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Cuellar goes undefeated to win Stop #3 on Tiger Florida Tour

Nicolle Cuellar, Vanessa Seaver and Jessica Barnes

Coming off of her best recorded earnings year (2021), Florida’s Nicolle Cuellar is getting a bit of a late start to better those earnings in 2022, although her undefeated run at the Tiger Florida Tour’s (TFT) third stop this past weekend (Sat. May 7) has started her off in the right direction. Her last recorded win on the TFT occurred last August. Cuellar has, in fact, had two good years at the tables, 2020 being her best recorded earnings years until the total figure improved in 2021. She’s been combining work on the TFT with appearances on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour over the past few years, and earlier, dating back to when her efforts began notation here at AZBilliards 10 years ago, on the Flamingo Tour. The TFT’s $750-added event last weekend, Stop #3 on the 2022 tour, drew 36 entrants to Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL.

The event started out with a double elimination bracket, which, being a 64-entrant bracket, featured four matches in the opening round of play and 28 byes. Three rounds later, when the bracket had narrowed to eight players, four on each side of the bracket, it became a single-elimination race to the finals.

Cuellar’s path to the winners’ circle, after being awarded one of the 28 byes, went through Angel Kotewa (1), Kimberly Housman (3) and Stephanie Mitchell (3), at which point, she became one of the final eight. Joining her among the four to emerge from the winners’ side of the bracket were Lisa Perez, Jeri Bouvette and Jessica Barnes. Facing those four from the loss side of the bracket were Helene Caukin (facing Barnes), Jessica Karamia Human (facing Cuellar) and the Seaver sisters; Vanessa, squaring off against Bouvette and Jeannie facing Perez.

Human, who’d been sent to the loss side in the final winners’ side round by Barnes, played only one match on the loss side, surviving a double hill match versus Kaylee McIntosh to join the final eight. Cuellar stopped Human’s bid right there, downing her 7-3 and advancing to the semifinals against Barnes, who’d defeated Caukin, double hill. 

Only one of the Seaver sisters survived the first single-elimination round and as it turned out, Lisa Perez faced them both. She faced Jeannie in that first round and battled her to double hill before advancing to meet Vanessa, who’d battled to double hill before defeating Bouvette to earn her spot in the semifinals against Perez.

Time constraints forced the semifinals and finals to be cut down to races to 5. Vanessa Seaver punched her ticket to the finals with a shutout over Perez. She was joined by Cuellar, who eliminated Barnes, double hill; a ‘heartbreaker,’ according to TD Mimi McAndrews, because in the deciding game, Barnes broke and hung the 9-ball in the teeth of the side pocket. Cuellar stepped to the table and though unable to work herself into shape for an easy combination on the 9-ball, ran the table to get it and advance to the finals. 

Cuellar completed her undefeated run with a 5-2 win over Vanessa Seaver. Having not competed in the TFT season opener back in January and finishing in the tie for 8th on the February stop, Cuellar was way down in the tour standings when she began her title quest at the third stop. Her victory moved her among the tour’s top 10, into 9th place on the list that now has Stephanie Mitchell at the top. Vanessa Seaver’s runner-up finish moved her into second place with Carrie Metz, Kaylee McIntosh and Jeannie Seaver behind her. Cuellar’s victory also netted her paid qualifier spot for the WPBA’s Soaring Masters event in July.

Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Larry Walthall and his staff at Brewlands for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Tiger Products, AZBilliards, Boynton Billiards, Andy Cloth, Eastern Billiards, Stitch-It-To-Me Embroidery and Brutal Game Gear. She also extended thanks to Josh Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell for their assistance with running the event. The next stop on the Tiger Florida Tour, scheduled for Saturday, July 16, will be hosted by Shooter’s Billiards in Port St. Lucie, FL.

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Vetrono Steps Up on The Ladies’ ‘Win’ Ladder, Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2

Carrie Vetrono, Jeannie Seaver and Stephanie Mitchell

Prior to this past weekend, Sat. Feb. 26, Carrie Vetrono had won only one major event, and it happened to be one that wasn’t reported to us here at AZ; The 2019 West Coast Challenge, Women’s 9-Ball Division in Kissimmee, FL. Vetrono got her second career win this past weekend at the second stop on the Tiger Florida Tour. With a modified double elimination format (double elimination to the winners’ side quarterfinals and then, single elimination to the finals), the $1,500-added event drew 42 entrants to Stixx Billiards in Oldsmar, FL.

In addition to her remote work with a NY law firm, running tournaments at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL, being the owner/operator (with her Dad) of Capone’s BCA Pool League, and her arguably most important position as head wrangler of a four-year-old son, Vetrono can now (in her spare time, of course) add ‘Up-and-Coming Contender’ at future events on the Women’s pool circuit. Asked how long it might be now before she became the #1-ranked player on the WPBA, she laughed.

