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Atencio downs Davis, Jr. twice to claim 10th Annual NC State Open Championships

Jesus Atencio

Norris defeats junior competitor, Bethany Tate twice to win 2nd Annual Ladies Open

Whoever said that “showing up is half the battle” might have had pool in mind and could point to Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio as a case in point. This past Memorial Day weekend (May 28-29), Atencio signed on to the $1,000-added, 10th Annual North Carolina State Open Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and hosted by Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC.

Atencio went undefeated through the field of 73 entrants to chalk up his 12th recorded cash payout of the year, but only his first event title. He is moving toward improving on his best recorded earnings year (2021), in which he cashed in 17 events, including victories on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and the New City Heritage Super Tournament. So, 29 cash finishes in two years, only four of them event victories, and Atencio is halfway toward making 2022 his best recorded earnings year. Primarily by just showing up. 

It was a competitive field, according to Tour Director Herman Parker, and although it did not include the 2021 champion (BJ Ussery), it did include Mike Davis, Jr. who has won the event four times, as well as NC State Championships in other disciplines over the years (8-Ball, 10- Ball). A glance at Davis’ earnings record over the years has its share of event wins, but like Atencio, the lion’s share of it has been the result of “just showing up.” 

Atencio and Davis, who’d last run into each other on a Player Madness Tournament in March, when they were to appear in the event final but opted out and split the top two cash prizes, met twice in the 2022 NC State Open. They advanced from different ends of the bracket to a winners’ side semifinal; Atencio versus Eric Roberts and Davis facing Adam Pendley.

Atencio defeated Roberts 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Davis, who’d sent Pendley west 7-2. Atencio and Davis battled to double hill, before Atencio prevailed to claim the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Roberts and Pendley ran right into their second straight loss. Roberts had picked up Brian White, who’d assured himself a $200 reward for his version of “showing up” by downing Josh Newman 7-5 in the first money round and then, and at least $100 more when he defeated Clint Clark 7-3 to face Roberts. Pendley drew Billy Fowler, who’d run the same early-money-rounds gauntlet, eliminating Danny Farren 7-5 and Michael Robertson 7-3.  

White and Fowler defeated Roberts and Pendley, respectively, both 7-4. Fowler advanced one more step, eliminating White in the quarterfinals 7-5, before having his run ended by Davis in the semifinals, also 7-5.

Atencio completed his second appearance and second win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour with a 7-4 victory over Davis in the finals. 

Norris comes back from hot seat loss to double dip her junior opponent, Bethany Tate

The finalists in the short field of 10 that signed on to the $500-added, 2nd Annual NC State Ladies Open were appearing at opposite ends of their individual “showing up” spectrum. Christy Norris, who’s been showing up longer than her opponent, Bethany Tate has been alive, got to the hot seat match, but found herself facing a former Junior National Champion (at the age of 11 in 2018), a recent winner of the 18 & Under Girls division of the Junior International Championships series in February, and the third-place finisher in the Women’s VA State 10-Ball Championships in April. Norris lost to Tate, but came back to double-dip her in the event’s true double elimination final.

They’d both advanced to winners’ side semifinals against Allie Tilley (for Norris) and Shannon Johnson (for Tate). Norris gave up just a single rack to Tilley, while Tate gave up four to Johnson. Tate claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Norris, not knowing, and arguably not suspecting, that she’d won her last match of the event.

On the loss side, Tilley picked up Lisa Cossette, who’d defeated Bethany Tate’s younger sister, Noelle, double hill, to reach her. Johnson drew Katie Bischoff, who’d eliminated Dorothy Strater, also double hill. 

As had happened in the Open, the competitors who came to the loss side from the winners’ side semifinal, ran right into their second straight loss. Cossette shut out Tilley and in the quarterfinals, faced Bischoff who’d eliminated Johnson 5-3.

Bischoff won the quarterfinal match 5-1 over Cossette before having her very brief loss-side trip stopped by Norris 5-3 in the semifinals. Norris went on to win the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-3 and then allowed Tate only a single rack in the second set to claim the event title 5-1.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 4-5, will be the Brian James Memorial, hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

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Davis goes undefeated to win Stop #1 on Capital City Pool Tour

Mike Davis

Mike Davis, Jr. chalked up his first 2022 tour win last weekend (Feb. 19), although the win picked up a half-asterisk (for which we have yet to discovery a keyboard symbol) because in a finals race to 10, his opponent, Tony Pete, down 8-0, forfeited the remainder of the match. Davis went undefeated through the event’s maximum field of 32 at the $500-added, Capital City Pool Tour’s Stop #1, hosted by Break Time Billiards and Sports Café in Cary, NC.

