Meet The Pros - Cherie Chao

by elizaled on Jan 7, 2020

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Meet The Pros – Cherie Chao

Cherie Chao and Irene Mah Cherie Chao and Irene Mah at the 2019 USAPA Nationals

Cherie comes from a background of many different racquet sports. She has her own style and loves to help grow the sport of pickleball. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

Team Selkirk Cherie Chao Team Selkirk, 2019 USOPEN, Women's Doubles Age 60+, Moira Roush and cookie Drake - Gold, Cherie Chao and Debbie Mascarin -Silver

2019 Nationals- 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Deb Mascarin -Gold
2019 Colorado Open- 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Ken Lehman - Gold
2019 Great Lakes Regional - 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Gregg Whitfield - Silver
2019 US Open - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Deb Mascarin - Silver
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Scott Lennan - Silver
2018 Huntsman Senior Games - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Rachel Kroog - Gold
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Byron Freso - Silver
 5.0 Women's Doubles open with Rachel Kroog - Bronze
2018 Great Plains Regional - 5.0 Women's Doubles 35's with Daria Stakiw-Harlow - Silver
2018 Colorado Open - 5.0 age 19-59 Women's Doubles age with Vivian Edwards - Silver
2018 US Open - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Susan Baze - Gold
2018 The Lakes Spring Fling - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Deb Mascarin - Gold
2017 US Nationals - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Leticia Brambila - Silver
2017 Great Plains Regionals - 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Randy Coleman - Gold
2016 Southern Utah Shootout - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Marilyn Eves - Gold
          5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Jeff McFall - Gold
2016 Great Plains Regionals - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Carolyn Bagley - Bronze
2016 Southern Utah Shootout - 5.0 Women's Doubles age with Kellie Banisky - Gold

Cherie Chao Nationals Gold 2019 USAPA Nationals: Deb Mascarin and Cherie Chao with gold medal

What paddle do you play with and why?

The Selkirk Amped Omni, mid-weight, I love it because I can hit with power and still have touch. It also helps me reach balls with its longer length.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I discovered pickleball when my town of Arvada, Colorado put in 24 courts soon after I had my hip replaced. It  seemed like a natural transition from tennis since I could cover the court more easily. I played 5.0 tennis for years in addition to platform tennis in the winter. I also played badminton, squash and racquetball competitively. Pickleball was a perfect sport after playing so many different racquet and paddle sports.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I definitely prefer playing outdoors - love the surface and the elements. If indoors, I prefer tennis court surfaces with good lighting!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I love doubles and working together with my partner towards a common goal. I enjoy being able to talk to my partner and work on strategy together. My goal is to make my partner look good!

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I love playing in my home town! We have 24 individually-fenced, lit courts 8 min from my house. The people are awesome! If I have to travel, I really enjoy St. George, Utah. Great courts, great people and amazing surroundings!

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My secret sauce is my slice. Most people hate it, but I've used it in all my racquet sports with success- so I guess I'll keep it!

My tips for players - Don't just play games... make time to drill and get comfortable with your shots. 

What is your day job?

I have 2 day jobs - I'm a registered dietitian working at a local hospital in cardiac rehab and outpatient nutrition.  My second job is being a grandma - I care for my 2 year old grandson and newborn granddaughter 1-2 days/week. Best job ever!

Cherie Chao Team Selkirk TEAM SELKIRK having fun at the 2019 USAPA Nationals: Pam Stevenson, Susan Baze, Cherie Chao, Takako Tourangeau, Jan Yu and Miok Lee

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

In the warmer months I play 6-10 hours a week, but in the winter or when the outdoor courts are not playable, I play 3-5 hours. I play anytime I can around my work and babysitting - I have great support from my husband, Ken.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really - just try to get a good night's sleep and eat the same food I train with. I often bring food with me to tournaments since I don't eat meat/dairy.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I'd like to continue playing competitively but also spend time helping the sport to grow. I love introducing new people to the game. Pickleball changes lives!

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

It's been a blast meeting so many wonderful and talented players!