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UF Club Pickleball Team Earns National Status

UF Club Pickleball Team Earns National Status: In less than three years, the University of Florida’s club pickleball team has risen to a position of national prominence, earning a top-10 ranking among collegiate pickleball clubs in the United States. This recognition, awarded by the Dynamic Universal Pickleball Ratings (DUPR), underlines the team’s remarkable growth and the strong sense of community and leadership that drives its success.

Central to the team’s rapid rise has been its commitment to welcoming and supporting new members. The club distinguishes itself by hosting beginner clinics, making the sport accessible to those with little to no prior experience. One of the team’s first clinics, advertised on its Instagram page in early February 2023, marked the beginning of an ongoing effort to expand its roster.

Bennett Carollo, a 22-year-old graduate student in information systems at UF and the team’s director of competition, reflects on his own journey with the sport. Initially taking up pickleball as a hobby, Carollo soon found himself captivated by the game’s blend of accessibility and excitement, leading him to join the club team.

“Our goal is to grow in any way possible, I think pickleball is awesome because it’s very accessible for new players, but it’s also really fun and exciting to get into. We helped grow in all aspects to introduce the sport and gain a lot of new members who are new to the sport.”-carollo

The club’s inclusive approach is evident in its willingness to take on players of any skill level, providing them with the tools and support needed to improve. Carollo highlights the competitive side of the team as a key area of growth. “In terms of the competitive side, I think that’s only growing,” he noted. “I believe at the most recent tournament we had five different teams, and this is a community tournament where we represent our school, and each team consists of two girls and two guys. That was by far the most teams any school has sent.”

The team’s efforts have paid off, with substantial success in tournaments over the past year. As of July 5, the team is ranked No. 6 in the DUPR power rankings, a testament to their hard work and dedication. A standout moment for the team came when Laura Falceto Fony, a 26-year-old graduate in biomedical sciences, competed in the 2024 DUPR Collegiate Individual National Championships. Fony advanced to the quarterfinals in both women’s singles and doubles, playing doubles with her teammates Martine Sundsten and mixed doubles with Django Chassang.

“Competing alongside them has been incredibly fun and a great learning experience, helping grow in this sport,” Fony said. This sentiment of growth and companionship resonates throughout the team, as members find competitive success and also a supportive community.

The UF team also displayed their talent at the DUPR Collegiate National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. Despite a strong showing, the team ultimately fell to the University of North Carolina in the quarterfinals. Reflecting on the experience, Grahm Rubin, a 21-year-old business senior, noted the enriching nature of joining the club.

“I have been able to appreciate the game more and more as I see different people play it, and the way they play it and how they grow,” Rubin said. “It’s been a really interesting experience of joining a new community, seeing how everybody interacts and finding my own place.”

The story of the UF club pickleball team is one of passion, inclusivity, and persistent pursuit of excellence. With each clinic, each tournament, and each new member, the team continues to build a legacy that extends far beyond the court, promoting a vibrant community where everyone has a chance to play, learn, and grow.

UF Club Pickleball Team Earns National Status

News In Brief: UF Club Pickleball Team Earns National Status

In less than three years, the University of Florida’s club pickleball team has secured a top-10 national ranking among collegiate clubs, awarded by the Dynamic Universal Pickleball Ratings (DUPR). This rapid rise highlights the team’s commitment to inclusivity and community, with beginner clinics and an open-door policy for new players.

Led by Bennett Carollo, the team highlights both growth and competition, recently sending five teams to a community tournament. Ranked No. 6 in the DUPR power rankings, standout player Laura Falceto Fony reached the quarterfinals in the 2024 DUPR Collegiate Individual National Championships.

The team also competed in the DUPR Collegiate National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, ultimately falling to the University of North Carolina in the quarterfinals. Members like Grahm Rubin appreciate the sense of community and the growth experienced through the sport.

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