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SPRINGFIELD, MO — The Springfield-Greene County Park Board is hosting a USA Pickleball championship tournament this weekend at Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian St.
The USA Pickleball Middle States Diamond Regional Championships run June 1-4, Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon. The tournament includes 425 players from 16 states, as far away as Minnesota, Florida and California.
Competitors' ages span from 12 to 82 years, including 12-year-old Lucas Riffe, of Republic, who won gold in Men’s Singles Thursday, and who will compete in Mixed Doubles Saturday, 12:45 p.m., with his mother, Ranay Riffe. Competition also include also includes Alice Tym, 82, formerly ranked world No. 4 in women’s tennis.
Jim Berger, a USA Pickleball Regional Director managing the championships, said player interest was high in this event because it’s a national qualifier.
“Anyone could register, but most are serious tournament players from around the country, because if you obtain gold or silver in any event here, you have automatic registration for the national Diamond Amateur Championships in December, in Daytona Beach, Florida,” said Berger.
Springfield won a competitive bid to host this event a year and a half ago, through efforts by the Springfield Sports Commission and the Park Board. Berger, who is from St. Louis, said Springfield stood out from other cities due to the indoor/outdoor court options at Cooper Tennis Complex.
“We moved play indoors due to the heat, but the outdoor and indoor combined, this is one of the finest public facilities I’ve ever been in,” said Berger. “For tennis and pickleball, it’s absolutely outstanding.”
Springfield will host this tournament again in 2024. Berger says the event is required to relocate every two years.
The tournament is double elimination, with awards given each day. The schedule includes:
Cooper Tennis Complex also hosts the SRS Queen City Pickleball Open June 23-25, with nearly 250 participants registered.
For media inquiries, contact Jim Berger, USA Pickleball Regional Director, Middle States, Tournament Operations, at 314-960-1787; or Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-224-5510.