Whitman comes back from the semifinals to win JPNEWT season opener
Skip Maloney
Mar. 4, 2019
(l to r): Lai Li, Ada Lio, Lisa Cossette, Nicole Christ, Cheryl Sporleder & Kim Whitman
(l to r): Lai Li, Ada Lio, Lisa Cossette, Nicole Christ, Cheryl Sporleder & Kim Whitman
Of the 22 women who competed on the March 2-3 season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, three of them had just returned from Phoenix, Arizona where they, and five others from the tour, had competed in the North American Pool Tour’s 3rd Annual Division II Championships, held from February 21-24. Two of the eight, having advanced out of an initial round robin phase of the event, came home with cash in their pockets. Judie Wilson had been among the eight competitors who finished in the tie for 17th place. The other JPNEWT competitor, Bethany Sykes, won 12 matches and lost two (six each, in the round robin and double elimination phases of the event) to capture her first major tournament win.
 
Unfortunately, or fortunately, dependent on your viewpoint, pool careers tend to follow a twisted path that features a relentless series of hills and valleys. From the hill and confidence glow of her first major tournament win, Sykes hit an immediate valley in the JPNEWT’s season opener, drawing tour director, and Division I NAPT competitor, Linda Shea, in the opening round of play. Sykes moved to the loss side, where after two wins, including a double hill victory over fellow NAPT Div. II competitor Judie Wilson, she was eliminated by JPNEWT veteran, Sharon O’Hanlon.
 
The season opening event of the 2019 JPNEWT season saw Kim Whitman and Lisa Cossette battle twice to claim the title. They battled to double hill in the hot seat match before Cossette won it Whitman came back from the semifinals to down Cossette in the finals and claim the season-opening title. The $500-added event drew its 22 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.
 
Whitman’s path to the winners’ circle went through Linda Tunmatip, Judie Wilson, and Kathleen Lawless before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Lai Li. Cossette, in the meantime, got by Melissas Mason and Jenkins, and survived a double hill meetup with Linda Shea, to face Nicole Christ in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Whitman and Li locked up in a double hill fight for advancement to the hot seat match, eventually won by Whitman. Cossette downed Christ 7-3 to join her. Whitman, in her second straight double hill match, watched Cossette down the last 9-Ball and claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Christ picked up Ada Lio, one of the participants in the Div. II Championships, who was on a six-match, loss-side winning streak and had most recently defeated Leslie Furr 7-3 and Lawless 7-4 to reach her. Li drew Cheryl Sporleder, who was on her own six-match, loss-side winning streak, had just eliminated Shea and O’Hanlon, both 7-1.
 
Lio and Christ locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Lio to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Sporleder, who’d defeated Li 7-4. Sporleder stopped Lio’s loss-side streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals. Whitman then ended Sporleder’s loss-side streak 7-5 in the semifinals.
 
Whitman got her second shot at Cossette in the hot seat, and took advantage. She downed Cossette 9-7 to claim the JPNEWT’s 2019 season opener. As a qualifier for the upcoming Super Billiards Expo, Whitman received a paid entry to the Ladies Pro event.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, Livestream sponsor Britanya E. Rapp (angle aim Art), Turtle Rack and Baltimore City Cues. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 27-28, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.