Davis got by Tony Pete twice (counting the half-asterisk forfeit in the finals). After getting by Kevin Williams, Kyle Webber and Robert West with an aggregate score of 30-6, Davis faced Pete for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. In the meantime, Jason Rogers, who’d sent Allison Tilley, Justin Knuckles and Barry Mashburn to the loss side, faced Solomon Pope.

Davis downed Pete 10-2, as Rogers defeated Pope 8-5. With three on the wire in a race to 10, Rogers battled to double hill (9-7) before Davis claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Pete picked up Mashburn, who, after his loss to Rogers, had defeated Yogi Liu 9-4 and Jesse Gilbert 9-3. Pope drew Christy Norris, who would be the event’s top female finisher. Norris dropped her opening match to Mark Bolton and then embarked on a five-match, loss-side streak that started with three matches in which she gave up only five racks (21-5). Then, Robert West chalked up five on his own against her and Justin Knuckles battled her to double hill before she prevailed.

Pope ended Norris’ streak 7-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals. With two on the wire at the start of race to 9, Pete was able to join Pope in the quarterfinals, once he had successfully navigated a double hill match versus Mashburn. In a straight-up race to 7, Pete then eliminated Pope 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

With one on the wire in a race to 8, Pete downed Rogers 8-5. The finals began, but didn’t last as long as they might have, when, at 8-0, Pete opted out of continuing. Davis claimed the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time Billiards and Café for their hospitality. For further information about upcoming stops on the tour, visit Capital City Pool Tour’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ccpooltour/

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Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour launches series of seasonal Open events

Lisa Cossette

Martin and Cossette take Open and Ladies events at inaugural Winter Classic

In the future, there’ll be a Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall Classic on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. They are a component of a larger plan that tour director Herman Parker is initiating to feature more Open (non-handicapped) events on the tour schedule. In the inaugural Winter Classic, held this past weekend (Feb. 5-6), Justin Martin and Lisa Cossette went undefeated through the Open and Ladies fields to claim the two titles. 

“I want to attract the culture of people who want to play in Open events, rather than handicapped events,” he said, following the completion of the Winter Classic. “I’m planning on 10-12 this year and my goal, down the road is to have it be 50-50; that’d be ideal.”

“I don’t know if it’ll get there,” he added, “but this year, I want to do, on average, about one (Open event) a month.”

The inaugural Winter Classic, featuring its Open tournament and a Ladies event, which, according to Parker, is a side of the tour that he is trying to grow. Three women who competed in the Ladies tournament, also competed in the Open event. The $1,500-added events ($1,000 in the Open and $500 in the Ladies) drew 52 and 18 entrants, respectively, to Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC. The 18 women were the largest number of female entrants to ever compete in an Open event on the tour. One of them, 11-year-old Noelle Tate, who finished 4th, became the youngest competitor of either gender to cash in a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event in the nine years of its existence.

So, we’ll start there and focus on the 11-year-old for a moment. Noelle Tate is just one member of a family of competitors who are making a name for themselves at the pool tables. Noelle is a younger sister to Bethany and Joey Tate. They were all competitors during last year’s nation-wide series of events, known as the Junior International Championships (JIC), which began its second season just last month. JIC founder, tour director and something of a ‘parental unit’ at JIC events, Ra Hanna, had announced, prior to the start of the JIC’s second season, that part of the second-year plan was to move the junior competitors into the arena of regional tours and Open events. Noelle Tate and (in the Open event) Landon Hollingsworth are manifestations of that plan. Tate came into the event and lost her second-round match to Marianne Merrill. She went on to win four on the loss side, including a 5-2 win over the woman who was favored to win the tournament, Christy Norris. She was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Katie Bischoff 5-3.

The eventual winner, Lisa Cossette, advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Norris, as Shannon Johnson and Amanda Mann squared off in the other one. Cossette and Johnson, following victories over Norris (double hill) and Mann (7-4), advanced to the hot seat match, at which Cossette prevailed 7-3.

