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Molina Ortiz Over Cole for NWPA Win

TD Chris Rogers, Maryann McConnell, Liz Cole, Molina Ortíz, room manager Tammy Culbertson and room owner Vic Albertson.

The 2022 Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA) tour headed to Kennewick, Washington for Stop #2 at Player’s Sports Bar & Grill.

35 players traveled to eastern Washington to compete in this venue’s first Tour Stop. The game was alternate break 10-ball on 7 footers with a race of 6/6. Player turnout ranged from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and even drew British Columbians despite the distance. The tour continues to grow as we counted a few more new players at this stop.

Player’s Sports Bar & Grill proved to be an excellent venue. Room owner Vic Albertson graciously added $1,000 to the tour pot while manager Tammy and staff were very accommodating with setup and service. The players competed on 10 beautiful 7 ft diamonds with freshly cleaned Predator Arcos ballsets. John Scudder Diamond Table Sales was the tour’s livestream equipment sponsor.

Molina Ortíz picked up her second NWPA win in a thrilling final against fellow Portlander and multi-time tour champion Liz Cole. Ortíz came out strong on Day One. She went through the A side undefeated with a 6-1 win over Jeanne Christiansen, 6-0 against tour veteran Suzanne Smith and 6-1 over Andy Camping.

Liz Cole also made it through the first day unscathed. She started by winning 6-1 against Tammy Woollet, secured a tight 6-5 match against Regene Lane and ended with a strong 6-0 win over Celia Curry.

Vancouver WA’s Nicole Donisi stayed on the A side with 6-2 wins over both Joyce Robinson and Julie Fraser. Wapato’s Selena Polk proved stiffer competition with some impressive shotmaking, but Donisi moved on with a 6-5 win.

No stranger to tour stop wins, Tacoma’s Cindy Sliva made it to finals day with decisive 6-2 wins over both Elaine Eberly and Sheila Clark. Jessie Blayden of Puyallup, WA put up some resistance but Sliva prevailed 6-5 to join the others for Day 2.

Over on the B Side, Maryann McConnell of B.C. lost her first match to Idaho’s Sheila Clark. She was not deterred though, as she defeated Elaine Eberly 6-1, Donna Totten 6-1, Julie Fraser 6-1 and Celia Curry 6-3 to secure her Day 2 slot. Her fellow Canadian Kathie MacDonald had a similar path, losing 6-3 to Andy Camping in the first round but grinding out wins to make it through. She defeated Melinda Hoffman 6-3, Tammy Culberston 6-4, Regene Lane 6-5 and Selena Polk 6-1.

Andy Camping was knocked to the B side with a 6-1 loss to Ortíz but was able to defeat Sheila Clark 6-5 and move on. Jessie Blayden was downed 6-4 earlier by Cindy Sliva, but ground out a 6-4 win over Suzanne Smith to stay afloat into finals day.

Spectators at Players’ filtered in on Day 2 as the opening matches got started with Ortíz vs Donisi, Cole vs Sliva, Camping vs MacDonald and McConnell vs Blayden.

On the A side, Donisi and Ortíz started by exchanging racks. Ortíz attempted to gain the upper hand with safety play but Donisi hung on, kicking her way out and providing opportunities to secure herself another rack. However, Donisi wasn’t able to capitalize on further opportunities, giving away a few key racks. Ortíz’s composure and experience provided her a strong 6-2 win. Cole and Sliva met on the winners side as well and battled out a close match. Both players uncharacteristically hung a few game balls but it was Cole who prevailed with a 6-2 win.

Blayden had a gritty showing but was not able to stop seasoned player McConnell from a 6-2 win. Camping had beaten strong players the whole event but was eliminated by Kathie MacDonald, who worked her way to a 6-2 win, playing steady the whole way. Camping and Blayden finished 7-8th in the money.

