"Duchess of Doom" goes undefeated to win 3rd Annual NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic
Skip Maloney
Aug. 23, 2018
Mary Rakin, Molly Bontrager, Allison Fisher and Helena Thornfeldt (Photo - Tony Fox)
Mary Rakin, Molly Bontrager, Allison Fisher and Helena Thornfeldt (Photo - Tony Fox)

 

Allison Fisher went undefeated through a field of 52 entrants to win the 3rd Annual North American Pool Tour?s Summer 10-Ball Classic on the long weekend of August 16-19. And for the second year in a row, the winner of this tournament had to go through relative newcomer, Molly Bontrager. Bontrager battled for the hot seat against Karen Corr last year, then, was defeated in the semifinals by Eleanor Callado. This year, she finished as runner-up to Fisher, whom she faced twice, in the hot seat and finals. The 3rd Annual $5,000-added event drew its 52 entrants to Shooter?s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
Though the annual event?s defending champion, Corr, was not in attendance, the event?s debut champion, April Larson, did compete. When Larson won in 2016 (at the age of 16), it was her first professional win, which had followed on the heels of five straight victories at the BEF Junior Nationals; three in the 14-and-under Girls Division and two in the 18-and-under Girls Division. She was so excited to have actually won the event, that while she collected the trophy, she forgot to collect the $3,400 check that went with it (later hand-delivered by NAPT President Adrianne Beach). In this year?s event, Larson was moved to the loss side in a tightly-contested, double hill match against Teruko Cuccelelli, and after winning five on the loss side, was eliminated by Canada?s Brittany Bryant.
 
In something of a prescient move, CueSportsLive?s first two streamed matches featured the eventual winner (Fisher) and runner-up (Bontrager). Bontrager played first at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 16 and made something of an opening statement by shutting out Darlene Dantes. She went on to defeat Laura Semko (double hill), Farla Salmanovitch 7-3, and Taylor Hansen (double hill) to draw JPNEWT veteran Jia Li in one of the winners? side semifinals.
 
Fisher, in the meantime, who stepped up to the streaming table at noon on Friday, downed Rae Noregard 7-1, and then defeated Autumn Duncan 7-3, shut out Krista Walsh, and then survived a double hill fight against last year?s runner-up Eleanor Callado, to draw Helena Thornfeldt in the other winners? side semifinal.
 
Fisher and Thornfeldt locked up in something of a predictable double hill fight to determine advancement to the hot seat match. Fisher won it. Bontrager joined her with a 7-3 win over Li. Fisher claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bontrager and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Thornfeldt picked up Bryant, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that included a 7-5 win over Kaylin Wikoff and the aforementioned double hill win over Larson. Jia Li drew Mary Rakin, who, following her defeat at the hands of Thornfeldt, had defeated Cuculelli 7-2 and survived a double hill fight against Callado.
 
 
Rakin eliminated Li 7-2 and in the quarterfinals faced Thornfeldt, who?d defeated Bryant 7-4. Rakin chalked up a commanding victory, 7-1, over Thornfeldt in those quarterfinals, only to run into an obviously determined Molly Bontrager in the semifinals. Though Rakin would score 5, Bontrager scored the requisite 7 to earn her re-match against Fisher.
 
Last year, Bontrager admitted to being in awe of the woman she faced in the hot seat (Corr), whom she?d been watching play since she (Bontrager) was in her 20s. In much the same situation, Bontrager was going into a match against someone she?d been aware of before she?d begun her still-new pool career. But this time, Bontrager was a little more seasoned than she?d been the year before. She had mentioned in an interview for Billiards Digest that she expected her ?newbie attitude? to have worn off by the time she arrived to compete this year. And it did, to a certain extent.
 
?I talked to Allison on and off a couple of times before we played,? she said. ?I tried to get to know her a little to break the ice, which makes it a lot easier when you?re playing a match.
 
?She?s a really fun, bubbly person,? she added, ?the complete opposite of her demeanor at the table.?
 
While the seasoning that the year provided served her well in this tournament and brought her a step closer to winning the event, she was still somewhat plagued by a lack of practice on 9-ft tables (something she hopes to correct in the year to come) and just a lingering touch of the awe she experienced last year.
 
?I was pleased with the tournament overall,? she said, ?and pleased with the results. As far as critiquing myself, I did OK, but not what I?m capable of.?
 
She needed to win two against Fisher in the double elimination final format of the event, but Fisher completed her undefeated run in the opening set. She duplicated her score in the hot seat against Bontrager (7-3) and captured the title.