“If only,” she said. “As much as I would really love it, (given the multi-tasking noted above), I don’t see it in the cards.”

“I’ve been playing a lot more at Capone’s,” she added of this recent win, “and I’ve been playing with a lot of the guys over there (who’ve) helped me. My game has vastly improved, at least a ball or two over the past 6-8 months. I’m taking smarter shots and playing safeties when I need to.”

“I feel more confident of going for shots, too,” she went on to say, “and, of course, when they go in, that boosts the confidence even more.”

In addition to Vetrono’s (somewhat) ‘break out’ win, Florida Tiger Tour’s second stop had a few ‘headline’ matchups, including a first-round-of single-elimination rematch between the winner and runner-up of the tour’s first stop in late January (14-year-old Sofia Mast and Stephanie Mitchell), a Vetrono/Mitchell match and a final match between Verono and Jeannie Seaver.

It was initially a two-match race to the winners’ side quarterfinal; three for Mitchell and Mast, who were among the 20 entrants that played in a preliminary round. Vetrono got by Krystalann Williams and Nicolle Cuellar to arrive at her winners’ side quarterfinal versus Mast. Mitchell sent Erica Yeager-Lombard, Tracy Mullen and Abigail Schrader to the loss side to meet up with Kimberly Housman. Jeannie Seaver defeated Kim Caso and Dawn Logan to take on Helene Caukin. Kaylee McIntosh, who’d downed Christina Maher and Shanelle Loraine squared off against Michel Monk.

Mast advanced to the first round of single elimination with a double hill win over Vetrono. Mitchell and Housman battled to double hill, as well, with Mitchell ending up on the loss side. McIntosh downed Human 6-4 and Seaver got by Caukin 6-2.

Vetrono won her loss-side match against Jeannie Seaver’s sister, Vanessa, double hill. Mitchell ousted Miranda Orange 5-2. Danielle Marie Fee, who’d lost her opening match to Tiffany Stanaland, won four on the loss side, including a 5-2 win over tour director Mimi McAndrews, to meet and defeat Caukin in a double hill fight. Jessica Human was the fourth loss-side competitor to earn a slot in the single-elimination round of eight, with her 5-1 victory over Michel Monk.

Seaver moved into the event’s second quarterfinal, 6-3 over Fee, while McIntosh was busy eliminating Human 6-4. Vetrono got back in the mix with a 6-2 win over Housman and faced Mitchell, who’d avenged her loss against the teenager Mast in the first stop on the tour by eliminating her 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the second.

“I was up 5-1,” Mitchell recalled of her match against Mast, “when I missed a 9-ball. Then she won a few and I thought, ‘Well, we don’t want to go there,’ so I got back into it.”

“(Sofia) hangs out with all the adults,” she noted of her opponent. “She’s a professional and has better manners than people I know who are older than me.”

So, it was Vetrono against Mitchell and McIntosh versus Seaver in the semifinals.

Seaver advanced to the finals 6-2 over McIntosh and faced Vetrono, who prevailed over Mitchell by the same score. Vetrono completed her second major win 4-2 over Seaver and claimed the Tiger Florida Tour’s second event title.

Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Stixx owner Tom George and Kathy King, as well as manager Josh Maville and his staff for hosting the event and their continued support of the TFT. She also thanked title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products, Brutal Game Gear, Stitch It To Me, Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and new sponsors Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth. 

McAndrews sent a special shout out to Jerry Sotelo and Stephanie Mitchell for what she called “their invaluable help in running the event and fending off shot clock grumbles.” The size of the room, the number of tables (10) and attendees (42), led to a reduction of match lengths from 7/5 (winners’ side/losers’ side) to 6/5 in order to complete the event in the single day of Tiger Florida tour stops. The final match was also reduced to its race to 4.

The next stop on the Tiger Florida Tour, scheduled for May 7, will be hosted by Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Lakeland, FL.

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Jessica Barnes Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 at Brewlands Billiards

Jessica Barnes, Doug Barriger (Manager), Nicolle Cuellar and Sherie Hensley

Thirty-two women convened in central Florida at Brewlands Billiards North in Lakeland for the Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 on Saturday where Jessica Barnes clinched the win, the money, the trophy and the paid entry to the WPBA Sledgehammer event!

Once again, the competition was tough with several new players joining the ranks of the Tiger Florida Tour women’s semi-pro 9-Ball tour for the first time.  The women played a modified double-elimination format, where the final four from the one-loss side drew back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board.  The one-loss final four saw Nicolle Cuellar draw Sonya Chbeeb; Michell Monk matched up against Jeannie Seaver; Lisa Cosette drew Jessica Barnes and newcomer Sherie Hensley drew Jeri Bouvette.

Barnes made it to the Final Board undefeated, then played two nail-biting matches edging out Lisa Cossette 7-6 in the quarterfinal and Nicolle Cuellar 7-6 in the semi-final to make it to the final match.  Hensley, who played steady all day long, got past two top TFT players, Helene Caukin 7-5 and Michell Monk 7-5, before losing to Seaver 7-2. Hensley defeated Derek Folds 5-2  on the left side to advance to the Final Board. Once there, Hensley made it past Jeri Bouvette 7-4, and then matched up with Seaver again, this time knocking out Seaver in a hill-hill match after Seaver scratched in the side pocket, putting Hensley in the final match against Barnes.  After a long day for both players, Barnes took the match 7-2 over Hensley.

Barnes won the paid entry to the Sledgehammer Open, courtesy of Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour.  Stephanie Mitchell won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Pro-9-Ball event, and Hensley won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Amateur 9-Ball event.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the TFT event!  A huge thanks to room owner Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for hosting our event again this year and their continued support of the TFT!  Our appreciation to Manager Doug Barriger and staff, and Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events for helping our event go smoothly.  Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour/players; thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support! And thanks again to Janis Sessions and the Florida Ladies Coastal Tour for sponsoring the entry to the Sledgehammer Open. Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page.

Tour Stop #3 is May 2, 2020 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar!  See you there!

The Tiger Florida Tour is a NAPT-recognized Division II Women’s Regional Tour. Visit www.tigerfloridatour.com for more information.

Michell Monk Wins Tiger Florida Tour at Brewlands

Larry Walthal (owner), Jessica Barnes, Mike Dauskart (owner) and Michell Monk

The Women’s 9-Ball Tiger Florida Tour kicked off the new year at Brewlands Billiards in Lakeland, Florida, where Michell Monk reminded everyone that she came to win, and that she did! After several years of second, third and fourth place finishes, Monk finally came through to win her first TFT tournament in years.
 
The women play a modified double elimination format. The final two from the one-loss side redraw back into the winners’ bracket Final Board for a single elimination race to seven.  Helene Caukin and Jessica Barnes made it to the final board undefeated.  Jessica Human and Monk got to the Final Board from the one-loss side. 
 
Human knocked out Cortney Bernard 5-1, and then redrew into the final bracket against Barnes, who had given Human her first loss in a double-hill match.  Going hill-hill again, Barnes eventually won and went on to the Finals.  Monk initially lost to Helene Caukin 7-4. After defeating newcomer Jamie Hagerty 5-1, Monk then redrew Caukin in the semi-finals and prevailed in a tough hill-hill match to take on Barnes.  Barnes and Monk were both intent on taking home the final prize, in a tough back and forth double hill match.  However, Monk was able to pull out the stops and win the first TFT Stop of the year!
 
Thanks to all the players who turned out for this opening event.  We also thank our returning title sponsor Tiger Products; and returning sponsors Great Lakes Billiards, Ultimate Chalkers, Boynton Billiards and AZ Billiards. Thank you to room owners Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for being great hosts!  Videos of matches can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJZQfjBiD4k.
 

Wallen wins third stop on the Flamingo Tour

April Wallen moved to the top of the Flamingo Tour rankings with a come-from-the-loss-side victory on Saturday, April 12. The $500-added event drew 27 entrants to Amy's Billiards in Stuart, FL.
 
The Flamingo Tour operates a modified double elimination format, in which players initially compete in a double elimination bracket, until there are four left on each side. At that point, the remaining eight players are seeded and play single elimination quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches.
 
Both Wallen and her finals opponent, Crystal McCormick, were in the group of four loss-side competitors, and both, after being awarded an opening round bye, had been sent to the loss side in their first round of play. Wallen had initially been defeated by Roe Guarnero 7-4, and then, on the loss side, chalked up victories over Toni Curry and Helene Caukin, both 5-1. Curry is a tour newcomer who will compete in the Billiards Education Foundation's 9-Ball Nationals in June. Wallen moved among the event's final eight with a 5-2 win over Vanessa Seaver.
 
McCormick lost a double hill battle versus Kelly Cavanaugh in her opening round of play, and then, went on something of a feast-or-famine, loss-side run. She won her first match, double hill, over Stephanie Mitchell (who came into the event as the tour's top-ranked player) and then shut out Kristie Cloke. Her double hill win over Guarnero put her among the losers' side final four. These two were joined by room owner Amy Poulter and Maridana "Mike" Fitzgerald.
 
In the meantime, Kellys Coyle and Cavanaugh, along with Jeannie Seaver and Sue Roberts advanced to be the final four on the winners' side. The quarterfinal matches set Coyle up to face Poulter, Cavanaugh met McCormick, Seaver faced Fitzgerald and Wallen squared off against Roberts.
 
