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Fisher comes back from hot seat loss to down Barretta and claim Ashton Twins Classic in Alberta

Holem, Plowman, Osborn and Lane win four concurrently-run Amateur/Open events

 

Two of pool’s old-school professionals battled in the hot seat and finals of the WPBA’s 4th Annual Ashton Twins Classic over the weekend (Dec. 2-5). Allison Fisher, who entered the tournament as the WPBA's #1 competitor,, and Jennifer Barretta (#3) fought to double hill in the hot seat match, before Barretta prevailed. Fisher came back from the semifinals to meet and defeat her in the finals and claim the 4th Ashton Twins Classic title, her 82nd pro title. Since the event debuted in 2017, it’s been won by two ‘new-school’ professionals, Brittany Bryant (2017, currently #2) and April Larson (2018, currently #23) and in the past two years, by old-school professionals, Vivian Villareal (2019, currently #48) and Fisher this year. The $20,000-added event drew 50 entrants to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta.

 

The long weekend also featured four, concurrently-run Amateur and Open events; an Amateur Men’s 9-Ball (51 entrants), a Women’s Amateur 9-Ball (26), a Men’s 8-ball (71; the highest number of the weekend’s events) and a Women’s 8-Ball event (56). A summary of these four events, to include winners and runners-up will follow the Pro event details.

 

While the old-school professionals were represented in this year’s final, the new-school professionals were right there behind them, finishing 3rd (Russia’s Kristina Tkach, #22) and 4th (China’s Wei Tzu-Chien, #4). The tie for 5th place featured one each from the two categories; Janet Atwell (#11), who fell to Wei Tzu-Chien and the event’s 2017 winner, Brittany Bryant, who was eliminated by Tkach. The event’s 2018 champion, April Larson was on hand for this event, as well. She was sent to the loss side by Wei Tzu-Chien and was defeated in her first loss-side match by Kim Newsome (#24). Vivian Villareal did not make the trip to Canada.

 

Following an opening round bye, Fisher opened her six-match winning campaign with three victories in which she gave up a combined total of two racks; one each to (first) Stephanie Hefner and (third) Caroline Pao, with a shutout over Laura Smith in between. This set Fisher up to face Wei Tzu-Chien in one of the winners’ side semifinals (old-school/new-school). Barretta, in the meantime, had also been awarded a bye, and though not quite the domineering performance exhibited by Fisher, she did get by Stephanie Mitchell 9-2, June Maiers 9-3 and Monica Webb 9-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Brittany Bryant (another old-school/new-school matchup).

 

Bryant chalked up as many racks against Barretta as all three of Barretta’s previous opponents combined, but fell two short, advancing Barretta 9-7 to the hot seat match. Wei Tzu-Chien chalked up three times as many racks as Fisher’s first three opponents combined, but fell three short, advancing Fisher 9-6 to meet Barretta. As befitted their status, Barretta and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that saw Barretta down 5-8, before mounting a four-match comeback that left her in the hot seat and Fisher headed for a semifinal matchup versus Kristina Tkach.

 

Going into the money rounds on the loss side (17-24), there were still more than just a handful of potential winners vying to get back to the finals. Among them were Janet Atwell, who’d been defeated, double hill, by Caroline Pao and dropped into the loss side’s first money round. She subsequently got by Emily Duddy 9-7, Laura Smith 9-3, Monica Webb 9-6, and Jia Li 9-6, to draw Wei Tzu-Chien, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal.

 

Also lurking on the loss side was Kristina Tkach, who’d lost her first winners' side match (after a bye) to Kyoko Sone, and then launched an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her all the way to the semifinals. After eliminating Ada Lio and Ashley Burrows to make it into the money rounds, she defeated Gail Eaton 9-1, Dawn Hopkins, double hill, Caroline Pao 9-5 and the WPBA’s #1-ranked competitor going into the tournament, Line Kjorsvik 9-2, to draw Bryant.

 

Tkach dispatched Bryant 9-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Wei Tzu-Chien, who’d eliminated Atwell 9-7. Tkach finished up her loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 win over Chien.

 

The commentators on the Cue Sports Live stream employed a slightly different vocabulary for the semifinal match, opting to call it a match between the ‘old guard’ and the ‘new guard.’ Fisher won the opening game of the semifinal match, and though Tkach responded to tie it up, she only did that twice and never got out in front. After the tie at the end of game #2, Fisher won three straight. Tkach came back with two, Fisher got another and Tkach won another two to create the second tie at 5-5. Fisher got out in front by two again, before Tkach chalked up her sixth and final rack. Fisher closed it out 9-6 for a second shot against Barretta.

 

The assembled were expecting a second double hill fight between the two ladies left standing. The race to 11 didn’t pan out that way, although it came close. Fisher took advantage of her second opportunity and downed Barretta 11-8 to claim her first (recorded) event title since she defeated Ga Young-Kim in the finals of the WPBA’s Ho-Chunk Classic in September of 2018.

 

From her home in Charlotte, NC a couple of days later, Fisher commented about her win and the prospect of future wins for her and players like her, like Jennifer Barretta, who's eight months younger than she is.

