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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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“Kwikfire” goes undefeated to win second straight WPBA title

Kelly Fisher

Fresh off her undefeated win two weeks ago at the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic in Minnesota, where she faced Allison Fisher for the first time in a final match since 2016, Kelly Fisher came to the CSI/Predator US Pro Billiard Series’ Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, held this past weekend (March 31-April 3) and went undefeated a second time to capture her second straight WPBA title. Though Allison Fisher was, once again, ‘in the house,’ the two did not meet up at this latest event. Allison was eliminated in the opening round of the single-elimination final phase to which they’d both advanced. The event drew 64 entrants to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was divided into two phases; an opening, 64-entrant, double-elimination Phase 1, followed by a 16-entrant, single-elimination Phase 2 that eventually crowned Kelly as the champion. The format was best-two-out-of-three races to 4. If the competitors were tied after two matches, a “spot shootout’ followed to determine the winner.

Kelly, who was in a 16-player, Phase 1 bracket that included eventual runner-up, Brittany Bryant, advanced to be among the eight winners’ side entrants in Phase 2 without having to play a third match. She played a total of 27 games against three opponents in Phase 1 and gave up only three of them, downing Sarah Kapeller (4-0, 4-1), Ashley Burrows (4-0, 4-0) and Cathy Metzinger (4-1, 4-1). To join Kelly in advancement to Phase 2, Bryant, in the meantime, had to play 44 games and lost 18 of them. She got by Anna Riegler and junior competitor Savannah Easton, both 4-2, 4-2, before facing Jennifer Baretta, who won the opening set 2-4. Bryant came back to win the second set and the “spot shootout,” both double hill.

Angela Ticoalu got by Jeannie Seaver, Nicole Keeney and Woojin Lee with an aggregate score of 24-15 to qualify for Phase 2, as did Susan Williams from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket. Williams sent June Maiers, Vang Bui Xuan and Joanne Ashton to the loss side to join Ticoalu in the winners’ side advancement to Phase 2.

Allison Fisher chalked up an even more impressive Phase 1 than Kelly had. She, too, advanced to Phase 2 without having to play a third match against any of her three opponents, downing Susan Wilbur, Veronique Menard and Naomi Williams and giving up only two racks (to Menard, in their second race-to-4). Kyoko Sone joined Allison in advancement to Phase 2 from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket, downing Sandy Badger, 13-year-old junior competitor Sofia Mast and Amalia Matas Heredia.

Rounding out the field of eight winners’ side competitors to advance to Phase 2 were Jasmin Ouschan and Line Kjorsvik. Ouschan got by two of her opponents without having to play a “spot shootout” third match, downing Tamami Okuda 4-2, 4-1 and Beth Fondell 4-1, 4-2, before splitting her first two against Mary Tam 1-4, 4-3. Ouschan won the shootout 3-2 to advance. Kjorsvik did not play a third, tie-breaking “spot shootout” against any of her first three opponents either, joining Ouschan in advancement after defeating Gigi Callejas (4-1, 4-2), Camille Campbell (4-2, 4-0) and Melissa Helland (4-0, 4-1).

After five losers’ side rounds, Kaylee McIntosh, Woojin Lee, Angela Janic, Heather Cortez, Melissa Helland, Mary Tam, Amalia Matas Heredia and Ashley Burrows joined the eight winners’ side competitors in advancement to Phase 2, which in some ways, was notable for those left behind as much as for those who advanced. Among those who failed to make the cut were long-time WPBA veterans (in no particular order) Stephanie Mitchell, Teruko Cucculelli, Monica Webb, Jeannie Seaver, Liz Cole, Kim Newsome, Emily Duddy, Dawn Hopkins, Loree Jon Brown, Janet Atwell and Caroline Pao. It should also be noted that while both 13-year-old junior competitors, Sofia Mast and Skylar Hess, failed to advance, one (Mast) fell to an opponent (Angela Janic) who was among the final 16 and the other (Hess) was eliminated by someone (Cucculelli) who arguably should have been. It was the first appearance for these two extraordinarily talented and professionally-composed young women and WPBA competitors should be on notice that these two will be back and barring any unforeseen life changes, for many years to come.

