The annual Junior and Adult Bocce Ball Tournaments at this year's Carnevale in Weed drew a lot of players.
Spirits were high on Weed’s Junior Bocce Ball teams and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters despite a rain delay at the start of their Carnevale tournament Thursday at Bel Air Park. The rain rendered one of the four courts unusable, extending the young players’ efforts into the late evening hours.
The courts were dry by the time the Adult Bocce Ball players started their tournament on Friday morning, and the first-ever Grand Championship game between the winners of the men's and women's divisions capped the tournament mid-afternoon on Sunday.
The Division I tournament ended after 8 p.m., long after parents and friends of the young players had reached for sweatshirts and sweaters in the evening chill.
Division II play did not end until 11 p.m.
“Those kids were troopers,” said Kim Greene, coordinator of the Jr. Bocce Ball Tournament.
She reported that “a lot of kids” played this year – 11 four person teams in Division I and 12 two person teams in Division II.
“And three kids who started in Jr. Bocce are now playing in the adult tournament,” Greene added.
First place teams in both divisions won weekend passes for Carnevale carnival rides. First and second place winners in both divisions were awarded plaques.
Results for Division I, with players aged 7 – 11, were as follows:
• 1st – Team 9, Nico Pucci, Jake Blankenship, Trevor Acquistapace, and Dean Pucci;
• 2nd – Team 5, Kaleb Slabaugh, Brenna Smith, Natalie Graftan, and aidan Acquistapace; and,
• 3rd – Team 1, Tyler Dawson, Carter Castaneda, JT Kennedy, and Hailey Brown.
Division II first place was taken by Ryan McKinnis and Justin Robles. Second place was taken by Hannah Reginado and Jocelyn Blankenship.
For years there have been suggestions about the winning men’s and women’s teams playing each other at Weed Carnevale’s Adult Bocce Ball Tournament, according to tournament co-coordinator Kim Greene.
This year they decided to do it, and a Grand Championship game capped the tournament on Sunday afternoon. Men’s division winners Kenny Mallory and Chris Rizzo played women’s division winners Ronda Gubetta and her daughter Lauren Gubetta.
The teams were evenly matched, with strategically complex plays raising the competitive bar and drawing applause from spectators.
While the women led 11-6 mid-game, ultimately the men’s team won by four points, 15-11.
Ronda and Lauren won the Carnevale women’s championship for the second year in a row.
Lauren entered the adult competition as her mother’s teammate last year, moving up from junior bocce ball. Ronda pointed out that mother/daughter and father/son teams are part of Weed’s bocce ball history.
“I love playing bocce ball with Lauren,” she said. “Whether it turns out that we win or not, it’s just great to have something different like this for us to do together.”
• 1st Place – Ronda Gubetta and Lauren Gubetta
• 2nd Place – Christina Brown and Lori Payne
• 3rd Place – Vickie Newton and Nancy Miller
• 1st Place – Kenny Mallory and Chris Rizzo
• 2nd Place – Chris Young and Greg Newtson
• 3rd Place – Bob Zalunardo and Joe Belcastro.
• Men's team – Kenny Mallory and Chris Rizzo
First place winning teams in the women’s and men’s divisions were awarded $200.
Second place teams from both divisions were awarded $100, and third place teams received $50.
The Grand Championship winning team received $100.