Norris moved to the loss side and ran into Tate, who’d recently eliminated Casey Cork, double hill and Beth Allen 5-2. Mann picked up Katie Bischoff, who’d downed Marianne Merrill and Allie Tilley, both 5-2, to reach her. Tate defeated Norris 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Bischoff, who’d shut Mann out.

Bischoff eliminated Tate in that quarterfinal (5-3), but not soon enough to keep the 11-year-old out of the money in what was the first money round. Bischoff moved on to defeat Johnson in the semifinals 5-3. An appropriate double hill fight ensued in the single-match finals with Cossette claiming the title over Bischoff 7-6.

Justin Martin

Martin and Ussery battle twice to claim first Winter Classic title

Nine times out of 10, the winner and runner-up of an event, if they’ve competed against each other twice, have done so in the hot seat match and finals. Not so, this time around. Justin Martin and BJ Ussery, both heavily favored as potential winners of the event, met first in the third round. Martin sent Ussery to the loss side 7-1, where he began a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would offer him a second shot against Martin in the finals.

Martin advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Graham Swinson, as Corey Sykes and Jeff Abernathy squared off in the other one. Martin shut out Swinson and was joined in the hot seat match by Sykes, who’d sent Abernathy west 7-1. Martin claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight over Sykes.

On the loss side, Swinson drew Ussery, three matches into his loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Thomas Sansone 7-5 and Josh Padron 7-1. Abernathy picked up junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth, who’d defeated Niko Konkel and Barry Mashburn, both 7-1. Mashburn had been afforded the opportunity to face Hollingsworth when, in the previous round, Christy Norris, one of the three women who competed in the Open event, along with Allie Tilley and Beth Allen, forfeited her match to Mashburn.

Ussery downed Swinson 7-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Abernathy, who’d defeated Hollingsworth 7-3. Ussery then eliminated Abernathy 7-2 and in the semifinals, Sykes in a double hill match. Martin defeated Ussery a second time in the finals, this time 7-2 to claim the inaugural Winter Classic.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 12-13) will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

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Ussery goes undefeated to claim Open 9th Annual NC State Championship

BJ Ussery

Norris comes from the loss side to win first separate Ladies division tournament

BJ Ussery was challenged early, twice, having to win his first two matches, double hill, versus Ron Canterbury and junior competitor Cole Lewis, before settling in and eventually going undefeated to win the 9th Annual NC State Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Nov. 5-7). He was challenged in the finals by Jeff Abernathy, who, looking for his first win on the tour since March of 2019, won five on the loss side to reach him. The $1,500-added event drew 38 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. 

In the first-ever separate Ladies championship, Christy Norris won three on the loss side to challenge Nikki Mancuso Benish in the finals. Norris claimed the event’s first title with a victory in those finals. The $500-added Ladies event drew 16 entrants.

Ussery’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Abernathy in a winners’ side quarterfinal, advancing at that point to face JT Ringgold, looking for his victory on the tour since June of 2019. In the meantime, two-time 2021 BEF Junior National Champion (separate divisions) and winner of the recent Junior International Championships in the 18 & Under division, Landon Hollingsworth advanced to his winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Farrar.

Ussery downed Ringgold 9-7, while Hollingsworth sent Farrar over 9-2 (matches were race to 9 on the winners’ side and 7 on the loss side). Ussery claimed the hot seat 9-4 over Hollingsworth and waited on Abernathy.

On the loss side, Farrar drew Abernathy, who’d followed his loss versus Ussery with wins over Barry Mashburn 7-4 and, moving into the first money round, Brian Francis 7-5. Ringgold picked up a rematch versus Trent Talbert, whom he’d defeated in the third round, and who was embarked on his own five-match, loss-side winning streak that had just eliminated Joey Tate 7-4 (Tate was runner-up to Hollingsworth at the JIC, 18 & Under event last month) and, double hill, Mike Bumgarner.

In what Tour Director Herman Parker called the “upset of the tournament,” Talbert defeated Ringgold 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Abernathy joined Talbert,  after downing Farrar 7-4.

Abernathy was working on his fourth loss-side victory, while Talbert was trying to win his fifth. Abernathy wasted little time eliminating Talbert 7-1 in those quarterfinals, and then, dispatched Hollingsworth 7-3 in the semifinals. 