The Final Four in this event competed in plenty of time for those so inclined to turn their attention to the NCAA Final Four, which got started well after the four ladies in Vegas got underway at about 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was an International Final Four, which was absent representation from the United States.  Kelly Fisher, representing the UK was matched up against Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan. Spain’s Amalia Matas Heredia, who, in February, chalked up her first win on the European Ladies’ Tour, faced Canada’s Brittany Bryant.

Kelly Fisher had kept her no-third-match streak going through the opening round against Heather Cortez, whom she defeated 4-1, 4-0 before drawing Angeline Ticoalu, who took the opening set against Fisher 4-2. Fisher came back to win the second set 4-1 and then, in something of a nail-biter, the “spot shootout” 6-5. Ouschan, who got by Kaylee McIntosh 4-0, 4-1 in the opening round of Phase 2 had her own nail-biter in the second round, where she won two straight double hill fights against Kyoko Sone to draw Kelly.

Advancing to the other semifinal, Bryant had played 24 games against two opponents, eliminating Woojin Lee 4-2, 4-1 and then Ashley Burrows 4-2, 4-3 to advance. Heredia proved to be Allison Fisher’s downfall in the opening round of Phase 2. Fisher took the opening set, double hill, but Heredia came back to win the second set and the “shootout,” double hill. Heredia went on to down Mary Tam 4-1, 4-3 to pick up Bryant.

Kelly Fisher downed Ouschan 4-2, 4-1 in their semifinal matchup. She was joined in the finals by Bryant, who’d defeated Heredia 4-2, 2-4 and 4-2 in the “shootout.” 

It’s not hard to imagine Fisher’s “I’ve got this,” and Bryant’s “Uh, oh, trouble right here in Sin City” when Fisher shut Bryant out in the opening set of the final. It’s also not hard to imagine the spectator’s rooting for Bryant in the second set when she and Kelly finished the 6th game, tied at 3 apiece. Fisher, though, completed her undefeated run by winning the second set to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, as well as sponsors and partners the WPBA, Alfa Coin, CueSports International, Predator Group, Kamui, Seybert’s, Medalla Light, Rums of Puerto Rico, BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League.

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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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Linares and Mills go head-to-head in season opener of Sunshine State Predator Pro-Am Tour

Raymond Linares, Donny Mills and Rich Schau

Raymond Linares recorded his best earnings year at the tables in 2021. His second-best occurred 10 years ago, one year before he won the American College Unions International Collegiate Men’s Championship in 2013. He’s started 2022 by chalking up his first tour victory this past weekend (Feb. 5-6) on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour’s season opener. Opposing him in both the hot seat and finals was Donnie Mills, who also had a good 2021 at the tables, although not even close to his best earnings year, which happened in the same year (2009) that Linares first started showing up on payout lists of Florida tournaments like the Seminole Tour. They’re familiar combatants on the Florida felt (to others and each other) and graced spectators at their most recent battles for a regional tour title with a good show. The $2,300-added event drew 63 entrants to Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL.

Linares opened his bid for the title by giving up only seven racks to his first four opponents;  Ronnie Mercer (1), Manuel Montas (0), Rich Schau (4) and Michael McGuire (2). He advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Konner McFayden. Mills, in the meantime, gave up just a single rack to three of his first four opponents; one each to James Green, Nathan Rose and Marcus Murillo. In the second round, though, Mike Delawder had given him the proverbial ‘run for his money,’ chalking up six racks against him and forcing a deciding game that did eventually advance Mills to a winners’ side semifinal against Jerry Arvelaez. 

Linares advanced to the hot seat match 7-3 over McFayden and was joined by Mills, who sent Arvelaez to the loss side 7-4. Mills claimed the hot seat with a surprising (to a few) 7-3 win over Linares and waited for him to come back from the semifinals.

On the loss side, McFayden picked up Rich Schau, who’d followed his third-round loss to Linares with three loss-side wins that had recently eliminated Marcus Murillo 7-2 and Robert Batson 7-1. Arvelaez drew a rematch versus Trenton White, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the third round 7-4 and who’d just chalked up loss-side wins #3 and #4 against Bobby Garza and Han Berber, both 7-3, to earn the rematch.

