Bergman, Kostanian and Murphy repeat while Lovely nets first Junior Nationals Win

Justin Bergman

A trio of reigning champions successfully defended their titles and one new champion emerged to claim JR Nationals gold at the 2006 BCA Junior Nationals this week.

The day got started with the finals in the 14 and Under Boys Division as well as the 14 and Under Girls Division. The 14 and Under Girls division came down to defending champion Chelsea Hardwick from Evansville, Indiana vs Elizabeth Lovely from Centerville, Ohio. This match was marred by nerves from both players that kept them from bringing their 'A' games to the table. Lovely took an early 2-0 lead, but Chelsea came back to take the lead at 3-2. That 3rd game would be the last game Hardwick won as Lovely took the next three racks for the 5-3 victory and her first Junior Nationals Title.

The Boy's 14 and Under Division featured IPT Pro Austin Murphy from Folson, California vs Ryan Dunn from Hillsboro, Tennessee. Murphy started this match playing cool and confident taking what the table offered and not forcing anything to control the table. Murphy controlled the table to the tune of a quick 4-0 lead. Austin finally made a mistake allowing Dunn to the table with ball in hand in the 5th rack and Dunn inched back to 4-1. Dunn took full advantage of some uncharacteristic errors by Murphy and the next thing the crowd knew, the score was tied at 5-5. Dunn has the chance to get to the hill first but missed a 2-9 combo that led to a table run from Murphy to make the score 6-5 Murphy. Dunn had another channce in rack twelve and ran his way through some difficult shots but missed a six ball and it was all over when Murphy ran the last 3 balls to defend his 14 & Under Boys Title.

While both 14 & Under Division Matches were close until the end, the 19 & Under Division Matches were very one sided. The 19 and Under Girls Division saw defending champion Anna Kostanian from Albuquerque, New Mexico take on 2004 Champion Mary Rakin from Daly City, Ca. The match started close with the score tied at 1-1, but Kostanian took control and pounced on every miss from Rakin on her way to a 6-1 lead in the race to seven match. Rakin saw a short reprieve in the eighth rack as Kostanian missed the case 9-ball but the match was over in the next game when Kostanian won a short safety battle and ran out for the 7-2 win.

While the Girls 19 and Under Division was fairly one sided, the Boys 19 and Under Division was utter domination. Reigning champion Justin Bergman from Fairview, IL played nearly perfect pool and kept Chad Palmer from Battle Creek, Michigan in his chair for the majority of the match. Bergman ran out from everywhere and Palmer couldn't get started and couldn't get a roll to help him get started. Bergman cruised to an 8-0 lead. Palmer ran a nice rack in game nine after a Bergman miss but a foul one the one ball in game 10 by Palmer was the end as Bergman confidently ran out the final rack for the 9-1 win.

Complete brackets for all four division are online as well as brackets from the ACUI Collegiate 9-Ball National Championships that are still underway.