Champions: Los Angeles Mad Drops (Catherine Parenteau, Irina Tereschenko, Julian Arnold, Thomas Wilson)
Runner-ups: New York Hustlers (Anna Bright, Lacy Schneemann, Tyson McGuffin, Rafa Hewett)
Champions: Bay Area Breakers (Rachel Summers, Ewa Radzikowska, Christian Alshon, Pablo Tellez)
Runner-ups: Utah Black Diamonds (Michelle Esquivel, Olivia McMillan, Rob Cassidy, Spencer Smith)
Flu game-Jordan, face mask-Lebron, fourth quarter-Brady and now MLP-Irina Tereschenko. She is added to the list of GOATs, after she won her fourth MLP title out of five total possible by pickleball’s most exciting league. The Los Angeles Mad Drops are your MLP Mesa Premier Level champions.
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Tereschenko and her teammates (Catherine Parenteau, Julian Arnold, Thomas Wilson) didn’t drop a match all weekend as they gave team owner Drew Brees his first MLP championship. They defeated the New York Hustlers (Anna Bright, Lacy Schneemann, Tyson McGuffin, Rafa Hewett) in the finals, 3-1. The Mad Drops lost the women’s doubles match 16-21, but came back to win the remaining three games: one men’s doubles and two mixed doubles.
Arnold was that man! He was in peak form during the finals and even out chest-pounded McGuffin in the process. The Mad Drops drafted a stellar team, which saw them take their two women first, which gave them the upper hand in women’s and mixed doubles. They then got tremendous value and a lot of fight with their remaining two picks.
Missing from the finals equation were the teams led by Anna Leigh Waters (New Jersey 5’s) and Ben Johns (Seattle Pioneers), who are recognized as the top two pickleballers in the world. They made it to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. This provides evidence that MLP really is a team event. You can’t just go in there with the best man or woman and expect to win the tournament, like Johns or Waters can when they play on the PPA tour. You really need an all-around team to hoist the MLP trophy.
A bizarre situation coming out of the weekend was James Ignatowich getting called for a hindrance after split stepping a little too aggressively, according to the ref. The 5’s went absolutely crazy when they heard the call; but Iggy handled it like a true professional after the match, cutting the ref some slack. Another blunder from the refereeing department was when Dekel Bar received a kitchen foot fault on a play where he didn’t even hit the ball!
The leading meme exiting the tournament was without a doubt Hayden Patriquin’s finger-wag against the St. Louis Shock. I mean this right here is pure gold:
On the Challenger Level side of things, the level underneath the Premier Level, the Bay Area Breakers led by the Tweener King Christian Alshon, alongside Pablo Tellez, Ewa Radzikowska and Rachel Summers, took down the Utah Black Diamonds. I guess there was one black diamond they weren’t able to ski down on championship Sunday.
The team coached by top senior pro pickleball player Scott Crandall, performed well in all aspects of the game. They even won a DreamBreaker (a singles tiebreaker), in the semi-finals against the Atlanta Bouncers to punch their way into the finals.
Number one pick and former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Sam Querrey, garnered attention at his first-ever MLP event, with his team the D.C. Pickleball Club. The team narrowly missed the playoff and finished 1-2 in the group stage.
An unbelievably close loss to the Breakers was the deciding factor against DC who had a tough draw finding themselves in the same group as the champion and runner-up teams.
Querrey will have two months to prepare for the next MLP event in Daytona. Will the brief training window and a new group draw yield better results for the #1 pick? Only time will tell. Just one of the many reasons we can't wait for the next MLP.
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