The first Pickleball Warrior Cup was held on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus in support of the UH men’s tennis team, July 22–24. The event garnered more than 200 participants from the community where people of all ages and all skill levels came together and competed in a fun-filled environment and earned cash prizes.
Over three days, the Pickleball Warrior Cup held matches for women’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s doubles, with participants aged 18–60+ competing in five different skill levels ranging from 2.5–4.5+, and each gold medal team winning $50.
“We can honestly say it truly has been an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said Joël Kusnierz, UH men’s tennis head coach. “There is nothing better than seeing so many people smiling and having fun competing to support our program. Their energy was immensely inspiring. All week we were blessed by all the volunteers who showed up early to help us organize, set up the courts, and clean up afterwards.”
Kusnierz and Marcel Chan, UH men’s tennis assistant coach, organized the event to fundraise for the men’s tennis program and further strengthen UH’s relationship with the community by serving as a prime venue for the community to gather, have fun and get some exercise.
“It was an awesome experience! The organizers were such gracious and wonderful hosts, the tennis facility at UH was top notch, and our Hawaiʻi pickleball community came out and showed great support for this fundraising event for our UH men’s tennis team through their participation and great play,” said Darren Okimoto, associate director at UH Sea Grant College Program who earned a silver medal in the men’s doubles 3.0 division.
The event provided an opportunity to reunite the community around values UH Athletics instills into its student athletes year after year: Embracing opportunities to grow as competitors and individuals; being class-act ambassadors on and off the court; being grateful; caring and sharing; and dedication to competing hard and having fun.
“This was the first edition of the Pickleball Warrior Cup at UH, and seeing the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community it will definitely not be the last,” said Kusnierz.
The tennis team hopes to have another tournament in the fall.