Ortíz met Liz Cole next and was well warmed up on the stream table. Cole was not able to match Ortíz’s racks though she played well, and fell 6-3 to give Ortíz the hot seat. On the B side, Sliva lost to MacDonald in an excellent match with few mistakes. Playing strong the whole time, only one misstep by Sliva cost her two racks that made the difference. Donisi and McConnell matched up next and fought through several messy racks. However, McConnell had been picking up steam the whole tournament and found her groove. Donisi was eliminated in a 6-2 loss and finished 5/6th along with Sliva.

McConnell and MacDonald faced off next, but a few early 10s gave McConnell the advantage she needed to win 6-2 and leave MacDonald with 4th.

McConnell finally found resistance as Cole played an excellent match, leaving her few opportunities. Though she had won at their last WPBA meeting, this time it was Cole who handed her a 6-2 loss. McConnell finished 3rd and Cole moved on for a rematch with Ortíz.

A good crowd had gathered by now and the finalists provided an intense hill-hill battle for the audience. Both players exchanged racks early and were playing excellently. After a close match the whole way, one of Cole’s safeties went awry and Ortíz was able to gain a rack to make it 7-5. Cole was not done however and when Ortíz challenged her with the leave of a difficult cut shot table length down the rail, she nailed it. They exchanged a few more racks, bringing it to 8-8. The finals match was just one race to 9 and Ortíz broke the last rack well, running out the table for the win in an exciting match.

Robin Adams won the 2nd chance tournament, which had $200 additional added by the venue.
A big thank you to Player’s Sports Bar & Grill.

The next stop will be at Sam’s Billiards in Portland, OR on September 17th-18th. Watch a replay of the final on our youtube channel: “Northwest Women’s Pool Association.” Bracket & tour schedule can be found on our website at playnwpa.com.

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Ortiz goes undefeated to claim first 2022 title on Northwest Women’s Pool Association Tour

Chris Rogers (TD), Molina Ortiz and Stephanie Drakulic (Photo courtesy Sandro Menzel)

Youngest player to ever compete on NWPA Tour, 13-year-old Marissa Du, wins Second Chance 

Before this past weekend, the last time the women of the Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA) gathered was this past December when they met for a tournament in Everett, WA to celebrate the tour’s 20th anniversary. It was the one and only stop of what could, only by default, be called a season; in effect, a combination season opener and finale. Prior to that event, they’d held their last stop, at the same location, in February, 2020, in what was the only stop of that season, thanks to the pandemic.

Though plans were afoot last December to get back into stroke for a 2022 season, those plans didn’t reach fruition until this past weekend, July 9-10, when they gathered once again, this time at Legends Billiards in Beaverton, OR, for the first of five events scheduled through December. Attended by competitors from four states (OR, WA, CA and ID) and one Canadian Province (BC), a show of hands yielded information that just a little under one-third of the entrants (15) were brand new players on the tour, including the winner, Molina Ortiz, who moved to Portland, OR two years ago from New York. Her FargoRate of 626 made her the highest-rated competitor in the third season-opening tournament in a row. In the finals, Ortiz downed the NWPA’s current President, Stephanie Drakulic, who was the tour’s runner-up to Liz Cole in standings for the two years prior to the unexpected hiatus. This past weekend’s $1,000-added event drew 47 entrants to Legends Billiards.

Ortiz and Drakulic met twice in this one; hot seat and finals. Though the tour’s two champions over the last five years were on hand – Liz Cole; ’20, ’19, ’18 and ’16 and Suzanne Smith; ’17 – Ortiz didn’t get the opportunity to compete against either of them. Smith was defeated in the opening round of play by Marian Poole, who advanced to meet Ortiz in the third round. Cole was sent to the loss side in the second round by Jeanne Christiansen, who was defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Melissa Rushton, who advanced to meet Ortiz in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Drakulic experienced a kind of roller-coaster trip to the other winners’ side semifinal, winning her opener against Stephanie Lyon by shutout, her second-round match versus Andi Beebe, double hill and a 6-1 victory over Angele Silveira, to draw Kathie MacDonald in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Ortiz and Rushton battled to double hill before Ortiz advanced to the hot seat match. Drakulic downed MacDonald 6-4 to join her. Ortiz claimed the hot seat 6-3 and waited on Drakulic’s return from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Smith was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would end in the quarterfinals. She chalked up loss-side wins #5 and #6 against Donna Kingsbury 6-4 and Kat Guest 6-1 to draw Rushton. Cindy Sliva was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had begun with the elimination of Liz Cole 6-4 in the third loss-side round and had recently eliminated Regene Lane and Jeanne Christiansen, both 6-1, to pick up MacDonald.

