Mast wins her third, while Vondereau chalks up his first in 13 & Under Girls and Boys JIC

Sofia Mast

Not only do her three wins and three runner-up finishes put her at the top of the Junior International Championships’ Girls 13 & Under division, but her two wins, one 3rd, one 4th and two 5th place finishes in the Girls 18 & Under division puts her at the head of that ‘class,’ too. Sofia Mast, 12, is carving out a slot for herself in the finale of this inaugural Junior International Championship season. Four young women have won a stop on the six Girls 13 & Under events of this first season. The other three are currently in 2nd (Skylar Hess), 3rd (Bethany Tate) and 7th place (April Gonzales) in the standings. Four young women have also won the six Girls 18 & Under division events. Mast and Tatum Cutting (#1 and #3 in the rankings) have done it twice, while Kennedy Meyman (#2) and Aryana Lynch (#13) have done it once.

At this most recent in the ongoing JIC series of events, held this past weekend (July 16-18) and hosted by the League Room in Parkersburg, WV, Mast went undefeated in the Girls 13 & Under division, which drew eight entrants. She was awarded an opening round bye and then shut out Airianna Taylor to draw April Gonzales in a winners’ side semifinal. Skylar Hess, in the meantime, followed her opening round bye with a 7-4 win over CJ Newberry to pick up Taylor Perkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mast downed Gonzales 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Hess, who’d sent Perkins to the loss side 7-1. It is rumored that as this JIC opening season approaches its climax, someone is going to come up with the idea of selling tickets to the matches between these two young women. Mast took the first of their two 7-4 and waited on Hess’ return.

On the loss side, Gonzales picked up Skylynn Elliott, who’d defeated CJ Newberry 7-3 to reach her. Perkins drew Franki Spain, who’d eliminated Airianna Taylor 7-4. Spain and Perkins battled to double hill before Spain prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals. Gonzales joined her after downing Elliott 7-2. 

Gonzales took the quarterfinal contest 7-4 over Spain, only to be stopped by Hess in the semifinals by the same score. Mast completed her undefeated run through the Girls 13 and Under division by defeating Hess a second time, 9-6.

Special awards emerge from Boys 13 and under contests

Both of the event’s special awards came out of the Boys 13 & Under division, which drew 11 entrants. The Brendan Crockett Sportsmanship Award went to Eddie Vondereau, who won the division, while the Jeanette Lee “Black Widow” Comeback Award went to Grayson Vaughan, who finished third.

Vaughan earned his ‘comeback’ award in his opening round of play against 10-year-old Hayden Ernst, who opened up a 6-1 lead against him. Vaughan persevered and chalked up six in a row to defeat Ernst and advance to a winners’ side semifinal against Jayce Little. Vondereau, in the meantime, had defeated Max Moore 7-1 to draw D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Vondereau defeated “Jawz” 7-3 and advanced to the hot seat match. Vaughan joined him after sending Little to the loss side 7-4. Vonderau claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Vaughan and would not, as it turned out, face him again.

On the loss side, Konnor McFayden, who’d lost his opening round match 7-2 to Hayden Ernst, got a bye in his opening round on the loss side and then won five in a row for the right to challenge Vondereau. McFayden shut out Lathan Elliott, survived a double hill fight against Noah Majersky, defeated both Jayce Little and “Jawz” 7-3 and finally, eliminated Grayson Vaughan 7-4 in the semifinals. Vondereau ended McFayden’s loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 victory in the finals to claim his first JIC 13 & Under title and move into the #8 slot in the division’s rankings.

On the Wire Creative Media’s Ra Hanna thanked Chris Wilson (owner of The League Room in Parkersburg, WV), Chris Reinhold (photography), the Wolfords (Kory and Treena, for their help), Mike Littman of Littman Lights, his (Hanna’s) streaming crew and Dee Adkins, for orchestrating a clinic for the girl competitors at this most recent event. Hanna once again gave a shout out to all of the families of the junior players, whose camaraderie has made these events “truly, one big traveling family.” 

The next stop on the JIC series of events, scheduled for August 27-20, will be hosted by Michael’s in Fairfield, OH. The final event for the 13 & Under Boys and Girls, scheduled for September 17-19, will be hosted by Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA. The finals for 18 & Under Boys and Girls will coincide with the International Open in Norfolk, VA in October.