November 9, 2023 | SPORTS | By Olivia Xerras

Coming from someone who had never attempted a game of pickleball, I can affirm that I now understand the hype. 

This Block’s Intramural Second Saturday Series involved a pickleball round robin tournament composed of 28 teams of two. 

Two pools began play in the morning and another set of two played in the early afternoon with the championship round beginning at 4pm. Essentially, four pools of seven teams each battled for the chance to reach the championship round.

The matches were played indoors inside the Adam F. Pess Fitness Center’s rec gym and El Pomar’s auxiliary gym, as the tennis team’s ‘drunk mixed doubles’ tournament took place on the outdoor courts during the same time. Despite this draw to a similar sport and activity, pickleball attendance was high.

Ian Larned, Intramural Sports supervisor and current Colorado College student, remarked on the turnout numbers. 

“Pickleball always does really well in terms of actual numbers,” Larned said. “It’s pretty incredible we got this kind of engagement today given ‘drunk mixed doubles’ on Washburn right now.”

Larned, a strong pickleball player in his own right, after helping to set up the nets and tape down the courts to match regulation standards, spoke to the emotions he felt from the students piling in the gym doors. 

“It’s all about the students at the end of the day. The students showing up is great, getting this kind of engagement from our student body is just a wonderful thing to see. There’s been some hiccups here and there, some people don’t show up.”

When questioned on how some critical last-minute changes were executed, Larned was excited to express his gratitude for his boss, Andy Obringer. 

“All the credit to my boss Andy Obringer, he’s probably the fastest thinker in the world… he switched the bracket as fast as he could today because we had dropouts. Andy and I actually had to fill in for a team for 45 minutes, you know we did well.” Larned continued, “At the end of the day, it’s just an awesome thing he’s putting on today. All the glory goes to Andy Obringer.”

Thanks to Obringer along with Larned, this event was a huge success and has high hopes to achieve the same feat for the following Second Saturday Series. 

“We’re hoping to get more engagement on the next one,” Larned said. “The sky’s the limit. We’re shooting for the stars each day and if we land on the moon, that’s just fine.”

At an event open to all grade levels, with age ranges from first years to fifth years in attendance, participants appeared eager and excited to play a game so welcoming to everyone. 

A pair of first-year teammates explain their rationale for entering in this event. One member of the duo explained, “I liked playing pickleball in the summer so I thought this would be fun.”

When asked if they would participate in more Second Saturday Series following this event both freshmen said with certainty, “Definitely.”

In the later afternoon, Aidan Smith ’25 and Ben Murphy ’25 defeated team Tommy Miller ’24 and Ben Bradshaw ’24 in the finals,.

The next Second Saturday Series will be a cornhole tournament that will take place inside the Adam F. Press Fitness Center. To register, enter through the CC athletics website before registration closes on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. 

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