 

"It's like your own personal battle," she said. "You're constantly wondering 'Can you do it again?' 'Is it ever going to happen?' All those things go through your mind."

 

"There's not as much (time) distance (from former major victories) with me," she added, "but I was a prolific winner and as time goes on, you question and doubt. You're competing with yourself in personal growth."

 

Fisher is also assigning value to other considerations in her life; specifically her time at home with her family, which she noted she had not had much of in her past. Now, she's finding herself elevating that time on a priority scale above shooting pool. She has found that this shift in priorities tends to elevate the significance of each accomplishment.

 

"I don't play a lot these days, because some things (events) are not worth the time to be away from my family," she said. "I don't expect to be competing in 10 years time, so any victory is very valuable to me."

 

Concurrent Amateur/Open events take center stage

 

Kudos to Brian Champayne, who coordinated this long and multi-faceted event, which, as noted at the outset, included four other tournaments, including two which drew more entrants than the main event.

 

Up first on Thursday, January 2 were the Amateur Men’s and Women’s 9-Ball events. In the Men’s event, Tyler Edey and Kevin Osborn battled twice to claim the title. Edey won the first 7-1 to claim the hot seat. Osborn came back after downing Joe Spence 6-4 in the semifinals to defeat Edey 9-7 in the final and claim the Amateur Men’s 9-Ball title. Regene Lane went undefeated to grab the Women’s Amateur 9-Ball title. She and Cindy Nana fought a double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Nana to the semifinals, where she defeated Jenny Lucas 5-2. Lane defeated Nana a second time, this time 7-3 in the final to claim that 9-ball title.

 

On Friday, January 3, Tyler Edey was also in the finals of the most heavily-attended event of the long weekend, the Men’s 8-Ball, which drew 73 players. Edey was sent to the loss side in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal, as Stephen Holem advanced to the hot seat, downing Mike Robinson 6-1 in the winners’ side final. Edey worked his way back through five loss-side opponents, including a double hill win over Robinson in the semifinals to face Holem in the finals. Holem completed his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Edey.

 

In the Women’s 8-Ball event, which drew 56 entrants, Bonnie Plowman and Tasha Thomas battled twice, hot seat and finals, to determine the winner. Plowman, who finished undefeated, took the hot seat match 5-3, and when Thomas returned from a 4-2 victory over Jana Montour in the semifinals, defeated her a second time 6-4 to claim the event title.

Cucculelli Upsets Fisher at WPBA Dr Pool Classic

Teruko Cucculelli (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With an 8-5 win over #1 ranked Allison Fisher, Teruko Cucculelli is through to the final eight on the winner’s side at the WPBA Aramith / Dr Pool Classic. 
 
Cucculelli, hailing from Lancaster Ohio, had wins over Suzanne Peters and Jenna Bishoff to get her day started, but those paled in comparison to her win over Fisher. 
 
“I’m elated to have beat the #1 ranked player on tour. I felt very fortunate to capitalize on the opportunities that were given to me. Allison is a true champion and, although i had won the match, she had kind words of encouragement.” said Cucculelli after the match. 
 
Cucculelli will face #8 ranked Jia Li Saturday, while Fisher will wait for the winner between Laura Smith and Maureen Seto on Saturday. Cucculelli and Li are joined on the winner’s side by Jasmin Ouschan, Dawn Hopkins, Brittany Bryant, Taiwan’s Wei Tzu Chien, Jennifer Barretta and Kelly Fisher
 
The WPBA Aramith / Dr Pool Classic is being held at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild, Wisconsin. Online bracket coverage is available at compusport.us and online streaming of select matches is available at the WPBA’s Youtube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3nECcig-zgKYfFvkS15hQ

Kelly Fisher comes from the loss side to double dip Ga Young Kim in finals of Tornado Open

Kelly Fisher and Vivian Villarreal

Kelly Fisher, who won the Women's Open 10-Ball event of the 2nd Annual Tornado Open over the weekend (Sept. 28-Oct. 3) played for 14 hours straight; from noon on Sunday, October 2 to 2 a.m. on Monday morning, October 3, when she completed a two-set final against Ga Young Kim. Along the way, she'd competed against a host of familiar opponents, including Allison Fisher (twice; two double hill matches), Monica Webb and Jessica Barnes. The $25,000-added women's event drew 62 entrants to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL.
 
"I was absolutely thrilled," she said, pool-side, from her hotel on Monday afternoon, "because while I've won tournaments all over the world, it's been a long, long time since I've won an event here in the USA. 
 
"I really don't know who's in front in our head-to-head battles over the years," she added of her matches against Ga Young Kim. "It's quite close, I know that. Very, very close."
 
Following victories over Julie Kelly, Crystal McCormick, Barnes and Eun J. Park, Fisher had her first meet-up with Allison Fisher in a winners' side semifinal. Kim, in the meantime, having received an opening round bye, defeated Gerda Hofstatter, Laura Smith, and Brittany Bryant to pick up Chezka Centeno in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
The Fishers locked up in their first of two double hill battles, which eventually advanced Allison to the hot seat match. Kim joined her after completing a double hill battle of her own against Centeno. Kim claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Allison Fisher and waited for Kelly to come back from the loss side.
 
