Martinez and Cutting win Junior 9-Ball Open 19 & Under Boys & Girls events in Sacramento

Tatum Cutting

A measure of how much junior competition has grown in just the past year is name recognition. In the early part of this year, even if you were a regular reader here at AZ, you might never have heard of Tatum Cutting, Sofia Mast, Gabriel Martinez or Landon Hollingsworth. Now, with fall just around the corner and some major junior championship events on the horizon, you’re probably recognizing those names. Their current relevance is that the first two (Cutting and Mast) finished as winner & runner-up in the $5,000-added Junior 9-Ball Open for 19 & Under Girls event held at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA this past weekend (Aug. 14-15). The second two (Martinez & Hollingsworth) finished as winner and runner-up in the $5,000-added boys’ equivalent at the same location. 

In a very small field of young women (seven), the finalists in the 19 & Under Girls event were two of the best junior competitors in the country, Tatum Cutting and Sofia Mast. Each has won two of the six events on the Junior International Championship (JIC) circuit. Cutting was runner-up to Mast twice in those events, while Mast placed 3rd and 4th in Cutting’s two wins. Having attended all six of the JIC events, Mast is currently ranked as #1 in the JIC 18 & Under Girls division. Cutting is third. This time out, it was Cutting who took home the top prize. They faced each other twice; in a double hill opening match and again, in the finals.

Cutting’s initial victory put her into a winners’ side semifinal match against Kennedy Meyman, whom Cutting had faced and defeated in the semifinals of the 3rd JIC event back in April. Savannah Easton and Asia Gillespie squared off in the other one.

Cutting sent Meyman to the loss side 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Easton, who’d defeated Gillespie 7-4. Tatum gave up just a single rack to Easton and claimed the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Mast downed Hayleigh Marion 7-2 to pick up Asia Gillespie. Meyman drew Sophia Lua, who’d lost her opening round match to Easton and drawn a loss-side bye to reach Meyman.

Mast downed Gillespie 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Meyman, who’d shut out Lua. Meyman, who won the JIC’s opening event in the 18 & Under Girls division is currently ranked #2 (behind Mast). Mast and Meyman came within a game of double hill, but it was Mast who edged out in front by two to win the quarterfinal 7-5.

Mast then downed Easton 7-4 in the semifinals for a shot at one of her familiar opponents, Cutting, waiting for her in the hot seat. Cutting downed Mast a second time, this time 7-4, to claim the event title. 

Gabriel Martinez

Boys’ field of 17 features top names from BEF Junior Nationals and JIC

The top finishers in the 19 & Under Boys division of this event have figured prominently in both the BEF Junior Nationals and the JIC series. The winner of this event, Gabriel Martinez, finished 4th in the Junior Nationals (16 & Under), is 5th in JIC rankings for 13 & Under Boys (having won two of the six events) and 18th in 18 & Under boys. This event’s runner-up, Landon Hollingsworth, was the winner in two divisions of the Junior National competition (18 & Under and 16 & Under), though he hasn’t performed as well in the JIC series, where, in the 18 & Under division, though he’s competed in all six events, he hasn’t finished better than 5th.  

Adrian Prasad currently leads the pack of 13 & under boys on the JIC ranking list, having won three events in that division and finished in the tie for 7th at this event. Nathan Childress, who finished 4th is the leader on the JIC’s 18 & Under Boys list, having won four of the six events.

In Sacramento, Martinez’ path to the winners’ circle went through Nathan Nunez and Adrian Prasad to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal meetup with Spencer Ladin. Hollingsworth, in the meantime, got by Cody Hill, Payne McBride and his own brother, Cameron Hollingsworth to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Nathan Childress.

Hollingsworth got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Childress. Martinez joined him after surviving a double hill battle versus Ladin. Martinez claimed the hot seat 7-4.

On the loss side, Ladin picked up Andrew Hutchins, who’d just eliminated Cameron Hollingsworth in a double hill fight. Childress drew Lazaro Martinez (whose brother was in the hot seat), who’d recently defeated Adrian Prasad 7-3.

Martinez and Childress battled to double hill before Childress prevailed and advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Ladin, who’d defeated Hutchins 7-3.

Ladin took the quarterfinal match, double hill, to draw Hollingsworth in the semifinals. Hollingsworth won 7-4, earning himself a second shot at Martinez in the hot seat, waiting for him. Martinez completed his undefeated run with a 9-6 win in the finals. 

Tournament director Desiree Dominguez thanked sponsors Predator, Simonis Cloth, Jam Up Apparel, Dunkel Custom Cues, Sacramento Internet Marketing Agency, Molina Mike, Phil Prentice, Aaron’s Pool Parlor (for providing live streaming throughout the event) and Omega Billiards.