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Practice pays for local pair

WORLD SENIOR GAMES: Couple leads contingent of medalists from Meadow Vista in pickleball
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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Chic and Ingrid Koenig were among those who lobbied the Auburn Recreational Department to install pickleball courts at Meadow Vista Park. When ARD finally did, the Koenigs were able to play year-round — and the practice has certainly paid off. The husband and wife from Meadow Vista earned five medals at last week’s Huntsman Senior World Games last week in St. George, Utah. Ingrid won a silver medal with Jean Sproehnie of Squaw Valley in 70-75 women’s doubles, then won another silver with Chic in mixed doubles. Chic, meanwhile, teamed with John Sproehnie to capture bronze medals in the 75-79 men’s and Legends (65-and-over) doubles events. “We never expected do that,” Ingrid said of her and husband’s medal haul. “There was so much more competition this year. We were honored claim it. It’s because we get to play year-round now.” The Koenigs were just two of the players from the Meadow Vista Pickleball Club who captured medals at the World Games. The others include Donna Hunter (silver, 60-64 mixed doubles), Peggy Rohair and Nancy Bartusch (bronze, 60-64 women’s doubles), and Dennis Lichty (bronze, men’s Masters doubles). The Koenigs have been playing pickleball — a sport similar to tennis, only played on a court a quarter of the size of a tennis court with a plastic ball with holes in it and paddles that more closely resemble ping-pong paddles than tennis racquets — for 12 years and the World Games for six. Between them, the Koenigs have won about 20 medals, which they keep packed in a box at home. About 280 players competed in pickleball at this year’s World Games, which featured approximately 10,000 athletes in 26 sports. However, it’s not just the competition that keeps the Koenigs returning to St. George. “The people in the St. George area just wonderful,” Ingrid said. “They make you feel welcome immediately, and the whole town goes out to support (the seniors).”