On the loss side, Kelly Fisher picked up Monica Webb, who after falling to Eun J. Park on the winners' side in the third round of play, won four straight, including victories over Ewa Laurance, Brittany Bryant (double hill) and Jia Li 7-4. Centeno drew Karen Corr, who'd gotten by (among others) Ewa Laurance and teenage phenom April Larson before being sent to the loss side by Allison Fisher. Corr eliminated Joanne Ashton and Eun Ji Park to face Centeno.
 
Kelly Fisher defeated Webb 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, faced Centeno, who'd downed Corr 7-4. Fisher then navigated her way through two straight double hill matches to reach the finals, defeating Centeno in the quarterfinals, and in the semifinals, turning the double hill tables on Allison Fisher.
 
Fisher won both sets of the double hill final (7-5, 7-4) to complete her run, and claim the Women's 10-Ball title.
 
"You've got to keep her real tight," said Fisher of those final two matches. "(Kim) is a very fluent player, and really dangerous if she gets going."
 
Though acknowledging that, having been playing for so many years, she "doesn't really prepare for whom (she's) playing," Fisher admitted that her experience over the years with Kim, led to some decisions.
 
"She's very good at jumping and kicking," said Fisher, "so if I'm pushing out, I'm not going to leave her with a jump or kick.
 
"That actually happened," she added. "I tried for the shot, rather than leave her with a jump."
 
Kelly's taking a week off to bask in the sun, before flying back to the UK on October 10. Ten days later, she'll be in China for an 8-ball event with a major US title under her belt for encouragement.

Ga Young Kim becomes first WPBA Masters back-to-back champion

Ga Young Kim

She was the third woman to lay claim to the WPBA Masters title, following victories by Jasmin Ouschan in 2011 and Ewa Mataya Laurance in 2012. On February 9, after four days at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt. Pleasant, MI, Korea's Ga Young Kim became the event's first back-to-back champion, wending her way through a field of 48 and completing the title run, undefeated. She faced and defeated Ouschan in the semifinals and downed Kelly Fisher in the finals.
 
The fourth annual five-day event began on Wednesday, February 5, with an afternoon Kid's Clinic and an evening Charity Pro-Am, supporting the Notah Begay III Foundation. The event matches began on Thursday, and as had been done last year, the semifinal and final matches were broadcast live on ESPN3. 
 
The 48 entrants began in a standard, double elimination format. When both the winners' side and losers' side bracket had worked down to their final two players, those four re-drew to play two semifinals and then, a final match. The double elimination phase of the tournament featured races to 9, while the semifinals and final match were races to 4; best two out of three, unless the score, after two matches, was tied, in which case, a single, sudden death rack was played to determine the winner. This format worked to the benefit of both Fisher in her semifinal match against Siming Chen and Kim's final match against Fisher. 
 
Sixteen of the women were seeded at the start and awarded byes. Kim's path in defense of her title went through Jasmin Ouschan twice. After downing Maureen Seto and then, Vivian Villareal, Kim shut out Ouschan in her third round of play. Kim went on to defeat Karen Corr 9-5 to advance to her single elimination final against Ouschan, as Chen defeated Kim White-Newsome 9-1 to become the other winners' side semifinalist.
 
On the loss side, Ouschan went to work on a three-match winning streak, downing Melissa Little 9-5 and Line Kjorsvik 9-4, before eliminating White-Newsome 9-6 to earn a re-match against Kim. Fisher, who'd been sent to the losers' bracket by Ouschan 9-7 in the second round, fought back through Laura Smith, Villareal, Jennifer Chen and Brittany Bryant, before downing Karen Corr 9-4 to earn the last semifinal spot.
 
In the first of the two semifinal matches, which began at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Kim turned in a dominating performance to defeat Ouschan a second time. With a cascading series of uncharacteristic and literally, breath-taking errors, Ouschan failed to win a game in either four-game set. At a potential turning point in the second set (Kim ahead 2-0), Ouschan had a chance to make it 2-1, possibly allowing the momentum to shift, but she rattled the 9-ball into its pocket, giving Kim what proved to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead.  
 
The semifinal match between Chen and Fisher was something of a 'rubber' match between them. They had faced each other twice in the Queen's Cup team event in the Philippines last November. Chen shut out Fisher in their first meeting and Chen returned the favor by shutting Fisher out in their second meeting. Team East would go on to defeat the Western squad and claim the first Queen's Cup title. 
 
As they'd done in the Philippines, Chen and Fisher traded the first two sets of their Michigan matchup; Fisher taking the opener 4-2, and Chen winning four straight to win the second set 4-1. Rules dictated a lag for the sudden death break and it went to Chen, who promptly sank five balls on the break, and left herself with a dead straight shot at one of the balls left. She dropped it, sunk the 5-ball and 8-ball and lined up easily for the shot that would advance her to the finals against Ga Young Kim. And missed it, badly. Fisher stepped to the table and sunk the long table 9-ball to earn the shot against Kim.
 
Kim opened the final proceedings by dropping the 9-ball on the opening break, which led Fisher to examine the subsequent rack (to the accompaniment of spectator laughter). They fought to a 2-2 tie, before Kim finished it 4-2. Fisher got out ahead 3-1 in the second set, and though Kim would narrow the lead to a single game, Fisher would win 4-2, forcing a sudden death finish.
 
As she had done in her semifinal, sudden death match, Fisher lost the lag (prompting a colleague to comment that while Fisher's game was fine, her lag could use some work). Kim sunk a ball on the break, but ended up right on top of the 1-ball and had to play a safety. Fisher almost made a two-rail, cross-corner shot work, but the 1-ball fell about a half-inch short of the corner pocket. 
 
Kim stepped to the table and dropped the hanging 1-ball. Though she would run the table from there, it was not without drama, as the rolling cue ball forced her out of position in shooting her second-to-last ball. Kim settled herself, sunk the ball and watched the cue ball travel three rails and give her a good look at the 9-ball. She dropped it to claim her second straight WPBA Masters title. 
 
Fisher acknowledged to commentator Ewa Mataya Laurance that the loss was disappointing and odd that the championship had come down, more or less, to the sudden death lag.
 
"You try to forget about the unlucky things," Kim told Laurance,  in reference to scratching on the break in the second set of the finals. "I think the Soaring Eagle is real lucky for me. It is not easy to win back to back in the same tournament, and this is only the second time I have ever done that."
 
"I am really, really, really happy," she added.
 
The semi-finals and finals can be viewed online at www.espn3.com for the next 30 days.

WPBA Masters Continues Today

Ga-Young Kim

The WPBA Masters wraps up today at the Soaring Eagle Casino. The four players left to contest the title are Ga-Young Kim, Jasmin Ouschan, Siming Chen and Kelly Fisher. Ga-Young finds herself here via victories over Maureen Seto, Vivian Villareal, Jasmin Ouschan and Karen Corr.

Jasmin enjoyed wins over Janet Atwell and Kelly Fisher before Ga-Young sent her left. Once there she bested Melissa Little. Line Kjorsvik and Kim White-Newsome to gain entry to the final four.

Siming Chen has yet to taste defeat. She plays Sunday due to victories over Emily Duddy, Jeanette Lee, Melissa Little, Jennifer Chen and Kim White-Newsome.  Kelly Fisher won over Kelly Cavanaugh before Jasmin Ouschan beat her but then once on the one-loss side she dominated her opponents with none able to score more than four racks against her. In these five matches she lost only 13 racks. These wins were over Laura Smith, Vivian Villarreal, Jennifer Chen, Brittany Bryant and Karen Corr.

Matchups today begin at 1 PM with Jasmin Ouschan playing Ga Young Kim. At 3 PM Siming Chen will face off against Kelly Fisher. You may watch these matches live on your computer at ESPN3.com.

2012 BEF Junior National Champions Crowned

The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) crowned four winners in the 24th Annual BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships. Nearly 130 junior pocket billiard players from 28 states gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Romine’s High Pockets on July 11th -15th. Players took aim to win a title, scholarships, prizes and an entry into the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Junior 9-Ball Championships. In the 18-and-under boys’ division, Landon Shuffett of Greensburg, KY prevailed, while Briana Miller of Allentown, PA, defended her title in the 18-and-under girls’ division. In the 14-and-under boys’ division, newcomer Zachary Hampton of Rocky Mount, VA was victorious and April Larson of Bloomington, MN captured her first title in the 14-and-under girls’ division. 

The top finishers in the 18-and-under boys’ division were native to junior billiard competition. Landon Shuffett, winner of four (4) consecutive Junior National titles from 2007 – 2010, proved that he didn’t forget how to win after taking a year off from competition in 2011. Shuffett steadily proceeded through the winner’s bracket with wins over Kevin Sun 9-5, Ryan Ponton 9-1, Zachary Leonard 9-2, and William Chappell 9-1 before losing to Brendan Crockett 5-9. Crockett, runner-up in the 2011 Junior Nationals and 2009 champion of the 14-and-under boys’ division, effortlessly cruised through the winner’s bracket without a loss. Crockett defeated Tyler Howell 9-0, Daniel McComas 9-3, Joey Torres 9-5, Tyler Styer 9-5 and Landon Shuffett 9-5 to claim the seat as the only undefeated contestant in the 43 player division. On the one-loss side, Chad Behnke diligently proceeded to win an impressive 8 matches after losing his first match to Brady Behrman 6-9. Behnke shot his way through Austen Warner 9-2, JC Torres 9-7, Logan Zuponcic 9-0, Jonathan Ailstock 9-5, Zachary Leonard 9-2, Kevin Sun 9-8 and Tyler Styer 9-4 before a rematch with Brady Behrman, winning 9-3. With only one more match to win for a chance to rumble with the undefeated Crockett, Behnke fell short by only 3 games, losing to Shuffett 6-9 in the semi-finals. Shuffett gladly embraced a rematch with Crockett and an opportunity for another title. In the race to 11 finals, an unforeseen scratch by Crockett when the score was 7-4 caused a shift in the ebb and flow of the match. Shuffett seized the opportunity to tighten the gap and then followed with a break-and-run, narrowing the score 6-7. The alternate break format allowed Crockett to get back to the table. He gracefully took charge, pocketing eight balls, but scratched while getting position for the 9-ball. Staying focused and determined to win, both players edged their way to a 10-10 match, each needing only one more game to win the championship. Shuffett won the final game and his fifth title as Junior National Champion.