At that point, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ussery and Abernathy negotiated a settlement that gave the title and a share of the top two prizes to Ussery.

Christy Norris

Norris, looking for her first win in almost two years, finds it

Prior to the 2021 NC State Championships, Christy Norris had only cashed in two (reported) events since January of 2020. That January, she won the Music City Classic’s Ladies Division and this past September, she finished as runner-up to Nikki Benish Mancuso in the Ladies Carolina Cup Bar Table 9-Ball event in Chesnee, SC. She and Mancuso battled twice in this one; once in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. They split the two matches, Norris winning the critical second match in the finals.

In their first of two (all winners’ side matches were races to 7), Mancuso sent Norris to the loss side 7-5 and advanced to the hot seat match. Betty Lee Sessions joined her after defeating Beth Allen 7-1. Mancuso defeated Sessions 7-4 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side in races to 5, Norris picked up Casey Cork, who defeated Lisa Cossette 5-2 and Teri Stovall 5-3 to reach her. Allen drew Katie Bischoff, who’d recently shut out Mallory Waters and eliminated Sierra Ballard 5-2. Norris downed Cork 5-3, as Bischoff and Allen battled to double hill, before Bischoff advanced to the quarterfinals.

Norris gave up just a single rack each to Bischoff in those quarterfinals and then, Sessions in the semifinals. She claimed the inaugural Ladies title of the NC State Championships with a 9-6 victory in her rematch against Mancuso in the finals.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Randy and Rebecca Penley Canipe and their staff at Randolph’s for their hospitality, as well Kirk Overcash for adding $500 to the Ladies event. He also thanked title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 13-14), will be a $500-added ($1k with 64 entrants), hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

The Whites – Brian and Hunter – split top prizes on 2nd Annual Carolina Cup

Nikki Mancuso returns to the tables to go undefeated in short-field Ladies Cup

The Labor Day weekend and its multiplicity of places to go and things to do may have had an attendance impact on the 2nd Annual Carolina Cup, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC over the past weekend (Sept. 3-5). While the 2020 inaugural event drew 77 entrants, the 2021 version hosted only 40 in the $1,000-added Open event and drew 13 for the $500-added Ladies Cup.

Brian and Hunter White (no relation) ended up splitting the top two prizes in the Open event. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time of their decision, Brian White became the event’s official winner. For the second year in a row, Hunter White was the event’s runner-up, having finished behind Josh Roberts in the inaugural event. Hunter had won nine matches on the loss side to earn his spot in the finals that never happened.

Nikki Mancuso

In the Ladies Cup, Nikki Mancuso went undefeated through the field, returning once again to the tables after a protracted absence. Most likely best known for her presence among members of the WPBA back in the ‘00s, her best recorded earnings year, to date, was 2004, when she was cashing in on the Viking Tour, a pair of WPBA events (Delta & San Diego Classics) and the Atlanta Women’s Open. In 2008, she and Katie Cowan “shared top honors” on the Carolina Ladies J. Pechauer tour’s debut stop that year. Eight years later, she showed up in Georgia to win the WPBA’s Georgia State 9-Ball Championships. Fast forward four years (Sept. 17-18, 2020), when she finished as runner-up to Janet Atwell in the Cue Time Shootout 9-Ball Open Women’s division in Spartanburg, SC. 

And on this past Labor Day weekend, she chalked up her first win since that “shared honor” victory with Katie Cowan, 13 years ago. She and Christy Norris battled twice for the Ladies Cup of this dual event; hot seat and finals. Mancuso won the first one 7-3 to claim the hot seat.

Norris moved over to battle the former APA National Women’s Amateur Champion (2018), Lisa Cossette. who had just eliminated Meagan McClain, double hill, in the quarterfinals. Norris downed Cossette 5-3 for a second shot at Mancuso, waiting for her in the hot seat.

Mancuso completed her run in the only set necessary in a true double elimination final. She gave up only a single rack to Norris and claimed her first (recorded) event title in five years.

Brian White

Hunter White wins nine on the loss side for rematch versus Brian White that doesn’t materialize

In the absence of a defending champion for this event (Josh Roberts), Hunter White had to be thinking that he could grab this title on his second try. For the second year in a row, he came within a single match, the finals, of doing so. He’d been sent to the loss side by Brian White and chalked up nine loss-side victories before earning a rematch and then, reaching an agreement not to play one and split the top two prizes.

