Norris Invitational set for  March 7-11, Cottonwood’s annual Pickleball event

Irene D’Aloisio, Publicity, SLPCC

What’s a Sun Laker to do on a glorious spring day? Watch or participate in the annual Norris Invitational Tournament (NIT) of course! The event is scheduled for March 7-11. This annual pickleball tournament which is held at the Cottonwood pickleball courts in Sun Lakes is open to all Sun Lakes residents. Membership in the Sun Lakes Pickleball Club Cottonwood (SLPCC) is not a requirement for entry or attendance. Don’t play pickleball? There’s lots of fun in just watching. It’s exciting and high energy and it’s the fastest-growing sport in America. If pickleball is a sport you’ve been curious about, come join us.

The tournament is a double elimination event with both mixed doubles and doubles and encompasses five rating categories for various skill levels: 2.5 through 4.0 plus, which is a mix of 4.0 players and above. A minimum of four teams will be playing in each category starting on Monday, March 7 with men’s events. Women’s events are on Tuesday and mixed events will follow on Wednesday. All finals will be played on Thursday, March 10 and Friday will be a rain or make-up day. The cost to enter the NIT is $20 a team and prizes will be awarded in each category. The first place team will receive a $100 gift certificate and the second place team will receive a $50 gift certificate. The certificates are good at any Cottonwood or Palo Verde venue.

The NIT is a huge event. Last year there were nearly 80 entries and this year the number of entries are expected to be closer to 100 so there should be lots of pickleball action to watch. The NIT was started to honor the work of Maureen and Dick Norris who pursued the acquisition of Cottonwood’s four pickleball courts. The first games were played on a tennis court with tape as the boundary lines. It eventually moved to a parking lot at Sisk Park where the players had to set up a portable net for play. From there, as the SLPCC grew, Dick and Maureen took on the challenge and managed to come up with four permanent pickleball courts. This is the club’s salute to them!

So whether you’re a player or spectator, there’s sure to be a good time at the NIT. Come along for the fun! Watch for details in the February Splash or email us at [email protected]