Local Pickleball Hero Brings Home The Gold


Photo courtesy of Riley Williamson.

Riley Williamson, who won the tournament, posing by the pickleball court.

Russell Roach, Reporter

On Saturday, September 17, senior Riley Williamson won a gold medal in his division at the Communicare Classic Pickleball Tournament in San Antonio. This event, which was Riley’s first tournament, was also the first of its kind in San Antonio for the largest growing sport in the nation.

“Pickleball is more widespread than people think, from players setting up temporary nets on tennis courts to large scale venues like Chicken and Pickle,” said Williamson.

Pickleball is a sport where two to four players hit a hollow polymer ball over a net using solid paddles. The two teams then hit the ball over the net until one side breaks a rule and loses, much like tennis. 

Williamson said he found the sport fun for its blend of “skill, athleticism, and relaxing qualities” along with the friendly players he meets in the community.

Williamson began playing the sport recreationally in 2021, but recently began practicing in a more professional manner. He frequents the courts at Chicken & Pickle and Fairchild Park in San Antonio, which hosted the tournament. This tournament introduced players to a new form of play called ‘PartyPickle,’ where participants are randomly assigned a partner for each game.

“The PartyPickle was a unique experience,” said Williamson. “It was a very interesting way to compete and separates players by adaptability and skill.”

This tournament, sponsored by the San Antonio Pickleball Association (SAPA), the Valero Alamo Bowl, and The Kitchen Dink, is donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit local student scholarships and future players.

“Scholarships are a great way to support local students as well as spread the word about the sport. I think in the future as its popularity grows, high schools and colleges will hopefully adopt the sport,” said Williamson.