Pickleball Tournament Eyes Expansion After Successful Tournament
By Matt Baide
The International Indoor Pickleball Tournament concluded on Sunday at the Northwest Sports Hub in Centralia after almost a week’s worth of events, with more than 400 players competing in the tournament.
Tournament director Kenneth Lee was pleased with how smoothly the tournament went, considering the 462 players was the largest turnout in the tournament’s three year history at the NW Sports Hub.
“Overall, it went really well,” Lee said.
There was feedback from players and spectators, and most of the feedback was positive. Lee noted the most difficult part of the tournament was the lack of referees.
“That’s one thing that we need to improve on, we need to get more referees,” Lee said. “More people are willing to referee, but they don’t know how to referee or they’re afraid. Next year, we’ll handle that by providing more referee clinics everyday instead of just doing it at the beginning and the middle.”
The tournament is expected to be even larger next year, and Lee is hoping to add an extra day to the tournament for more social play and clinics rather than competitive tournament play.
“This is one of the best sports because it’s a social thing and not only a competitive thing,” Lee said. “What we want to do is increase the tournament days by one extra day where we would insert it in the middle, so that day would have no official tournament play but it’s more for social play and clinics.”
The Centralia Pickleball Club had a solid presence at the international tournament with a few local placers. Ray and Susan Boyajian placed second in the Mixed Doubles Skill 3.5 division, and Carrie George and Susan Boyajian finished second in the Women’s Doubles Age Group 50+ tournament.
Ray Boyajian and James Norton finished fourth in the Men’s Mixed Doubles Skill 3.5 tournament and Carrie and Loren George placed fourth in the Mixed Doubles Age Group 50+ division.
Lee wanted to thank all of the players and participants for supporting the tournament.
If the Northwest Sports Hub expands, Lee noted the tournament might expand to an estimated 550 players next year.
“Every year, we’re trying to make it that much better,” Lee said. “Next year, we’ve got some things that I don’t want to say until we get more locked in on it, but we’ve got some ideas to make it even better next year.”