Mahaska County YMCA Pickleball Players Successful at Winter Iowa Games

Pictured from left to right:Donna Crookham, Jean Welsh (submitted photo)

Pictured from left to right:Donna Crookham, Jean Welsh (submitted photo)

Oskaloosa, February 20, 2013 – The Mahaska County YMCA proudly announces that two of its members, both consistent pickleball players on the YMCA hardwood, have had recent success at the 2013 Winter Iowa Games, held annually by the Iowa Sports Foundation. This year’s event was hosted by Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on February 10, 2013. Donna Crookham and Jean Welsh, pictured, participated in the Mixed Doubles division at this year’s Games, receiving the silver and bronze medals, respectively, with their partners, Denny Bane and Dale Thede, both of Urbandale.

A new sport added to the long list of offerings available in the Winter Iowa Games, pickleball has seen both local and national interest levels peek in recent years. Jean Welsh expressed, “Both Donna Crookham and I were elated when we found out that the Winter Iowa Games was going to host a pickleball event this year. Not only was the volume of competitors great to see, but the 56 people who competed were part of the highest registration numbers that a new Winter Iowa Games sport has ever seen.”

Pickleball utilizes modified lines, nearly identical to badminton lines, that most gymnasiums already have in place. Pickleball players combine the rules of tennis and ping pong, with a perforated plastic ball, wood or composite paddles, and a three foot high pickleball net, to form a game that is fun for any age or ability level. Donna Crookham stated, “A consistent group of YMCA members and guests have been playing pickleball at the Mahaska County YMCA for over a year now. We started meeting every weekday at 1pm, and after the YMCA received a grant from the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) for equipment and supplies last May, the interest level has continued to climb.”

Sports Director Ryan Harkema said, “It is great to see a sport that many people may not know that much about, get such attention and high levels of play at the YMCA. I cannot tell you how often a current or prospective member leaves the Y with a smile on his or her face after getting a taste of pickleball. Best of all, the sport is one of those games that takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime of fun to master.”

The Mahaska County YMCA plans to offer both singles and doubles leagues for pickleball beginning in April of 2013. If you are interested in the game of pickleball, or would like to know about any of the other sports programs that the Mahaska County YMCA has to offer, please contact Ryan Harkema at 641.673.8411. More information about the YMCA can also be found at, or stop by the Y today at 414 North 3rd Street in Oskaloosa.



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