This gold medal was one for the ages. Sheila Parkinson and Dianne Zimmerman went undefeated the entire day, didn’t even lose a game. They defeated top-seeded Jan Yu/Lisa Smith 11-9, 11-5 in a semifinal match in the winners’ bracket, then beat second-seeded Jeni James/Jamie Knoph 11-4, 11-7. In the gold medal match the No. 1 seed came back with revenge intentions but it wasn’t to be. Our Sun Lakes champions defeated them soundly again 11-6, 11-6.
The Happy Trails Pickleball Tournament is held at the Happy Trails Resort located in Surprise, AZ. This tournament is one of the longest-running tournaments in the Valley and is attended by players from all over the country. Zapatka and Simmons faced two out-of-state players who reside in the resort in the gold medal match in front of 200 spectators. It was definitely an away match as every spectator was cheering vociferously for their home-team pair which included nationally-known Rodney Grubbs, owner of Pickleball Rocks.
Since the Zapatka/Simmons pair won the winners’ bracket, the Grubbs/Chippendale pair had to first win two out of three games to 11 to set up the winner-take-all final game to 15. They did this in closely contested 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 fashion. The 15-point game heard raucous cheers from the crowd every time the home team scored. It was an uphill battle for Zapatka/Simmons but they prevailed 15-7 in the ultimate game to secure the gold.
After surviving a nail-biter bronze medal match 3-11, 12-10 and 11-7, Sun Lakes pair Zapatka/Zimmerman fought their hearts out only to go down big in the gold medal match to the indomitable Jan Yu and Jim Kloss 11-4, 11-6.
Congratulations Sun Lakers on your excellent tournament results!