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Rousey Routs the Competition at City Pool Hall

Sarah Rousey

At the sixth NCPT stop of the year on July 20, it was hard to tell what was hotter–the temperature outside or the competition inside. The $500 added 10-ball tournament at City Pool Hall in downtown Chicago drew 14 women from Illinois and Wisconsin. 
 
Sarah Rousey went undefeated, besting Amy Latzko (6-5), Darlene Dantes (6-2), Laura Bendikas (6-5), and Bonnie Arnold (6-0). In the finals, she met up against Kassy Werner, who had put some serious work in to get there. Werner took an early round loss but then notched six wins in a row.  
 
The final race to nine teetered back and forth early. Both players struggled to pocket the seven ball in several games. After eight racks, the score remained close at 5-3. But then Rousey took advantage of her opportunities at the table. She won the next four games in a row, finishing the match 9-3.
 
Top finishers of the event were:
1st Sarah Rousey ($550)
2nd Kassy Werner ($300)
3rd Bonnie Arnold ($165)
4th Amy Latzko ($85)
 
To see the full bracket for the event, visit www.leaguepoolstats.com. You can also view streamed matches at RailbirdsTV’s YouTube page. The NCPT thanks its sponsors and City Pool Hall for adding $500 to this tour stop.
 
Want to get in on the fun and action? Visit the NCPT facebook page or NCPTplay.com for details on upcoming events. You can also find the NCPT on Instagram and Twitter.
 

Rivas comes from the loss side to win NAPT’s inaugural 10-Ball Invitational

Sergio Rivas

Former Junior National Champion Sergio Rivas (2013; 14 and under Boys) navigated his way through a series of round robin matches and came from the loss side of a subsequent double elimination bracket to win the North American Pool Tour’s inaugural Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational Tournament, held on the long weekend of September 27-30. Rivas downed five-time Canadian Champion and US Bar Table Champion (2013), Jason Klatt twice in a double elimination final to claim the title. The $6,000-added event drew 14 entrants to Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
The North American Pool Tour was initially conceived and launched two years ago to offer female players further opportunities to compete. It was, however, right from the start, designed to eventually encompass events for all players, men included.
 
“We’re trying to get six (events) for ladies and two for men next year,” said co-founder and current NAPT President Adrianne Beach in an interview with Billiards Digest in 2016. “It’s about building a tour system, moving players from the amateur to the professional, like a lot of other sports do.”
 
They didn’t get to the ‘Open’ (men included) part of the plan until this year, and while they knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, they expected more participation than they got. But, noted Beach afterwards, this first Open Pro event, accomplished what it set out to do.
 
“The turnout was less than expected, but we still happily added the guaranteed money,” she said. “Our goal in this first event was to show the Open players what we’re all about. While we didn’t get to show that to as many players as we hoped, the ones who were there definitely appeared to love the event and what we’re doing.
 
“With that in mind,” she added, “we consider the event to have been a success.”
 
The 14 entrants were initially split into two groups of seven for the round robin phase of the tournament. Each group played seven rounds, each player facing an opponent in their group once, with one ‘bye’ in the mix. The matches were a race to a combined total of 13 games. At the end of the seven rounds, the top eight players, selected by total games won, were advanced to a double elimination bracket.
 
Jason Klatt emerged from the round robin phase as the only undefeated player (6-0) in either group and topped the total winning-game tally with 66. Max Eberle (with 61 wins), Neil Vichlensaen (with 51) and Thomas Karabatsos (with 46) all finished with 5-1 records. Rivas and Larry Nevel joined the double elimination bracket with 4-2 records; Rivas with a winning-game total of 50 and Nevel with 46. Rounding out the field of advancing competitors were Neal Jacobs and Marvin Guss, both with 3-3 records. Jacobs had chalked up 44 wins, while Guss recorded 38.
 
Eliminated in the round robin phase were the tournament’s three women – Marian Poole, Darlene Dantes and Adrianne Beach – along with Mason Koch, Paul Scott, and Alex Shapshevich.
 
As the event moved into its double elimination (all money rounds) phase, Neil Vichlensaen matched up with Neal Jacobs, Max Eberle faced Marvin Guss, Jason Klatt squared off against Larry Nevel and the eventual winner, Sergio Rivas met up with Thomas Karabatsos. Jacobs moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against Eberle with a 9-5 win over Vichlensaen. Eberle had defeated Guss 9-3. Klatt earned his winners’ side semifinal spot against Rivas with a 9-4 win over Nevel. Rivas had sent Karabatsos to the loss side 9-3.
 
Klatt advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-7 victory over Rivas, and was met by Eberle, who’d sent Jacobs over 9-4. Klatt then defeated Eberle 9-5, and with a 9-0 record, sat in the hot seat awaiting the return of Rivas.
 
On the loss side, Rivas picked up Guss, who’d defeated Vichlensaen 9-5 to reach him. Jacobs drew Nevel, who’d eliminated Karabatsos 9-3. Rivas defeated Guss 9-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Nevel, who’d given up only a single rack to Jacobs.
 
Rivas then defeated Nevel 9-3 and in the semifinals, Eberle 9-7 to earn a shot against Klatt in the hot seat. Rivas took the opening set 7-5 and then duplicated that effort in the second set to claim the first NAPT Open Pro 10-Ball Invitational.

“Duchess of Doom” goes undefeated to win 3rd Annual NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic

Mary Rakin, Molly Bontrager, Allison Fisher and Helena Thornfeldt (Photo – Tony Fox)

 

Allison Fisher went undefeated through a field of 52 entrants to win the 3rd Annual North American Pool Tour’s Summer 10-Ball Classic on the long weekend of August 16-19. And for the second year in a row, the winner of this tournament had to go through relative newcomer, Molly Bontrager. Bontrager battled for the hot seat against Karen Corr last year, then, was defeated in the semifinals by Eleanor Callado. This year, she finished as runner-up to Fisher, whom she faced twice, in the hot seat and finals. The 3rd Annual $5,000-added event drew its 52 entrants to Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
Though the annual event’s defending champion, Corr, was not in attendance, the event’s debut champion, April Larson, did compete. When Larson won in 2016 (at the age of 16), it was her first professional win, which had followed on the heels of five straight victories at the BEF Junior Nationals; three in the 14-and-under Girls Division and two in the 18-and-under Girls Division. She was so excited to have actually won the event, that while she collected the trophy, she forgot to collect the $3,400 check that went with it (later hand-delivered by NAPT President Adrianne Beach). In this year’s event, Larson was moved to the loss side in a tightly-contested, double hill match against Teruko Cuccelelli, and after winning five on the loss side, was eliminated by Canada’s Brittany Bryant.
 
In something of a prescient move, CueSportsLive’s first two streamed matches featured the eventual winner (Fisher) and runner-up (Bontrager). Bontrager played first at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 16 and made something of an opening statement by shutting out Darlene Dantes. She went on to defeat Laura Semko (double hill), Farla Salmanovitch 7-3, and Taylor Hansen (double hill) to draw JPNEWT veteran Jia Li in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Fisher, in the meantime, who stepped up to the streaming table at noon on Friday, downed Rae Noregard 7-1, and then defeated Autumn Duncan 7-3, shut out Krista Walsh, and then survived a double hill fight against last year’s runner-up Eleanor Callado, to draw Helena Thornfeldt in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Fisher and Thornfeldt locked up in something of a predictable double hill fight to determine advancement to the hot seat match. Fisher won it. Bontrager joined her with a 7-3 win over Li. Fisher claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bontrager and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Thornfeldt picked up Bryant, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that included a 7-5 win over Kaylin Wikoff and the aforementioned double hill win over Larson. Jia Li drew Mary Rakin, who, following her defeat at the hands of Thornfeldt, had defeated Cuculelli 7-2 and survived a double hill fight against Callado.
 
 
Rakin eliminated Li 7-2 and in the quarterfinals faced Thornfeldt, who’d defeated Bryant 7-4. Rakin chalked up a commanding victory, 7-1, over Thornfeldt in those quarterfinals, only to run into an obviously determined Molly Bontrager in the semifinals. Though Rakin would score 5, Bontrager scored the requisite 7 to earn her re-match against Fisher.
 
Last year, Bontrager admitted to being in awe of the woman she faced in the hot seat (Corr), whom she’d been watching play since she (Bontrager) was in her 20s. In much the same situation, Bontrager was going into a match against someone she’d been aware of before she’d begun her still-new pool career. But this time, Bontrager was a little more seasoned than she’d been the year before. She had mentioned in an interview for Billiards Digest that she expected her “newbie attitude” to have worn off by the time she arrived to compete this year. And it did, to a certain extent.
 
“I talked to Allison on and off a couple of times before we played,” she said. “I tried to get to know her a little to break the ice, which makes it a lot easier when you’re playing a match.
 
“She’s a really fun, bubbly person,” she added, “the complete opposite of her demeanor at the table.”
 
While the seasoning that the year provided served her well in this tournament and brought her a step closer to winning the event, she was still somewhat plagued by a lack of practice on 9-ft tables (something she hopes to correct in the year to come) and just a lingering touch of the awe she experienced last year.
 
“I was pleased with the tournament overall,” she said, “and pleased with the results. As far as critiquing myself, I did OK, but not what I’m capable of.”
 
She needed to win two against Fisher in the double elimination final format of the event, but Fisher completed her undefeated run in the opening set. She duplicated her score in the hot seat against Bontrager (7-3) and captured the title.