Former Board of Ed member wins silver medal in Pickleball tournament

The winners of the USA Pickleball Association’s National Championship tournament were Bronze Medalists Sande Burke and Don Crandall, Silver Medalists Tom McKinney and Win Oppel, Gold Medalists Norm Kowalchuk and ‎Mike Kozakl.

The 2017 USA Pickleball Association held its National Championship tournament Nov. 4-12, 2017 at the Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort in Casa Grande, Ariz. More than 1,400 players were registered to play “America’s Fastest Growing Sport” according to Drew Wathey, a spokesperson for USAPA.  The brackets were broken down by age (in five year increments) and skill (2.5 to 5.0 in .5 increments).  There were singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.

The winner of the Silver Medal in the Men’s Doubles 55+ 3.5 bracket were Win Oppel of Robson Ranch, Eloy Arizona/Shelton CT and Tom McKinney of Robson Ranch, Eloy Arizona.

Oppel, 61, a lifelong resident, local businessman, and retiring member of the Shelton Board of Education has played Pickleball for just over four years.  Among the courts he plays locally is the one at the Shelton Community Center that were just refinished.  

“There is a good group of over 20 people who play here on a regular basis from late September until early May,” Oppel said.   

He also plays at the Robson Ranch community facility in Eloy, Arizona.  

“I was introduced to the game while visiting an RV park in Casa Grande, Arizona a couple of years ago and found it to be very invigorating,”  Oppel said. “It is catching on all over the country. I would love to see some of the unused tennis courts at the East Village Park refinished and striped for Pickleball.”  

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