With his eventual finals opponent already at work on the loss side, Brian White advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Ryan Hollingsworth. Billy Fowler, in the meantime, drew Rob Hart as his winners’ side semifinal challenger.

White advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-5 win over Hollingsworth and was joined by Fowler, who’d sent Hart west 9-7. White claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Fowler in what would prove to be his (White’s) last battle.

On the loss side, the other ‘White’ (Hunter) was working on loss-side win #7, having recently eliminated Zack Baker 7-5 and junior competitor, Landon Hollingsworth (no relation to Ryan) 7-1. White drew Hart. Ryan Hollingsworth drew Jacob Brooks, who’d defeated Josh Heeter, double hill and Clay Davis 7-1 to reach him.

White downed Hart 7-3, as Hollingsworth eliminated Brooks 7-2. White then defeated Hollingsworth in the quarterfinals 7-5. In what would turn out to be his final match, Hunter White downed Fowler 7-2 in the semifinals. The two ‘Whites’ opted out of the final, negotiated a split of the top two prizes, with Brian White as official winner and the 2nd Annual Carolina Cup was, as they say, in the books.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Break & Run Billiards’ owners, Kevin Lawter and Tammy Collins for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 11-12, will be a $250-added event, to be hosted by Rock House Billiards in Gastonia, NC. 

Ussery comes from the loss side to win win VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Reymart Lim, TD Tiger Baker & BJ Ussery

Taylor becomes only 4th woman since 2013 to win VA State Women’s 10-Ball title
 
It’s a little early to start making predictions or get too much of a ‘read’ on a tour’s point standings (at least those that run on a calendar year schedule), but the Action Pool Tour’s second stop provided some intriguing information. It wasn’t so much about who’s in the top spots at this point, but who, among last year’s top players are apparently starting out a little slow. Stop #2 on the Action Pool Tour – the 2020 VA State 10-Ball Open Championships – drew 73 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA on the weekend of February 15-16. Six of last year’s top 10 players in the tour’s final standings competed in this event. Two finished out of the money, including the event’s defending champion, RJ Carmona. Three, including last year’s tour champion, Chris Bruner, finished in the first money round. Reymart Lim, who finished in 4th place overall last year and won this year’s season opener was this event’s runner-up. In his first appearance on the tour in seven years, BJ Ussery came from the loss side to earn a finals rematch against Lim, which he won to claim the event title.
 
Meanwhile, the 2020 VA State Women’s 10-Ball Championships drew 16 women to the same location. As they did last year, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled twice to claim this title. The results of those two battles were a reverse of last year’s; Atwell, winning the first and Taylor, winning the final (more on this a bit later).
 
Ussery’s appearance on the Action Pool Tour is a reflection of his desire to play generally stronger opponents than those he tends to face on regional handicapped tours. The last time he’d appeared on the APT, he’d finished 7th in the inaugural (2013) VA State 10-Ball Championships.
 
“I’m hoping to play in more of these (APT events) this year,” said Ussery. “I want to play against better players and compete in the some of the bigger events, like the US Open or the Super Billiards Expo.”
 
Any time at table, ultimately, is good time at table, but playing in a handicap system, no matter which one it is, carries a downside. According to Ussery, it’s less about the game and more about human nature.
 
“I get so used to giving up a handicap,” Ussery explained, “that when I get into a non-handicap game, it’s hard for me to bear down.”
 
His opening matches tended to demonstrate this. Ussery opened with an 8-6 win over Reggie Jackson, had a strong 8-1 victory over Jonathan Syphanthavong, and then gave up five against Shorty Davis. He had to win a deciding, 15th game in his fourth match, against Justin Martin. Nathan Childress chalked up six against him next, but Ussery prevailed and advanced to his first meeting against Reymart Lim, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Lim had downed Barry Mashburn, RJ Carmona, Larry Kressel and shut out Greg Sabins (last year’s #12 in the point standings) to reach Ussery. Shane Wolford and Eric Moore (the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion) squared off in the other one.
 