MacDonald stopped Sliva’s loss-side run 6-1 and, in the quarterfinals, faced Smith, who’d given up only a single rack to Rushton. Smith and MacDonald locked up in a double hill battle in those quarterfinals, eventually won by MacDonald, who advanced to her re-match against Drakunic in the semifinals.

Drakulic defeated MacDonald a second time, 6-3, to advance to her rematch against Ortiz in the finals. The final match came within a game of going double hill, but Ortiz edged out in front of Drakulic near the end to claim the NWPA’s first 2022 title.

As noted, 13-year-old Marissa Du from Seattle, won the event’s 12-entrant Second Chance tournament. Du is one of 16 girls competing in the 13 & Under Girls Division of the Junior International Championships’ second season. She traveled to Aiken, SC in March to compete in the third stop of that season, finishing in the tie for 5th/6th.

NWPA President Stephanie Drakulic and Tour director, Chris Rogers thanked Legends Billiards owner, Michelle Bean and its GM, Dave McDowell for their hospitality, as well as John Scudder, Diamond Pool Tables’ Northwest representative, for payment of the live-streaming equipment, instrumental in NWPA’s live-streaming of events on YouTube. Live stream information can be found at playnwpa.com/livestream. Sandro Menzel is the NWPA’s official photographer.

The next stop on the NWPA Tour, scheduled for the weekend of August 27-28, will be hosted by Players Pub & Grill in Kennewick, WA.

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Keeney outlasts Coffman to win Women’s event of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships

Nicole Keeney with Men’s winner Skyler Woodward

Either way, one of the two finalists in the Women's division of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships, held on the weekend of March 11-13, was going to chalk up her first 2016 title. Nicole Keeney and Mary Coffman, both looking for that win, squared off in the hot seat match, and twice in the finals. Keeney took two out of three to claim the title. The $5,000-added event  drew 37 women to the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon.
 
After being awarded an opening round bye, Keeney advanced through Carissa Biggs, Amanda Pulley and Heather Cortez to draw Kim Jones in a winners' side semifinal. Coffman, also awarded an opening round bye, defeated Melyssa Chasteen, survived a double hill match against Jeanne Christiansen, and defeated Carla Jean Beers, to pick up Cynthia Sliva in the other winners' side semifinal. Coffman downed Sliva 5-2, and was joined in the hot seat match by Keeney, who'd survived a double hill fight against Jones. Keeney took the opening round of her three against Coffman in convincing fashion, shutting her out to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Sliva drew Liz Lovely, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the quarterfinals. Lovely defeated Cortez 5-3 and Biggs 5-1, to reach Sliva. Jones picked up Beers, who'd gotten by Linda Carter in a shutout and defeated Susie O'Conner 5-3. Jones survived a double hill match versus Beers, and met up in the quarterfinals, with Lovely, who'd eliminated Sliva 5-3.
 
Jones ended Lovely's loss-side streak 5-3, only to be turned away in a double hill fight, by Coffman in the semifinals. The battle for the first 2016 title was on.
 
Coffman immediately made it a compelling story by bouncing back from her shutout defeat in the hot seat match to defeat Keeney 5-2 in the opening set of the true double elimination final. Keeney rallied in the second set, defeating Coffman by the same 5-2 score, to claim the event title.