Roberts wins 2nd Annual Meucci Classic 9-Ball, is runner-up to BJ Ussery in 10-Ball

Josh Roberts

Nicole Keeney takes two out of three over Jessica Barnes to win inaugural Ladies event

It was quite the weekend (Dec. 10-12) in Sandford, FL, with Racks Billiards hosting the 2nd Annual Meucci Classic, featuring $10,000 in added-money; $1,000 for an inaugural Ladies event, $4,000 for a Diamond Bar Table 9-Ball event and $5,000 for a Diamond 9-ft. Table 10-Ball event. Josh Roberts came within a game or two of winning both the bar table 9-Ball and the 9 ft. table 10-ball events. He went undefeated in the 128-entrant 9-ball tournament, but fell those one or two games short in the 56-entrant, 10-ball tournament to BJ Ussery, who finished undefeated in that event. 

The inaugural Ladies event, which drew 27 entrants turned out to be a “Barnes” burner. Nicole Keeney claimed the hot seat over Jessica Barnes, who returned from a semifinal victory over Jeannie Seaver to take the first set of a true double elimination final. Keeney took the second set to claim the first Meucci Classic Ladies title. 

The 9-Ball and 10-Ball tournaments began on the same day (Friday), while the Ladies launched their efforts on Saturday. The 10-Ball tournament finished on Sunday, while the 9-ball tournament lasted one half hour into Monday, Dec. 13.

Roberts’ path to the winners’ circle in the larger 9-ball event went through Joselito Martinez, Guy Jackson, Edwin Garcia, John Morra and Lee Heuwagen, bringing him to a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus eventual runner-up, Jesus Atencio. Jason Sheerman, in the meantime, met up with Justin Martin in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Sheerman got into the hot seat match 9-7 over Martin and was joined by Roberts, who, in their first of two, sent Atencio to the loss side 9-5. Roberts claimed the hot seat 9-3 and waited for Atencio to get back from a brief, three-match visit to the loss side.

On that loss side, Atencio ran into Daniel Schneider, who’d recently eliminated Frankie Hernandez, double hill and Julio Burgos 7-2. Justin Martin drew Justin Hall who’d shut out Alan Rolon and ousted Anthony Meglino 7-5 to reach him. Atencio got into the quarterfinals 7-2 over Schneider and was joined by Hall, who’d defeated Martin 7-4. Atencio made short work of Hall in those quarterfinals, downing him 7-1.

Atencio made even shorter work of Jason Sheerman in the semifinals, shutting him out for a second shot against Roberts, waiting for him in the hot seat. Roberts and Atencio came within a game of double hill, battling for the title, but it was Roberts who pulled out ahead in the end to win it 9-7.

BJ Ussery

Roberts and Atencio meet again in the 9-ft. Diamond table 10-Ball, but neither gets by Ussery

There was a lot of crossover talent on display in both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events; Josh Roberts, Jesus Atencio and BJ Ussery, among them. Ussery was shutout by Atencio in the third round of the 9-ball event and eventually eliminated in a double hill fight by Scott Tollefson to finish in the eight-way tie for 25th place. He more than redeemed himself in the 10-Ball event, of course, going undefeated to claim that title. 

Along the way, Ussery had to run through a number of strong contenders for the title, including Frankie Hernandez, Anthony Meglino (who forced a 17th deciding game in their match), Hunter Lombardo and, in a winners’ side semifinal, the Iceman – Mika Immonen – whom he defeated 9-7, advancing to the hot seat match. 

Meanwhile, Josh Roberts and Jesus Atencio were busy battling it out (for the first time) in the other winners’ side semifinal. Atencio sent Roberts to the loss side 9-4 and advanced to face Ussery in the hot seat match. Ussery claimed the hot seat 9-6 over Atencio and waited on the return of (guess who?) Roberts from a short, three-match stint on the loss side.

Roberts had first run into Oscar Dominguez on the loss side, as the Iceman drew Justin Martin. The Iceman/Martin duel went double hill before advancing Immonen to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Roberts, who’d eliminated Dominguez 7-5.

Roberts downed Immonen 7-4 in those quarterfinals and for their second meeting (of three, which included the finals of the 9-ball event), Roberts and Atencio staged a double hill match that eventually sent Roberts back for a second shot against Ussery, waiting for him in the hot seat. 

Ussery and Roberts almost got into a double hill final. In the end, though, Ussery pulled out in front to win it by two at 9-7 to claim the 10-ball title.

Event director Leah Nussbaum thanked the ownership and staff at Racks Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Meucci Cues, Outsville, JB Cases, Carlos Sanchez Productions, Clutch Shot Apparel and Fort Worth Billiard Superstore.