South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Pickleball makes its way to SDSU

Miller Wellness Center (Submitted)

Pickleball has gained national attention and popularity over the past few years and South Dakota State University students and community members have embraced the trend.

36 pickleball players filled the courts Sunday, Feb. 4 for the Miller Wellness Center intramural tournament. Beyond those competitive games, there also is open play happening in the center daily. Students and Brookings residents frequent the courts for fellowship and friendly competition.

Kevin Miller, member services coordinator at the Miller Wellness Center, spoke highly about the group of pickleball regulars. The sport is seeing a consistent flow of regular players and new people just trying it out.

“We have anywhere from 20 to 40 community members playing,” Miller said.

The Wellness Center bought 14 new paddles at the beginning of the semester and they have seen a lot of use. Students and community members are encouraged to rent a paddle and join in at open play.

“It’s unique right now for a lot of people,” Miller said, speaking on the popularity of the sport. “Pickleball, you can just play one-on-one to relax. You don’t need to be super competitive if you don’t want to.”

Brecklyn Beyer, a junior mechanical engineering major, is a frequent pickleball player. The community aspect and relaxed environment are her favorite parts of playing. Beyer joins in on the court when classes allow and encourages other students to do the same.

“It’s OK if you don’t have any experience,” Beyer said. “I love playing and getting involved with a different group of people.”

Teresa McLagan, a Brookings resident and retiree, is a four-year Miller Wellness Center member and pickleball regular. She is happy with the consistent turnout of players. She said that courts are full on most days, ranging anywhere from three to six full courts.

McLagan praised the sport and the welcoming community. When she retired, she was looking for a new hobby and happened upon pickleball.

“I was looking for something to do… I bought my first paddle, and now I’m on my third one,” McLagan said.

According to the USA Pickleball website, “It’s easy to start, but hard to stop.” The website provides details and resources for individuals interested in the sport.

There are no more organized pickleball tournaments through the Wellness Center for the remainder of the spring semester, open play is ongoing and all are welcome, Miller said. The Jackrabbit Open and more intramural tournaments are scheduled for the fall semester.

Students and community members can stay up to date on the intramural schedule and other tournament offerings on the Wellness Center app and social media .

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