Schau downed McFayen 7-1, as White was wreaking his vengeance on Arvelaez with his sixth in a row, 7-2. Schau stopped White’s loss-side streak at that sixth win, defeating him 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Schau and Linares battled to double hill in the semifinals before Linares prevailed for a second shot at Mills.

In the finals that followed, Linares jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, which, after watching Mills chalk up the rack that made it 5-2, prompted stream commentator and event competitor, Bobby Garza to note that Mills seems to have a preference to starting out slow.

“I think (Mills) likes to start out from behind,” Garza said. “He finds his stroke midway, catches up and then destroys his opponent.”

Just after the midway mark of the two-hour match, Mills chalked up his first two-in-a-row and seemed to be making Garza’s point, as he pulled within two at 6-4. Mills made it three-in-a-row to draw within one at 6-5, they traded racks to 7-6 and then began a wild rack #14 that featured Mills’ attempt at a 5-9 combination, resting near a corner pocket. The 9-ball didn’t drop, but the 5-ball went three rails and did. Shortly afterwards, Mills shot at the 7-ball and watched it rattle in the hole. He then watched Linares step to the table and take aim at the same 7-ball and a clear opportunity to finish the rack and reach the hill first. The 7-ball didn’t drop, but the cue ball took a ‘cross country’ trip to the opposite end of the table and did. Mills didn’t miss the three balls left and it was tied at 7-7.

Mills took his first lead in the match, winning rack #15, but Linares roared back to chalk up rack #16 with a 5-9 combination. Linares had the break and took full advantage of the opportunity. He dropped three balls on the break and ran the table to claim his first 2022 title on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour.

In the event that featured three junior competitors, seven ladies, and six USAPL players that attended at a reduced entry fee, the top junior finisher, Trenton White and the top lady finisher, Jeannie Seaver, took home $50 each. 

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose and Lyshia Westbrook-Del Rio and their Stroker’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Kamui Brand, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, AZBilliards, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, Central Florida USA Pool League, Jamison Daniels, and Eastern Billiards. Janene thanked Bobby for providing the Lights Out Streaming, sponsored by Jacksonville Roofing USA and Andrew Cleary for his graphics. The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 5-6, will be the $1,500-added Open 9-Ball Bar Box Classic, hosted by Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café in Winter Park, FL.

Sofia Mast comes from the loss side, meets and beats Mitchell in Tiger Florida Tour finals

Sofia Mast

“I WON!!!” she declared on her Facebook page, with all three exclamation points. “Now, I pass out.”

Thirteen-year-old Sofia Mast of Land ‘o Lakes, FL, fresh off her victory in the 13 & Under division of the Junior International Championships’ 2nd season opener, less than two weeks ago (Jan. 14-16), competed on the ladies’ Tiger Florida Tour this past weekend (Jan. 22-23). Not only did she come from the loss side to qualify for the eight-player, single elimination phase of the event, advance to the finals and then defeat WPBA veteran competitor Stephanie Mitchell, but in her first loss-side match, she defeated another WPBA tour veteran and the Florida Tiger Tour’s 2021 Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver. The $500-added, 2022 season opener of the Florida Tiger Tour drew 32 entrants to Brewlands South in Lakeland, FL.

Asked if there was anything about Mast’s performance that stood out in her mind, Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth-sponsored runner-up, Stephanie Mitchell had to laugh.

“Mostly,” she said, “that if I missed, she didn’t.”

It was, of course, not Sofia Mast’s ‘first rodeo.’

“I went to my first Tiger Florida Tour (stop) when I was 11, back in October, 2019,” she wrote. “My Dad thought I could get better if I played competitively rather than playing in leagues.”

“My mom,” she added, “thought he was crazy to have a kid play against grown ladies and think I could win. I dreamt about one day winning the whole thing (and) my dream started to feel more real as I kept playing in many of their events and placing closer and closer to first.”

“My dream,” she went on to say, “is now a reality, (so) never give up on your dream!”

