Wilton Y Platform tourney draws 96 teams

Ninety-six teams blanketed 17 venues to kick-off the 32nd Wilton Y Platform Tennis Open on March 28. An overnight snowfall could gain no traction in the face of warmer weather and the no-holds-barred enthusiasm of 192 paddle players. By late morning, the blowers drying the courts ceased, the sun appeared, and the precipitation was reduced to a memory that just added seasoning to the event.

At noon, activity at the Wilton Y paddle hut ramped up. Preparations for the massive barbecue began in earnest with the arrival of Wilton Steel, the steel-drum band that laid down calypso rhythms to accompany players scrambling competitively all over the courts.

By the time finals action commenced, festivities were at fever pitch. Music blaring, loud conversation prevailing, the Open crowd swelled to 250 onlookers who were treated to first-class tournament play.

In the Men's A Division Draw, George Wilkinson and Aman Singh defeated Pete Oman and Ritoush Venugopal, 6-4, 6-3, to win the title.

The Women's Open Draw went to Vikki Stoklasova and Tiernan Cavanna, who defeated Carol Guthrie and Laura Schelz, 6-0, 6-0. Guthrie and Schelz were playing together for the first time, as Guthrie's original partner was unable to attend. Stoklasova may be the best women's player in paddle right now. The match may have been short, but the spirit was lasting. “What a great tournament. And we get to have guy-food, too — hamburgers and beer,” said Guthrie emphatically.

The Men's B Division finals featured a hard-fought battle between Jed Wisniewski/Dan Zahler and Bryan Quinn/Mike Schinella, with Wisniewski and Zahler triumphant by a 7-6, 6-0 score.

Finally, the B2 Men's Division final saw Kevin Dillon and Sean O'Neill best Steve Patterson and Mike Widman, 6-1, 6-1.

Notes: Tournament organizers Todd Parker, Russ Kohl, Ron Gayda, Bo Beatty and Bill Fanning must get the lion's share of credit for planning and executing the event, but others contributed. Beth Kohl coordinated the food delivery for chefs Michael Lomasney and Michael Deadder, who were cooking from barbecue grill outside and sending to serving tables inside. The hut captains reported scores from the satellite clubs to command central at the Y, which was manned by Laura, Beck, Oliver and Ella Parker.

The YMCA’s Anne Cullinan and her crew deserve kudos as well.

Tournament sponsors The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Wilson Sporting Goods, Patagonia, and Wilton Physical Therapy helped make the tournament possible, and funds accrued from the Wilton Y Open will be donated to Wilton YMCA Children's Charities.

Throughout the event, the Mighty Kraken (rubbery, inflated, plastic) watched noncommittally from the center of the Y pond, his gaze taking in the long, Joe Fucigna-sculpted tentacle thrusting out from just above the hut entrance door.