Nov 4, 2019

Day 3 – Monday Mixed Madness

After an opening weekend of spectacular pickleball action in paradise, the trend continued on Monday with a packed slate of Mixed Doubles Skill/Age competition at the 2019 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships. While Sunday’s play centered on a women’s double dose, Monday was all about the Mixed competition at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

With an entire day of play focused on one division, participants and spectators alike were able to hone in on undoubtedly one of the premier attractions of the entire tournament. The Mixed Skill/Age Doubles play took place throughout the day in the 3.0, 3.5 and 5.0 skill groups for all ages. Fans were captivated by the incredible on-court action, as many of the sport’s premiere players took to Championship Court to showcase their mettle, specifically in the 5.0 skill groups.

In the 19+ division, all eyes were on the well-known pro team of Sarah Ansboury and Wesley Gabrielsen who have reformed their partnership at this year’s Nationals after consistently being the team to beat just a few years back. Also competing in 19+, the notable team of Michelle Esquivel and Steve Deakin brought their patented precision and power to the court on Monday. In the end, it wasn’t either of these favorites who took the gold, as the team of Jessie Irvine and Morgan Evans emerged victorious above the pack.

The 35+ age bracket once again delivered some of the most exciting matches thus far in the tournament, as perennial favorites Leigh Waters and Jeffrey Warnick were too much for the rest of the field to handle. Competing teams put up a fight, including the duos of Lee Whitwell/John Sperling and Susannah Barr/Jeremy Brine who took the silver and bronze respectively, but ultimately were unable to dash the Gold title aspirations of Waters/Warnick.

There were a myriad of strong teams who began the day with podium potential in the 50+ group, such as Bonnie Williams/Steve Cole, Jennifer Dawson/Mills Miller and Helen Wilhelm/Dave Fleming. In the end, pre-tournament Gold medal favorites Cammy MacGregor and Paul Olin fulfilled their expected medal aspirations and took home the Gold.

Let’s take a closer look at Sunday’s 5.0 gold medal winners:

  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 19+: Jessie Irvine / Morgan Evans
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 35+: Leigh Waters / Jeffrey Warnick
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 50+: Cammy MacGregor / Paul Olin
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 55+: Lisa Naumu / Scott Moore
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 60+: Cindy Johnson / Bill Muno
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 65+: Roxanne Pierce / Gregg Whitfield
  • Mixed Skill/Age 5.0 70+: Yvonne Hackenberg / Jim Hackenberg

Now, let’s see what’s on tap for tomorrow:

Events – Tuesday, Nov. 5

Women’s Skill/Age Doubles – 4.0
Men’s Skill/Age Singles – 3.0/5.0
Women’s Skill/Age Singles – 3.0/5.0
Mixed Super-Senior Open Doubles – 4.5/5.0
St. Jude Fund Skills Challenge Fundraiser
Parent/Child Round Robin

Who/What to Watch

Men’s Skill/Age Singles 5.0 19+

2018 Result (Gold / Silver / Bronze):
1. Tyson McGuffin
2. Daniel Moore
3. Joey Farias

There’s little doubt that this is one of the most highly-anticipated divisions of 2019 Nationals, as last year’s champion Tyson McGuffin will look to defend his title against a loaded field of talented players. Amongst them is 2019 standout Joey Farias, who has had a stellar year already behind his increased physical condition and sharpened overall game.

Men’s Skill/Age Singles 5.0 35+

2018 Result (Gold / Silver / Bronze):
1. Adam Stone
2. Rob Davidson
3. Chuck Taylor

The men’s 35+ is sure to be highly entertaining throughout the day on Tuesday, including three players who did not medal last year but have a great chance to change that in 2019. Brian Ashworth is an experienced player who knows the ins and outs of the game and will look to secure his place on the podium, as well as Ripsken Witsken and Daniel Roditi. The former is a unique competitor who’s passion is evident on the court, while the latter is a former tennis player who many are considering a dark horse for a medal.

Women’s Skill/Age Singles 5.0 19+, 35+

2018 Result (Gold / Silver / Bronze): Note – 2018 was not combined 19+, 35+
1. Michelle Esquivel
2. Gee Gee Garvin
3. Jaci West

On the women’s side in the combined 19+, 35+ age division, familiar former medalists will once again look to take to the podium at Nationals. 2018 Gold champion Michelle Esquivel has a real chance at repeating, as her pure power game is simply too much to handle for most of the competition. Two who can handle it are Athena Trouillot and Gee Gee Garvin, who have put together impressive years and are rising the pickleball ranks. Can one of them dethrone the champion Esquivel? Only time will tell.

St. Jude Fund Skills Challenge Fundraiser

A great event for a great cause returning for another year, the St. Jude Fund Skills Challenge Fundraiser is a competition of approximately 45 teams comprised of 2 people that are rated on total number of points across 5 different skills:

1. Pinpoint serve – hitting spots on the court
2. 3 rd shot drop – hitting a drop in the non-volley zone known as the ‘kitchen’
3. Serve return – hitting the serve deep enough into the baseline
4. Criss cross dinking – dinking over the net to opposite side
5. Bing bang – partners hit 50 volleys as fast as they can in a timed session

Parent/Child Round Robin

This event demonstrates the multigenerational appeal of the sport of pickleball as family members of all ages are able to play and compete in a fun, yet competitive environment.  Session one begins at 3:30pm and session two begins at 5:30pm. The format will be 1 game to 15 with a time cap of 20 minutes. 24 teams will complete with some notable players including Simone Jardim and her daughter Alexas, Christine Barksdale and her father Paul, the Muno family of Bill, Nanette, Ali and Bo and co tournament chair, Kyle Klein and his son Kale.

As always, be sure to stay tuned all day to for live action on the website, YouTube and Facebook pages.

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