This past weekend, Michel Monk kind of rattled the cage of those dreams, briefly, when she earned the distinction of being the only competitor to defeat Mast in the second round of play 7-5. Undeterred by setbacks, large or small, Mast persevered to win two on the loss side; the 5-2 win over Jeannie Seaver and subsequent shutout of Erica Pennington, which put her (Mast) into the single elimination phase against, first, fellow junior competitor, Kaylee McIntosh. 

Mitchell, in the meantime, had worked her way through her first three opponents during the double-elimination phase (Deborah Gerken, Kimberly Housman & Sonya Chbeeb) to arrive at her first opponent among the final eight, Helen Caukin. In the remaining two, single-elimination matches, Vanessa Seaver (Jeannie Seaver’s older sister) squared off against Jessica Barnes, while newcomer Xare Qualis faced Tracy Mullen.

Mast advanced 7-5 over McIntosh, Mitchell got by Caukin 7-1, Seaver downed Barnes, double hill and Mullen eliminated Qualis 7-4. And then there were four; Mast and Vanessa Seaver, Mitchell and Mullen.

Mast shut the elder Seaver sister out and advanced to the finals. Mitchell joined her after dispatching Mullen 7-4.

Things did not go well for Mitchell in the early stages of the final race to 7, but she rallied in rack #9.

“She was (on the hill) at 6 and I was at 2,” said Mitchell, “and I won the next three.”

In her effort to force a double-hill, single-game showdown by winning the 12th rack, Mitchell made an unforced error in what proved to be the final rack and missed her shot at the 5-ball. Mast wasted little time stepping to the table and closing out her first victory on the Tiger Florida Tour.

“She had really good composure,” noted Mitchell of her opponent, adding that even in ‘safety play,’ Mast would “kick it and hit almost anything. She played a few safes back that worked for her and then she’d run out.”

“I played well,” said Mitchell of her own single-loss performance. “I made almost everything I shot at and I’m proud of my own performance.”

“At 1 a.m.,” she added, “I found a second gear, but it was a little too late.”

Mast posted her “I WON!!!” notice on Facebook at 1:52 a.m.

Tiger Florida Tour director, Mimi McAndrews, who’d noticed Mast’s “determination,” even back when she’d first begun to compete on the tour, had nothing but the highest praise for the junior competitors’ skills, as well as her general demeanor at the tables. 

“She had a lot of focus, even back then,” said McAndrews. “A lot of concentration and a decent stroke. We were just impressed that she was coming out to play. She kept coming back and has gotten progressively better. Nobody expected that she’d get so good; not just in making balls, but in shape (for the next shot).”

“If you took a video without showing the player,” she added, “you’d never know that it was a child.”

They call her the “Pink Dagger,” which, even on the face of it, is an image that’s hard to wrap your head around. But it encapsulates the skills, determination, focus and an even more astounding ability to perform like an adult, while maintaining a grip on her childhood. This is no grim-faced teenager, so dedicated to the application of specific skills, that any semblance of a child has been lost. Sofia Mast, who is sponsored by Predator Cues, Jam Up Apparel and Dunnski Dungeon, is still a kid and enjoying every minute of it. So are those who are watching her mature. She’ll be competing in the 2nd stop on the JIC series next month (Feb. 11-13) at Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL. You might want to consider getting there early. 

Tiger Florida Tour director Mimi McAndrews thanked Larry Walthall, Mike Dauskart and their staff for hosting the event and their continued support of the tour. They also thanked the 32 players who came out to compete in the 2022 season opener and Jerry Sotelo and Josh Arnold for their invaluable help running the Florida Tiger Tour events. Thanks were also extended to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing and Events and to title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products, Brutal Game Gear, Stitch It To Me, Boynton Billiards, AZBilliards, and new sponsors Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth for their support. Congratulations were extended to Jeannie Seaver for winning the tour championship for the third year in a row; the only player to have done so in the history of the tour since 2009.

The next stop on the Florida Tiger Tour, scheduled for February 26, and likely to feature another appearance by the “Pink Dagger,” will be hosted by Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL. 

Nicolle Cuellar Takes Tiger Florida Tour Stop #3

Michell Monk, Nicolle Cuellar and Kaylee McIntosh

TFT veteran Nicolle Cuellar reminded everyone that she is a force to be reckoned with when she won the Tiger Florida Tour Stop #3 at Brewlands Bar & Billiards – North in Lakeland, Florida.  Cuellar has consistently finished in the top four, and seemed to be in a dry spell since her last tournament victory.  However, this was Cuellar’s night as she went undefeated to take the win over rising star Kaylee McIntosh, and ending Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver’s three-event winning streak along the way.

Both Cuellar and McIntosh made it to the Final Board undefeated.  McIntosh sent three players west, Erica Pennington 7-2, Deb Teichert 7-2 and Vanessa Seaver 7-6 to get to the Final Board.  Cuellar got past Mimi McAndrews and Jeanie Seaver in two double-hill matches and defeated Michell Monk 7-5.  Seaver and Monk made it back to the redraw, with Monk’s win over Teichert 5-2, and Seaver getting past Stephanie Mitchell 5-1, new-comer Leigh-Ann Bove 5-0 and sis’ Vanessa Seaver 5-3.  McIntosh made the final match winning over Seaver 7-3 and Cuellar overtook Monk 7-4.  Cuellar and McIntosh advanced to the Finals with Cuellar playing almost flawless and winning 7-2.

This event was a Qualifier for the WPBA Sondheim Invitational in Fairfield, Iowa in September. McIntosh won the Qualifier with her second-place finish and great play all day long.  We wish her the best as she plays her first WPBA event in September.

Thanks to owner Larry Walthall, owner of Brewlands Bar & Billiards North for hosting this Qualifier and the hospitality of Manager Doug Barriger and staff!  As always thanks to Jerry Sotelo and Josh Arnold for running a smooth tournament.   Thank you also to Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour adding money to the Qualifier spot.  Also, continued thanks to title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products, and sponsors Boynton Billiards, AZ Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Stitch It To Me and Brutal Game Gear for their support of the TFT!

 Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007959257491.

 

The next scheduled event is the Annual “Cues for the Cure”  breast cancer awareness fundraiser on Oct. 3rd at The Corner Pocket in Largo, Florida.   

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

Sheerman and Seaver Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles

Jason Sheerman

Jason Sheerman of Port St Lucie, Fla., is the 2020-2021 U.S. Amateur Champion. Sheerman went undefeated through the 117-player field in his first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance.

The U.S. Amateur Championship was held March 17-21 at Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., and was presented by the American Poolplayers Association.

After falling behind 8-1 in the Championship Final, Sheerman battled back to defeat Daniel Gambill of Hickory, N.C., 11-9.

“It was super tough, I don’t know how I did it.  In my last couple matches, I was dealing with a deficit, I just tried to keep my head straight, focus on the shot at hand and do what I had to do to get out,” said Sheerman.

Sheerman sent Gambill to the one-loss side of the bracket in the hot-seat match, but Gambill forced a rematch with a victory over defending champion Blake Baker in the semifinal round.  Gambill earned his second Runner-Up finish in 13 U.S. Amateur Championship appearances.

Baker dropped his first match of the tournament to Ernesto Bayaua, and battled all the way back to the semifinal round for a 3rd Place finish.

Sheerman’s name will not only be added to the coveted Larry Hubbart trophy, but he’ll move on to compete in a Pro Event in 2022 and will return to defend his title next year.

Jeannie Seaver

Jeannie Seaver of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is the 2020-2021 Womens U.S. Amateur Champion. Seaver went undefeated through the 47-player field in her first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance.

“It was a very tough field. It’s a very prestigious title to win. A lot of the great players have won it, and now I’m one of them,” said Seaver after her victory.

Seaver defeated fellow Floridian Julia Sheerman of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., 9-3 in the Championship final held at Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla.

“The first time we played, she crushed me in 8-Ball. Somehow I got lucky and won a few more than Julia in that final match,” said Seaver.

Seaver sent Sheerman to the one-loss side of the bracket in the hot-seat match, but Sheerman forced a rematch with a victory over Deanna Foster in the semifinal round.

Sheerman finished Runner-Up in her first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance.  Her deep run in the tournament coincided nicely with her husband, Jason’s, victory in the Open Division.

Foster finished in 3rd Place, her best U.S. Amateur Championship finish ever.

Seaver also moves on to compete in a Pro Event in 2022 and will return to defend her title next year.  Her name will, of course, join a handful of others forever featured on the Womens U.S. Amateur Championship trophy.

Both championship matches can now be viewed for free on the APA YouTube channel at youtube.com/apaleagues in addition to dozens of other matches that were lived-streamed from this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

The entry window for the 2022 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, PoolDawg and Valley-Dynamo.

To register for next year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, visit https://usam.poolplayers.com/. For more information on the American Poolplayers Association, visit https://poolplayers.com/.

Jeannie Seaver Three-For-Three On The Tiger Florida Tour

Stix Billiards Manager Josh Maville, Debbie Hake, Jessica Human and Jeannie Seaver

An AMAZING event on Saturday with 43 women from as far away as Jacksonville and Miami competing at the pro-am Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar, Florida. Even more amazing was Jeannie Seaver and Jessica Human still standing at 5:30 in the morning! Both Seaver and Human found the energy to keep on shooting with Human making an impressive effort to end Seaver’s winning streak. However, Seaver wasn’t going to be dethroned no matter the time of day, night or even just before sunrise. 

The women played a modified double-elimination format with four from each side re-drawing into a final single-elimination board of eight.  The event saw a few upsets, with Nicolle Cuellar, Dawn Logan and Christina Moxley leaving the event early.  Jeri Bovette knocked out Stephanie Mitchell on the Final Board, and Seaver sent sis- Vanessa Seaver home.  But the field was strong with some of the TFT’s newer members rising towards the top. Debbie Hake’s third-place finish showed that she is a new force to be reckoned with on the TFT.  Other women played their best event with Danielle Fee and Chris Baumgart making the Final Board. Also in the money, Shanelle Loraine, Tracy Mullen, Sonya Chbeeb and Lisa Perez. 

Human’s game was strong all day and it showed early the next morning. Despite losing her first match to Seaver, Human fought back to get a rematch with Seaver in the Finals.  However, Seaver proved once again being the top TFT player is no fluke.  Even Seaver’s five-in-the-morning game is impressive as she stayed ahead of Human to take the early morning win.  Kudos to Human, too – she played great. This was Human’s best finish so far on the TFT, keeping it going until just before sunrise.  We expect to see more great finishes from Human.  For Seaver, this win was her third straight win since the TFT resumed play last October.  

A huge thank you to Tom George and Stix Billiards for hosting our first event at Stix! The players loved the room and had a great time! Thanks also to Kathy King for her assistance in hosting our event, Manager Josh Maville and the Stix Billiards staff for their wonderful hospitality! And a huge thanks to Jerry Sotelo, Josh Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell for their invaluable help with running the tournament with such a large field! 

Thank you to Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour for sponsoring the APA players added money and adding additional money to the main prize fund.  The players also raised money to donate to the Jeanette Lee Go Fund Me page, wearing the Black Widow stickers complimentary of Sessions.

Also, our appreciation to our title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour and players.  Thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support, and new sponsors Stitch It To Me and Brutal Game Gear.  Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007959257491.

 

Seaver goes undefeated in season-opening tournament on Sunshine State Pro Am Ladies Tour

Jeannie Seaver

Jeannie Seaver has been very active during the pandemic. She’d finished first and third on two stops on the Tiger Florida early in 2020; the win in January and the third place finish in March. She then cashed in two of the WPBA’s Ghost Challenges; 4th place in June and then, third place in the Ghost Tournament of Champions in September. Both of those ghost events were won by Kelly Fisher, who seemed to find a ‘home’ playing against pool’s ‘ghost.’ In October, Seaver won the Tiger Florida Tour’s 12th annual Cues for the Cure event, a breast cancer fundraiser that she has won the last five out of six years (’15-’17, ’19 & ’20). And going into the last weekend  of February, 2021, she’d already won a stop on the Tiger Florida tour and finished 9th at a stop on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour.

In the first of what Tour Directors Janene Phillips and Nicolle Cuellar are planning on being four events this year, the Sunshine State Pro Am Ladies Tour held an Open tournament on that last weekend in February (Feb. 27-28) at Brewlands in North Lakeland, FL. Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to claim her second 2021 title. The $450-added event drew 26 entrants to Brewlands.

