The plastic balls were flying in Tustin as more than 100 competitors took part in the 2023 OCO Sakura Classic pickleball tounament. (Photos by Emily Ganiko/Luminous)


On March 4 and 5, OCO hosted its first annual Sakura Classic — Pickleball Tournament and Clinic.

The tournament was held at the Tustin Pickleball Courts, which has 10 dedicated courts. The event began with an early 6:30 a.m. player check-in.  

Roger Kinoshita chaired the event and was assisted by committee members Glenn Tanaka, Gary Itano and Brian Lee.

Over 110 players registered for the tournament. Many parents partnered with their adult children and other adults partnered with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Other teams included best friends and spouses. Over 75 spectators lined the courts to cheer on their friends and family.

Medals were awarded to the top three teams, but all players went home as winners because they each received goodie bags that included Japanese snacks, green tea beverages, Cliff Bars, cooling towels and other essential pickleball items. Over $2,000 worth of merchandise and donations were generously provided by players.

The clinic, led by Johnny Cheng, had over 30 adults and 20 children learning the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. The youngest was 6 and the oldest 60+ years old — a sport for the entire family. Volunteer instructors included regional and national champions, a certified instructor, and many advanced players.

Each participant was given a paddle and balls to take home so they could perfect their game for next year’s Sakura Classic tournament.

Below are the results:

Women 60+ 3.0/3.5

1st: Laura Kigawa, Alrene Ozaki

2nd: Cyndee Cazares, Dianne Kobayashi

3rd: Frances Yamasaki, Madel Yawata

Men 60+ 3.0/3.5

1st: Walt Ando, Donald Toy

2nd: Gary Itano, Donny Yep

3rd: Ted Chen, Terry Owens

Mixed 60+ 3.0

1st: Helen Sun, Donny Yep

2nd: Laurel Hirouji, Jeff Hirouji

3rd: Shirley Kaichi, Wayne Hamamoto

Mixed 60+ 3.5

1st: Cyndee Cazares, Donald Toy

2nd: Joyce Eng, Herbert Lou

3rd: Bonnie Goodman, Greg Goodman

Women<59 3.5

1st: Diane Kuramoto, Carol Sakamoto

2nd: May Patterson, Mako Sako

3rd: Karl Lowe, Leslie Kawai

Men<59 3.0/3.5

1st: Lance Hoy, Scott Hoy

2nd: Watt Ando, Peter Ho

3rd: Darryl Iwasaki, Robert Uyehara

Men<59 4.0

1st: Ji Park, Scott Hatakeyama

2nd: Johnny Cheng, Daniel Kwon

3rd: Michael McClean, Carlo R.

Mixed<59 3.0

1st: John Shimazaki, Linda Shimazaki

2nd: John Tanaka, Jill Tanaka

3rd: Robby Uyehara, Aimee Iwasaki

Mixed<59 3.5

1st: Kelly Woodrum, Ted Chen

2nd: Julie Yu, Howard Yu

3rd: Diane Kuramoto, Lance Kuramoto

Mixed<59 4.0

1st: Ji Park, Cindy Chan

2nd: Brian Lee, Aimee Burdette

3rd: Michael McClean, Tamara Novak

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *