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Beltrami-Nester goes undefeated to claim MD State Open Amateur Women’s Championship title

Loye Bolyard, Nicole Beltrami-Nester, Tina Malm and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

Varias goes undefeated to win concurrently-run Open Drop-In Tournament

As it turned out, the ‘undercard’ in Maryland this past weekend (Feb. 12-13) drew more entrants than the main event. On the Hill productions held the Maryland State Open Amateur Women’s Championships 9-Ball event, for competitors with a Fargo Rate of 625 and under, at Brews and Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD and as something of a bonus event, decided to run an Open ‘Drop-in’ Tournament at the same time. The Open Drop-in tournament drew 33 entrants, which required a single preliminary match, while the Ladies Championship, which drew 30, awarded a bye to two of its first-round competitors.

Both winners – Nicole Beltrami-Nester in the Ladies event and Jimmy Varias in the ‘Drop-in’ – became occupants of their respective hot seats and had to contend with strong and long loss-side bids by competitors who challenged them in the finals. Tina Malm lost her second winners’ side match and won seven on the loss side to meet Beltrami-Nester in the Ladies final. Branden Williams lost his opening match and won eight on the loss side to meet up with Varias in the ‘Drop-in’ event.

Eugenia Gyftopoulos

Nicole Nester entered the MD State Ladies 9-Ball Championship after a strong previous year. Her recorded earnings in 2021 were her second-best since she started showing up on the payout lists of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour in 2011. She cashed in a single event that year, finishing 5th at a stop in November. Her best year was 2013, when she cashed in six JPNEWT events and was 5th in that year’s MD State Women’s Championship. Safe to say, she’s off to a real good start in 2022.

She won three out of every four games she played through her first three matches, downing Dawn Stickler (1), Judie Wilson (3) and June Prescop (2) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Kelly Daniel. Eugenia Gyftopoulos, in the meantime, got by Rachel Walters (4), Debra Pavan Peterman (2) and Jane Im (2) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus KanKan Yu.

Beltrami-Nester downed Daniel 6-1, while Gyftopoulos sent Yu to the loss side 6-2. Beltrami-Nester claimed the hot seat 6-1 (upping her game-winning percentage by three points) and waited for Malm to finish her long haul on the loss side.

On that loss side, Yu picked up a rematch against Colleen Knauff-Shoop, whom she’d sent to the loss side, double hill, in the winners’ side second round. Knauff-Shoop was working on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated June Prescop 6-4 and Christina Madrigale 5-2. It was Daniel who drew Malm, four matches into her loss-side winning streak with wins #3 and #4 against Jane Im, by forfeit, and Theresa Tascarella 7-4.

Colleen Knauff-Shoop

Knauff-Shoop won her rematch against Yu 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Malm, who’d defeated Daniel 7-3. Malm stopped Knauff-Shoop’s loss-side run at five, with a 7-3 win in those quarterfinals and then gave up just a single rack to Gyftopoulos in the semifinals. Beltrami-Nester completed her undefeated run with a shutout over Malm in the finals and claimed the event title.

Varias opens 2022 campaign with an undefeated run

Like Beltrami-Nester, Jimmy Varias was coming off a strong year; his best-ever since he started recording cash payouts in 2013. Two 2021 runner-up finishes, in the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball event in August (losing to Jayson Shaw in the finals) and the MD State Bar Table 8-Ball Championships in September (losing to Dylan Spohr in the finals), led the pack of cash finishes last year. Also like Beltrami-Nester, it’s safe to say that he’s off to a real good start in 2022.

His path to the winners’ circle started with a shutout over Clint Clayton, an 8-2 win over Justin Pelech and an 8-6 win over Joseph Wright, Jr., which brought him to a winners’ side semifinal against Bryan Jones. Steve Fleming, a strong, veteran Mid-Atlantic competitor, got by Andres Kinones 7-2, Paul Krimes 7-5 and shutout Greg Schuler to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Rick Winpigler. 

Fleming advanced to the hot seat match 7-2 over Winpigler and was joined by Varias, who’d defeated Jones 8-2. Varias claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Fleming and like Beltrami-Nester, waited for an opponent (Branden Williams, in his case) to complete a lengthy trip on the loss side of the bracket.

Five matches into his loss-side trip, including another shutout over Schuler and a 7-2 win over John Moody, Sr. brought Williams to Jones. Winpigler picked up Glenn Loveland, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Jones and then, defeated Paul Krimes 6-6 (Krimes racing to 7) and Joseph Wright, Jr. by shutout.

Winpigler downed Loveland 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced a rematch versus Williams, who’d eliminated Jones 7-1. In those quarterfinals, Williams redeemed his earlier double hill loss to Winpigler and defeated him 7-4.

