Junior National Champion Tate chalks up ‘official’ win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Joey Tate
It is not often that a final tournament match is called off because one of the competitors has to get to school in the morning. Such was the case on Saturday, October 15, when 12-year-old Joey Tate, winner of the Billiard Education Foundation’s Junior National Championships (14 and under division) last month in Las Vegas, and Corey Sykes opted out of a final match on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Tate had defeated Sykes in the hot seat match, but Sykes took the first set of a true double elimination final before the decision not to play a second set was made. As the hot seat occupant, Tate became the event’s ‘official’ winner, chalking up his first regional tour win. The event drew 22 entrants to Brass Tap in Raleigh, NC.
Originally from the Chicago area, Tate and his family have relocated to the Raleigh area, making Brass Tap something of a home room for the youngster. It might be a little early to start thinking of him as the ‘house pro’ of the room, but his performance in this most recent event is certainly a qualifying credential. He and Sykes advanced to the winners’ side semifinals, with Tate facing Michael Chapman and Sykes squaring off against another, slightly older junior player, Peter Abatangelo. Tate sent Chapman to the loss side in a double hill battle, while Sykes defeated Abatangelo 10-3. With Tate racing to 6 (a number that will likely rise in the weeks and months ahead) and Sykes racing to 10, the two fought to a deciding game, won by Tate, giving him a 6-9 win and possession of his first hot seat.
On the loss side, Chapman picked up Jason Rogers, who’d defeated Mike Rowe 9-4 and Randall Bowman, double hill, to reach him. Abatangelo drew Ryan Tremblay, who’d eliminated Ben Spivey 6-2 and Greg Pullman 6-3. Rogers downed Chapman double hill and in the quarterfinals, faced Tremblay, who’d ended the junior’s tournament with a 6-4 win.
Rogers won the quarterfinal match over Tremblay, double hill (9-5), and was then eliminated, double hill (10-8), by Sykes in the semifinals. It proved to be the last of six double hill matches among the event’s final 12 competitors. Sykes took the opening set of the true double elimination 10-3 over Tate, at which point, they opted out of a second set. Tate will be travelling to Moscow in about a month to represent the US in the Junior World Championships, and as a result, is working ahead of time (even on Sundays) at making up the three weeks of school he’ll miss while competing in the event. The added workload was a factor in their mutual decision not to pursue a deciding match.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for October 21-22, will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.