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January 10, 2017
Mixed doubles may catch some sideways glances in some paddle circles, but not in Colorado. With 39 teams spread across two brackets, the 2017 Colorado State Mixed Open was the largest mixed turnout ever.
The "A" bracket fielded 16 teams with the top seed, Sarah Shore and Matt Kranich, as defending champs. On the other side of the draw sat the 2016 finalist team of Kathleen Parker and Andrew Green, who certainly had not forgotten what had happened in 2016. However, revenge proved not in the cards for them this year after falling in three sets to Boston transplants Darcy and Tim Kofol in the quarterfinals. The Kofols used an uber aggressive attacking style to advance to the semis against Wendy Bermingham and Denver Country Club paddle professional, Ian Hintz. Bermingham and Hintz either had a good scouting report or had sorted out a game plan based on some scouting of their own (yeah, we scout mixed doubles action in Colorado) and took the Kofols down, 6-4, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Shore and Kranich were cruising through their portion of the bracket with straight set victories over Deedee Schneiders and Mac Fuller in the quarters, followed by a 4 & 6 win in the semis over the Boulder duo of Jill Isenhart and Curt Corrigan.
In the final match of the night, Shore and Kranich jumped out to a quick lead and grabbed the first set 6-2. Bermingham and Hintz sharpened their resolve and kept the second set close enough to force a set tie breaker, but in the end, Shore's great hands around the net and Kranich's steady overheads gave them the edge to take a second title.
The "B" bracket held 23 teams this year. With the 2016 champion team of Jennie Wolff and Tom Hertzberg bumped in to the "A" bracket in accordance with local paddle protocol, the number one seed went to the 2015 champs Kristi and Craig Emerson. On the other side of the bracket was another wife/husband combo—Maggie and Eddie Hays—who have played every Colorado State Mixed paddle tourney since its inception. The Hays' road to the finals was well-deserved after escaping a tight quarterfinal match followed by a very close straight set win in the semis. For the Emersons, the journey to the finals came with a bit more ease with only one nail-biter in the semis, where they prevailed 6-4, 7-5 over good friends Amy List and Kent Lemon. In the finals, it was all Emerson, despite Maggie's verbal tactics, running away at 6-4, 6-2.
For any of you in the paddle world reading this, consider coming out to the Wild West for a weekend of paddle and maybe some skiing, too. The snow is incredible right now. So much so, Crested Butte had to close the ski area because of too much snow to operate safely. That's a lot of snow!
There are two events left on the Colorado calendar: Colorado Men's State Open on Jan. 27-28 and the Arapahoe Invitational on Feb. 23-26. Come join the FUN!