Pickleball Tournament at Southern Columbia High School

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP -- A "pickleball" tournament, or ping pong played on a larger scale, crowned its champions in Columbia County.

What started off as 200 high students dwindled to 12 for Thursday's tournament.

It's not Wimbledon and you won't see Serena Williams or Roger Federer walking through the door at Southern Columbia High School near Elysburg, but for the kids in this gymnasium, it was just as intense as they were going head to head in the school's pickleball tournament final.

Cam Young and Drew Michaels bounced back and won this year's men's bracket after falling short in the finals one year ago.

"This is what you shoot for," said senior Cam Young. "You have your sports and you have your gym classes and it's always good to come out on top."

Pickleball can be viewed as tennis on a smaller court or an enlarged ping pong table.

The court is 44-feet long and has a seven-foot volley zone in front of the net.

The school's tournament has men's, women's, and coed brackets playing to 11 points in a best of three games.

"It's something everyone can do. No matter what level of activity or ability you have, you are able to play this game," said physical education teacher Claire Campbell.

Christina Podpora and her pickleball partner Haley Reeder won the girl's competition and say communication was the key to their championship run.

"Sometimes it gets hard to, like, 'who is going to hit the ball?' and you need to make sure you know who is going to get there because if you don't, it'll just go right through you and no one will hit it over. It's a lot of communication involved," said senior Christina Podpora.

Students were happy the school-wide tournament was something everyone could join.

"When pickleball comes, you never see anyone standing around in gym class. You see everyone playing. I feel like everyone enjoys the sport. If two kids don't talk to each other, they have to talk to each other," said senior Drew Michaels.

For the winners, there are no trophies. A tee shirt and bragging rights will have to do.