Springfield couple win the national Pickleball tournament and get engaged

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SPRINGFIELD, MO – In tonight’s dose of good news… A Springfield couple will now have their names in the sports history books forever.

Jarrod Smith and KaSandra Gerhke (Ger-Kee) are national champions in Pickleball.

They won the first ever national indoor championship in Alabama on June 12th.

Not all love stories include winning a national championship together, but for Jarrod and KaSandra, this has been brewing since the summer of 2017.

“We met on a pickleball court in a tournament in Michigan.” Says Smith.

Two years later, he knew she was the one.

“We got engaged on a pickleball court in a tournament in Illinois.” Says Smith.

COVID-19 delayed their wedding date, so why not face another relationship test for old times sake?

“Tons and tons, hundreds of people there competing and you’re just working hard the whole time. And we had some downfalls. And we had to come back. And we just stayed after it.” Says Smith.

12 teams were in their mixed doubles division.

“We got beat earlier in the day.” Says Gerhke.

By their best friends, who are also from Springfield. They re-matched in the finals.

“When you’re on the court in a national championship like that you have to take all the relationships out of it. You have to pretend you don’t know them.” Says Gerhke.

But those rules go out the window for the couples team.

“The couch is always an option after a pickleball tournament.” Says Gerhke.

Luckily, the 15 to 5 final score kept the couple on good terms.

“That was probably one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had. To share such an amazing, incredible moment with the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. It’s pretty indescribable.” Says Smith.

“I don’t cry very often. I was just so happy to share this type of experience with the person I’m in love with.” Says Gerke.

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