Sykes and Ringgold split top prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Corey Sykes
On Saturday, September 23, in the midst of his best recorded earnings year to date at the pool table, Corey Sykes chalked up an official win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. He completed the tournament undefeated, though he would split the top two prizes with his finals’ opponent, J.T. Ringgold, because by mutual agreement, they opted out of playing a final match. The event drew 27 entrants to Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
Their shared victory was almost overshadowed by a preponderance of young talent that appeared in this event. Three of the event’s final 12 competitors (25%) had yet to complete high school. One of them, Joey Tate, who was playing on his home turf (he lives in Raleigh, NC), has yet to enter high school. Tate, who won the Boys 14 & Under division of this past August’s BEF Junior Nationals, is 12 years old, and came within a single match of being the person with whom Sykes negotiated to split the event’s top two prizes. It was his third appearance on the tour, having previously gone two and out, and finished in fourth place.
Tate advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Ringgold, while Sykes was squaring off against Jason Rogers in the other one. Ringgold (racing to 10) downed Tate (racing to 5) 10-3. Sykes, in the meantime, defeated Rogers (racing to 9) 10-6. In a straight-up race to 10, Sykes claimed the hot seat over Ringgold, double hill.
On the loss side, Tate picked up Justin Martin, who’d defeated Roman Bayda 10-5, and shut out Ben Spivey, to reach him. Rogers drew Travis Guerra, who’d eliminated the other two teenagers among the final 12 players; 15-year-olds Joshua Shultz 7-3, and Peter Abatangelo 7-1.
Tate and Rogers advanced to the quarterfinals; Tate, 5-2 over Martin (with Martin racing to 10), and Rogers, double hill over Guerra. The Tate/Rogers quarterfinal was a re-match, Tate having downed Rogers earlier in the event. With Rogers racing to 9, Tate defeated him a second time 5-3, and earned himself the right to a legitimate shot at entering the finals facing Ringgold in the semifinals.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone watching the semifinals would have been rooting for the elder Ringgold. Possibly Tate’s parents, who, though certainly supporting their son’s efforts, had to be figuring it was getting pretty close to being past Joey’s normal bed time. Other than that though, who wouldn’t be cheering for the underdog 12-year-old?
As he had done in the winners’ side semifinal match, the kid chalked up three of the five racks he needed to win that event semifinal match. But Ringgold, as he had done before, reached his requisite 10 to end the match, and in light of the subsequent decision not to play a final match, the event itself. As the only official undefeated competitor, Sykes claimed the event title.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked owner Dave Huffman and his staff at Brown’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for September 30-October 1, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.