Three Gold Medals
His wife, Cathy Hicks, is now making her mark in a similar fashion.
Competing alongside her partner, Cat Case, a resident of Candler, NC, Cathy clinched three gold medals at the USA Pickleball National Indoor Championships held in Atlantic City from September 20 to 23.
Their victories were in two women’s doubles events, one for participants aged 60 and above and another for those aged 55 and older.
Additionally, Hicks secured a mixed doubles title alongside Ohio resident Roy Fash.
Reflecting on her achievements, Hicks told Johnny Casey at Asheville Citizen-Times: “I was fortunate to have good partners and won gold in all of them,” said Hicks, who won 26 of 29 games in the tournament. “I had two amazing partners, so I can’t say enough about them. They both more than pulled their weight.”
Hicks’ collaboration with Fash originated after he witnessed her and Case’s performance in the New York Open in Flushing Meadows, where they secured silver medals.
“He thought our game would mesh well,” she said. “And it did.”
“Cleanup On Aisle 7”
In particular, Hicks highlighted the unique synergy she shares with Case: “Our games complement each other in that she’s a really hard, hard hitter. When Cat rips into it, that ball ain’t coming back.
“I’m just the opposite, in that I’m a very tactical player. I’m very strategic. I can place the ball really well. So, I’m kind of the setup player, and then she just comes up behind me, and it’s ‘Cleanup on Aisle 7’ when she gets a hold of it.
“So our styles mesh very well together. We’ve played together so much now that I just know how she’s going to move, and she knows how I’m going to move.”
Not A Single Disagreement
Having partnered for approximately 18 months, Hicks and Case not only excel on the court but also share a strong bond off it.
They’ve traveled extensively to tournaments, covering around 10,000 miles together without a single disagreement.
Hicks’ journey to becoming a national champion defies convention, as she didn’t take up sports until the age of 61. However, their dedication to pickleball and disciplined training regimen have led them to their current success.
I never played a sport,” she said. “Pickleball, being fairly easy to pick up, to be a consistent player, you have to have some athletic ability, sure. But I didn’t come from a tennis background either, and neither did Cat.
She was a hockey player in St. Louis. So she had a little bit more of an athletic background than I did. I’ve worked hard at it. I’ve studied the game. I’ve studied the strategy. We spend a lot of time drilling. We’ve got coaches that we work with. We approach it very methodically.”
A Pivotal Role
Acknowledging the pivotal role of mentors, Hicks expressed gratitude to two women for significantly elevating their level of play: “Senior Pro Carol Huie from Jonesborough, Tennessee, took us under her wing and made a dramatic difference in our level of play.
“And locally, Dr. Teresa Campagnile keeps me not only functionally healthy but in prime shape by targeting the specific needs of an older athlete.”
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