Battle for the Saddle Tournament

SPA women players celebrate their participation in the women’s doubles matches. (Photo by Walter Fritz)

On the podium, Paul Massara (center left) and Sam Alkhoury (center right) receive their gold medals for finishing first in the 4.0 level men’s doubles matches. (Photo by Walter Fritz)

Raymond Goettsch

On Oct. 20 through 22, 118 members of the SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA) faced off against 118 SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball Association (SRPA) members on the Ed Robson Pickleball Center courts in the Battle for the Saddle Tournament. The tournament was for women’s, men’s, and mixed doubles teams competing in a round-robin format in which each SPA team played each SPRA team in the same class. The teams were classified by skill level: 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. Medals were awarded to the top three teams in each skill level: gold (first place), silver (second place), and bronze (third place).

Overall, the SPA teams won 133 games, and the SRPA teams prevailed in 146 games. Based on total points, SRPA teams scored 2,608 points, and the SPA teams scored 2,599. SRPA won by only 13 games, and SPA teams scored only nine points less than the SRPA teams.

The women’s teams played Oct. 20, and SPA members earned medals in the 3.5 and 4.0 levels. In the 3.5 level, Jen Massara and Helen Graham won silver, and Donna Watson and Anne Lange won bronze. Denise Leksell and Diana Giljohann won gold at the 4.0 level.

On Oct. 21 the men’s teams played, with SPA members winning medals in the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 levels. At the 3.0 level, Greg Wilkins and Glen Wirtanen earned the bronze medal. Michael Hovan and Walter Fritz won the bronze medal in the 3.5 level. Sam Alkhoury and Paul Massara earned the gold medal in the 4.0 level, and John Rathjen and Ron Flanders won the bronze medal in that level. At the 4.5 level, Sam Alkhoury and Mike Owens won the gold medal.

The mixed teams played on Oct. 22, and Corey Loyd and Susie Loyd earned the gold medal in the 2.5 level. At the 3.5 level, Ron Flanders and Jen Massara won the gold medal, and Cherri Block and Michael Hovan earned the bronze medal. In the 4.0 level, Sam Alkhoury and Joan Van Matre earned the bronze medal.

SPA participants hope to encourage more SPA members to play in next year’s tournament at SaddleBrooke Ranch and bring the saddle trophy home where it belongs: SaddleBrooke.