Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

Pickleball Champions Announced

Craig Johnson and Drake Clarke emerge victorious in the Inaugural Hopkins County Open, Pickleball Championship!

April 23, 2024 – After a very Stormy Saturday, beautiful weather peaked through and gave pickleball fans in Hopkins County the perfect weather for the Inaugural Hopkins County Open Pickleball Championship benefiting client services of your Hopkins County Community Action Network, more commonly known as CANHELP.

Fourteen teams fought hard all afternoon before a large crowd of spectators at the Sulphur Springs High School Tennis Complex on Sunday, April 21st . After witnessing 40 pickleball matches, our local pickleball nation witnessed Johnson and Clarke finally emerge victorious and claim the 2024 Championship.

The format provided for three preliminary round robin brackets to produce three semi- finalists. Johnson and Clarke made it through the preliminary round robin bracket undefeated and happily entered the semifinals well rested. The second preliminary bracket saw Jason Evans and Mike Meador emerge victorious after some controversy because of a no-show from one of the registered teams. Even though Meador and Evans split two games with David Burns and Dr. Blake Cross, Evans and Meador had won the
first game which, by rules, allowed them to automatically advance to the semifinals.

The third preliminary bracket had former Sulphur Springs High School tennis superstar, Robert Stevens, and partner, Josh Way, record a clean sweep of their bracket to secure their spot.

The play-in bracket for the fourth seed in the semifinals proved to be exhilarating. The final match had current high school multi-sport super athletes, Kody Barclay and Corbin Argenbright, narrowly losing to Burns and Cross. Burns and Cross bounced back from the disappointment of narrowly missing the automatic bid and showed their strength, resilience, and determination to not let their first-round setback keep them from advancing.

The semifinals saw two hotly contested matches between the final four teams. Johnson and Clarke beat Evans and Meador to reach the finals, and Stevens and Way took care of business over Burns and Cross to set up the gold medal match.

The Third-place match went the distance and allowed a rematch from earlier in the tournament between Evans/Meador and Burns/Cross. The spectators were given a treat as neither team wanted to go home without any hardware. However, in the end Evans and Meador proved victorious taking 2 out of 3 games to win the third-place title.

The Final match for the Championship saw Johnson and Clarke squeak out the first game of the “best-of-three” match. The eventual champions found themselves down 0-7 in game two. After a brief pause to re-set themselves and focus, Johnson and Clarke went on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Stevens and Way finally stopped the bleeding and put up a point to tie it up at 8-8. The Championship was decided by Johnson and Clarke scoring the final three points to claim victory and First Place bragging rights of the
Inaugural Hopkins County Open, Pickleball Championship.

CANHELP wants to thank all the participants and spectators for coming out to enjoy a great day of Pickleball and Thank you to our Sponsors: Rising Wealth Management, City National Bank, Deep Routes Coffee, The Stadium at Burgerland, Cinco De Mayo, Hwy 19 Construction, Jay Hodge Chevrolet, and Landers Creek Outfitters. Together, We Can Help

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