Coyle and Poulter played the most hotly contested quarterfinal match, going double hill, before Coyle prevailed. Mike Fitzgerald defeated Seaver 7-4, and McCormick downed Cavanaugh 7-2, while Wallen advanced to the semifinals with a shutout over Roberts. Wallen's next match wasn't as easy. She and Fitzgerald fought to double hill, before a Fitzgerald scratch with two balls on the table, allowed Wallen to clear and advance to the finals. She was met by McCormick, who'd eliminated Coyle 7-2. April completed her run with a 7-5 victory over McCormick, to claim the event title and the top spot in the current tour rankings.
 
Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked room owner Amy Poulter and her staff, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth Satellite Tour, and Boynton Billiards.

Fifth Hunter Classics Stop, Stops at Pool Sharks in Las Vegas

Ying-Ya Lin, Joe Cannella and Susan Mello

45 women came to compete at Pool Sharks in Las Vegas, NV September 8-9,2001.  20 of these women were in contention for the WPBA Qualifier, and Ying-Ya came out on top winning the event and the qualifier.  Women came from Texas, Arizona, California, Missouri, Minnesota, Taiwan, Florida, Washington, Colorado and of course Nevada.
 
Wes Hunter donated another beautiful Hunter Classics Custom Cue worth a whopping $2,400 this time!  This spectacular cue has a tiger maple forearm with 6 ebony points, a tiger maple butt with ebony band, black and light blue veneers and stitch rings.  Ebony and ivory inlays with a black with white linen wrap complemented the cue.  Congratulations to Clint Smith from Westminster, CO who won the cue that everyone wanted to win.
 
The Hunter Classics Tour would like to thank Joe Cannella and John Kutcha who were great hosts for this event, showing the ladies a good time in their spacious pool room.  The last three matches were held in the "pit" of the pool room, which was one table, on sunken ground, surrounded by four rails of fans.  Thank you also to Thumbs for refereeing and Al Lawrence for running the board.  Summer and Hector worked behind the bar for us ladies.  And we can't forget the hard work of Susan Conlee, our local representative, who worked diligently getting the stop ready.  Thanks to Debra Aarens-Cerchi, a local Las Vegas artist and great player, who donated a pool/Shakespeare poster which was won by Joe LeBeau (you can purchase the same painting in the new Meuller catalog that will be coming out soon).
 
After the smoke cleared on Saturday, 12 women came back for the fight on Sunday.  On the winners side, Susan Mello (from Arizona) was playing Mary Olson (from Seattle) and Katie Moses (from Las Vegas) was playing Ying-Ya Lin (from Taiwan).  Eventually, it would be Mary and Ying-Ya playing for the hot seat.  On the one-loss side, Brenda Plantz was playing Melissa Morris (who had just come down on Saturday after playing in the Albuquerque WPBA pro event) and Kristin Haney was playing Gail Lave.  The other four ladies playing on the one-loss side were Kim Shaw versus Angel Paglia and Jenny Lee versus Jean Vaillancourt.  Coming in 7/8 was Brenda Plantz and Jenny Lee, coming in 5th/6th was Gail Lave and Kim Shaw.  The 4th and 3rd places were earned respectively by Katie Moses and Mary Olson.
 
Gail Lave and Brenda Plantz went hill-hill in a match to determine not only who continued in the tournament, but also who the new Tour point leader would be.  Gail Lave won the match and is now in first place by 1 point.  Brenda is in second place with Leslie Rogers close behind in third.
 
Ying-Ya defeated Jane Fujinaga 7-5, Summer Gage 7-3, Angel Paglia 7-4, Gail Lave 7-1, Katie Moses 7-5 and then Mary Olson 7-5 for the hot seat.  Ying-Ya waited for Susan Mello to come through the one-loss side.
 
Susan Mello's road to the finals was defeating J'Lene Barnes 7-2, Norma Deitz 7-6, Debra Aarens-Cerchri 7-6 and Kim Shaw 7-4 before she was defeated by Mary Olson 5-7.  Then Susan defeated Gail Lave 7-6, Katie Moses 7-5 and Mary Olson 9-2 before playing Ying-Ya in the finals.  This match would be one race to 11 with Ying-Ya winning 11-2, collecting $750 and the WPBA Qualifier and Susan Mello placing second and collecting $575.
 
The always exciting second chance tournament, this time with 19 ladies, was being held at the same time on Sunday with Debra Aarens-Cerchi from Vegas coming in 1st, Leslie Rogers from Texas coming in 2nd and Helene Caukin from Florida coming in 3rd.
 
Thanks to Julie Stephenson, Lucille Donahue and Melinda Bailey who helped run this stop and thanks again to Wes Hunter for his continued support of this tour!
 
Come visit us at our next stop at G-Cue Billiards in Round Rock, TX (outside of Austin) October 13-14 and visit us on the web for all information: www.hunterclassics.com.  for more pictures from this tournament, please click here.