Kleinfelter, Mast win Stop #7 18U JIC divisions, Tate wins third ProAm division

Joey Tate

Vonderau & Mast claim 13U titles

Back in February, we began our report on Stop #2 of the 2022 Junior International Championships sponsored by Viking Cues (JIC) by comparing the series to the start of a horse race, basically noting that at that juncture, the track announcer had just gotten “And they’re off!” out of his mouth. Stop #7 on the JIC was held in Des Moines, IA this past weekend (Aug. 19-21) and the same voice is telling us that the “horses are coming around the far turn and headed for home.” Bear in mind, we’re talking five races going on simultaneously, further complicated by the fact that some of the horses are running in more than one of the races. Not to mention that while the ‘fillies’ and ‘colts’ of the JIC race separately, according to their age (18U & 13U Boys and Girls), they all race together in one of the JIC divisions (ProAm) and some of them compete in both of their gender appropriate races.

‘Home’ in this case will be the final stop of the JIC, scheduled for Sept. 23-25 at Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA, after which some of the divisions will move on in October to compete in divisional championships, coinciding in time and place with the annual International Open in Norfolk, VA. This past weekend’s five divisional tournaments drew 95 entrants (with aforementioned crossovers) to Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, IA.

Out in front by about ‘half-a-length’ in the ProAm division is North Carolina’s Joey Tate, who went undefeated among 37 entrants in Iowa to claim his third JIC stop of the series’ seven (runner-up three times, third once). Chase Stumfoil, appearing in his first ProAm event of the series, was the event’s runner-up, downed by Tate twice, in the hot seat 7-2 and finals 9-4. Ben Kleinfelter, who won the 18U Boys division at this stop, finished third. The victory for Tate kept him atop the ProAm division going into the final stop next month. Second in the division, Landon Hollingsworth, who finished 5th, was able to maintain his position and heads into the final stop behind Tate by only 250 points. In the absence of the division’s third-ranked player, Lazaro Martinez, Riley Adkins, who finished 5th at Stop #7, moved up into third, dropping Martinez into 4th place in the division. Payne McBride, who finished in the tie for 9th/12th, edged up behind him in the rankings to 5th place.   

Ben Kleinfelter

In the 18U Boys ‘race,’ Tate and Hollingsworth remained atop those division standings, as well (same order), although they finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, at this most recent stop. Kleinfelter went undefeated through the field of 32, defeating Payne McBride twice, hot seat 7-4 and in a nail-biting final 9-8. Tate and Hollingsworth squared off in the quarterfinals of this divisional event; Tate, having defeated Adkins 7-3 in one of the 5/6 matches, Hollingsworth having eliminated Chase Stumfoil, double hill, in the other one. Tate then downed Hollingsworth 7-3 in those quarterfinals, only to be stopped in his bid for a second event title by McBride in the semifinals 7-5. Kleinfelter survived the double hill final against McBride to claim his first JIC title. Kleinfelter’s win moved him up to the #5 slot in the 18U standings, just behind McBride. Though not in attendance at this event, Lazaro Martinez maintained his hold on third place in the 18U Boys division, as the JIC’s top ‘colts’ bunched up, headed for home.

The top four 18U ‘fillies’ of the JIC came around this final bend already bunched up, with Bethany Tate leading the way, ahead of Sofia Mast, Precilia Kinsley and Skylar Hess, in that order. Tate, who’s won four of the seven stops so far, maintained her position at the top of the pack, while finishing third among the 11 entrants who competed in the division at this stop. Precilia Kinsley, who came in to the event third in the standings, finished 4th, but edged ahead of Sofia Mast in the standings to grab second place. Mast, who went undefeated to claim the official event title, her second of the season, dropped to third. Skylar Hess, who was runner-up to Mast for the second time this season, maintained her 4th place position in the standings. 

Sofia Mast

Mast and Hess met twice in this event; in a thriller hot seat match, won by Mast and the finals, also won by Mast 9-5. Tate, who’d lost her second round match, won four on the loss side and then, defeated Kinsley in the quarterfinals, before being defeated by Hess in another double hill battle in the semifinals. Tate and Hess would square off again, and again in the hot seat and finals, of the 13U Girls division.

Vonderau and Mast claim 13U titles

Eddie Vonderau has the distinction of having won all four of the JIC’s 13U Boys events in which he has competed, including this most recent 10-entrant event, in which he went undefeated to claim the fourth title. He’s been out in front of the 13U Boys pack of ‘colts’ from the beginning, although Deke Squier, having competed in all seven of the events has stayed close. Squier finished in 5th place this time out.

Hayden Ernst, who won the third stop in this division, was runner-up this time out and moved up to 7th place in the 13U Boys standings. Seven of this event’s 10 entrants were competing in the JIC series for the first time, and in the absence of the four competitors who, coming into the event, were ranked #3 through #6 (D’Angelo Spain, Jas Makhani, Grayson Vaughan and Jayce Little), it was also an opportunity. First-timer Noel Montano finished in third place when Ernst defeated him in the semifinals. Jax Seaboy lost the quarterfinals to Montano.

Eddie Vonderau

First-timer Braylon Jensen finished in the tie for 5th (with Squier). Also first-timers Dawson Aksamit and Garrett Lawson finished in the tie for 7th place, while Wyatt Andrist and Evan Lawson finished 9th.

The 13U Girls Division was a ‘five-horse’ race, which, with Mast, Hess and Noelle Tate (Bethany’s younger sister) in the running, did not bode well for the other two competitors, Jordan Helfrey and Skylynn Elliott. They opted for a round robin format, which eventually put Mast and Hess against each other in a final match. Noelle Tate had worked her way through the field, eventually downing Helfrey 7-4, before herself being defeated by Hess 7-3, which set up the final match. Mast stayed undefeated and defeated Hess 9-4 in those finals.

At this point, an announcer at a race track is getting really excited, transmitting that excitement with a pitch in his voice, letting everyone know. . “and here they come to the finish line!!” That finish line is in Roanoke, VA next month. Like horses, the young competitors who’ve been at work on this JIC series since January are as excited about the finish line that they can now ‘see’ as the likely group of a lot of spectators who’ll join then in Roanoke, and later, Norfolk to watch.

 

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