The showdown in the 18-and-under girls’ division featured Briana Miller and Taylor Reynolds. Advancing to the 15-18 year old bracket this year, 15 year old Reynolds was determined to prove that age is not a factor in winning. Reynolds steam-rolled her first 3 opponents, Tessa Brown 7-0, Carly Fristoe 7-0 and Cristina Watson 7-0, before being slowed down by Briana Miller. Miller needed only one game to take charge of the winner’s bracket, but the trailing Reynolds confidently won the next 5 games to win the match 7-6 and took reign of the winner’s bracket. Miller made her way by defeating Sarah Bridgman 7-0, Ashley Fisher 7-2 and Juli Poutry 7-2, before losing to Taylor Reynolds 6-7. Miller collected her composure and ambushed her next opponent Ashley Fisher 7-1 and earned an opportunity to defend her title. Miller tamed the fierce Reynolds in the finals, winning the match 9-7 and claiming her sixth title as Junior National Champion in the girls’ division.

In the 14-and-under boys’ division, Zachary Hampton, first time attendee at Junior Nationals, received an initiation by losing his first match to hometown favorite Sergio Rivas 6-7. Hampton’s light-hearted demeanor and determination carried him through the one-loss bracket defeating Joshua Goodknight 7-0, Michael Darling 7-0, Mahkeal Parris 7-6, Cody Carter 7-2, Seth Chilcutt 7-0, Ricky Evans 7-3, Mason Koch 7-5 and Shawn Begay 7-3, before a rematch in the semi-finals with Sergio Rivas. Rivas made his way through the winner’s bracket defeating Brandon Descamps 7-0, Zachary Hampton 7-6, Shane Wolford 7-5, Kaiden Hunkins 7-0 and Shawn Begay 7-1, before being defeated by Manny Perez 5-7. Perez advanced through the winner’s bracket with victories over Peter Steele 7-5, Ricky Evans 7-3, Mikey Evans 7-1, Mason Koch 7-2 and Sergio Rivas 7-5 to guarantee himself a seat into the finals. In the semi-finals, Rivas and Hampton eagerly battled for a chance to play in the finals. This time, Hampton prevailed 7-5. Hampton’s momentum continued in the finals as he persevered in the 54 player field, ousting Perez 9-6 and winning the championship title in the 14-and-under boys’ division. 

In the 14-and-under girls’ division, it was former runner-up April Larson who gleamed as she breezed through the winner’s bracket defeating Morgan Chesla 7-2, Tori Kover 7-1, Katelin Ballou 7-1, Isabelle Plumb 7-2 and Kyra Avalos 7-4 to secure her seat in the finals. Avalos trekked through the event with wins over Jessica Pitsinger 7-0, Katilyn Hall 7-0, Alex Booth 7-4, and Karsyn Terry 7-4 before losing to April Larson 4-7. In the semi-final match, Terry dashed to the finals with a 7-1 win over Avalos. The confident and poised Larson kept Terry at bay, winning the match 9-2 and earning her first Junior National title. 

The champions of the four divisions received trophies, prizes and scholarship funds. Each champion, as well as the second and third place finishers in the 18-and-under boys’ division earned an opportunity to represent the United States in the 2012 World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Junior 9-Ball Championships. Prizes were also given to all top eight finishers in each division.

During the BEF annual banquet, 300 attending players, family members and fans were honored and thrilled to have Allison “Duchess of Doom” Fisher share words of inspiration and enjoyed an evening of instruction and challenge matches. Fisher is currently ranked #1 on the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) tour, fifteen (15) times World Champion and recipient of over 75 major titles. Other special guests in attendance throughout the week were BCA Master Instructor, Jerry Briesath, who worked tirelessly with juniors who were interested in perfecting their game and Mark Wilson, professional player, instructor and Lindenwood University Billiard Coach.  

Much appreciation goes out to all who diligently worked to help produce a first class event, including: tournament director Earl Munson for keeping the event running smoothly and for his volunteer work throughout the year; Rick Doner, National Head Referee; Justin Ballou, national referee; Jamie Strait, national referee; Tammy Leonard, tournament director assistant; Mel Leonard, mini-tournament coordinator and assistant; Terry Romine, Nikki Romine and all their staff; Roy Pastor, BEF Board of Director; Laura Smith, BEF Executive Director; and volunteers: Susanne Brandom, Brinda Avalos, Trena Wolford, Meghan Howell, Wayne Kelly, Mark Brendemihl and Randy Fisher.

A special “thank you” to all of the event sponsors who made the 2012 Junior National 9-Ball Championships possible: Simonis Cloth, Billiard Congress of America (BCA), Romine’s High Pockets and the BEF. Also, much gratitude goes to Viking Cue, sponsor of the Academic All-American awards. A hearty “thank you” goes out to all the product donors who contributed to the junior prizes. A list of donors can be viewed on the BEF website at www.BilliardEducation.org.

2012 BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championship results:

18 & Under Boys’ Division
1st Landon Shuffett of Greensburg, KY
2nd Brendan Crockett of Bell Canyon, CA
3rd Chad Behnke of Farley, IA
4th Brady Behrman of Albers, IL

18 & Under Girls’ Division
1st Briana Miller of Allentown, PA
2nd Taylor Reynolds of Winslow, ME
3rd Ashley Fisher of Ocala, FL
4th Carly Fristoe of Bend, OR

14 & Under Boys’ Division
1st Zachary Hampton of Rocky Mount, VA
2nd Manny Perez of Kansas City, KS
3rd Sergio Rivas of Milwaukee, WI
4th Shawn Begay of Gallup, NM

14 & Under Girls’ Division
1st April Larson of Bloomington, MN
2nd Karsyn Terry of Chicago, IL
3rd Kyra Avalos of Anthem, AZ
4th Keila Perez of Waltham, MA
About Billiard Education Foundation
The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to promoting education and encourages the development of life skills through youth billiard programs. The BEF funds academic scholarships, produces the Junior National 9-Ball Championships, supports billiard athletes to attend the WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships and promotes “Pool In School” programs. For more information, please visit www.BilliardEducation.org or contact info@BilliardEducation.org

2012 BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships Underway

The 24th Annual Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) Junior National 9-Ball Championships is currently underway at Romine’s High Pockets in Greenfield, Wisconsin. Junior billiard athletes, ages 8 – 18 years old, traveled from 28 states to participate in this prestigious event. Players are competing for scholarship funds, prizes and an opportunity to represent the United States at the 2012 World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Junior 9-Ball Championships.

Romine’s High Pockets is one of the premier billiard rooms in the country, featuring forty-two (42) pool tables, eighteen (18) of which are nine-foot Brunswick tables that are draped with pristine Simonis Cloth to make a grand arena for the event. 
The one hundred twenty nine (129) participants earned an entry through a BEF qualifier or were nominated through their billiard league to be eligible to participate in the 4 division event: 18 & Under Boys, 18 & Under Girls, 14 & Under Boys, and 14 & Under Girls. 

Over 300 guests attended the banquet on Thursday evening, including special guests, Jerry Briesath, BCA Master Instructor; Mark Wilson, professional player, instructor and billiard coach at Lindenwood University; Terry and Nikki Romine, owners of Romine’s High Pockets; Stevie Moore, top ranked men’s professional player; and Roy Pastor, BEF Board of Director. BEF Executive Director Laura Smith acknowledged the volunteers and staff who help make the event possible, including: Earl Munson, tournament director; Rick Doner, National Head Referee, Justin Ballou, National Referee; Jamie Strait, National Referee; Tammy Jo and Mel Leonard, event assistants.

Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s (WPBA) number one (1) ranked player and fifteen (15) times World Champion, Allison “Duchess of Doom” Fisher, was the guest speaker at the BEF annual banquet. Fisher was an inspiration and expressed a deep appreciation for her family and coaches who supported and encouraged her as a young billiard athlete. She encouraged the juniors in attendance do the same. The “Duchess of Doom” shared a late evening of challenge matches and instruction with players, parents and fans. 

An impressive sixty (60) billiard student-athletes were recognized for their excellence in the classroom and in competition. Those players in attendance that earned at least a 3.5 grade point average were honored with the “Viking Cue Academic All-American” award.  All recipients received a medal, certificate and Valhalla Jump Cue. 

The 2012 BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championship sponsors include: Billiard Congress of America (BCA), Simonis Cloth, Romine’s High Pockets and Viking Cue as sponsor of the Academic All-Americans. 

To view the tournament brackets and live streaming, go to www.BilliardEducation.org. The tournament will continue through Sunday afternoon.

Defending Champion Allison Fisher Heading to the WPBA US Open Finals

Allison Fisher

TULSA, OK – Results are in for today’s first semi-final matchup between the #1 and #2 seeds in the WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships taking place this week at the River Spirit Event Center. ESPN cameras rolled as Monica Webb and Allison Fisher, two veteran champions, took the stage.  

Monica took the first point in the race to seven, but Allison quickly answered with two games of her own. Monica won the next three to lead 4-2. In the seventh game, Allison missed a surprising five ball in the corner that put Webb back at the table to extend her lead 5-2.  
 
Allison picked up the next game to trail 5-3, and then another to trail 5-4 when Monica ended up short on a nine ball and missed a cross-side bank. She then broke and ran out to tie the match 5-5, and again to get to the hill, 6-5! 
        
With no shot after the break, Fisher was forced to push out. A safety battle ensued but Fisher got first look at a long, sharp cut on the one. She nailed that, and proceeded to execute a tricky rack to take the win 7-5! Webb finishes tied for third place. 
 