Williams completed his loss-side-of-the-bracket trip with a 7-5 victory over Fleming. Varias handed Williams his second loss in the finals 8-3 to claim the ‘Drop-in’ portion of the weekend events.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners, Whyte Carbon Fiber Cue Shafts and MB Cues.

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Corr returns to the JPNEWT and goes undefeated to claim event title

Kim Whitman, Christina Madrigale and Karen Corr

While a number of her contemporaries were ‘down on the Bayou,’ competing in the WPBA’s Signature Tour Stop, Karen Corr was in Frederick, MD, competing in her first 2018 stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. She joined a field of 23 entrants at the $500-added (by Coins of the Realm) event, hosted by Champion Billiards in Frederick and went undefeated to claim her first event title of the tour’s 2018 season.
It was Kim Whitman, playing in only her second stop on the tour (of four, to date) who ended up challenging Corr twice; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Corr, after victories over Cecilia Strain 7-2, Christie Hurdel 7-1, and eventual third-place finisher Christina Madrigale 7-2, drew Char Dzambo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Whitman, who’d been awarded an opening round bye, got by Melissa Jenkins, double hill, and Judie Wilson 7-5, to draw Bethany Sykes in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Corr shut out Dzambo, while Whitman was sending Sykes to the loss side 7-2. Battling for the hot seat, Whitman scored one less rack against Corr than all of her (Corr’s) previous opponents combined. The 7-4 score, in favor of Corr, sent Whitman off to the semifinals.
On the loss side, Sykes picked up Madrigale, who, following her defeat at the hands of Corr, had eliminated Elaine Wilson, double hill (Wilson had previously eliminated tour director and top player in the point standings, Linda Shea), and Teri Thomas 7-5. Dzambo drew Nicole King, who’d been defeated by Sykes and subsequently eliminated Lynn Richard 7-5 and Val Nolan 7-2.
King downed Dzambo, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, faced Madrigale, who’d defeated Sykes 7-4. They’d both survived a loss-side double hill match to get to the quarterfinals, so it was only fitting that King and Madrigale’s quarterfinal match was a double hill affair, as well. Madrigale won it to challenge Whitman in the semifinals, but in her third loss-side double hill match (of five loss-side matches played), Madrigale fell to Whitman.
Whitman turned to challenge Corr a second time. The wait apparently had no effect on Corr, who gave up only a single rack to Whitman in the final that earned her the event title. It was Whitman who won the qualifying spot (sponsored by Baltimore City Cues) to the NAPT Desert Challenge in Las Vegas this fall.
Peggy Wilkinson won the tour’s amateur event, held for female competitors of a ‘4’ rank or below. Played out in a round robin format, the winner – Wilkinson at this event – was awarded free entry into the next local JPNEWT event.
The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for August 18-19, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.

Fox wins her second JPNEWT stop, downing Shea in the finals

Dawn Fox (Photo courtesy of Erin Bechner)

Over the past five years, Dawn Fox has finished among the J.Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour's top 25 players, without winning a stop on the tour. Her only win on the tour came in April, 2007, at a BCA Qualifier in South Amboy, NJ. Last year, she finished 12th in tour rankings, on the basis of seven appearances. Her best finish came in 2013, when, on the basis of six appearances (finishing second, twice), she finished third in the tour rankings. On the weekend of October 15-16, she signed on to the 11th stop on the 2016 JPNEWT. On the basis of three appearances this year, she was 25th in the tour rankings when the tournament began. Though tour director and rankings leader, Linda Shea, would defeat her in the battle for the hot seat, Fox came back from the semifinals to defeat Shea, win only her second JPNEWT event, and advance well above the 25th slot she'd been in when the tournament started. The $500-added event drew a short field of 16 entrants to Marley's Billiards in Norristown, PA.
Fox's path to the hot seat went through Joy McFeaters 7-4, and Kathy Friend 7-5 before coming up against Christina Madrigale in a winners' side semifinal. Shea, in the meantime, had downed Katie Derosato 7-2, and Collen Shoop in a shutout, to face Kia Sidbury, who came into the tournament as the tour's fifth-ranked player. Two completely different kinds of matches led to the hot seat. As Fox was busy shutting out Madrigale, Shea and Sidbury locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Shea to meet Fox. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Fox's return.
On the loss side, Madrigale picked up McFeaters, who, following her earlier loss to Fox, had won three straight double hill matches against Melissa Jenkins, Colleen Shoop, and Sharon O'Hanlon. Sidbury drew Friend, who'd defeated Lisa Soli 7-1 and Judie Wilson 7-3 to reach her. McFeaters downed Madrigale 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced Friend, who'd eliminated Sidbury in a double hill match.
McFeaters' four-match, loss-side streak came to an end in the quarterfinals, as Friend (some friend!) defeated her 7-2. Fox, though, ended Friend's four-match, loss-side run 7-3 in the semifinals. Fox completed her first victory on the JPNEWT since 2007 with a 9-5 win over Shea in the finals.