Minnesota Juniors Excel

Photo courtesy of Toni Johnson

On March 28, Shooters Billiards in Burnsville, MN hosted the season finale pizza party for this year's juniors' league. This was the sixth consecutive year of the league which boasted a record-breaking 24 kids. Families drive from hours away each week to participate in this popular league. The players span from ages 7 to 20.

A panel of guest judges was brought in for a special Trick Shot Competition. Each junior got two attempts and received two scores, one for difficulty and one for execution. 7-year-old Jordan Boltz was ecstatic when he saw the row of 10's from the judges after he nailed his first attempt at his original trick shot named the “Stairstepper.” A close second and third place went to Zack Lee for the “Missile Silo” and Cody LaValley for “Jay's Special.”

Perfect Attendance and other Prizes

Seven players received special recognition for their perfect attending this season; Brandon Dong, April Larson, Hailey Fullerton, Zack Lee, Michael McCabe, Tyler Broeckel and Tyler Steinhaus

Other Awards

This league has fostered many top junior players. This year, Tyler Steinhaus and Jamie Paumen took the Faribault Youth Doubles tournament for ages 14-17 while Austen Warner and Jesse Hill finished runner-up in the 18-20 division. In the Blooming Prairie Youth 8-ball Singles, 9-year-old April Larson took second place in the 9-14 division. This was her ever first tournament. Michael Perron, Jr. also finished in second in the 14-17 division. In the Owatonna Youth Team event, Steinhaus, Hill, and Perron went undefeated in the 18-20 division.

The league-end tournament will be held on May 2 and open to all junior players from the other leagues in the state. Each junior player receives a participation metal for their efforts in the season. Prizes are also awarded based on attendance, lessons, and matches. This season, 13-year-old Lee received top honors and newcomer Larson was a close second by only three points. Both players chose pool cues for their prizes.

Steinhaus also received the annual “I beat Daxs Award” for beating Daxs Balenger in a best two out of three challenge match. Balenger is a local master level player that works with the junior players each week. The players take pride in their chance at beating him.

About the League

The league is coordinated by national women's master, June Maiers, who works solely on a volunteer basis. She dedicates countless hours each season to ensure all the junior players' needs are met. Local players, Balenger and Richard Dreyling, Jr., also contribute their time each week for the kids.

The league session is 10 weeks long from October to March, based on weekend availabilities. Each junior pays a one-time $40 league fee which includes a league shirt, prizes, and the league finale pizza party. The weekly participation cost for five league games is only $2.50, $.50 per game. Maiers prides herself in her savvy budgeting to keep the league affordable for the families.

Maiers started the league because she, “really wanted to find something positive for the younger players to belong to.” Her crusade has done more than just give away trophies, “one thing that I am really happy that has happened as a result of this league and I didn't know was going to happen is that some of the kids have become good friends by being part of the league.”

Any junior player in the Twin Cities area interested in participating in the Shooters Juniors Pool League should contact June Maiers directly at jmmaiers@aol.com.