Miguel Torres Wins USA National 3-Cushion Crown

In all, there were 42 of the best players in the country. They came from New York, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Texas and everywhere in-between. The groups were divided into 6 flights with 7 players in each flight. The top 2 finishers in each flight would advance to a 12 player round-robin finals. Each flight was seeded with a top finisher from last year's Nationals: Pedro Piedrabuena, Mazin Shooni, Hugo Patino, Miguel Torres, Michael Kang and Young Gull Lee.


Flight A: Yanni Antoniou wins the flight at 5-1. Felipe Razon comes in 2nd at 4-2. Seeded player Young Gull Lee finishes 3-3 and gets knocked out of the finals.
Flight B: Seeded player Michael Kang goes 6-0. Tom Rossman (Dr. Cue) finishes 2nd at 4-2.
Flight C: Seeded player Miguel Torres goes 5-1. Bill Johnson finishes 2nd, also 5-1.
Flight D: Seeded player Mazin Shooni(2006 National Champion) goes 6-0. Sonny Cho (2005 National Champion) goes 4-2.
Flight E: Seeded player Hugo Patino (2003 National Champion) goes 6-0. Gary Elias goes 4-2.
Flight F: Seeded player Pedro Piedrabuena (2007 National Champion) goes 6-0. Darrel Stutesman defeats Dan Kolacz in the final match to finish 4-2.

The Finals:

With 11 rounds of matches, there were no major upsets. The top 6 players battled each other and the bottom 6 players also battled each other. Pedro was the favorite, of course, going undefeated until round # 9, when he lost to Miguel Torres, who was also undefeated at that point. Sonny Cho and Mazin Shooni had 2 losses at that point.

In round # 10, Miguel Torres suffered his first defeat at the hands of Michael Kang, and Pedro won his match. This gave Miguel and Pedro one loss each, with Sonny Cho and Mazin Shooni having two losses each, with one round to go. Pedro was to play Mazin and Sonny was to play Miguel. It could get very interesting.

The final round:

Miguel Torres wins his match against Sonny Cho 40-21. The match between Pedro and Mazin would determine whether Miguel would be the new Champion, or if a playoff match would be played between Pedro and Miguel.

In the final match of the 12th round, Mazin Shooni was ahead of Pedro most of the game. But, of course, that would not be the end. Pedro came back, as usual.
Pedro reached 38 points and Mazin had 39. Pedro misses. Then Mazin tries to end the game, but he misses. Pedro gets back to the table, needing just 2 more points, and Mazin hangs his head, thinking that it might be all over. Pedro plays the shot but it just misses and Mazin jumps out of his chair and darts to the table.

He has a difficult position. Should he play a short-long-long shot (+2) and possibly sell out? Instead, he decides to play a 3-rail natural from the first ball which may result in a kiss. Sure enough, he gets the kiss. However, the path of his cue ball and the last ball seem to be on the same track after the kiss. The crowd follows the path of both balls in anticipation as both balls are running out of speed. At the very end, they meet. It is a point. Not so beautiful, but nevertheless, a point indeed. Mazin wins the game and 3rd place. Pedro loses his 2nd game and has to settle for 2nd place. Miguel Torres becomes the 2008 USBA National Champion for the first time.

Complete results are available at www.usba.net.