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Monica Anderson chalks up first regional tour win of her career on DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour

Krystle Suarez, Bailey Barber, Monica Anderson and Tiffany Pryor

Two days after going undefeated on the DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour, Monica Anderson, part of a committee of tour members who run the tour, was still riding high on the joy-trip of winning her first regional tour event. The $500-added event drew 35 entrants to Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX.

“Finally snapped one off,” she wrote in an e-mail sent to us here at AZBilliards, primarily to provide us with links to the event’s brackets, photos and payouts for use in preparing a report. 

“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then,” adding by phone, two days later, “and, it only took me 5,858 games to do it.”

Though Anderson dates her pool career back as far as 1999, when she got started playing on a BCAPL team, her first appearance in our database came when she won $10 finishing 25th at a stop on the Hunter Classics Tour in 2002. Not only did she go undefeated to claim $615 more than that 2002 payout, she (rated as a ‘4’) defeated a ‘7’ (Krystle Suarez) in the finals. Suarez, who’d lost her second match, won seven on the loss side to face her, the last few of which were witnessed with increasing concern by Anderson. 

“I hope it’s Krystle,” she told someone during the wait, “because she should be tired.”

And she was. When they finally met, Suarez asked, probably rhetorically, “I have to double-dip you, don’t I?”

She did. And then, she didn’t. Though as a long-time player, well aware of the game’s ups and downs, Anderson was cognizant that when those finals started, all that was important was the table in front of her and take it, as the sports cliché indicates, one ball, one game at a time. Nevertheless, the win surprised her. 

“Oh, hell yes!” she said. “I felt I was playing well, but the biggest thing was, that given the opportunities, I closed it out and finished like I was supposed to.”

Anderson’s journey to the winners’ circle, following an opening round bye, went through Jannon Talmon, Nichole Clark and Bailey Barber, which set her up in a winners’ side semifinal against Tera Saunders, who’d been responsible for sending Suarez to the loss side in the second round. Tiffany Pryor, in the meantime, opened with a double hill win over Julie Stephenson and followed up with wins over Chouie Almora, Sisyne Bolajoko and April Gonzales to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Francisca Riza Pili.

Both matches, battling for the right to play in the hot seat match, went double hill. Anderson over Saunders, Pryor over Pili. Anderson, in a straight-up race to 4, claimed the hot seat 4-2 and waited, somewhat anxious and confident simultaneously, for Suarez to complete her loss-side run.

Pili and Saunders moved to the loss side and walked right into their second straight loss. Saunders drew a rematch versus Suarez, who had already chalked up four, loss-side wins and was looking for more with a little redemption to boot. She’d given up only four racks in those four matches, and only one over the last two of them; one to April Gonzalez and none at all to Desiree Collins. Pili picked up Bailey Barber, who reached her by defeating Kailye Stevens and Janna Talmon by an aggregate score of 10-1.

Suarez chalked up a successful rematch against Saunders 7-2, as Barber was busy making her loss-side aggregate score 15-2, eliminating Pili 5-1. Suarez then defeated Barber 7-3 in the quarterfinals and, for a shot at Anderson, waiting for her in the hot seat, Tiffany Pryor 7-2 in the semifinals.

Anderson began the finals with three ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 7, but would need to win only once. Suarez took a quick, early lead in the opening set.

“I broke, she ran,” said Anderson, “and then she broke and ran.”

“I had to change something,” she added, noting that at 0-2, she “started playing safeties and defense a bit more.”

The strategy worked. Anderson won three of the next four and it was knotted at ‘3’ with Anderson on the hill.

“She missed a crucial shot at the 8-ball,” said Anderson. “I made that 8-ball, but left myself with a long bank on the 9-ball.”

“I nailed it,” she added, finishing claiming her first regional tour title.

Tour representatives, including Anderson, thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Cuetec, Fort Worth Billiards Store, Kamui and Doc’s Billiards Office. The next stop on the DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Saturday, October 15, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX.

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Williams goes undefeated to win her second 2022 DFW 9-Ball Ladies Tour stop

Jessica Demello, Tara Williams and April Gonzales

Veteran Williams and rookie, April Gonzales meet in hot seat and finals

In eight of the 12 years that Tara Williams has been competing in regional tours and professional tournaments, there have only been a handful of times when at least once in a given year, she didn’t finish as either the winner or runner-up at one tournament or another. She won 12 stops in four years on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, including one each in her first two (known) years competing on the tour (’09, ’10). The other 10 wins came in two years; six in 2015 and four in 2016, ahead of a hiatus from (recorded) competition in 2017 and 2018. It took her a while to get back into a groove when she came back. She won a stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour in 2020 and earlier this year, won her first stop on the DFW 9-Ball Ladies Tour.

This past weekend (July 9-10), she recorded her second win on the DFW Ladies Tour, leading one to speculate that she’s more or less back in stroke, working toward the level of consistency she exhibited midway through the new century’s second decade. Time will tell. This past weekend’s $500-added tour stop #4 drew 24 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.