By identical 8-1 scores, Lim and Wolford advanced to the hot seat match over Ussery and Moore. Lim and Wolford then locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wolford to the semifinals and left Lim in the hot seat.
 
Ussery opened up on the loss side against Mike Davis, who was working on a five-match winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kelly Farrar 7-3 and Justin Martin 7-2. Moore picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been shut out by Greg Sabins in the second round and was working on his own seven-match, loss-side streak that included a successful 7-5 rematch against Sabins and a 7-5 victory over Nathan Childress, which led to Moore.
 
Ussery ended Davis’ streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Roberts, who’d defeated Moore 7-4. Ussery ended Roberts’ streak and Wolford’s short visit to the loss side in the semifinals, both 7-5.
 
Going into the final match, Ussery was mindful not only of the earlier matchup, in which Lim had allowed him only a single rack, but previous matchups, as well. They’d faced each other on a number of occasions over the years, and playing against him, Ussery knew what the difference was.
 
“I knew he was a good player when we’d met before,” said Ussery, “but I knew then, that part of the reason he was beating me was that he’d been putting in the time.”
 
“These days,” Ussery added, “I’m as prepared as anybody.”
 
Ussery spoiled Lim’s bid for a second straight win on the APT. He defeated him 10-8 to claim his first APT title.
 
Taylor spoils Atwell’s bid for a third straight, sixth overall VA State 10-Ball Woman’s title.
 
[photo id=51605|align=right]Since 2013, there have been four women who’ve claimed the VA State Women’s 10-Ball title. Tracie Majors won it in 2014 and Meredith Lynch captured the title in 2017. Janet Atwell has claimed the title five times; once in its inaugural year (2013) and then, back-to-back, twice (’15,’16, ’18, ’19). Last year, Atwell was defeated by Liz Taylor, double hill, in the hot seat match and came back to down Taylor 8-2 in the finals to claim her second straight and fifth overall title.  This year, at the event that drew 16 entrants (one more than last year), they reversed things. Taylor was defeated in the hot seat match and came back to defeat Atwell in the finals and claim the 2020 women’s title.
 
It took them each three matches to meet for the first time in the hot seat match. Atwell got by Nicole King, Tina Nash and, in a winners’ side semifinal, shut out Hayleigh Marion. Taylor defeated Soo Emmett, Christy Norris and, in her winners’ side semifinal, survived a double hill match against Lisa Cossette. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-1.
 
Taylor’s return faced a stiff challenge from Deeqa Nur, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Cheryl Sporleder and came back through five opponents to draw Taylor in the semifinals. Nur battled to double hill against two of those opponents. She picked up Hayleigh Marion, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal and defeated her, just ahead of downing Lisa Cossette in a double hill quarterfinal. Taylor spoiled the strong, loss-side bid 5-3 in the semifinals.
 
And so it was, that for the second year in a row, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled for the State of Virginia’s Women’s 10-Ball title. In a reversal of fortunes, Taylor gave up only one rack to Atwell in claiming the event title 8-1.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Full Stroke Billiards Apparel and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 28-29, will be a Double Points event – The East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash – to be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Worden takes two out of three against Powell to win his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Travis Worden

“Nothing in the world,” said McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, “can take the place of perseverance.”
“Not,” he went on to say, “talent. . . genius. . . or education. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
 
Take the case of one Travis Worden, a relative newcomer to the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, who, on the weekend of August 18-19, found himself in a hot seat match against tour veteran Hank Powell. It didn’t go well. Worden failed to chalk up a single rack against Powell. He did, however, apply some of the referenced perseverance, came back from the semifinals and downed Powell twice, both times double hill, to claim his first Q City 9-Ball title. The event, originally scheduled to be held at Shotmaker’s in Garner, NC, ran into some conflicting schedule issues and shifted location to Buck’s Billiards, where it drew 19 entrants.
 
Their first meeting followed a 6-2 victory for Worden over Christy Norris in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Powell, in the meantime, was locked up in a double hill fight against Barry Mashburn in the other winners’ side semifinal. Powell prevailed 7-8 (Mashburn racing to 9) and then promptly shut Worden out to claim the hot seat.
 
 
On the loss side, Norris picked up Billie Spadafora, who’d defeated Richard Lynch 5-3 and youngster Joey Tate 5-4 (Tate racing to 7). Mashburn drew Brian Overman, who’d eliminated Josh Shultz 6-3 and Donald Williams 6-4.
 
