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National Pickleball Champions

Image of David Beiger playing pickleballLast fall, fourth-year, Phi David Bieger (Col ’24, above) led the UVA pickleball team to a national championship, earning the team the 15k grand prize. David, a Physics and Computer Science double major, led UVA on a historic run, pulling off the “greatest upset in collegiate pickleball history” according to commentator and former Heisman winner, Danny Wuerfell. The team dominated in group play, winning all its matches before moving into the elimination round as the 5 seed.

Of course, a true UVA championship run is even sweeter with a dominating win over the Hokies, which is what the first-round match up gave us. The TCU Horned Frogs, who knocked out the Hoos last year, were up next. A tight match ensued and UVA pulled through, winning 3 to 1, avenging last year’s loss and moving onto the semis. We met Utah Tech in the semis, last year’s second place finisher. After dropping women’s doubles, David hit the court and dominated, winning both the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles match, turning a 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 lead, and subsequently advancing the team to the finals.

Reigning Champs and heavy tournament favorites, the UNC Tar Heels (Boooo!!!) awaited in the Finals, led by PPA pro, Collin Shick, the current 12th best singles player in the world. Shick started hot and won the men’s game, however UVA battled back, winning the women’s.

The first mixed game went to Shick. The next mixed match was a win or go home for UVA, which David and the Hoos won.

This forced overtime, called a “Dreambreaker” in pickleball. This was a full team single’s rotation to 21, where David went head to head against Shick. David saved 2 match points and battled back to secure the upset win, shocking the collegiate pickleball world. The Dreambreaker is available on Youtube; it is about 15 minutes long and is absolutely electric.

Group photo of UVA pickleball players