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Biggs goes undefeated to create three-way tie for top spot in NWPA Tour rankings

In the end, it came down to dogged determination, rather than any dazzling display of superior skills. After a three-hour-plus final match, at the third stop on the Northwest Women's Pool Association Tour, on the weekend of May 16-17, Carissa Biggs, acting on an unforced error by her opponent, Natalie Seal, dropped the final 9-ball to chalk up an undefeated run that created a three-way tie for first place in the tour's rankings. The $500-added event, live-streamed throughout the weekend by Rail2Rail Productions, drew 26 entrants to Ballad Town Billiards in Salem, OR.
When the tournament began, Suzanne Smith sat atop the tour rankings, with Liz Cole and Jing Liu behind her, separated by a total of 80 points (Liu was the top-ranked player in 2014, with Cole second). Biggs and Seal, who would become the event's finalists, were in fifth and 14th place, respectively. Smith and Liu finished in the tie for fifth, adding 80 points to their ranking totals, while Cole finished fourth, adding 100 points to hers. Biggs' victory added 200 points to her total, while Seal added 160 as the runner-up. This created a three-way tie among Smith, Biggs and Cole, with Smith retaining the official top spot by virtue of a larger cash total in winnings. 
Biggs and Seal would meet twice; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Biggs advanced through Denice White, Adrianne Beach (who would be in the live stream broadcast booth at the end), and Tricia Heintz to meet Julie Valdez in one of the winners' side semifinals. Seal, winner over Juliana Goodman and Kim Toops (who'd just sent Liz Cole to the loss side), faced Jing Liu in the other. Seal survived a double hill battle over Liu, as Biggs defeated Valdez 6-4. Biggs claimed the hot seat 6-4.
On the loss side, Smith and Cole were working their way back for an eventual meeting against Valdez and Liu, both winning four to reach them. In the last two of those four, Smith had defeated Natasha Hook 6-4 and survived a double hill battle against Kim Toops to draw Valdez. Cole had gotten by Heintz and Melyssa Chasteen, both 6-1, to draw Liu. Smith's loss-side run came to an end at the hands of Valdez, double hill. Cole advanced 6-1 over Liu.
Valdez finished Cole's five-match, loss-side run with a 6-3 win in the quarterfinals. By the same score, her own three-match run on the loss side was stopped by Seal in the semifinals.
Displaying obvious signs of fatigue at this point, Biggs and Seal opened the final race-to-9 with a series of four games that made it clear it was going to be a long road to the winners' circle and left them tied at two games apiece. Seal was the first to break the back and forth pattern of the opening games, and won two in a row. Biggs, in a display of the aforementioned 'dogged determination,' then won four straight, which included the both of them attempting a 2-9 combination that eventually gave Briggs the game and tied the match at 4-4. 
Biggs took her first lead in the match at 5-4 and got her own two-game lead at 6-4. Seal closed the gap by a single game that saw them both make multiple attempts at the 9-ball, shooting long.  Seal was shooting at the 9-ball in the game that would have tied things up again, but found herself out of position. She missed her shot, and Biggs was up by two again.
Seal came back to close the gap yet again, but in game #14 at 7-6, Seal committed an unforced error, missing a straight-in shot at the 9-ball, and Biggs was on the hill. Seal came back to close the gap to within one again at 8-7. Biggs attempted a long jump shot in game #16 and gave Seal ball in hand, only to have it returned to her, when Seal scratched. Seal got another chance, but for the second game in a row, she missed her shot at the 9-ball, and Biggs closed it out at 9-7.

Suzanne Smith wins Washington State 9 Ball Championships

Kira North, Ford and Suzanne Smith (Photo courtesy of Sandro Menzel)

