Start of something special

Forty-eight compete in inaugural pickleball tournament


Elite Pickleball held its inaugural junior tournament designed with the next generation of pickleballers in mind at The Yards on June 30 and it was a success in more ways than one.

“It was a true blessing,” Elite Pickleball co-founder Matt Masto said. “The kids had a blast, and we had a super competitive championship match.”

Forty-eight competitors of various ages took part in the inaugural showcase, some of which traveled nearly six hours to the area to compete.

That was a big deal to Masto, because it shows the passion that exists out there for pickleball among the youth and how unique of a tournament it was.

According to Masto, there are not as many tournaments or outlets solely focused on providing pickleball avenues for the youth and that was the basis for the creation of Elite Pickleball and the tournament.

The tournament consisted of two age brackets with 12- to 14-year-olds competing against each other and 15- to 18-year-olds competing in the other group.

Austin Miskelly and Tyler Miskelly teamed up to win gold in the younger age group, while the tandem of Myles Call and Alexander Crawford took home the title in the older group.

Call and Crawford battled to earn their gold medals as the championship match for the 15- to 18-year-olds needed all three games of the best of three format to decide the winner.

In the end, it was Call and Crawford that won the final game by a score of 11-9, which proved a memorable way to cap the inaugural event.

On top of Call’s gold medal, he also earned male MVP honors for his dynamite play on the court.

Another unique aspect of pickleball is that male and female players can compete against and alongside each other on the same court and in the same competition.

Rachel Marino’s play was another one who’s play stood out throughout the tournament and was named female MVP to go along with the silver medal she was awarded.

After a successful inaugural tournament, Masto and Elite Pickleball have already turned their focus to the next tournament on the schedule, which will be held at the Pictona complex in Daytona Beach July 28.

Elite Pickleball, tournament