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Serve into the second annual Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament

The spring competition returns May 31 to June 2 with vendors, beer gardens, massages and community fun

Competitors battle as a team in the mixed doubles Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament on May 20, 2023, at the Whatcom Community College Pickleball Courts, in Bellingham, Wash. Over 330 people have registered for the 2024 Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament, up from 190 signups in 2023. // Photo courtesy of WCC Athletics

Whatcom Community College’s 2024 Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament in Bellingham from May 31 to June 2, at the WCC Pickleball Courts. The annual event began in the spring of 2023. 

So far, the tournament has been a success for WCC and the surrounding community.

“Last year we used six of our seven pickleball courts and this year we’re going to be using 10,” said WCC Athletics and Student Recreation Center coordinator Jeff Beha. “We’re going to be using tennis courts across the street.” 

WCC will be partnering with the Bellingham Pickleball Club for this three-day event. 

Split over three days, the men’s tournament begins on May 31, the women’s tournament on June 1, with the mixed doubles on June 2.

Standard registration is $50 per person and $35 for WCC students, employees and Bellingham Pickleball members. Registration closes on Friday. You can register and find more details here

You can see the schedule below.

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The Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament schedule. // Photo courtesy of Rob Pedicone

“It’s open to anybody in the community, you have to choose what level you want to play at,” Beha said. 

Brackets are sorted by skill levels with level 1 being beginner/newbie, level 1.5 being a beginner, level 2.0 being a lower novice, level 2.5 being an upper novice, etc. More detailed explanations can be found here.

“One additional bracket that we’ve implemented is a 60 and over bracket available for each day,” said Rob Pedicone, WCC director for Athletics and Recreation. The 60 and over bracket will not be split into skill ratings. 

For competitors and fans, the tournament will have a variety of vendors. 

“We’ll have food on-site with California Tacos, a beer garden for people 21 and over, a coffee stand and other vendors like Bellingham Physical Therapy,” Pedicone said. 

For more information and details on vendors, see below.

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The Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament vendor schedule. // Photo courtesy of Rob Pedicone

WCC will have an online auction house from May 27 to June 2 with the proceeds supporting the college’s athletics program. 

“All of the money that we get from this tournament goes to help our five athletic teams on campus,” Beha said. “It helps with scholarships, travel, uniforms – It’s a huge part of our yearly fundraising weeks.” You can register for the auction here.

With Voli Bellingham closing their pickleball courts in April 2024 in favor of go-karts, The Armory and WCC remain as the main spots for pickleball enthusiasts.

“There’s so much need and want to play this sport,” Pedicone said. “It’s great to be able to provide that experience for our local players.”

Pickleball has been attracting lots of new players in Whatcom County. If people are new to the sport and looking for some one-on-one coaching, look no further than Gary Cassera.

Cassera, who was at the 2023 tournament, said he’s been coaching tennis for about 25 years and pickleball in the previous two years.

“Lots of people are playing doubles, so it’s fun to get people to play together as a team,” Cassera said. “It’s fun working with the groups and watching them get better.” 

The growth of the pickleball community is something that Cassera has enjoyed watching develop over the years.

“It’s such an inclusive sport, you can have somebody that’s 12 and somebody that’s 78 on the same court competing hard against each other,” Cassera said. ”Anybody can play with anybody.”

Cassera holds coaching sessions at The Armory and Big Rock Pickleball.

The 2024 Orca Pickleball Spring Classic Tournament is almost here; come join the fun. 

Aiden Luhr

Aiden Luhr is a junior at Western and a sports reporter for The Front. He is a journalism news/editorial major and enjoys anything sports related. You can reach him at

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