On March 21-22, 2015- the NWPA’s first tour stop of the 2015 season, the Washington State 9 Ball Championships, was hosted by Malarkey’s Pool & Brew in Tacoma, WA.  The tournament was ran on 9 9-foot Gold Crowns with Rail2Rail Productions providing a free live stream all weekend. The NWPA tour standings and 2015 schedule are available at and is sanctioned by the WPBA. All skill levels are welcome to play and players can accrue points towards their semiprofessional status while gaining experience playing some of the top women players in the northwest. The main event was $750 added, while a Second Chance tournament was available to ladies not making it to the second day. We would like to thank our sponsors Ozone Billiards for donating magic racks for the entire season and Volturi Cue Cases for donating three $500 vouchers for custom cases. Raffle tickets can be purchased for the vouchers through Suzanne Smith (, and are $10 each. Only 50 tickets will be sold for each voucher, winners will be announced at the conclusion of each voucher’s ticket sales.
Thirty ladies came out to compete Saturday morning. There were several new players to the tour including including Cindy Salcedo (Bozeman, MT), Claire Binci (Corvalis, OR), Brittany Marshall (Spanaway, WA), Andrea Dexter (Renton, WA), and Dara Koch (Portland, OR). The tournament was ran on 9 9-foot Brunswick Gold Crowns. The format was a race to 7, alternating break, 9 ball, with a race to 6 on the B side. There were several first round byes, but play sped right along, without any major upsets going through the early rounds.
Sunday morning, only eight players remained. A side match ups included Cindy Sliva vs. Liz Cole and Julie Valdez vs. Kira North. Cindy and Kira both advanced through their morning matches, 7-2 and 7-5. Cindy and Kira then squared off in the hot seat match. Kira advanced by the score 7-5 to earn her spot in the final. B side match ups included Carissa Biggs vs. Kirsten Fery and Suwanna Matarazzo vs. Suzanne Smith. Carissa and Suzanne advanced through their first round of play 6-1 and 6-4, earning a shot at Liz and Julie. Liz and Suzanne both advanced through the next round by the same score: 6-3. Liz then squared off against Suzanne. Liz led throughout the entire match; however, it was Suzanne who would sink the final 9 ball in their hill-hill match up. Suzanne then played Cindy and defeated her as well, 6-4.
Kira North path to final: Mary O (F), Kathy S (3), Kim T (5), Julie V (5), Cindy S (5)
Suzanne Smith path to final: Patricia T (0), loss to Natalie S (6), Elaine E (2), Tamre R (4), Rebecca S (2), Suwanna M (4), Julie V (3), Liz C (5), Cindy S (4)
The final was one race to 9, alternating break. During the early racks, both players tried to find their groove. At 3-2 Suzanne, Kira was at the table with a 2 ball out. Unfortunately, Kira missed the 9 and scratched giving Suzanne the 4-2 lead. From that point, Suzanne continued to shoot with confidence, increasing her lead to 5-2 in the next rack, then allowing Kira her final rack of the set to make the score 5-3. Suzanne took advantage of opportunities afforded by her opponent, running out three of the final four racks from the 4, 5 and 2. Congratulations to Suzanne, this was her first tour stop in win since 2009, and to Kira for making her second final appearance in only three events played.
Great tournament ladies!  The NWPA’s next event is the 4th Annual Martha Hartsell Memorial and will be hosted at The Cue Ball in Salem, OR on April 25-26.  
Eight ladies returned on Sunday for the $100 added Second Chance tournament. With a $10 entry, half the field made some money in the true double elimination tournament, race to 3 on the A side and race to 2 on the B side.  Kim Toops ended up winning top prize, defeating Dara Koch in the finals. Good work ladies, nice shooting.
Second Chance Results
1st $70 Kim Toops
2nd $50 Dara Koch
3rd $35 Anna Busley
4th $25 Rebecca Slyter

Carissa Biggs Wins 4th Annual Martha Hartsell Memorial

On April 19-20, 2014, the NWPA’s second tour stop of 2014 was hosted by The Cue Ball in Salem, OR.  The Cue Ball has supported our tour from the very beginning and we would like to thank Jim Lebold for all that he does for women’s pool. Martha Hartsell was a fierce competitor whose life was cut short by cancer in 2010. Many of the women on tour were good friends with Martha and in her honor, continue to play the game that she loved, making lifelong friends and rivals along the way.  
The NWPA would like to thank our sponsor Ozone Billiards for their support for the 2014 season. Please check out their website and show them your appreciation at The NWPA tour standings and 2014 schedule are available at and is sanctioned by the WPBA. All skill levels are welcome to play and players can accrue points towards their semiprofessional status while gaining experience playing some of the top women players in the northwest.
Twenty-five ladies came out to compete Saturday morning, and with very few of the region’s top players in attendance (only four of the top twelve from the season opener), it really was an event where anyone could win. There were several new players to the tour including Patricia Tipton, Cassandra Bryant, Dyamelle Castilleja, and Sherri Denke. The tournament was run on 22 9-foot Brunswick Anniversary tables with Rail2Rail Productions providing a free live stream all weekend. The format was a race to 7, alternating break, 9 ball, with a race to 6 on the B side. There were several first round byes, but play sped right along. Tour players spent the remainder of their Saturday at Jake’s Bar, just down the road for ribeyes and  bartable action, an annual tradition for this event.
Sunday morning, only eight players remained. A side match ups included Rebecca Slyter vs. Kathy Stanley and Kim Toops vs. Suwanna Matarazzo. Rebecca and Kim both advanced through their morning matches, by the same score of 7-2, solidifying their top tour finishes to date by squaring off for the hot seat. The birthday girl, Kim, continued her stellar play in the hot seat match, defeating Rebecca 7-2 to earn her first final appearance in tour history. B side match ups included Carissa Biggs vs. tour veteran Julie Valdez and Jing Liu vs. Sheila Clark. Carissa and Jing both advanced through their morning matches by the score of 6-2 and 6-5.  Momentum stayed with Carissa and Jing as they marched through their next round as well, by the same score of 6-2. Carissa then squared off against Jing. Carissa maintained a lead throughout the match and advanced by the score 6-3. Carissa then played Rebecca, who had been sitting for some time and defeated her handily, not allowing a single rack win (6-0).
Kim Toops path to the final: Sarah M (2), Jing L (3), Julie V (4), Suwanna M (2), Rebecca S (2)
Carissa Biggs path to the final: Bye, Sheila C (1), loss to Suwanna (3), Dyamelle C (2), Julie V (2), Kathy S (2), Jing L (3), Rebecca S (0)
The final was one race to 9, alternating break. Throughout the entire final, Kim shot with the confidence she had possessed all weekend, capitalizing on Carissa’s mistakes as the match proceeded. Kim expanded her lead steadily throughout the match, allowing her opponent only three racks by the time she reached the hill. But Carissa Biggs had not an ounce of give up. She battled through each of the following games with such resolve; you could just sense a hill-hill match was in the making. Carissa did it; she fought hard and tied up the match at 8-8, one game for all the cheese.
The Final Game- Kim broke and pocketed the 7 in the side pocket. She made a cut on the 1 ball leaving herself a 2-9 carom for the win. She missed the carom, but ended up banking the 2 ball in the opposite corner. She then pocketed the 3 ball and left herself a draw cut shot on the 4 to get back up table for the 5 ball. She missed the 4 ball entirely, but kicked it towards the opposite corner, where it rattled. Carissa was hooked by the 8 ball, so she attempted to jump. Unfortunately, Carissa couldn’t clear the 8 ball, but she did end up pocketing the 4. With ball in hand and only four balls on the table, it looked like Kim would spoil Carissa’s come back. Kim pocketed the 5 and 6, but then rattled the 8 ball. Carissa stepped to the table and pocketed the 8, but left herself shooting a cut on the 9 to the side pocket. With her cue ball just barely off the side rail, she ended up overcutting the 9 leaving a fairly manageable cut for Kim. Kim then missed that 9 ball too, but left Carissa a bank shot. Carissa attempted the bank, but hit both points, and went to the center of the table, leaving Kim a back cut on the 9. Kim beared down on the ball, measured her line, and fired. The ball rattled and sat right in front of the pocket, with the cue ball about 4 inches from it in a straight line to the pocket. Kim’s disappointment was clear as she slapped her knee, knowing the opportunity to win was no longer hers. Carissa stepped to the table with bridge in hand and made the final 9 ball for the win. Both ladies shook hands as conclusion to the event. Later on, Carissa spoke to the memory of Martha “Winning this event here at The Cue Ball sponsored by Jim Lebold in memory of Martha Hartsell is very special to me. Martha was a great competitor and sportswoman whose life was cut way too short. Don't take one moment for granted!” 
With Carissa’s win, she moved up to second in overall standings, while Kim moved up to 3rd. Great tournament ladies!  The NWPA’s next event is at Ballad Town Billiards in Forest Grove, OR on May 3-4. 

Hopkin moves into first place in NWPA rankings after undefeated win on Stop #4

Mary Hopkin – Courtesy Sandra Menzel

Mary Hopkin picked up her second victory on the 2013 Northwest Women's Pool Association Tour by going undefeated on the tour's fourth stop. She had won the tour's second stop in April. The win moved her into the #1 slot in the tour's standings, replacing Liz Cole, who has won the other two stops on the tour, but was absent for this most recent event. The  $500-added, June 22-23 event drew 22 entrants to Black Diamond Billiards in Spokane, WA.
It was a five-match journey for Hopkin that was almost derailed in the battle for the hot seat. She had defeated Adrianne Beach 7-1, Amber Foster 7-5, and among the winners' side final four, Alicia Kvasnicka 7-3, when she met up with Natalie Seal in that hot seat match. Seal had survived a double hill, opening match against Sheila Clark, defeated Joyce Robinson 7-2, and Elaine Eberly 7-5, before meeting and defeating Alisha Rogers 7-5 in the other winners' side semifinal. Hopkin and Seal, in their first of two, battled to double hill before Hopkin prevailed to sit in the hot seat, awaiting her return.
On the loss side, Kvasnicka ran into Elaine Eberly, who, after being sent west by Seal, had shut out Sharon Bledsoe and defeated Suzanne Smith 6-4. Rogers drew Suwanna Matarazzo, whom she'd sent to the loss side in the second round, and was on a four-match, loss side streak that included victories over Julie Valdez 6-1 and Amber Foster 6-4. Kvasnicka defeated Eberly 6-2, and in the quarterfinals, faced Rogers, who'd successfully defeated Matarazzo a second time 6-4.
Kvasnicka dropped Rogers into the fourth place slot 6-4, earning herself a shot against Seal in the semifinals. Both were looking for a second chance against Hopkin, but it was Seal who earned it, allowing Kvasnicka only a single rack in their semifinal match.
Seal got her second chance against Hopkin, with thoughts of their double hill hot seat match relatively fresh on her mind. Hopkin, though, had those thoughts in her head as well, and left little to chance. She defeated Seal 9-4 to claim the event title, as well as first place in the tour rankings.

