First Annual Greg Rymer Tournament – Huge Success !

The first annual Greg Rymer Memorial Pickleball Tournament was a huge success. Despite the rain and wind that tropical storm Nicole brought to North Carolina, the strong-willed committee did not throw in the towel. 

The tournament was held at the Greg Rymer Memorial Pickleball courts in St. James and had over 100 registered players. The competition was fierce, but in the end, only four teams were crowned champions of this inaugural event. Nancy Souza and Kim Cravinho won the women’s 2.5/3.0 division.  In the women’s 7.5 division, Leslie Gourley and Sun Maher took the prize. The men’s 2.5/3.0 winners were Gary Purcell and Ron Walters. In the men’s 7.5 division, Dan Heatherly and Tom Alderdice came out on top.

The pickleball tournament was a fundraiser for the Greg Rymer Endowment Fund. Greg Rymer was an Assistant Teaching Tennis Professional and founding Pickleball Professional at St. James Plantation. Greg spent his life coaching, mentoring, and developing skills for racquet sport athletes at all levels. He had a particular interest in helping youth development through sports. Sadly, Greg passed away in October 2020. His wife, Katie, set up the endowment fund to honor his commitment and passion for working with junior players. The endowment fund provides grants to the National Junior Tennis and Learning Chapters, making it possible for the underserved children in Brunswick County to enjoy the life-affirming benefits of racquet sports. According to the United States Tennis Association, “The National Junior Tennis & Learning was created as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people, with the hope of teaching them the importance of character, getting an education, and becoming productive citizens.”

Many local businesses and service providers sponsored the tournament. With their generous support, the kindness of many anonymous donors, and the participation of the registered players in the tournament, we raised $15,700! This is more than twice our initial goal!  

On December 12, 2022, we presented a check to Karen Holbrook, the director of N.J.T. & L, Southport Chapter. The funds will provide educational classes, after-school tutoring, life skills curriculum, anti-bullying programs, and tennis lessons for under-resourced children in Southport. With the donation being more significant than anticipated, there is hope to expand the program to other areas of Brunswick County and maybe even add some pickleball instruction!

We want to give special thanks to our very generous sponsors.

  • CRM Science
  • Head Racquet Sports
  • College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving
  • Schiano Development
  • Island Healing Chiropractic
  • Friends of St. James
  • Gamma Sports
  • Stifel
  • Coastal Cosmetic Family Dentistry
  • Peacock-Newnam & White Funeral Home & Cremation Services
  • About Me Embroidery
  • St. James Pickleball Association
  • Troon

If you’d like to participate in this wonderful event next year, please reach out to Karen Fania at The many people who made this fundraiser a huge success show that it truly takes a village.

%d bloggers like this: