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Turning Stone Classic Day Three Underway

Earl Strickland

Saturday play at the Turning Stone Classic XXXV is underway and the field has been cut in half from 128 players down to just 64 remaining players. Saturday play will cut that field down to just eight players. 

Most of the usual suspects who were expected to excel at this event have lived up to their expectations so far. Players still on the winners side include Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw, Mika Immonen, Earl Strickland, Jeremy Sossei, Donny Mills, Bucky Souvanthong, Kevin West and Danny Hewitt. Those players are going to start running into each other today, with Van Boening facing Sossei and Shaw playing Strickland at 2pm ET.

Fans who can’t make it to Turning Stone can watch selected matches online as part of Upstate Al’s Free streaming coverage, and can watch online brackets and live scoring courtesy of AzBilliards and Digital Pool. 

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Brothers goes undefeated to claim 1st Annual DE State Bar Box 8-Ball title

Kevin West and Josh Brothers

Delaware’s Josh Brothers and Kevin West made their first appearances in the AZBilliards database about three months apart, 22 years ago. They were both playing on the Planet Pool Tour at the time and while West beat Brothers to the database by those three months by finishing in the tie for 9th on the tour’s first stop in 2000, Brothers joined at Stop #5 in April, finishing in the tie for 13th place. West finished in the tie for 7th that weekend, one of a dozen times that he chalked up a cash finish on the tour that year. This past weekend, June 25-26, they went head-to-head twice at the 1st Annual Delaware State Bar Box 8-Ball Championships. Brothers, with a Fargo Rate one point higher than West (701/700) won both matches to claim title to the event that drew 45 entrants to Milford Billiards in Milford, DE.

Brothers got by Tom Kozloski, Chris Jenkins and Joe Scott by an aggregate score of 18-6 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Maryland State’s 2022 8-Ball Champion Steve Johnson. West, in the meantime, played one more match than Brothers to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal, opening up with an 18-2 run against Donnie Keith, Orlando Huertas (2) and Sean Mason. He then faced his first serious challenge – a double hill battle versus Eric Brobst – which he won to pick up Dave Barnes in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Brothers sent Johnson to the loss side 6-2, as West was doing likewise to Barnes 6-1. Brothers took their first match 6-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Shaun Wilkie, among the top vote-getters to win this event, had, after being sent over by Barnes in a double-hill, third-round match, defeated four opponents by an aggregate score of 20-4, recently eliminating Don Painter (3) and Joey Bean (1) in the process. He picked up his no-doubt sought for rematch against Barnes, with Brothers in the hot seat, hearing his footsteps. Johnson drew Joe Stem, who’d lost his opening round match, double hill to Chris Jenkins and embarked on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated tour director Tarek Elmalla 5-3 and survived a double hill battle against Rick Winpigler.

Wilkie won his rematch against Barnes 5-1 and in the quarterfinals, drew Stem who’d shut out Johnson. Wilkie then stopped Stem’s loss-side streak at seven with a 5-2 win in those quarterfinals.

Now there were only two pairs of footsteps left, neither one of them calculated to provide Brothers with any sort of comfort. Wilkie and West battled to double hill before West prevailed to earn his rematch against Brothers. In a repeat of their hot seat match, Brothers claimed the event title 6-3.

Tour director Elmalla thanked Leo and Sherrie Weigand and their Milford Billiards staff for their ongoing support and hospitality, along with Travis Parker for the stream and commentary, Ray Netta for remote support, Tuff Cuts, Ran Ji for “being on top of the bracket,” Andrea Thomas and Joe Norton.

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Gorst goes undefeated to claim 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial Title

Fedor Gorst, Shane Wolford, Kristina Tkach, Paul Oh and room owner Anthony Luong

There are times when words are insufficient to the task that they have been set out on a page to perform. So it is with reporting on the B & L Billiard Tournaments’ 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial, a $10,000-added event that drew 64 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA last weekend (June 11-12). Spearheaded by a trio of Hannah Choi’s close friends – Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst – the memorial was organized to commemorate Choi, who went missing from her home in early March and was discovered dead in a Maryland park weeks later. The person currently being sought in connection with her death, classified as murder, has still not been apprehended. 

Choi was an active player at Street Light Billiard Academy in Alexandria, VA, where Tkach, Gorst, Ruslan Chinakhov and other members of “Roy’s Basement,” along with players like Shane Van Boening, Efren Reyes and Nick Varner would gather along with Academy members, offering clinics, challenge matches and exhibitions.

“Hannah became Kristina’s handler, like a family member,” said Oh. “Hannah wasn’t like a professional player, although she was an APA 6, and she became close to Kristina. She was probably Kristina’s closest friend, lived with her whenever she was in-country.”

As a loosely-organized group engaged in the Virginia (and surrounding areas) pool community, the players would discuss any number of things around meals, table practice and tournaments. On more than one occasion, Choi had mentioned to the group the idea of organizing a Virginia-based ProAm tournament, which, for a variety of different reasons, had never really advanced beyond casual talk about it being a good idea.

“We’d had conversations about it,” said Oh, “wanting to hold a tournament in the area, so when Hannah passed, it was a no-brainer.”

Oh reached out to B&L Billiard Tournaments, in the persons of Brian Kilgore and Lai Li, within a matter of days after Choi’s passing. In less than three months, the circle of friends that had known Choi personally, organized the 1st Annual event that would bear her name.

“It meant a lot to Paul, Fedor and Kristina, who was her best friend,” said Kilgore. “Kristina talked to the players (at length) before the tournament began, telling them all of the things that Hannah Choi had done for her.”

Kilgore and the 64-entrant field were all on-hand to hear Tkach’s impassioned words. In retrospect, Kilgore regretted that the moments had not been recorded. Tkach did, though, write about Choi’s passing in an on-line post.

“I didn’t lose my best friend,” she wrote. “No…I lost so much more than that. I lost my soulmate, my partner, life mentor, my whole world.”

“But you didn’t leave me, right?” she went on to ask. “No, it just can’t be… you are somewhere here now, by my side, kindly looking at me, smiling, listening to me just like you always did.”

Tkach continued, eventually confronting the chasm of grief that lay before her; “the pain that doesn’t go away no matter what you do, eating you up from inside.

“But I can’t give up,” she added. “I have to keep grinding, growing and trying to be the best I can possibly be, because that’s what you would want me to do. I promise you will be proud of me.”

At the risk of presumption, one can only imagine that Hannah Choi would have accepted the need and impetus to discuss her passing and the memorial tournament arranged on her behalf, and then, expected all of us to proceed; “grinding, growing, trying to be the best that we can possibly be because that’s what (she) would want us to do.”

The 64-entrant, double elimination bracket that opened the proceedings had a proverbial ‘boat load’ of pool talent on board, including the very people responsible for the tournament’s existence; Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst. Two of those three (Tkach and Gorst) would advance to the single elimination phase of the event and Gorst would win it. Things were set up through the event semifinals for Tkach and Gorst to square off in the final match, but Shane Wolford stepped in and left Tkach in the tie for 3rd place.

In one of the more entertaining matches of the event, Gorst opened up the double-elimination phase against junior competitor, Joey Tate. Live-streamed (as were selected matches throughout the weekend) by Omega Billiards, Tate encountered some early issues, arguably brought on by an initial concern that he might not make it to the event at all. He’d called Brian Kilgore to relate some ‘timing’ issues and assured him that though he was running late, he would be there in time. He made it on-time, by a matter of minutes and found himself facing Gorst in his opening round.

In the early going, Tate missed some ‘9’s and ‘10’s and found himself in a 3-1 hole after four. But he fought back to be within a single game at 6-5. Gorst prevailed and Tate would go on to lose his first loss-side match. 

Gorst advanced and ran into an immediate double hill battle against Atlantic Coast veteran Steve Fleming. He survived that battle as well, and then shut out Kevin West to become one of the eight winners’ side competitors advancing to single elimination. He was joined by fellow ‘winners’ side’ competitors Warren Kiamco, Greg McAndrews, Manny Chau, Roberto Gomez, Shane Wolford, Brandon Shuff and Chris Hansen. From the loss side, Rafael Reyes, Danny Mastermaker, Deo Alpajora, Kevin West, Dylan Spohr, BJ Ussery, Jr., Mhet Vergara and Kristina Tkach advanced to the final 16. Tkach, sent to the loss side by Manny Chau, had worked her way through William Moon, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Roger Halder to join the loss-side’s group in the final 16.

