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Martinez & Mast win 13 & Under Stop #8 on JIC and Championships at Wolf’s Den in Roanoke

Sofia Mast

It was made abundantly clear on the final weekend of competition for the Junior International Championships’ two 13 & Under divisions (boys and girls) that the competitors were reluctant to finish competing. The weekend, which began on Friday, Sept. 17 at Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA was to have been a Championship event for the 13 & Under divisions, for which its players had already qualified. The competitors decided that not only did they want to hold the scheduled Championship event, they also wanted, while they were there anyway, to compete in an 8th regular event. So they did both. On Friday and Sunday, the two divisions competed in the 8th event of the JIC series, and on Saturday, they held their Championship event.

Stop # 8 of the JIC series drew 14 boys and 10 girls to their respective 13 & Under divisions. The 13 & Under Championships drew 10 boys and 9 girls. And just to keep everybody busy, the weekend also included Stop # 8 for the 18 & Under Boys (39 entrants) and Girls (14 entrants) and the ProAm Division (32 entrants). The 18 & Under Boys and Girls will play their Championship event at the tail end of the 2021 International Open next month (October 28-30 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, VA), while the top three competitors from the final rankings of the ProAm division, who were awarded entry fees, will be competing in the 9-ball Open. There were to have been only two ProAm competitors who qualified for entry to the International Open, but a tie for second place led to three who qualified – Joey Tate, Landon Hollingsworth and Nathan Childress. A report on the final stop for the two 18 & Under and ProAm divisions will appear separately.

Stop # 8 of the 13 & Under divisions were won by undefeated performances from Gabriel Martinez and Sofia Mast. It was Martinez’ third win of the series, having won in March and June. Before he finished the 8th stop, he would compete and go undefeated in the 13 & Under Boys Championship, as well (more on this later). It was Mast’s 5th win in the division, having finished as runner-up in Stops #2, #4 and #5.

Martinez went through Julian Scruggs and Eddie Vondereau to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Jayce Little. Adrian Prasad squared off against Hank Leinen in the other one. Prasad and Martinez advanced to the hot seat; Prasad, 7-5 over Leinen and Martinez 7-2 over Little. Martinez sent Prasad to the semifinals and claimed the hot seat 7-2.

In those semifinals, Prasad drew Leinen, who’d defeated Vondereau and Jayse Alton, both 7-1, to reach him. Leinen earned a shot at Martinez in the hot seat with a 7-5 victory over Prssad. Martinez completed his undefeated run with a 9-5 win over Leinen in the finals.

Mast’s four-match path to the winners’ circle in the 13 & Under Girls division went through Carley Tomaszewski to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Noelle Tate. Long-time JIC rival to Mast, Skylar Hess, faced Arianna Houston in the other one. Mast got into the hot seat match 7-4 over Tate. Hess joined her after downing Houston 7-1. Mast claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Hess.

On the loss side, Noelle Tate followed her winners’ side loss against Mast with a double hill victory over her sister, Bethany before downing Houston 7-4 in the quarterfinals and then, Hess 7-3 in the semifinals. She fell to Mast a second time in the finals 9-2.

Gabriel Martinez

Martinez wins his second undefeated event on Saturday; Mast, Hess and Tate are top 3 again

The Girls 13 & Under Championships, sandwiched between the two days of the 8th stop on the series finished in almost the same way as the 8th stop. Mast, Noelle Tate and Hess finished 1, 2 & 3 on Stop #8, while Mast, Hess and Tate finished 1, 2, & 3 in the Championships. 

Mast’s path in the Championships ran through Skylynn Elliot and Franki Spain to arrive at what (time-wise) was her first of two hot seat matches against Hess, who’d defeated Taylor Perkins and Noelle Tate. It was Hess claiming the hot seat 7-5 over Mast in the Championships. 

On the loss side, in the semifinals, Mast drew Noelle Tate, who, following her winners’ side loss to Hess, had defeated Elliott 7-3 and Spain 7-2 in the quarterfinals. Mast and Tate battled to double hill in the semifinals, before Mast prevailed for a second shot against Hess. Mast downed Hess 9-4 in the finals to claim the 13 & Under Girls’ championship title. 

Facing a couple of the same opponents, Gabriel Martinez went undefeated (time-wise, first) in the 18 & Under Boys Championship. He’d faced Hank Leinen in the finals of Stop #8 of the 18 & Under division and squared off against Leinen in a winners’ side semifinal in the Championships. Martinez won that match 7-2 and advanced to his first of two hot seat matches against Adrian Prasad. He shut Prasad out in the Championships’ hot seat match (and gave up only two racks in the hot seat match they played against each other the next day).

On the loss side, Prasad drew a rematch against Eddie Vondereau, who, after losing their first matchup 7-1, went on to defeat Timmy Cossey, Konnor McFayden in the quarterfinals and then, in the rematch, shut Prasad out in the semifinals. Martinez completed his undefeated run with a 9-4 victory in the finals to claim the 13 & Under Championship title.