Seaver faced separate challenges in the hot seat and finals of this event. After an opening round bye, Seaver defeated both Sherie Hensley and Sonya Chbeeb 7-3, which set her up to face Candice Garcia in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Nicolle Cuellar, in the meantime, while maintaining her co-tour directing role in the event, downed Lisa Anderson 7-5, survived a double hill fight against Julia Sheerman and dispatched Katie Bowse to the loss side 7-1, to face Kaylee McIntosh in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Seaver advanced to the hot seat match with her third straight 7-3 win, this time over Garcia. Cuellar joined her with a 7-3 win, as well; hers, over McIntosh. Seaver claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Cuellar and waited on what turned out to be the return of McIntosh.

On the loss side, McIntosh picked up Sofia Mast, who’d been sent over in a winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Garcia and then defeated Cami Becker, double hill and Alissia Alvarez 5-2.  Ness Seaver, who’d also lost a winners’ side quarterfinal match, to McIntosh, defeated Ashley Delaney 5-2 and Katie Bowse 5-3.

The quarterfinals set up as a rematch. Ness Seaver eliminated Garcia 5-3, as McIntosh downed Mast 6-1. McIntosh was apparently on a roll, because she not only defeated Ness Seaver a second time, she shut her out. McIntosh completed her three-match trek on the loss side with another rematch, a solid 5-1 victory over Cuellar in the semifinals, and an aggregate loss-side score of 16-2. 

McIntosh carried that momentum with her into the finals against Jeannie Seaver. The two battled to double hill before Seaver completed her undefeated run to claim the event title.

Phillips and Cuellar thanked the staff and crew at Brewlands for their hospitality, and gave a shout out to Central Florida USA Pool League, Poison Cues (for cue donation), Stitch It To Me Embroidery and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Ladies Tours is yet to be determined. Stay tuned and check the tour’s calendar for information about the exact date.

Jeannie Seaver Takes Tiger Florida Tour Kick-Off At Brewlands

Stephanie Mitchell, Jeannie Seaver and Sonya Chbeeb

Thirty-six players kicked off the 2021 season of the Tiger Florida Tour women’s 9-Ball event at Brewlands Bar & Billiards South in Lakeland, Florida. Tour Stop #1 drew several new and seasoned players of all skill levels. At the end, Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to win Tour Stop #1!

The women played a modified double-elimination format with four from the one-loss side drawing back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board, race to seven. Seaver, Stephanie Mitchell, Nicolle Cuellar and Sonya Chbeeb made the Final Board from the winners side. Jeri Bouvette, Dawn Logan, Debbie Hakey and 12-year old Sofia Mast fought back from the one-loss side to make the Final Board.

Seaver played 7-4 matches against newcomer Dawn Ward, veteran Jessica Human and newcomer Debbie Hakey to get to the Final Board. Once there, Seaver matched up against Hakey a second time ending the day for Hakey. Cuellar rolled past Vanessa Seaver, Dawn Logan and Sofa Mast, playing Logan again in the Final Board, sending Logan home this time. Mitchell breezed past newcomer Deanna Laney, Gianna Fiore, newcomer Kim Austin and Lisa Perez. Mitchell sent Bouvette home in the first round on the Final Board. Chbeeb sent Christina Moxley, Michelle Mize, Jeri Bouvette to the one-loss side and then Sofia Mast home in the quarter-finals. Chbeeb got past Mitchell in the Semi-Finals, and after Seaver sent Cuellar home, Seaver played Chbeeb in the Finals with Seaver taking the win.

With all the great play, Sofia Mast stole the show, the youngest TFT member making it to the Final Board and in the money – at 12-years of age. Watch out for this one!

Thanks to all 36 players who came out to the season opener event! A huge thanks to room owner Larry Walthall for hosting our event again this year and his continued support of the TFT! Thanks to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events and staff for helping with the arrangements and making sure our event went off smoothly. Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products for their continued support of the Tour and players. Thanks also to returning sponsors Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support, and to our new sponsors, Stitch It to Me and Brutal Game Gear. Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007959257491

Tour Stop #2 is March 6, 2020 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar!  See you there!

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