Tkach got by Roberto Gomez in the opening round of single elimination and in the quarterfinals, drew Kevin West, who’d eliminated Chris Hansen. Gorst defeated Mhet Vergara and picked up Manny Chau, who’d sent Greg McAndrews home. Wolford, in the meantime, had knocked out Brandon Shuff and faced BJ Ussery, who’d defeated Rafael Reyes to reach him. Kiamco got by Deo Alpajora in the single-elimination opening round and squared off against Dylan Spohr, who’d ended Danny Mastermaker’s run.

Tkach downed West 9-7 and in the semifinals, drew Wolford, who’d defeated Ussery 9-7. Gorst eliminated Chau 9-4 and picked up Kiamco, who’d defeated Spohr 9-4. 

Wolford put an end to speculation and hopes for two of Hanna Choi’s best friends to meet in the finals with a 9-6 win over Tkach. Gorst downed Kiamco 9-5. In the extended race-to-9, Gorst and Wolford came within a game of double hill. Gorst pulled out in front in the end to win by two, 11-9. 

The 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial was in the books, with Gorst and Tkach proud to have played their part in making it a success. Paul Oh, though less than pleased with his finish ‘out of the money,’ as it were, was pleased at how well the entire affair had been arranged and executed, as was Brian Kilgore.

“It’s amazing to me how it turned out,” said Oh, noting that it was a combined effort on the part of the group of friends around Hannah Choi, who, over the years, “had eaten together, travelled together and worked together,” to include Anthony Milanesi (who’d donated a cue that he’d made for one of the raffles that helped bring money to the event), Ken Tranh and his wife, Linda, Joonick Jun and of course, the central trio of Tkach, Oh and Fedor Gorst. 

That core group along with Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked Anthony Luong and his First Break staff for their hospitality and a portion of the added money, as well as Cuetec Cues. They applauded the efforts of all 64 players who’d made Hannah Choi’s first memorial a memorable occasion. As something of an extended tour-promotion unit, they are already looking forward to the 2nd Annual Hannah Choi Memorial. While it’s a bit too early to determine how that will shape up, there is consideration being given to another Open event, as well as a Women’s tournament.

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Local Room Owner Jayson Shaw Wins New England Hall of Fame Open

Jayson Shaw, Regina & Steve Goulding and Raphael DaBreo

The biggest story this season on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour has been the dominant player of tour points leader Bucky Souvanthong. While he was not in attendance at the 12th New England Pool & Billiard Hall of Fame Open on March 5th – 6th at Snookers in Providence Rhode Island, even Souvanthong might have had a hard time keeping up with eventual event winner Jayson Shaw. 

Shaw, the owner of the nearby pool room US1 Billiards, made the two hour trek to Providence and turned in an undefeated run through the field of 81 players. Shaw explained that taking care of his room had kept him from devoting the time to the game that he wanted to over the past couple of years, but with the assistance of his wife Ara, he now had the room under control and was ready to get back to his past form. He must have been pretty close to that past form, as he had wins over Scott Tavernier, Mhet Vergara, Frank Wolak and Kevin West on Saturday. Tavernier and West both got four racks against Shaw, and that was the most he allowed all day. 

Shaw’s Sunday started off with two more dominant wins, a 9-2 match against Greg “Sweet Money” Winbush and then another 9-2 win over Phil Davis for the hot-seat. Just prior to the loss against Shaw, Davis sent last year’s Ocean State 9-Ball Champion Raphael DaBreo to the one loss side and DaBreo got his revenge in the semi-final match, eliminating Davis 7-3.

The final match only took one set, with Shaw scoring a 9-7 win for first place and his first Joss Tour win since January’s Turning Stone Classic. 

Shaw, who says he likes nothing better than getting together with some fellow Europeans for a team event at the end of each year, earned $1550 for first place and hopes this won’t be his last big win of the year. Shaw isn’t limiting his options to just 9-ball events either. Lately, he says he has picked up the game of straight pool and actually had his lifetime best run just a few weeks ago. If what the fans saw in Providence is any indication, we will definitely be seeing Shaw’s name in the winners circle again soon. 