Spadafora and Overman handed Norris and Mashburn their second straight loss; Spadafora, 5-3 over Norris and Overman, double hill over Mashburn (6-8 with Mashburn racing to 9). Spadafora and Overman locked up in a double hill quarterfinal match, eventually won by Spadafora who advanced to face the about-to-persevere Travis Worden.
 
Worden defeated Spadafora 6-3 and turned to face Powell in the hot seat. With Powell racing to 7, Worden battled to double hill in the opening set and won it 6-6. This is about the time that a hot seat occupant generally realizes that it’s time to get serious and put his/her challenger away.
 
Didn’t happen. Worden fought Powell to a second double hill juncture and won the second set 6-6, as well. Worden claimed his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Buck’s Billiards for their ongoing and on this particular weekend, last-minute hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (August 24-25), will be a $500-added event ($1,000 with 64 or more entrants) hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC. 

Ussery splits Q City 9-Ball top prizes with reigning junior champion, Joey Tate

BJ Ussery

They met in a winners’ side semifinal in pool’s present as icons of pool’s recent past and ongoing future. On the weekend of June 8-9, veteran competitor BJ Ussery, 40, who’s been competing professionally for nearly 20 years, faced the current two-time, 14-and-under Junior National Champion, Joey Tate, at a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Ussery won the match and would later, when Tate returned from a three-match journey on the loss side of the bracket, agree to a split of the top two prizes, so that Tate, whose mother was nearby, could get home in time for a good night’s sleep ahead of a school day. According to our records, Ussery’s best earnings year, to date (2005), coincided with the year that Tate was born. The $500-added event that saw them compete against each other, drew 42 entrants to SpeakEazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 
As Ussery and Tate squared off in their winners’ side semifinal, Johnny Haney and Jason Potts met in the other one. With Tate racing to 7, Ussery defeated the youngster 11-2, while Haney downed Potts 6-4. Ussery claimed the hot seat, and what proved to be his final match 11-5 over Haney.
 
Ussery liked what he saw of Tate and expects that the youngster is only going to get better.
 
“He keeps his composure about him, comes to the table and acts professional,” said Ussery. “He plays really well, but of course, he does make mistakes.”
 
At the moment, Ussery noted, the strength of the youngster’s game is in being “above his years in running out and his knowledge of position play.” His weaknesses, Ussery went on to say, may be his break and just the need for “pure experience.”
 
“That’s crazy,” said Ussery, “to think those are the only weaknesses in his game at that age, but it’s true.”
 
Though he defeated Tate in their only meeting, Ussery would generally not want any part of him in an 11-7 handicapped race.
 
“Hell, no!!” he said. “That’s how the handicap system works, and definitely, with him going to 7, I would not be the favorite.”
 
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On the loss side, Tate opened his trek to the finals against a former junior player, Hunter White, who’d shut out Christy Norris and downed Scott Roberts 8-2 to reach him. Potts picked up Josh Heeter, who’d recently eliminated Larry Faulk 8-3 and Hank Powell 8-5.
 
Tate defeated White 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Heeter, who’d ended Potts’ weekend 8-2. Heeter was giving Tate a single game on the wire at the start of the quarterfinal race-to-8. Tate sent him home 7-3.
 
In the semifinals, it was Tate giving Haney a game on the wire in a race to 7. Tate defeated him 7-3, as well.
 
It was Tate who approached Ussery about forgoing the final match and splitting the top two prizes, although his mother was nearby and no doubt conveying information, perhaps silently, that the youngster had to get home. They agreed to the split.
 
“His Mom was really cool,” said Ussery. “I’m very peculiar about the people I help, but he seems like a good kid, so I told him a few things when we were done. Gave him some tips and adjustments and his Mom thanked me for helping him.”
 
“He’s going to go through the same struggles that all players do sometimes,” he added. “Sky Woodward went through it. So did Billy Thorpe. It’s hard to know how that’s going to turn out (with Tate). It’s really too early, and he hasn’t met girls yet.”
 
Tate will turn 14 in a little over two weeks (June 28) and is prepping for the Billiards Education Foundation’s 2019 Junior National Championships, scheduled for July 23-27. He will be looking for his third straight 14-and-under title. The event will be held in Las Vegas as part of the Billiards Congress of America’s 2019 Expo.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speak Eazy Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (June 15-16), will be a $250-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC. 