After a bye, Williams won her two opening matches against a pair of Jennifers, Cayot and Hooten, both 7-2, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Krystle Suarez. Her eventual opponent in both the hot seat and finals, 14-year-old April Gonzalez, who competes in both the 18U and 13U Girls division of the Junior International Championships (she turned 14 in the middle of the JIC’s 2nd season), got by Jacky Halper 4-2 and shut out Jennifer Kim to face Rachelle Dytko in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Williams sent Suarez to the loss side 7-5, while Gonzales and Dytko locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Gonzales to join Williams in the battle for the hot seat. Gonzales forced a deciding game in the hot seat match, as well, but Williams prevailed 7-3 (Gonzales racing to 4) to claim the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Dytko drew Hooten, who’d followed her lost to Williams with victories over Jacky Halper 4-1 and Amber Stice, double hill. Suarez picked up Jessica Demello, who’d lost her winners’ side quarterfinal to Dytko and followed that with wins over Becky Smith 4-2 and Jennifer Cayot 4-2.

Demello and Dytko advanced to their rematch in the quarterfinals; Demello, downing Suarez 4-5 (Suarez racing to 7) and Dytko, surviving a double hill match versus Hooten. Demello won the first of two straight double hill matches for her, defeating Dytko in their quarterfinal rematch, but fell to Gonzales in the semifinals.

After three straight double hill matches (winners’ side semifinal win, hot seat loss and semifinal win), Gonzales put up a fight in her rematch against Williams. She came within a game of a fourth double hill match, but Williams pulled out in front to claim the event title 7-2 (Gonzales racing to 4).

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards, as well as sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Kamui and Doc’s Billiard Office. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of September 10, will be hosted by Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX.

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Jennifer Kim wins her first major tournament on DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour

Jennifer Kim, Orietta Strickland and Jennifer Pavlovick

Like many before her, Jennifer Kim began playing in an APA league, before graduating to regional tournament play. She’d made a few appearances on the recently-launched DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour, at which, noted tournament director Monica Anderson, “she had not fared very well.”

And then, along came Orietta Strickland, who recently began to tutor Kim.

“They’d been working together for a few months,” said Anderson, “and when we saw (Kim) this time, it was a different player.”

Different enough to have signed on with 17 others to the $500-added, July 10 stop on the DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour, hosted by Rusty’s in Arlington, TX and chalked up her first major event victory anywhere. Kim lost only one match in the effort, battling for the hot seat. And for a second and necessary third shot in a true double elimination final against the woman who’d defeated her (Jennifer Pavlovick), Kim downed her mentor, Orietta Strickland, in the semifinals. According to Anderson, the mentor didn’t actually lie down and play dead for the student, but she did miss some critical shots at critical moments, leading to victories for Kim, who was racing to 4 throughout the tournament.

Kim faced five opponents on her way to the winners’ circle, one of them – Pavlovick – three times. In her seven matches, as a skill level “4,” she started four of them with a single bead on the wire in a race to five. She started one match in which she gave her opponent a single bead on the wire in a race to 4. After being awarded an opening round bye, she won her first match, a straight-up race to 4, double hill versus Angie Kirkpatrick and then, defeated tournament director, Monica Anderson 4-2 (Anderson racing to 5). Kim drew April Gonzales in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Pavlovick, in the meantime, who started all of her matches by granting all four of her opponents, through six matches, a single bead on the wire in races to 5, opened with victories over Tera Saunders 5-2 and Sharolyn Sumner 5-1. She drew Crystal Dunn in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Pavlovick advanced to the hot seat match by sending Dunn to the loss side 5-1. Kim joined her after sending Gonzales over, double hill (4-2). Pavlovick, in what proved to be her last winning match, claimed the hot seat 5-2. 

On the loss side, Kim’s mentor, Orietta Strickland, who’d lost, double hill, to Charlie Marie 4-6 in the 2nd winners’ side round, survived a double hill battle versus Sheila Lowe 7-4 in her first loss-side match and then, downed Anderson 7-2. She fought and won another double hill match against Phoebe Simon, winning 7-3 to draw Crystal Dunn.  Gonzales, in the meantime, drew Sandy Harrington, who’d recently eliminated Sharolyn Sumner, double hill (4-3), and shut out Angie Kirkpatrick.

Gonzales downed Harrington 3-2. Strickland joined her for the quarterfinals, after eliminating Dunn 7-2. Strickland then shut out Gonzales and entered the semifinals against her student, Jennifer Kim, sporting a virtual ‘ton’ of momentum.

It didn’t do her a lot of good in those semifinals, as (noted earlier) she turned the table over to Kim on a number of critical occasions. Kim advanced to the true double elimination finals over her mentor, having not given up a single rack to her in the semifinals.

