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MC Intramurals' First Pickleball Tournament Amasses Student Interest
MC Intramurals' directors had to reevaluate after student sign ups exceeded the original cap.
In response to massive student interest, MC Intramurals organized their first pickleball tournament from October 2nd-5th.
82 teams entered to compete in the pickleball tournament. Only 68 were accepted due to size constraints. The tournament was an open tournament, meaning that men’s, women’s, and co-ed teams were eligible to compete. Teams played on top of the parking garage, where the MC Intramurals staff created five courts with chalk, put up nets, and provided balls and paddles for players. Referees were present if a scoring debate or line call issue came about.
Joe Jarvis and Alvaro Saint Martin, who play for the Mississippi College tennis team, won the tournament.
Gracelyn Noss, one of the directors of MC Intramurals, stated that the intramurals staff had the idea for the tournament last spring. They knew that pickleball was a growing sport among college-aged students and thought it would be a popular addition.
Still, Abby Zacek, one of the program’s assistant directors, was shocked by the amount of interest shown in the pickleball tournament. Originally, the staff planned to cap the tournament at 32 teams. When the amount of teams far exceeded the tournament cap, the intramurals staff had to rethink how they could accommodate as many players as possible.
“When we were in the middle of class, we checked the sign ups, and it had gone from 32 to 56 teams. From there, we had to go back to the whiteboard and figure out how to fit extra teams in,” Zacek said.
Noss broke down the process of creating the tournament. “It was us at a whiteboard figuring out how many teams could play, how many games we could have each night, and how many courts we were able to make,” Noss said.
Teams played one to three matches a night with a 25 minute time cap per game. The games were best two out of three, with each game going to seven points. If teams were to go over the time limit and were tied, the game became win-by-two.
Noss was excited to have so many new people interested in intramurals. “There were a lot more new people that came out to play,” Noss said.
Mississippi College athletes, club and tribe members, and independents were all present for the tournament.
Noss and Zacek said the MC Intramurals staff is planning another pickleball tournament in the spring. The staff wants to make sure that everyone who did not get to play in the fall tournament will have another chance to compete. The current plan is to have a men’s section, women’s section, and co-ed section.
“There was some great competition to play against,” tournament player Danny Liu said, “there were people who have played a lot previously, some tennis players, and the mix just made for great competition.”
Liu describes pickleball as a “mini” version of tennis, and he believes it is a great way for people seeking an alternative to more intense sports to get active.
Saint Martin had a positive experience with the tournament and claimed he would play again in the future.
“It was well organized,” Saint Martin said, “and I feel like each time they organize intramural sports, whether it is pickleball, soccer, or whatever, they do a really good job of putting it together.”
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