Averee Beck, Kami Bliss, Jared Brungard, Logan Rosenbach bring home gold
for Utah Tech University, defeating University of Florida 49-33 in finals;
Inaugural event distributed $50,000 in scholarship money to medal winners;
Two-hour highlight show to air on CBS Sports Network on Monday, Jan. 8 at 9 pm ET
The APP concluded its inaugural U.S. Collegiate Championships at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana, providing a national platform for top collegiate pickleball players from schools across the country like Indiana University, Ole Miss, UCLA, UConn and more. The inaugural event distributed $50,000 in scholarship money to medal winners, cumulating with a thrilling championship final that crowned Utah Tech champions for the team competition.
The championship match was comprised of five separate categories: women's and men’s singles, women’s and men’s doubles as well as mixed doubles. Utah Tech started the action with an 11-5 women’s singles win for Averee Beck against University of Florida’s Adele Dorian, then Florida’s Jack Foster—an APP Tour mainstay—battled back with an 11-9 men’s singles victory over Utah Tech’s Jared Brungard. Beck and Kami Bliss of Utah Tech followed suit with a dominant 15-2 women’s doubles win over Florida’s Dorian and Olivia Ryback, followed by Florida’s Django Chassang and Foster defeating Utah Tech’s Logan Rosenbach and Brungard in a 15-12 nail biting win in men’s doubles. With a 14-point advantage heading into the mixed doubles game, Utah Tech only needed two points to secure the championship, and the duo of Beck and Rosenbach did just that.
“I was super excited to win,” said Bliss. “I love competing and so do the rest of my teammates. We all had the same energy going into the finals. We were stoked to play on championship court in front of a big crowd and put on a show for them; and we were able to win, which made it even better.”
Bliss’ team defeated Utah Valley University in the semifinals and was one of two squads representing Utah Tech in the tournament. The second Utah Tech team fell to Florida in the semifinals.
“It was such a fun atmosphere, different than any other tournament I’ve played in,” said Rosenbach. “I loved having the crowd out there cheering us on. It made it more fun, especially with people from Utah there. It means a lot to get the win going into my last semester of college.”
The APP U.S. Collegiate Championships also included individual competitions, where pickleball players from Utah Tech and Florida also led the leaderboard shown below.
“It was so awesome to play in a college tournament. They take such good care of us here at the APP, and I love the team format,” said Beck, the Utah Tech player who brought home gold in both the team competition and the individual competition in women’s singles and doubles. “My team was amazing, and it was such a great atmosphere.”
Fans can watch all the best highlights and action from the APP U.S. Collegiate Championships on CBS Sports Network next Monday, Jan. 8 from 9-11 pm ET.
Full tournament results can be found on UTRSports.net. The action continues for the APP later this month in Southwest Florida, as the first APP Tour event of 2024 will be held in Punta Gorda on January 17-21.