PORT ST. LUCIE - Fourteen Indian River County residents competed in the inaugural World Pickleball Open, held Dec. 13-15 in Port St. Lucie. Three county residents took home gold medals.
Matches were played at PGA Village Verano’s new Pickleball Center which, according to tournament publicist Rachel Griffith, is the largest private pickleball facility in South Florida with 27 courts, including a championship court with stadium seating.
According to Ms. Griffith, the tournament brought in an estimated $300,000 in economic activity to the Treasure Coast.
Nearly 300 amateur and professional players from four countries and 20 U.S. states competed in the largest pickleball event in Treasure Coast history. Players ranged in age from 15 to 79.
Rain delayed the start by a day, as the tournament began on Dec. 13 instead of Dec. 12. Once the tournament was underway, Indian River County residents Jennifer Arnold, Stephen Osiecki, and Richard Van Zyl all won their respective divisions.
Ms. Arnold of Vero Beach won gold in the Woman’s Doubles (3.5 19+) division with partner Ashley Mastrangelo of Sunrise.
“The venue was great and the staff was very nice,” Ms. Arnold said. “We are really happy the weather held up and we were able to get on court. The medals are huge!”
Stephen Osiecki of Vero Beach won gold in the Mixed Doubles (3.5 70+) division with partner Frances Munoz of Port St. Lucie.
Richard Van Zyl of Sebastian won gold in the Men’s Doubles (4.0 60+) division with partner Steven Bull of West Bloomfield, Michigan.