Pope, Young and Nielsen split top three prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

As is often the case, tournaments that end up chasing dawn, lead to an agreed-upon split in the event's top prizes. The last matches, scheduled long after everybody but the players and tour administrators have gone home, are generally only of interest to the players involved, who are more often than not, bone tired and unlikely to be at a performance level commensurate with their skills. Splits among an event's finalists are common. Three-way splits, avoiding both the semifinals and finals (sometimes double elimination finals) are rare, but, as in the case of the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on Saturday, March 18 (moving into Sunday morning), they happen.
 
In this case, it allowed one veteran member of the tour, Solomon Pope, to become the official winner and take home some cash for the first time since joining the tour a few years ago. By the same token, the decision to split the top three prizes denied Jeff Young the opportunity to chalk up his second win on the tour in a little over a week (he won the March 11-12 stop). When the decision was made, Young, having been defeated by Pope in the hot seat match, was scheduled for a re-match against Denmark's Peter Nielsen, whom he'd defeated in a double hill winners' side semifinal (4-8, with Nielsen racing to 9). It's anyone's guess how the next two, potentially three matches (double elimination final) would have turned out, but as with all prize splits at the end of a tournament, the players were content with not finding out. The event drew 38 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC.
 
As Young was locked up in the double hill fight that sent Nielsen to the loss side, Pope was working against Christy Norris in the other winners' side semifinal. He defeated her 7-5, and then downed Young in the hot seat match 7-1.
 
Lurking on the loss side as all this was going on, was pro-player Mike Davis, Jr., who was racing to 13 against all of his opponents. He got by Bryan Pate 13-4 in the 9/12 matches, but was denied entrance to the money rounds by Alan Shaw, who, like Pope, was a veteran member of the tour looking to cash for the first time.  Shaw, who'd defeated Jason Rogers previously 5-2, made it to the money rounds with a 5-7 win over Davis, and drew Nielsen. Norris picked up Chris Gentile, who'd defeated Mike Mullins 8-4 and Mike Rowe 8-1 to reach her.
 
Gentile downed Norris 8-2, as Nielsen sent Shaw home 9-2 (with his first cash winnings of $50). For those who were still around, the final match of the evening – the quarterfinals – saw Nielsen and Gentile lock up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Nielsen 9-7. And it was over, with Pope, sitting in the hot seat, as the official undefeated winner and Young and Nielsen in a single-loss tie.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards, 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 this weekend (March 25-26), will be hosted by a new venue for the tour, Peninsula Billiards featuring bar box tables in Newport News, VA.

Tornado Open Concludes

Villareal and Orcullo

The Tornado Open has concluded at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The event had several different classifications and it isn't difficult to recognize the names of our winners.

 

Shane Van Boening claimed the top spot in the Men's Open 10-Ball by double-dipping Josh Roberts in the true double-elimination final with a combined score in the two sets of 16-2. This was rather a surprise as Roberts had been shooting lights out prior to the finals as he had defeated Shane, Dennis Orcullo and Shaun Wilkie in his three previous trips to the table. But in the finals Shane was unstoppable and Roberts only rarely had a look at a makeable shot.

 

Van Boening's was not the only double-dip of the final evening. Kelly Fisher did the same with Ga Young Kim after Ga Young had earned the hot seat by defeating Allison Fisher 7-3 in the Women's Pro 10-Ball. Kelly Fisher survived her trip to the loser's side by defeating Monica Webb (7-5) and Chezka Centeno (7-6). She then returned to win the title by besting Ga Young Kim 7-5 and then 7-4.

 

There was also Jack and Jill Scotch Doubles action! Vivian Villareal and Dennis Orcullo took home top honors here by defeating John Morra and Allison Fisher. Karen Corr and Corey Deuel finsihed in third.

 

The Women's Amateur event was captured by Christy Norris. Bonnie Coats grabbed second while Bev Ashton took the final podium spot in third. In the Men's Amateur division Jimmy Gestwicki took the Gold, Louis Altes the Silver and Kyle Bova took the Bronze.

 

Look for expanded coverage, results and payouts in the upcoming issue of the Billiards Buzz.