Next up: Gerda Hofstatter plays Jeanette Lee at 3 p.m. to determine who will face Fisher in the finals.     
  
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be broadcast by ESPN in seven one-hour national shows, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).   
 
Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf Refresh the link for the most up-to-date results — scoring updates will take place throughout the day’s play!   
 
Schedule of Events:
Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm and 5 pm
ESPN Semifinal #2 and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)     

It’s all taking place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information!  
 
Final Results – 64 Players 
Champion:
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2nd 
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3/4th
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Monica Webb 
5/8th
Helena Thornfeldt, Brittany Bryant, Line Kjorsvik, Mary Rakin
9/12th
Melissa Herndon, Kim Shaw, Jennifer Barretta, Jennifer Chen
13/16th 
Jana Montour, Teruko Cucculelli, Angelina Paglia, Vivian Villarreal
17/24th 
Stacy Novack, Ewa Laurance, Jessica Barnes, Janet Atwell, Sara Miller, Emily Duddy, Brianna Miller, Liz Ford
25/32nd 
Vicki Paski, Belinda Calhoun, Susan Williams, Kim Pierce, Megan Smith, Kim White-Newsome, Cathy Metzinger, Rhonda Pierce
33/48th
Cheryl Pritchard, Carrie Williams, Emilyn Callado, Morgan Steinman, Brittany Colbert, Kelly Cavanaugh, Lisa Just, Joanne Ashton, Eleanor Callado, Melissa Little, Susan Mello, Kathy McMinn, Lori Jones, Erin McManus, Liz Cole, Laura Smith  
49/64th
Suzanne Smith, Michelle McDermott, Kayla Batson, Eugenia Gyftopoulis, Tonya Wiser, Delia Mocanu, Tamre Rogers, Teresa Gifford, Jessica Karacia-Human, Nicole Keeney, Melinda Huang, Stephanie Goens, Shari Ross, Pauline Mattes, Barbara Lee, Tina Hess  

WPBA US Open Final Thirty Two

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa continued this morning with sixteen more matches on the one-loss side of the double elimination chart. Winning players are matching up in day session play later today; the losing players finish 33/48th. 
    
Elimination Round Two (Defeated Players Eliminated) 
Jana Montourd. Cheryl Pritchard 9-4
Vicki Paski d. Carrie Williams 9-3
Belinda Calhoun d. Emilyn Callado 9-5
Monica Webb d. Morgan Steinman 9-8
Teruko Cucculelli d. Brittany Colbert 9-7
Susan Williams d. Kelly Cavanaugh 9-3
Kim Pierce d. Lisa Just 9-8
Janet Atwell d. Joanne Ashton 9-6
Megan Smith d. Eleanor Callado 9-6
Mary Rakin d. Melissa Little 9-5
Emily Duddy d. Susan Mello 9-5
Kim White-Newsome d. Kathy McMinn 9-6
Cathy Metzinger d. Lori Jones 9-4
Brianna Miller d. Erin McManus 9-8
Rhonda Pierce d. Liz Cole 9-7
Liz Ford d. Laura Smith 9-5

Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    

It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information! 

The Texas High School Billiards “Stinger”

The Texas High School Billiards “Stinger”

The stunned defending high school champions, the South Garland Colonels, had watched in agony as their (27-25) match lead against the Yellowjackets in the final round of play slipped away to bring the match even (27-27) with only one game left to play.

The two best BETTER High School Billiard Program teams in the Dallas, Texas area were ready and set for action at AMF Richardson Lanes on May 22nd, 2012. The competitive game they played was 9-ball and they were playing a total of 55 games and were racing to 28 to win the coveted title of “2012 BEF Texas High School Billiard Finals” champions.

This year’s 1st place champions in regular season play and the number one seed for the finals was the 2011 BEF Texas State High School Runner-Ups Rockwall H.S. Yellowjackets led by sponsor/teacher Nicole Redmond, “2010 Rockwall Teacher of the Year”; Kole McGuire, team captain, 2011 BEF Junior National qualified player, 2011 BEF Academic All-American, and 2012 BEF Academic Scholarship recipient; Morgan Greenlee, team MVP; Cooper Stephens, 2011 & 2012 BEF Junior National qualified player; Armand Cervantes, 2012 League “Silver” Medal Boys winner; Kyle White, team “Most Improved Player”; Hanna Garnett, 2012 League “Silver” Medal Girls winner; veteran players  Noah Haeussler, Matthew James, and Dillon Cannon; first year players Justin McCloskey and Chandler Walker.

And the 2nd place in regular season play and the number two seed for the finals was the 2011 BEF Texas State High School Champion South Garland H.S. Colonels led by sponsor/teachers Natalie Martin and Sean Duffey, a former #1 high school student billiard player 2001-2003, 2003 BCA Junior National qualified player, and 4-time “Gold” Medal Teacher winner 2009-2012; Brian Emrick, team captain, 2011 & 2012 BEF Junior National qualified player, 2011 League “Gold” Medal Boys winner, 2012 League “Bronze” Medal Boys winner, and team MVP; Chase Riggins, 2012 League “Gold” Medal Boys winner, team “Most Improved Player”; Lesley Ibarra, 2012 BEF Academic Scholarship recipient; veteran player Christian Torres; first year players Aidan Sloan, Nick Edmondson, and Kyla Berrones.
Both of these teams were no strangers to the finals as they both had faced off in last year’s 2011 BEF Texas High School Finals.  In last year’s 2011 match-up, the Colonels easily swatted down the Yellowjackets (33-24) to win their first ever Texas high school championship title.