Sunday’s second chance event saw Robert Lee take the hot-seat with a 3-1 win over Jamie Gauthier, but it was RJ Carmona coming from the one loss side scored 3-1 and 3-0 wins over Lee in the finals for first place. 

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Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to capture MD State 10-Ball title

Loye Bolyard, David Nangle, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Kevin West, Rick Scarlato Jr. and room owner Giogio Wu

Former junior champion, Lukas Fracasso-Verner chalked up his first major win in almost two years, going undefeated to claim Maryland State’s 10-Ball Championships, held this past weekend (Dec. 11-12) at 7 Billiards Shady Grove in Gaithersburg. MD. Though he had finished atop a short field of Second Chance competitors at a Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour stop this past July, it was a far, pandemic-interrupted cry away from his undefeated run through a field of 140 in the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2019 Empire State Championships’ Amateur division, in what remains (according to our records) his best earnings year to date. The MD State 10-Ball Championships drew 46 entrants to 7 Billiards Shady Grove. 

Fracasso-Verner was challenged in the finals of this 10-ball event by Kevin West, who’d lost his opening match to Brian Tierney and embarked on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak in which he gave up, on average, only two racks per match. He didn’t give up more than three until his seventh loss-side match.

Fracasso-Verner was stingy in his opening round matches, as well. After an opening round bye, he got by Mike McNiff, Scott Haas and Justin Pelech by an aggregate score of 21-2, arriving at a winners’ side semifinal match against Jimmy Rivera, who was about to add substantially to Fracasso-Verner’s opponent racks. Caleb Koury, in the meantime, advanced through Thang Nguyen (3), Dave Nangle (double hill), and Shawn Jackson (4) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Andy Lincoln.

Both matches for advancement to the hot seat match went double hill; Rivera chalking up three times as many matches against Fracasso-Verner as all of his previous opponents combined, while Koury was being challenged by Lincoln. Fracasso-Verner and Koury ended up squaring off in the hot seat match and though Koury chalked up as many racks against Fracasso-Verner as his first three opponents did (2), they weren’t nearly enough. Fracasso-Verner sat in the hot seat, waiting and no doubt watching, as Kevin West continued his loss-side winning streak.

Lincoln arrived on the loss side to face West, who was six matches into his winning streak, with an aggregate score of 42-7 and most recent victories over Justin Pelech 7-2 and Matt Krah 7-1. Rivera picked up Steve Fleming, who, like West, had lost his opening winners’ side match and was in the midst of his own seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently included the elimination of Shawn Jackson 7-4 and Andy Huang 7-3.

Fleming downed Rivera 7-2, as West was busy eliminating Lincoln 7-5. West defeated Fleming 7-4 in the subsequent quarterfinal. West made short work of Koury in the semifinals that followed, downing him 7-1, for a shot at Fracasso-Verner, waiting for him in the hot seat. 

When they squared off in the finals, Fracasso-Verner had won, on average, three out of every four games he’d played throughout the event to that point; 78% (35-10). West, on average, had fallen just short of that at 73% (68-25). Fracasso-Verner had played five matches and 45 games. West had played twice as many matches and games (10 and 93). 

In one of those oddities of statistics, the finals didn’t affect Fracasso-Verner’s overall game-winning percentage at all. It stayed right where it had been at 78%. It did, however, have a significant effect on West’s percentage. Having given up so few during most of his loss-side run, his two overall losses added 14 games to his opponents’ side of that ledger, knocking his overall winning percentage down eight points, from 73% going into the finals, to 68% afterwards. Fracasso-Verner claimed the MD State 10-Ball title with a 7-2 victory in those finals.

Tour directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff of 7 Billiards Shady Grove for their hospitality, as well as Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards.com, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region & Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. The next On The Hill Productions event, scheduled for January 22-23, 2022, at the Choptank Bowling & Billiards in Cambridge, MD will be the premier, skill-level event of a new Bar Box Bonanza Series, which will continue through the new year through November, culminating in a $4,000-added finale, scheduled for Nov. 12-13, 2022 at Choptank Bowling and Billiards.