Strickland had apparently transferred some of the momentum that she’d built up during her five-match, loss-side run to her student. Kim battled Pavlovick to double hill in the opening set of the true double elimination final, before winning it to force the second set. Kim gave up only a single rack in that second set to claim her first major event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, OB Cues and Doc’s Billiards Office. The next stop on the DFW Ladies 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Saturday, September 25, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. The next stop on the regular DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for July 24-25, will be hosted by the venue which hosted this event, Rusty’s in Arlington, TX.

Sofia Mast continues domination of JIC Girls’ divisions

Sofia Mast

Gabriel Martinez wins 13 & Under Boys division, Prasad stays on top of the division rankings

Sofia Mast, 12, has won two of the five 18 & Under Girls events of the Junior International Championships (JIC), being held under the auspices of On the Wire Creative Media. This past weekend (June 24-26), at a JIC stop at Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX, which drew 11 entrants, she went undefeated to chalk up her second win in a row, having won the previous event, held in May in Bowie, MD. She was third in this division event in March and finished in 5th place twice. She has been the winner in three of the five 13 & Under Girls events, as well, including this most recent event last weekend (in a round robin format for four entrants), and was runner-up in the other two. As a result, she is at the top of the rankings in both of the girls’ divisions of these JIC.

Gabriel Martinez won his second JIC in the 13 & Under Boys Division (10 entrants), this past weekend, having also won the event in March. Adrian Prasad, who did not compete at this event, leads the 13 and Under Boys division in the rankings, having won the event the other three times it’s been held and was runner-up to Martinez in the other event in which he competed.

A preliminary round set up three matches in the 18 & Under Girls event, which advanced Savanna Wolford, Tatum Cutting and Casey Cork, while awarding April Gonzales a bye. Sofia Mast’s path to the winners’ circle in the 18 & Under Girls Division began with a match against Tatum Cutting, which she won 7-4 to enter a winners’ side semifinal match versus Precilia Kinsley. Wolford faced Gonzales in the other one.

Wolford got into the hot seat match 7-4 over Gonzales and was joined by Mast, who defeated Kinsley 7-2. Mast claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Wolford and waited on what turned out to be the return of Tatum Cutting from the loss side.

On the loss side, Gonzales picked up Cutting, as Kinsley drew Kennedy Meyman. Cutting advanced to the quarterfinals 7-1 and was joined by Meyman, who defeated Kinsley 7-3. Cutting downed Meyman 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, by the same score, eliminated Wolford in the semifinals. Mast completed her undefeated run with a 9-7 win over Cutting in the finals.

Mast defeated all three of her opponents in the four-entrant, round robin event for the 13 & Under Girls. She downed Taylor Perkins 7-2, April Gonzales 7-3 and Asia Gillespie 7-1 to claim the event title. April Gonzales finished in 2nd place, having won two of her three matches; double hill (7-6) over Asia Gillespie and 7-1 over Taylor Perkins.

Harry Leinen, Gabriel Martinez and Treyshawn Bia

A preliminary round in the 13 & Under Boys event advanced Treyshawn Bia, Hank Leinen, and, with byes, Jayse Alton and eventual winner Gabriel Martinez to a first winners’ side round. Martinez shut out his first opponent, Lucah Gianino and picked up Treyshawn Bia in the winners’ side semifinal. Hank Leinen shut out Tyler Smith in the preliminary round and gave up only a single rack against Landon Dunlop to draw Jayse Alton in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Martinez gave up only one rack to Bia and advanced to the hot seat match. Leinen shut out Alton to join him. It took a 13th deciding game to claim the hot seat and it was Leinen who did so.

On the loss side, Bia picked up Bryson Moore, who’d previously eliminated Landon Dunlap 7-4. Alton picked up Tyler Smith, who’d defeated Lucah Gianino 7-4. Bia defeated Moore 7-1 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Smith, who eliminated Alton 7-5. Bia won the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Smith, but had his loss-side streak ended 7-3 by Martinez in the semifinals. Martinez finished his run with a 9-6 victory over Leinen in the finals.

On the Wire Creative Media’s Ra Hanna awarded Precilia Kinsley the event’s regular Sportperson Award, while Joey Tate picked up the Jeanette Lee Comeback Award. He also thanked Anju and John Bergman and their Stixx & Stones staff for their hospitality, as well as his assistants, Chris Reinhold (handling photography), the Wolfords (Kory and Treena, for their help), Chris Wilson (owner of The League Room in Parkersburg, WV), Mike Littman of Littman Lights and Hanna’s streaming crew. Hanna once again gave a shout out to all of the families of the junior players, whose camaraderie has made these events “truly, one big traveling family.” 

The next stop on the JIC series of events, scheduled for July 16-18, will be hosted by The League Room in Parkersburg, WV. Detailed accounts of the Pro Am & 18 & Under Boys Division can be found elsewhere in our News reports.