Vineyard pickleballers good as gold in Hanover tourney

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Vineyard pickleball players had themselves quite a weekend at the New England Super Slam Tournament, held Nov. 23-24 at the Starland Sportsplex in Hanover.

Three duos featuring Vineyard full-time and seasonal residents captured gold medals, and another took silver.

The road to gold wasn’t easy, with five wins needed to clinch the title in each group.

Chris Counter and Jiri Luncar of Vineyard Haven won gold medals in the Men’s Doubles 3.5 skill level: 19-54 age group, defeating Mainers Jim Hutchinson and Tom MacDonald in a three-set final 11-4, 7-11, 11-4. 

Nicole Buchman (Edgartown, Weston) and Robin Schneider (Natick) won gold in the 4.0: 19-54 group with a hard-fought 8-11, 11-3, 11-6 comeback win over Amanda Church (Dartmouth) and Robin Dugas (East Falmouth). 

The third gold went to Tracy Schaller (Chappy, Natick) and Kim Lobbiser (Medway), who won the 3.0: 19-54, 55-plus group with an 11-2, 11-5 victory over Heather Cline (Canton) and Sandra Cobb (Newton). Schaller added a silver medal with Mixed Doubles partner Brian “BMax” Maxfield of Oak Bluffs, after the tandem lost a 5-11, 9-11 decision to gold medalists Jodi Neagle (Hanover) and Jos Wanschers (Whitman).