Jayson Shaw Pulls Double Duty at US 1 Billiards Pro Am

Jayson Shaw at the pre event player’s meeting

Ask any instructor what they suggest as a method to play your best during a big tournament and you will get answers reminding you to focus 100% on each match you are playing and maybe try to get away from the tables in between matches so you can spend some quality time clearing your mind from any distractions. 

As the owner of US 1 Billiards in West Haven Connecticut, where the US 1 Billiards February Pro Am was held on February 6th – 7th, Jayson Shaw had a few other things to worry about. Shaw found himself busy with a whole list of responsibilities including running the tournament, cooking, serving customers, cleaning up, shoveling snow, stopping mid match to take pictures with fans and even dealing with unexpected interruptions like his wife Ara announcing over the loudspeaker “Jayson, Shaw, I need you at the front desk … NOW”. Somehow, he was able to focus through all of this and win the $1,500 added event. 

Looking back on the weekend, Shaw admitted to how tough it was. “I was not really 100% in on playing the event as I knew it was going be a packed house and I needed to help out. I played well in parts, but my head was completely on winning the event. I was happy go deep but I have not played pool since Mosconi I think that’s the second time I had my cue out my case”.

Shaw ran through his first three matches with a combined score of 27-1, sending Kyle Manuel, Joey Korsiak and Sam Traygis to the one loss side. He had his first real challenge in the 4th round where he defeated recent DFW Tour Stop Co-Winner Jalal Al Saresi 9-5. The first real hiccup of the day was in round five when Shaw ran into a buzz-saw named Mike Dechaine. Dechaine took a quick 2-0 lead before Shaw won a rack to get back to 2-1 down. From there, it was all Dechaine as he won the next seven racks for a 9-1 win, sending Shaw to the one loss side. 

The win over Shaw sent Dechaine to the hot-seat match to face a hobbled Kevin West. West was noticeably limping all day on Sunday as he had fallen early in the day. Had it not been for the snow on the ground in Connecticut, West might have not stuck around for the hot-seat match. “I did consider forfeiting, but I couldn’t go anywhere because of the snow storm, so I just decided to keep going” said West. Even with what would turn out to be a fractured foot, West maintained the high level of play he had been displaying all weekend and held a 5-2 lead over Dechaine midway through the hot-seat match. Dechaine fought back to within one rack multiple times, but West held on and defeated Dechaine 9-7. 

To no one’s surprise, it was Shaw and Dechaine facing off in the semi-final match. While it was Dechaine with the dominating win over Shaw earlier in the day, this time it was Shaw getting his revenge with an 8-3 win, sending Dechaine home in 3rd place. 

The final race to 13 match went back and forth early, with a tie score at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 before Shaw took control for an 8-5 lead. Shaw stretched that lead to 12-7 and looked to be out in the 20th rack before finally succumbing to a distraction on the final two balls. West took full advantage and clawed back to a one rack deficit at 12-11. West had a chance to tie the match at hill-hill but a jawed 2-ball was his last trip to the table as Shaw ran out from there for the 13-11 win. 

For West, even with the fractured foot, the tournament was a great example of the level of play he is capable of and a testament to a recent equipment change he had made. “My friend John Moody Jr. let me try his Cuetec carbon shaft 14 months ago and I was very impressed. I ordered one immediately and haven’t looked back” said West. Pairing the new shaft with his Anthony Milanesi butt made a lot of difference in his game. “I had to make a couple minute adjustments but carbon is much more consistent than wood and that’s why I switched. Everything seems easier for me now.” 

For Shaw, the win didn’t mean he had a chance to relax and celebrate. It meant that he had more work to do. He quickly led the last group of rail birds to the door, so he could get to work cleaning the pool room and getting ready for another day as a pool room owner on Monday. 

