jim Maynard, Michele King and Gloria Soltes, Marvin Strope and George Vermette.
Betty Schleis and Kathy Sponholtz, Aart Devos and Mike March, Char Bowden and Cheryl McCullough, Homer Johnson and Mel McDonald took home silver medals for Tanglewood.
The host team's bronze medals were captured by: Ben Blackwell and Pat Riess, Chris Jones and Ellen Nesbitt, Danielle Crawfis and Betty Dodge, Chuck Keller and Gordon King.
Highland's Ridge gold medals were won by Doug Ebeling and Gary Schinderle in men's 65-69 competition as well as Sue Schinderle in the womens' 55-59 grouping.
Betsy Kelly and Betty Slaveski represented Sun n Lake well with their silver medal in the 70-79 age category.
Sebring Village's Ross Myles and John Prentice emerged from the very competitive 65-69 age group with a bronze.
On Saturday, March 16, 28 teams returned to Tanglewood to play in the Mixed Doubles Pickleball segment of the Heartland Games for Active Adults.
Play got started quickly under ideal weather conditions.
Once again, the host team, Tanglewood, captured the lion's share of the medals.
In the 50-59 flight, Debi Yandell and Johnnie McKinney took gold with 11-9, 11-2 wins over silver medal winners Mark and Chris Jones, also of Tanglewood.
In the 70-74 category, Jimmy Maynard and Gloria Soltes emerged with the gold after battling back and forth with silver medalists Gordon and Michele King of Tanglewood, winning the final set 3-11, 11-2, 11-8.
Barbara Miachika and George Vermette teamed up for gold in the 75-79 bracket.
Tanglewood's other silver medals were won by Gary Sewell and Bonnie Schmidt along with Marvin Strope.
Walt and Barb Snyder brought home Tanglewood's only bronze.
The Highlands Ridge husband and wife team of Sue and Gary Schinderle took the gold in the 60-64 year old play.
David Majick and Donna Landers earned bronze in the 65-69 section.
Solivita's Sid Petraglia and Cathy Miller captured gold in the tightly contested 65-69 year age group by defeating their opponents, John Prentice of Sebring Village and Barbara Danklefsen of Crystal Lake 11-5, 11-1 in the gold medal match up.
Barbara Taylor of Crystal Lake combined with Ross Myles of Sebring Village for a bronze.
Carol Hands of Bowling Green and Rene Meier of Zolfo Springs also earned bronze.
Lorrie Key, Director of Corporate and Community Education and Lauren Reddick, Community Education Specialist from SFSC worked with the Tanglewood team to make this year's tournament another great one.
Lorrie had nothing but praise for the Tanglewood pickleball volunteers and said, "the college couldn't have run the tournament were it not for Tanglewood's help. They know how to run a good tournament and have the facilities and people to do it right."
This is the sixth year that Tanglewood has hosted the pickleball segment of the Heartland Games.
Tournament Director Patrick Hotchkiss extends thanks to all of his volunteers with a special nod to Mary Holm for her excellent work as head scorekeeper.
Mary was ably assisted by Ed Schmidt.
Terry Athorn was the court coordinator and she had great help from Dale Wright and others.
Marvin Strope was the rules official.
Ben and Ruth Yantis handled food, Mel McDonald coordinated transportation and Betty Schleis was in charge of clean up.
Thanks to each and every one who helped, played or watched this excellent tournament.
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