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Bishoff Walks Away with the Win at Red Shoes Billiards

Jenna Bishoff

Red Shoes Billiards in Alsip, Illinois, is known for hosting quality pool tournaments. The weekend of August 24 was no exception. The seventh stop of the year for the North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) was a 10-ball tournament that featured some of the best women players in the region. 
 
Jenna Bishoff, on a break from the road, posted early wins against Laura Bendikas (7-5) and Vanessa Hood (7-2). To secure the hot seat, she battled it out with Amy Latzko, winning on the hill (7-6). Before losing to Bishoff, Latzko cruised through the bracket with wins over Kelly Nickl (7-3) and Laura Semko (7-1). She would best Semko (6-2) again on her way to the finals.
 
In the final set, Bishoff was quickly up 4 to 0, punctuated by a break and run in game 3. Latzko finally got on the board with a win in game 5. And a 1-10-ball combination in game 8 brought her within 2 games of breaking even with Bishoff. But Bishoff took control of the match after that. She won the next 4 games in a row to finish the event with a final score of 9 to 3.  
 
To see the full list of players and bracket, visit leaguepoolestats.com. Players in the money were:
1st Jenna Bishoff ($305)
2nd Amy Latzko ($110)
3rd Laura Semko ($40)
 
More NCPT events–both open and women’s–are in the works for the current year. Watch for upcoming tournament announcements at NCPTplay.com and the NCPT Facebook page.
 

Hansen goes undefeated to take 4th Annual NAPT Summer Classic

Taylor Hansen and NAPT President Adrianne Beach

The two stories moved in opposite directions. For a while. Until they didn’t, and two female pool professionals met in the finals of the North American Pool Tour’s 4th Annual Summer Classic.
 
One story was about a young woman who’s already made her mark, winning VNEA junior Championships, chalking up wins on the North Star Ladies Pool Tour and at the age of 16, winning the US Bar Box Women’s 10-Ball Championships. Taylor Hansen, 20, is currently a member of Lindenwood University’s billiards team, under the tutelage of Mark Wilson, and competing with fellow-Minnesotan April Larson, who joined the program this past year. Hansen and Larson battled twice at the recent (June) American College Union International Tournament,  with Larson capturing her first of (presumably) many college titles ahead. Hansen has competed in the North American Pool Tour’s (NAPT) annual Division I Pro 10-Ball Summer Classic three of its four years already, and at this most recent event – August 15-18 at Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL – she won it, going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants.
 
The second story was about an older woman who’s been competing professionally longer than Taylor Hansen has been alive. Eleanor Callado has been a regular winner on the West Coast Women’s Tour for a number of years, a regular competitor at WPBA events, and a competitor in all four of the NAPT’s Summer Classics, including 2017, when she finished as runner-up to Karen Corr. According to our records, she had a breakout year, financially, in 2009, but she recorded her best earnings year, to date, last year (2018). At this most recent NAPT Summer Classic, she lost her opening round match to Caela Huddleston and embarked on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that led to her challenging Hansen in the finals. Her loss-side run had included a 7-4 victory over her sister, Emilyn Callado, who’s in possession of an equally impressive pool resume.
 
As Eleanor Callado was beginning her loss-side run, Hansen and Christy Dickerson advanced toward a meeting in the hot seat match. Hansen almost got sent over in her opening match as she survived a double hill battle versus Ellen Robinson. She reversed her fortunes in the second round with a shutout over Vanessa Hood and then, downed Veronique Menard 7-3 to draw Kaylin Wikoff in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Dickerson defeated her first opponent, Kelly Jones 7-5, before meeting up with the woman who’d sent Callado to the loss side, Caela Huddleston. Dickerson sent her over 7-5 and then defeated Laura Semko 7-3 to pick up Sarah Rousey in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Hansen shut out Kaylin Wikoff and in the hot seat match, faced Dickerson, who’d survived a double hill battle against Rousey. Hansen gave up only a single rack to Dickerson and claimed the hot seat. She had given up only 10 racks over 45 games.
 