US 1 Billiards February Pro Am – Jayson Shaw vs Kevin West – Finals

US 1 Billiards February Pro Am – Mike Dechaine vs Kevin – Hot Seat

West foils a strong, loss-side bid by Wilkie to claim MD State 10-Ball Championships

Rick Scarlato Jr, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Chuck Sampson, Michael Yednak, Kevin West, Loye Bolyard

The two competitors who squared off against each other in the finals of the Maryland State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of September 28-29 are the only two who have ever won the Action Pool Tour’s annual Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament twice. That record was held by Shaun Wilkie, until in 2017 & this past April, Kevin West chalked up his two. West went undefeated in the MD State 10-Ball event, and was challenged by Wilkie, who’d been sent to the loss side in an early round by another Bob Stocks Memorial champion, Brandon Shuff. Wilkie won eight on the loss side to challenge West in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Champions Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
With his finals opponent toiling away on the loss side, West advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Del Sim. Chuck Sampson faced Robert Palucho in the other one. West sent Sim west 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Sampson, who’d defeated Palucho 7-5. West and Sampson battled to a 13th deciding game before West dropped the last 10-ball to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Wilkie and Shuff were working their way toward a potential re-match, which would have occurred in the quarterfinals had it not been for Scott Haas. As Wilkie was busy tallying his 4th loss-side win, downing William Gallagher 7-3, Haas was at work eliminating Shuff 7-5. Wilkie subsequently defeated Haas 7-4, which set him (Wilkie) up to face Del Sim. Palucho drew Michael Yednak, who’d shut out Dylan Spohr and given up only a single rack to co-event director, Rick Scarlato, Jr.
 
Wilkie advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sim and was joined by Yednak, who’d defeated Palucho 7-2. Wilkie took the quarterfinals 7-3 over Yednak and then shut Sampson out in the semifinals.
 
Momentum aside, Wilkie was unable to just roll over West in the finals. West got out in front and won it by three (7-4) to claim the MD State 10-Ball Title. 
 
Co-event directors Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Champions Billiards, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Simonis Cloth, Billiards Sports Network, Chesapeake Bay TAP Leagues and Aramith Balls.    

Brandon Shuff Seals the Deal at Maryland State 9-Ball Championship

Brandon Shuff, Loye Bolyard, Shaun Wilkie, Jake Lawson, Kenny Ruttman and Rick Scarlato

In yet another action-packed weekend of competitive pool, Brandon Shuff emerged as the winner of the Maryland State 9-Ball Championship. The event, which is owned and managed by On The Hill Productions, was held at the Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD during the weekend of May 4th-5th. This has been a successful year so far for Brandon. He recently finished 4th in the Barry Behrman Memorial in April and the VA State 10-Ball in February. In this tournament, he sailed through the field and dropped only one set to Shaun Wilkie, who came back from the B-side to try and claim the title. Brandon held firm and was able to lift the trophy in victory.
 
The 82-player field was customarily strong, loaded with such powerhouses as Shaun Wilkie, Kevin West, Brett Stottlemyer, Chip Klein, Del Sim, David Hennessy, Kenny Rutman, Matt Krah, Steve Fleming, Thomas Zippler and Scott Haas to name a few. The ladies were represented by local favorites Bethany Sykes, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Gwen Townsend, Lai Li, Stefanie Manning and newcomer to the tournament scene, Jenny Mohammed.
 
Not to be left out, the young guns also made their presence felt. Tournament-regulars Dylan Spohr and Coen Bell were there to stir the pot, but the young man who stood head and shoulders above the rest was Justin Martin from Wilmington, NC. He had a very strong finish of fourth place and impressed everyone with his display of fundamentals, technique, and poise. Don't be surprised if he snaps off one of these big events very soon! 
 
The recent champion of the MD State 9-Ball Bar Table Championship, Brandon Sluzalis was also there, but his efforts to repeat were cut short first by Kenny Rutman, then by the straight-shooting Bobby Pacheco. He had to settle for 9th. place.
 
Congratulations to all who finished in the top 24 places this weekend. 
This event owes its success to the following sponsors:
McDermott Cues
Billiard Sports Network
Lights Out Billiard Apparel
Phillippi Custom Cues
TAP Pool League – Chesapeake Region
 
Many thanks to the owner Gary Allen & staff at Champion Billiards for hosting another successful event. The high-quality free stream was provided by Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield of Billiard Sports Network. Tour directors Rick Scarlato Jr. and Loye Bolyard continue to provide great tournaments with the utmost professionalism and quality.