Jones comes from the loss side to win NWPA stop

Kim Jones and Jana Montour have been trading victories on the Northwest Women’s Pool Association Tour since March. Montour opened the season with a win in March. Jones chalked one up in April, and then went on to win the Regional Tour Championships in May. Montour won the tour’s third stop in June. On the weekend of July 14-15, Jones won five on the loss side, including a victory over Montour in the semifinals, before defeating local favorite, Phyllis Fernandez in the finals. The $500-added event drew 27 entrants to Black Diamond Billiards in Spokane, WA.

Jones won her first two matches, against Alisha Rogers and Tayla Makus, before running into Mary Hopkin. They battled to double hill before Hopkin prevailed, moving among the winners’ side final four to face Montour. Fernandez, in the meantime, had opened her bid by surviving a double hill match against Adrianne Beach (double hill). She then defeated Alicia Kvasnicka and Joyce Robinson to move among the winners’ side final four and a match versus Shelby Locati.

Montour sent Hopkin west double hill, as Fernandez was busy sending Locati over 7-2. The battle for the hot seat went double hill, with Fernandez coming out on top of Montour, and waiting in the hot seat for the return of Jones. Montour’s appearance in the hot seat match allowed her to maintain her top spot in the NWPA tour rankings (just ahead of Jones) no matter what the outcome from that point on.

On the loss side, Jones defeated Fran Johnson 6-1 and Sandra Badger 6-3 to pick up Locati. Hopkin drew Kimberly Kirk, who’d gotten by Trinh Lu in a double hill match and Julie Valdez 6-4. Kirk prevented a Jones/Hopkin re-match with a 6-2 win over Hopkin, as Jones downed Badger 6-3.

Jones survived a double hill battle against Kirk in the quarterfinals, and turned to face Montour. A win for Montour would have guaranteed an extension of the point lead for her in tour standings, but Jones won it 6-3 for a chance to meet Fernandez and narrow that tour-leading gap to 45 points.

In the single race-to-9 finals that followed, Jones reached the hill, three games ahead, which is when it got interesting. Fernandez won the 14th and 15th rack to pull within one. In the 16th rack, Fernandez rattled the 8-ball in a corner pocket, leaving it right there for Jones. Jones, from up-table, put it in, but came back straight, up and down-table square on the 9-ball. She tried to poke it into the corner pocket, but not only did it rattle in that pocket, the cue ball came around the table and dropped into a hole.

“I tried to put bottom on it to avoid the scratch,” said Jones, “but when the 9-ball rattled in the pocket, the cue ball came around and headed to that other pocket.”

With ball in hand, Fernandez sunk the 9-ball to knot things at double hill.

Fernandez scratched on her subsequent break. Jones stepped to the table and forced a first foul on Fernandez. When Jones got the ball back, she did it a second time. With ball in hand for the third time, she forced Fernandez to kick long at the 1-ball. Fernandez shot at the short rail, and not only safely touched the 1-ball, but put it in. Jones would regain control of the table, and stepped up later, shooting at the 9-ball. It dropped readily, but the entire room went silent, as the travelling cue ball worked its way down (very slowly) toward a diagonal corner. It just did touch the long rail and bounce away safely, securing the event victory for Jones.

“I’d played it so it wouldn’t scratch,” she said of that final shot, “but in that moment (as the cue ball drifted toward the corner), I couldn’t celebrate the win until I was sure.”

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Black Diamond Billiards, as well as sponsors Billiards 911, Cue Tracker, and Horizon Rentals. They also thanked Rail2Rail Productions for their live stream of the event. Next stop on the NWPA Tour is scheduled for August 11-12 at The Parlor in Bellevue, WA.