• Wyatt Stone Pickleball Jr.

USAPA Juniors on the World Pickleball Stage

February 17, 2020

By USAPA Juniors Committee Chair Bob Nibarger

We are pleased to introduce you to the new 2020 USAPA Junior Connection. This feature brings news and information directly to our members every other month about the “happenings” within the USAPA Juniors program.


I’d like to introduce you to the 2020 Junior Advisory Committee which includes long-time member and supporter Stephanie Lane. Stephanie represents our junior parents and is a current professional pickleball player. Stephanie’s daughter, LeEllen Lane, is a top USAPA junior player and was recently featured in a Pickleball Magazine Junior Spotlight. Hope Tolley, is the new Director of Recreational Programs for USAPA and her team will be providing both leadership and direction to our members this year. Coach Russell Elefferion is a former Parks and Recreation Specialist from Tampa, Florida, pickleball and tennis instructor, tournament director and hosts pickleball clinics throughout the United States. Also, part of our Junior Advisory Committee is Steve Manolis. Steve is a USAPA Ambassador, is duel certified as a Pickleball instructor and is well known throughout Arizona for his work with youth, physical education teachers and schools. Finally, I’m a USAPA Ambassador, former educator with a master’s degree in education, former USA Pickleball Board Member and active with our juniors program since 2015. You may contact any of our advisory team members by sending an email to our general mailbox at We value your ideas and suggestions.

I had the pleasure of visiting with many juniors and their parents at the 2019 Margaritaville USA Pickleball nationals hosted at Indian Wells, California. Some of the top players in the US were present including, Layla Jimenez, Theo MacKinnon, Kyle Stoddard, LeEllen Lane, Taylor Crabtree, Will Gardner, Tanner Corbitt, Nathan Tang, Damon Little, Zoe Slusher, Evan Pinard, Mike Glendenning, Nicky Golowich, Caden Nemoff, Livvy Phillips, Wyatt Stone, Morgan Brown, Kale Klein, Gabi Boudreau, Jack Foster and many others. I was truly amazed how mobile both the players and families are in support of their pickleball juniors. On any given week, our juniors are competing in tournaments throughout the country.

International players include rising stars Nicky Golowich and Wyatt Stone. Both of these exceptional athletes participated last year in Mexico at the Tres Palapas Baja Pickleball Resort. A link to view their competition is found below. Both Golowich and Stone were medal winners in this inaugural event. Another Junior, William Sobek, is a professional junior player, and has played in international tournaments such as the 2019 USA Margaritaville National Pickleball Championships, U.S. Open in Naples, Florida and tournaments in Spain, Italy, and England. William can be seen most weeks at local tournaments where he has won the Mixed Doubles Pro Division and silver in the Men’s Pro Division with his Dad. He also participated in the 2017 Bainbridge Cup where he played on the North America team against a European squad. William is featured here in this article with his father, Rosti Sobek, proudly displaying the winning trophy.

Nicky Golowich and Wyatt Stone played 3 tough gold medal matches against the Federación Mexicana de Pickleball junior championships at Tres Palapas Resort in Mexico. Catch the exiting action below.

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