On the loss side, Eleanor and Emilyn Callado were working on their respective winning streaks. Emilyn had lasted one more round on the winners’ side than sister, Eleanor. Eleanor got by Kelly Jones, Theresa Ballinger, Ronnette Chop and Tara Williams to draw sister, Emilyn, who’d defeated Chris Honeman, Vanessa Hood, and Laura Semko to get to that point. Eleanor defeated Emilyn 7-4 to draw Wikoff. Rousey picked up Marian Poole, who was working on her own four-match, loss-side winning streak that had included recent wins over Veronique Menard 7-5 and Tina Larsen 7-4.
 
Callado advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Wikoff. Rousey joined her after surviving a double hill battle against Poole. Callado then chalked up two straight 7-5 wins, downing Rousey in the quarterfinals and Dickerson in the semifinals to earn a shot against Hansen in the finals.
 
Callado became only the second competitor to chalk up more than three racks against Hansen and in the finals, came within a game of forcing a single deciding game. Hansen, though, prevailed 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Adrienne Beach thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards, and noted that the next stop on the NAPT, scheduled for Sept. 19-22, will be the Division I Pro 3rd Annual Desert Challenge, to be hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.

Cohen Claims Top Spot at the Fifth NCPT Stop

Scott Cohen

The North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) hosted its fifth event of the year at Pyramid Sports Bar and Pizzeria on Saturday, June 29. Twenty-seven players signed up to compete in the open 10-ball tournament. By the end, the two players vying for the top spot were Scott Cohen (McHenry, IL) and Mason Koch (Menasha, WI).
 
Young gun Koch cruised through the A side to claim the hot seat. He downed Joe Ulanowski (7-2), Olivia Cheng (7-4), Tom Karabatsos (7-4), and Marcus Wronski (7-4) on his undefeated streak. He even sent fellow finals contestant Scott Cohen (7-4) to the one-loss side in a late-round A-side match. Undeterred, Cohen rebounded with solid wins against Donald Branson (6-3), Andrew Mackey (6-5), and Marcus Wronski (6-2) to secure a rematch against Koch.
 
In the final set, one race to nine, Koch started off strong. He was quickly up 2-0 on Cohen, snagging his second win with a bank on the 10. But then Koch made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Cohen closed the gap–and then some–winning the next six games in a row. Koch attempted a late-match rally with some impressive play, even making a four-rail bank shot on the 9. But the late hour may have affected his focus as he then missed two 10 balls. Cohen cleaned up the match with a 9 to 4 finish. 
 
To watch streamed matches from this event, visit the RailbirdsTV’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy7rtHkZxl4&feature=share. To see a full list of players and the brackets, visit challonge.com. The final standings for the event are:
1st Scott Cohen ($450)
2nd Mason Koch ($285)
3rd Marcus Wronski ($180)
4th Andrew Mackey ($115)
5/6th Donald Branson and Robert Madison ($75)
7/8th Greg Pitts and Mensur Kahric ($45)
 
The NCPT thanks Pyramid Sports Bar and tour sponsor Eric Nelson for adding $300 to this event. A big thanks, too, to RailbirdsTV for streaming all the action. The new tour directors for the NCPT (Vanessa Hood, Laura Semko, Rho Reyes, and Laura Bendikas) are sincerely grateful to Kelly Nickl for all her work over the past 3 years. She set the groundwork for the successful continuation of this tour.
 
The NCPT will be hosting two ladies division events July 20 at City Pool Hall and August 24 at Red Shoes Billiards. At least one more open event is also in the works for the fall. Visit the NCPT facebook page or NCPTplay.com for more details! You can also find the NCPT on Instagram and Twitter.

Corr goes undefeated to win NAPT Coupe de Quebec in Canada

Karen Corr (Photo courtesy of NAPT)

In the two years between January, 2017 and the soon-to-be January of 2019, Irishwoman Karen Corr has chalked up nine major titles (so far). She’s split her competition between wins in WPBA events and with the North American Pool Tour (NAPT), while also cashing in two successive Turning Stone events (XXVII & XXVIII). Last year, she won the WPBA’s Rivers US Open, three events on the NAPT and a stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT). This year, she’s added three wins on the JPNEWT and a victory at the Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Championship to her growing and continuing to be impressive resume.
 
On the long weekend of Nov. 1-4, she added another NAPT win to the list. Corr went undefeated through a field of 42 entrants, on-hand for the $5,000-added NAPT Women’s Division 1 Pro event, held at Dooly’s in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 25 miles southeast of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.
 
The event was preceded by a pro-am charity event in which Division 1 players were matched up with a local amateur player for a modified single elimination, blind draw Scotch Doubles tournament. A $20 donation by the amateur players will be used by the venue, Dooly’s, to fund a charity of their choosing.
 
Following an opening round bye and victories over Krista Walsh, Maria Juana and Laura Semko, Corr moved into the first of what would be two against Canada’s Brittany Bryant in a winners’ side semifinal. Eleanor Callado, in the meantime, having defeated Anick Cadorette, Nathalie Chabot, Denise Belanger, and Veronique Menard, squared off against her own sister, Emily Callado, in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Eleanor downed sister Emily 7-5, as Corr was busy defeating Bryant 7-4; the first opponent to chalk up that many against Corr. Corr gave up only a single rack to Callado and sat in the hot seat awaiting what turned out to be the return of Bryant.
 
On the loss side, Bryant picked up Naomi Williams, who’d been defeated by Maria Juana in the opening round of play and was in the midst of a six-match, loss side winning streak that was about to come to an end. Williams had most recently eliminated Teruko Cucculelli 7-4 and Menard 7-1. Emily Callado ran into Jia Li, who’d lost a double hill fight to Bryant in a winners’ side quarterfinal and on the loss side, shut out Marilou Therrien and eliminated Denise Belanger 7-4.
 
Bryant ended Williams’ loss-side run, but not before Williams forced a deciding 13th game in the race to 7. Li joined Bryant in the quarterfinals following a 7-3 win over Emilyn Callado.
 
Bryant downed her next two opponents 7-4; Jia Li in the quarterfinal and Eleanor Callado in the semifinal for second shot at Corr in the hot seat. Among many things Bryant may not have expected in the event’s final match, a shutout would have been high on the list. But that’s how Corr punctuated her undefeated run, shutting Bryant out to claim the event title.

“Duchess of Doom” goes undefeated to win 3rd Annual NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic

Mary Rakin, Molly Bontrager, Allison Fisher and Helena Thornfeldt (Photo – Tony Fox)

 

Allison Fisher went undefeated through a field of 52 entrants to win the 3rd Annual North American Pool Tour’s Summer 10-Ball Classic on the long weekend of August 16-19. And for the second year in a row, the winner of this tournament had to go through relative newcomer, Molly Bontrager. Bontrager battled for the hot seat against Karen Corr last year, then, was defeated in the semifinals by Eleanor Callado. This year, she finished as runner-up to Fisher, whom she faced twice, in the hot seat and finals. The 3rd Annual $5,000-added event drew its 52 entrants to Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL.
 
Though the annual event’s defending champion, Corr, was not in attendance, the event’s debut champion, April Larson, did compete. When Larson won in 2016 (at the age of 16), it was her first professional win, which had followed on the heels of five straight victories at the BEF Junior Nationals; three in the 14-and-under Girls Division and two in the 18-and-under Girls Division. She was so excited to have actually won the event, that while she collected the trophy, she forgot to collect the $3,400 check that went with it (later hand-delivered by NAPT President Adrianne Beach). In this year’s event, Larson was moved to the loss side in a tightly-contested, double hill match against Teruko Cuccelelli, and after winning five on the loss side, was eliminated by Canada’s Brittany Bryant.
 
In something of a prescient move, CueSportsLive’s first two streamed matches featured the eventual winner (Fisher) and runner-up (Bontrager). Bontrager played first at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 16 and made something of an opening statement by shutting out Darlene Dantes. She went on to defeat Laura Semko (double hill), Farla Salmanovitch 7-3, and Taylor Hansen (double hill) to draw JPNEWT veteran Jia Li in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Fisher, in the meantime, who stepped up to the streaming table at noon on Friday, downed Rae Noregard 7-1, and then defeated Autumn Duncan 7-3, shut out Krista Walsh, and then survived a double hill fight against last year’s runner-up Eleanor Callado, to draw Helena Thornfeldt in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Fisher and Thornfeldt locked up in something of a predictable double hill fight to determine advancement to the hot seat match. Fisher won it. Bontrager joined her with a 7-3 win over Li. Fisher claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bontrager and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Thornfeldt picked up Bryant, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that included a 7-5 win over Kaylin Wikoff and the aforementioned double hill win over Larson. Jia Li drew Mary Rakin, who, following her defeat at the hands of Thornfeldt, had defeated Cuculelli 7-2 and survived a double hill fight against Callado.
 
 
Rakin eliminated Li 7-2 and in the quarterfinals faced Thornfeldt, who’d defeated Bryant 7-4. Rakin chalked up a commanding victory, 7-1, over Thornfeldt in those quarterfinals, only to run into an obviously determined Molly Bontrager in the semifinals. Though Rakin would score 5, Bontrager scored the requisite 7 to earn her re-match against Fisher.
 
Last year, Bontrager admitted to being in awe of the woman she faced in the hot seat (Corr), whom she’d been watching play since she (Bontrager) was in her 20s. In much the same situation, Bontrager was going into a match against someone she’d been aware of before she’d begun her still-new pool career. But this time, Bontrager was a little more seasoned than she’d been the year before. She had mentioned in an interview for Billiards Digest that she expected her “newbie attitude” to have worn off by the time she arrived to compete this year. And it did, to a certain extent.
 
“I talked to Allison on and off a couple of times before we played,” she said. “I tried to get to know her a little to break the ice, which makes it a lot easier when you’re playing a match.
 
“She’s a really fun, bubbly person,” she added, “the complete opposite of her demeanor at the table.”
 
While the seasoning that the year provided served her well in this tournament and brought her a step closer to winning the event, she was still somewhat plagued by a lack of practice on 9-ft tables (something she hopes to correct in the year to come) and just a lingering touch of the awe she experienced last year.
 
“I was pleased with the tournament overall,” she said, “and pleased with the results. As far as critiquing myself, I did OK, but not what I’m capable of.”
 
She needed to win two against Fisher in the double elimination final format of the event, but Fisher completed her undefeated run in the opening set. She duplicated her score in the hot seat against Bontrager (7-3) and captured the title. 

Latzko Secures Qualifier Spot for the NAPT Inaugural 10-Ball Invitational

Amy Latzko

The Illinois ladies took control at Shooters Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, Illinois, for the North Central Pool Tour’s (NCPT) third stop on April 16, 2016.
 
Women from Wisconsin and Illinois played for a coveted qualifier entry to the North American Pool Tour’s Inaugural 10-Ball Invitational on June 3-5 at Sky Breakers Lounge, Herndon, VA. The qualifier entry was generously co-sponsored by Tom Lubus of Tom’s Foolery, West Allis, WI and Shooters Sports Bar & Billiards, Grayslake, IL. (Shooters also added $100 to the final purse). Amy Latzko went undefeated to take the win.
 
Latzko found her groove early. She claimed wins over Connie O’Heron (6-1), Kelly Nickl (6-2), and Laura Semko (6-3). It would be Semko who faced her in the finals. After losing to Latzko, Semko rebounded with wins against Jennifer Barnes (6-2) and Vanessa Hood (6-5) on the one loss side. But she fell short against Latzko in the finals with a loss of 6-2.
 
Overall tournament results were: 1st, $250, Amy Latzko (IL) – 2nd, $130, Laura Semko (IL) – 3rd, $70, Vanessa Hood (IL).
Latzko will join Jacqui Schroeder (IL) in representing the NCPT at NAPT’s Inaugural 10-Ball Invitational. Schroeder secured the first qualifier and her paid entry, co-sponsored by Tom Lubus of Tom’s Foolery, West Allis, WI and NCPT, at tour stop #2, held on April 9, 2016 at The Ball Room, Portage, WI.
 
