Homer pickleball players brought home precious medals after taking top spots in several categories in the Alaska Senior Games on Aug. 16-18.
Janie Leask, Holly Van Pelt, Dru and Tim Renchler, Donna and Dan Holleman, Bill Bloom and Paul Knight competed in doubles and singles categories in several different age categories in Fairbanks. The pickleball players collected nine gold, two silver and two bronze medals. For Homer pickleball, the wins affirmed the players’ skills outside of the hamlet at the end of the road.
“It felt incredible on a few different levels,” Leask said. “One is to go with a group of friends that we’ve been playing with for years, secondly is to play the good games that we played in Fairbanks and thirdly is the whole pride in the Homer pickleball group and the quality of play and it was a validation of us to go to Fairbanks and come back with some many wins.”
Some of the same pickleball players — including Leask, Van Pelt, Dru and Tim — attended the games last year, winning three gold medals, a silver and a bronze, Leask said. However this year, top players in the Alaska Senior Games qualified to compete in the National Senior Games, which will be held in Birmingham, Ala., in June 2017.
Although the Senior Games have a minimum age requirement of 50, pickleball in Homer is not just for those in their golden years, Leask said. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to show up to the Homer Education and Recreation Complex (HERC) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 5 p.m., Sundays at 10 a.m., or Tuesdays at 1:15 p.m. for $3 per visit.
“We have a robust league here in Homer and are thinking about holding our own tournament as there are players who’d love to play in one, but unfortunately the Senior Games is the only Alaska tournament we’ve heard of,” Leask said. “Some of our players have played in tournaments outside and tell us they’ve held their own which means we have a pretty darned good level of play here.”
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Alaska Senior Game results with age categories in parentheses. For doubles players of differing ages, the pair played in the younger age category.
Gold – Janie Leask/Holly Van Pelt (60-64)
Silver – Dru Renschler/Donna Holleman (65-69)
Gold – Bill Bloom/Dan Holleman (55-59)
Gold – Tim Renschler/Paul Knight (60-64)
Gold – Janie Leask (65-69)
Gold – Bill Bloom (55-59)
Bronze – Paul Knight (60-64)
Silver – Tim Renschler (70-74)
Gold – Dan Holleman (75-79)
Gold – Janie Leask/Bill Bloom (55-59)
Gold – Holly Van Pelt/Paul Knight (60-64)
Gold – Dan and Donna Holleman (65-69)
Bronze – Dru and Tim Renschler (65-69)