Hessert takes first APP gold

Hessert takes first APP gold

DALLAS, TX - Jenna Hessert is used to running around. 

That’s what she does. She has a full-time job as a geologist in Oklahoma City. She’s a CrossFit fiend, working out and training others when she’s not studying the rocks that she’s got. 

And, yeah, she plays some pickleball, too.

So, when Hessert found herself having to play another game to earn her first gold medal on the APP Tour, finding the energy wasn’t a problem.

That’s what she does.

“I know I can go the distance thanks to my fitness, so I never have to worry about that,” Hessert said.

The fitness paid off. Hessert did get that first gold, outlasting Jessica Warren Sunday morning at the APP Tour’s Indoor Championship, taking the title, 10-12, 5-11, 15-9. 

“My defense and my athleticism have always been my strength,” Hessert said. “Both have helped me win a lot of matches. But I’ve committed to not just being reactive during points and instead using my athleticism and problem solving to take control of points and dictate play.”


Hessert did that Sunday, eventually outlasting Warren, moving her around and constantly readjusting her game plan, thanks to getting some coaching advice from Lee Whitwell and Chris Haworth, who earned a silver medal in men’s singles, falling to Hunter Johnson in the final.

“First, having Lee Whitwell and Chris Haworth in my corner was invaluable,” Hessert said. “They helped me develop and change my game plan throughout the match. Jess (Warren) is an incredible competitor and I had to constantly be making adjustments.”

Hessert had beaten Warren on Thursday in the winner’s bracket final after upsetting No. 1-seeded Dominique Schaefer, 4-11, 11-2, 13-11, so when Warren came back Sunday and won the initial two-of-three match, Hessert had to change some things around.

“I was trying to hit angles,” Hessert said. “It was a fun match and she made me really have to think and adjust.”

The week started with an adjustment of sorts. She arrived late to Chicago, barely got a night’s sleep before hitting the courts for what ended up being a full day Thursday, including the 11-6, 14-12 grind over Warren that put Hessert into the gold medal match. 

“It means everything,” Hessert said on ESPN+ after the match. “To end my year with this is great. I’m excited for 2024 and hope to see some more Sundays.”

Hessert has had a number of quality wins in 2023, stacking up victories on both the APP and PPA Tour, and was ranked No. 8 in points on the APP Tour’s singles standings. Hessert said she will continue to play both tours in 2024 and was hopeful to be picked up to play in Major League Pickleball as well.

“I’d like to continue to have good singles results, making more consistent runs deep into the bracket,” she said. “And then really improve my doubles game.  I’m excited to make improvements, and hopefully make it on an MLP team.”

Well, a first gold is a first step toward that goal.

“I’ve known I was close to a breakthrough, so I just had to trust myself and believe in myself. I knew it would come,” Hessert said.