The NCPT is a regional women’s 9-ball tour sanctioned through the North American Pool Tour (NAPT, www.playnapt.com), with stops scheduled throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northern Illinois.  Players earn points at every stop toward invites to NAPT Division I pro tournaments and the Division II Regional Tour Championships.
 
NCPT’s next tour stop on July 9 at Big Dog Billiards, Des Moines, IA is expected to be the biggest event to date! James Landrum of Big Dog Billiards, Des Moines, IA is adding a minimum of $500 to the prize purse with additional funds provided by Diveney Cues. Diveney has donated a custom cue worth $1500 and Landrum is currently selling raffle tickets at Big Dog Billiards with all proceeds going directly to the NCPT’s July 9th prize purse, bringing the potential add to a whopping $2000! 
 
Future NCPT stops continue to be scheduled, with the next confirmed stop being September 17, 2016 at The Rock Sports Bar & Grill, Sun Prairie, WI.
 
For more information about future tour stops and the NCPT, visit Facebook.com/northcentralpooltour, email northcentralpooltour@gmail.com, or call Kelly Nickl, 715-451-8901 or Laura Semko, 312-805-5358.

Schroeder Wins NAPT Division I Pro Qualifier

Jacqui Schroeder

On April 9, The Ball Room in Portage, Wisconsin, hosted the second stop for the North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) (Facebook.com/northcentralpooltour). 
 
In a small but tough field of 12 women, Jacqui Schroeder claimed the very close win over Katrina Lyman in a double hill-hill finals match. Schroeder sported a black hoody with the the words “Today will be great”–and great it was! Not only did she win the event, but she also secured a paid qualifier spot in the North American Pool Tour’s upcoming Division I pro tournament in Herndon, Virginia, on June 3-5. The qualifier spot was graciously co-sponsored by Tom Lubus of Tom’s Foolery, West Allis, Wisconsin and the NCPT.
 
Schroeder cruised to the finals with wins over April Larson (6-3), Taylor Hansen (6-4), and Laura Semko (6-2). From there, she waited as the rest of the field fought to meet her in the finals. Katrina Lyman lost early to Semko (6-4). But clawed her way back through the B side. She played a grueling hill-hill match against Kelly Nickl (6-5), who posted a strong fourth-place finish. To reach the finals, Lyman had to face Semko again. This time she finished the deal 6-3.
 
Lyman needed to beat Schroeder twice to claim the cash and qualifier spot. The first set went her way. But it wasn’t easy. In the hill-hill game, Schroeder made an uncharacteristic cue ball foul, giving Lyman the win 6-5. The second set proved to be just as arduous for both players. But in the end, Schroeder prevailed with her own hill-hill win of 6-5 over Lyman.
 
The overall  tournament results were:
1st $270 Jacqui Schroeder (IL)
2nd $145 Katrina Lyman (WI)
3rd $80 Laura Semko (IL)
4th $45 Kelly Nickl (WI)
 
A special thank-you to Tom Lubus of Tom’s Foolery, West Allis, Wisconsin for co-sponsoring the paid qualifier spot and to Mike Ganz of The Ball Room, Portage, Wisconsin, for adding $120 to the final prize purse.
 
The NCPT is a regional women’s 9-ball tour sanctioned through the North American Pool Tour (www.playnapt.com), with stops scheduled throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northern Illinois. Players earn points at every stop toward invites to NAPT Division I pro tournaments and the Division II regional tour championships. 
 
Upcoming NCPT stops:
April 16, 2016 – NAPT DIVISION I PRO TOURNAMENT QUALIFIER EVENT, Shooters, Grayslake, IL
July 9, 2016 – UP TO $2,000 ADDED!, Big Dog Billiards, Des Moines, IA
September 17, 2016 – The Rock Sports Bar & Grill, Sun Prairie, WI
 
For more information about the NCPT, visit Facebook.com/northcentralpooltour, email northcentralpooltour@gmail.com, or call Kelly Nickl at 715-451-8901.