2024 Sunshine State Games Events

Running Through the Brackets at the 2023 Sunshine State Games Pickleball Championships

CLICK HERE for results from the 2023 SSG Pickleball Results

The 2023 Sunshine State Games Pickleball Championships provided a lesson in bracketology on Friday, at the PicklePlex of Punta Gorda.

In the 10-player Men’s 60-64 age group bracket, John Jerome, of Naples (center in photo), dropped into the consolation bracket in the second round. After defeating Daniel DiPirro, of Bradenton, he fell to Ben De Jesus, from, Sarasota (right in photo).

Jerome then won three matches in the consolation bracket, each by five points or more, to set up a rematch in the finals, against an undefeated De Jesus. Jerome would need two wins.

He won game one, 15-9 and followed with a winner take all game, 15-8 victory, for the gold medal.

In his seven matches of the day, played in 90%2B degree temperatures in Punta Gorda, three of them came against Ben De Jesus.

Jerome is a fixture on the area competitive scene, including at one time, playing tennis in the Southwest Florida Pro League and the annual Naples-Fort Myers Tennis Challenge at Bonita Bay Club. In 2015, he was ranked in the top 10 in the state 50s singles division.

An old friend of the Florida Senior Games continued his successes in the Sunshine State Games. James Grafmeyer, of The Villages, won the Men’s Singles 70-74 age group gold medal, with four wins in the seven-player bracket. He defeated Justin Turton, of Fort Myers, 15-10 in the final.

“My opponent in the final match had an unorthodox spin on the ball,” Grafmeyer said. “I took me a while to adjust.”

Grafmeyer was a Florida Senior Games Men’s Singles gold medalist in 2021 in the 65-69 age group and won a 2022 National Senior Games gold medal in the 70%2B D2 Men’s Singles Division.

He used the Sunshine State Games Pickleball Championships to take a test run before competing in the 2023 National Senior Games, in July, in Pittsburgh, PA.

“My original men’s doubles partner for the National Senior Games is injured and unable to play,” he said. “I found a partner from Tampa and we decided to play here and get some practice together.”

Grafmeyer and Luis Telles, will play in Men’s Doubles on Saturday, in Punta Gorda, to prepare for Pittsburgh.

With four wins in the 9-team Women’s Doubles 55-59 age group, the team of Audrey Bamberger and Betsy Ventura, both of Naples, earned the gold medal. Both Bamberger and Ventura were medal winners in the 2021 U.S. Open Pickleball Championships. Bamberger was a Florida Senior Games women’s doubles gold medalist in 2021.

Pickleball action continues Saturday at the Pickleplex of Punta Gorda with Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles events, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Also taking place in Charlotte County on Saturday is the Canoe/Kayak Sprint Races at the Port Charlotte Beach Park. The sprint races are 200 meter races. The Canoe/Kayak Marathon Races, which are 12 miles, will be held on Sunday.

Swimming continues at the Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool in Gainesville, with 48 boys and girls events in a morning and afternoon session.

Sunshine State Games Schedule of Events – June 3-4
Saturday, June 3

8:00 a.m. – Canoe/Kayak Sprints, Port Charlotte Beach Park (Onsite registration available, beginning at 7:00 a.m.)
8:30 a.m. – Swimming, Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool, Gainesville
9:00 a.m. – Pickleball, Men’s Doubles and Women’s Singles, PicklePlex of Punta Gorda

Sunday, June 4
8:30 a.m. – Swimming, Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool, Gainesville
9:00 a.m. – Pickleball, Mixed Doubles, PicklePlex of Punta Gorda
9:30 a.m. – Canoe/Kayak Marathon Races, Port Charlotte Beach Park (Onsite registration available, beginning at 8:30 a.m.)

Registration for the upcoming June events continues for competitions in Alachua County, Polk County, Orange County and Broward County. Visit the individual sports pages at www.sunshinestategames.com for competition and registration information.

The remaining 2023 Sunshine State Games schedule is below.

June 9-11, 2023
Artistic Swimming, H. Spurgeon Cherry Westside Pool, Gainesville, (Registration deadline June 2)

June 10- 11, 2023
Archery, Gator Bowmen Archery Range, Gainesville, (Registration Open, deadline June 5)

June 10-11, 2023
Fencing, Legacy Park Multipurpose Center, Alachua (Registration deadline June 2)

June 10-11, 2023
Ultimate, Jonesville Soccer Park, Gainesville (Registration deadline June 2)

June 16-18, 2023
Wakeboard, Elite Cable Park, Auburndale (Registration Open, deadline June 13)

June 17-18, 2023
Taekwondo, Auburndale Community Center, Auburndale (Registration Open, various price range deadlines through June 16)
Table Tennis, Simpson Park Community Center, Lakeland (Registration Open, deadline June 11)

June 23-25, 2023
Sunshine State Games Water Polo Championship, Rosen Aquatic Center, Orlando (Registration is open. Limit 8 Teams per Division. Registration for the Boys 18 and under division has reached capacity and is no longer taking registrations. Teams cannot register more than ONE TEAM PER DIVISION. Additional entries in Divisions may occur dependent on overall tournament registrations.)

June 24, 2023
Powerlifting, Lift District Fitness Center, Margate (Registration Open, deadline is June 9)

July 1, 2023
Congress Middle School, Boynton Beach, Winter Haven (Registration Open, deadline is June 23)

The Sunshine State Games is an annual Olympic-style Sports Festival for amateur athletes of all ages. Now in its 44th year, dating back to 1980, the Sunshine State Games is the longest continuously-running State Games in the U.S. The 2023 Sunshine State Game is held in conjunction with the Gainesville Sports Commission, Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing, Visit Lauderdale, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) and Earl Enterprises.