JIC Tour Director Ra Hanna thanked all of his sponsors for their help in making this event possible, Mike Littman with Littman Lights, Matt Suite at American Billiard Covering, Dynaspheres, Chris Wilson at The League Room, Kory & Trena Wolford from Wolfs Den Billiards and Mike from Michael’s Billiards.

13 & Under Boys Championships

1st Gabriel Martinez $600 a CueTec Propel Jump cue
2nd Eddie Vondereau $400 2×4 leather case
3rd Adrian Prasad $200

13 & Under Girls Championship

1st Sofia Mast $500
2nd Skylar Hess $250
3rd Noelle Tate $125

Mast wins her third, while Vondereau chalks up his first in 13 & Under Girls and Boys JIC

Sofia Mast

Not only do her three wins and three runner-up finishes put her at the top of the Junior International Championships’ Girls 13 & Under division, but her two wins, one 3rd, one 4th and two 5th place finishes in the Girls 18 & Under division puts her at the head of that ‘class,’ too. Sofia Mast, 12, is carving out a slot for herself in the finale of this inaugural Junior International Championship season. Four young women have won a stop on the six Girls 13 & Under events of this first season. The other three are currently in 2nd (Skylar Hess), 3rd (Bethany Tate) and 7th place (April Gonzales) in the standings. Four young women have also won the six Girls 18 & Under division events. Mast and Tatum Cutting (#1 and #3 in the rankings) have done it twice, while Kennedy Meyman (#2) and Aryana Lynch (#13) have done it once.

At this most recent in the ongoing JIC series of events, held this past weekend (July 16-18) and hosted by the League Room in Parkersburg, WV, Mast went undefeated in the Girls 13 & Under division, which drew eight entrants. She was awarded an opening round bye and then shut out Airianna Taylor to draw April Gonzales in a winners’ side semifinal. Skylar Hess, in the meantime, followed her opening round bye with a 7-4 win over CJ Newberry to pick up Taylor Perkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mast downed Gonzales 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Hess, who’d sent Perkins to the loss side 7-1. It is rumored that as this JIC opening season approaches its climax, someone is going to come up with the idea of selling tickets to the matches between these two young women. Mast took the first of their two 7-4 and waited on Hess’ return.

On the loss side, Gonzales picked up Skylynn Elliott, who’d defeated CJ Newberry 7-3 to reach her. Perkins drew Franki Spain, who’d eliminated Airianna Taylor 7-4. Spain and Perkins battled to double hill before Spain prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals. Gonzales joined her after downing Elliott 7-2. 

Gonzales took the quarterfinal contest 7-4 over Spain, only to be stopped by Hess in the semifinals by the same score. Mast completed her undefeated run through the Girls 13 and Under division by defeating Hess a second time, 9-6.

Special awards emerge from Boys 13 and under contests

Both of the event’s special awards came out of the Boys 13 & Under division, which drew 11 entrants. The Brendan Crockett Sportsmanship Award went to Eddie Vondereau, who won the division, while the Jeanette Lee “Black Widow” Comeback Award went to Grayson Vaughan, who finished third.

Vaughan earned his ‘comeback’ award in his opening round of play against 10-year-old Hayden Ernst, who opened up a 6-1 lead against him. Vaughan persevered and chalked up six in a row to defeat Ernst and advance to a winners’ side semifinal against Jayce Little. Vondereau, in the meantime, had defeated Max Moore 7-1 to draw D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Vondereau defeated “Jawz” 7-3 and advanced to the hot seat match. Vaughan joined him after sending Little to the loss side 7-4. Vonderau claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Vaughan and would not, as it turned out, face him again.

On the loss side, Konnor McFayden, who’d lost his opening round match 7-2 to Hayden Ernst, got a bye in his opening round on the loss side and then won five in a row for the right to challenge Vondereau. McFayden shut out Lathan Elliott, survived a double hill fight against Noah Majersky, defeated both Jayce Little and “Jawz” 7-3 and finally, eliminated Grayson Vaughan 7-4 in the semifinals. Vondereau ended McFayden’s loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 victory in the finals to claim his first JIC 13 & Under title and move into the #8 slot in the division’s rankings.

On the Wire Creative Media’s Ra Hanna thanked Chris Wilson (owner of The League Room in Parkersburg, WV), Chris Reinhold (photography), the Wolfords (Kory and Treena, for their help), Mike Littman of Littman Lights, his (Hanna’s) streaming crew and Dee Adkins, for orchestrating a clinic for the girl competitors at this most recent event. 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 August 27-20, will be hosted by Michael’s in Fairfield, OH. The final event for the 13 & Under Boys and Girls, scheduled for September 17-19, will be hosted by Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA. The finals for 18 & Under Boys and Girls will coincide with the International Open in Norfolk, VA in October.