However, this year was different and the air was racked with nervous tension by both teams and spectators from the first to the last game of play in the 2012 Texas high school finals. In this match there would be no rout for the Colonels. It would come down to the last three games that would decide the match resulting in defeat or victory. On the Colonels coaches, parents, junior and senior veteran players minds was the score (27-25) and…not this again.
The painful memory was still etched in the Colonels minds for those who played or witnessed the 2010 BEF Texas High School Finals against the Richardson ISD team in which the Colonels let their lead slip to be tied (27-27)… and then heartbreakingly lose (28-27) due to a rattled 9-ball in the corner pocket in the final game.

For the Rockwall H.S. Yellowjackets it was an uphill battle to win these last three games but they were up for the challenge as it could result in triumph at last for their school. So goes the saying “Never, never, never give up.” Standing in their way the Colonels were on the hill with only one more win needed to give them back to back championships a feat only the Rowlett H.S. Eagles have been able to accomplish in eleven years. The Colonels player, Aidan Sloan, would end up playing the last three games versus the Yellowjackets players in order i.e.; Justin McClosky, Kyle White, and then nationally ranked senior Cooper Stephens.

In the Sloan-McClosky matchup  the table was cleared by both players and there was only the nine-ball left to be pocketed by Sloan to finish the Yellowjackets off but McClosky  made a table length do-or-die shot on the nine denying Sloan the chance to end it bringing the score to (27-26).
Next up, Sloan would face the quiet Yellowjackets most improved player Kyle White. White a veteran player from last year’s match up with the Colonels had dramatically taken his game to a higher level and it paid off.  Capitalizing on a Sloan error White received  cue ball in hand and looked extremely poised as he methodically ran the last three balls out with the nine-ball also being pocketed on a tough table length shot which brought the match to a tie (27-27).

The Yellowjackets breathed out a sigh of relief as the Colonels were now holding theirs with nervous anticipation of the last game between Sloan and Stephens. For the Colonels it was that gnawing feeling of being here before.  It has taken eleven long years for the Yellowjackets to finally get this close with only one game left to feel the thrill of being the best high school billiard team in Texas.

The Rockwall High School billiards program over the last eleven years has had several top talented high school players to cue up for the Yellowjackets teams i.e.; Sean Duffey who ironically now coaches the South Garland Colonels, Scott Shipman, Tommy Ulbik, and Trey McMullen. All four number one players in the Dallas, Texas area went on to play at the junior national level.
 Although the Yellowjackets teams have had more top individual players than any other of the fourteen Dallas area high school billiard programs that have participated since 2001 they still have not been able to win one championship for the Rockwall high school.

For the last and final game of the 2012 season the players Aidan Sloan and Cooper Stephens eagerly shook hands and proceeded to lag for the break. Stephens winning the break cracked the balls and the championship would now be decided by these two players. Balls were pocketed back and forth as they whittled down the rack until the last three balls the five, six, and nine were left on the table.

Stephens, faced with a bank on the five, opted instead to play safe which mistakenly resulted in a straight in shot for Sloan. For a few seconds it looked like the Colonels would finally put this match away. The five went down easily for Sloan but the six was now down table and had to squeeze past the nine to the corner pocket. Sloan stretched his neck and pre-set on this very crucial and long shot. He took his time with a few practice strokes and fired making a beautiful shot on the six only to have the cue ball come up short from the end rail leaving a bank shot to the side on the nine. At this point the entire room was staring at the table wondering can he make it…
Sloan tried his best on the nine but it came short of the side pocket rolling the nine back to the opposite side inches from the side pocket with the cue ball only a foot away. Everyone in the room knew it was over as Stephens patiently waited until he was absolutely ready and got down and tapped the nine in resulting in half the room cheering.

Congratulations go to the South Garland H.S. Colonels for their performance and to the 2012 BEF Texas State High School Billiard Finals Champions the Rockwall H.S. Yellowjackets (28-27).

We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate Kole McGuire from Rockwall H.S. and Lesly Ibarra from South Garland H.S. for being selected by the BEF and awarded the 2012 college scholarships; Tessa Brown from Sachse H.S., Brian Emrick from South Garland H.S., and Cooper Stephens from Rockwall H.S. for qualifying for the 2012 BEF Junior Nationals and will be heading July 11th- 15th to Wisconsin to compete against the top junior talent in the U.S.
The program would like to thank the teachers and high schools for their dedication to their teams, Earl Munson and BETTER Play Billiards, Laura Smith and the Billiard Education Foundation, to the parents, and to all the students who competed this year.

For more information on junior programs please visit the BEF at www.billiardeducation.org.