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Tkach wins 88% of her games to win APT’s VA State Ladies 10-Ball Championship

Kristina Tkach and Lisa Cossette

Moore and Mastermaker battle twice; Moore takes 2021 VA State Open 10-Ball title

Russia’s Kristina Tkach, fresh off her win at the Michael Montgomery Memorial Tournament in Texas on the last weekend in January, backed that title up with an undefeated victory at the 2021 VA State Ladies 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of February 20-21. Tkach also signed on to the concurrently-run Open 10-Ball Championships, where she was defeated in the opening round and won three on the loss side before being eliminated. Held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour (APT), the ladies event drew a short field of 11 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Eric Moore, in the meantime, the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion and the winner of this event that year, as well, was defeated in the battle for the Open 10-Ball hot seat by the event’s 2019 winner, Danny Mastermaker, but came back to down him in the finals. The Open event drew 61 entrants to Diamond Billiards.

Tkach played a total of five matches to claim the ladies’ title. She entered the third round of play without having given up a single rack. She shut out both Soo Emmett and Johnna McDaniel to face Kia Burwell in one winners’ side semifinal. The event’s defending champion, Liz Taylor, downed Shanna Lewis 6-3 in what was their first opening round and faced Lisa Cossette in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Tkach downed Burwell 6-1. Taylor joined her in the hot seat match with a 6-2 win over Cossette. Entering that hot seat match with a 95% game-winning percentage (18-1), Tkach gave up another one of the four racks her opponents chalked up against her and sent the defending champion, Taylor, to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Burwell picked up Shanna Lewis, who, after her defeat at the hands of Taylor had eliminated Soo Emmett, double hill, and Kristen Daniels 5-3. Cossette drew Jacki Duggan, who’d been sent to the loss side by Burwell and downed Amy Williams 5-1 and Johnna McDaniel 5-2 to reach Cossette.

Burwell shut out Lewis. Cossette spoiled the possible rematch between Burwell and Duggan by defeating Duggan 5-2. Cossette and Burwell battled to double hill before Cossette prevailed for a shot at the defending champ in the semifinals. Cossette, on a roll, gave up only a single rack to Taylor and turned to challenge Tkach in the hot seat. 

To her credit, Cossette chalked up more racks against Tkach than any of the young Russian’s previous opponents. In fact, Cossette chalked up as many as all of Tkach’s previous four opponents combined. Downing Cossette 6-2, Tkach claimed the 2021 Ladies 10-Ball title having won 30 of 34 games played, for an 88% game-winning percentage. 

Danny Mastermaker and Eric Moore

Moore and Mastermaker battle twice for Open title

Though Eric Moore did not have to face the Open event’s 2020 champion (BJ Ussery) or its runner-up (Reymart Lim), neither of whom competed for the 2021 title, Moore did face a familiar APT competitor in Danny Mastermaker, twice. Though luck of the bracket draw kept Moore out of the path of a number of previous tour champions and familiar APT faces like Mike Davis, Chris Bruner (2019 tour champion), Shane Wolford (last year’s de facto tour champion in an abbreviated-by-the-pandemic, two-event season) and Brian Dietzenbach, among others, Moore (who finished in 5th place last year) did have to get by Scott Roberts, who finished two slots ahead of him in last year’s two-event standings. 

Moore’s six-match march to the hot seat went through Brent Hensley 7-4, a shutout over Chris Pyle and another 7-4 win, over Mike McPherson, before pulling up to the aforementioned Scott Roberts, who challenged Moore to his first of only two double hill matches. Moore advanced to meet Bobby Chamberlain in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Mastermaker, in the meantime, got by Kevin Williams and Michael Bumpass, both 7-2 and then gave up only one to Ed Culhane, before chalking up another 7-2, versus David Hunt. This set him up to draw Shane Wolford in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Moore downed Chamberlain 7-5 to get into the hot seat match, where he was joined by Mastermaker, who’d sent Wolford to the loss side 7-3. It was Mastermaker who locked Moore up in his second double hill fight, battling for the hot seat. Mastermaker prevailed and waited on Moore’s return.

On the loss side, Chamberlain picked up the tour’s 2019 champion, Chris Bruner, who’d been sent over by Wolford and was working on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals and had most recently included wins (#5 & #6) over David Hunt 6-4 and Bruce Campbell 6-1 (Campbell, three rounds earlier, had been responsible for eliminating Kristina Tkach). Wolford drew Mike Davis, who’d been defeated by Bobby Chamberlain and was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that was about to end and had recently included wins over Scott Roberts 6-1 and Mark Nanashee 6-2.

Bruner continued his winning streak with a double hill victory over Chamberlain. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Wolford, who’d stopped Davis’ streak 6-4. Another double hill fight ensued in those quarterfinals and eventually advanced Bruner over Wolford into the semifinals. 

Eric Moore put a punctuation mark into ending Bruner’s streak, allowing him only a single rack to earn a second shot at Mastermaker, waiting for him in the hot seat. Eric completed his 2021 10-Ball Championship campaign with a final 8-5 victory over Mastermaker. 

Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as this event’s sponsors, Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry (www.Haselman & Hunt.com). The schedule for upcoming events on the Action Pool Tour, like so much else at this time, is being curtailed by restrictions associated with individual communities and venues. Wylie and Baker are monitoring the situation as best they can and while they hope that they will be able to announce other APT stops in the future, the only one that is known for sure as of this writing is an event scheduled for July 17-18, which will be hosted by Wolfe’s Den Billiards in Roanoke,VA.  

Jessica Barnes Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 at Brewlands Billiards

Jessica Barnes, Doug Barriger (Manager), Nicolle Cuellar and Sherie Hensley

Thirty-two women convened in central Florida at Brewlands Billiards North in Lakeland for the Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 on Saturday where Jessica Barnes clinched the win, the money, the trophy and the paid entry to the WPBA Sledgehammer event!

Once again, the competition was tough with several new players joining the ranks of the Tiger Florida Tour women’s semi-pro 9-Ball tour for the first time.  The women played a modified double-elimination format, where the final four from the one-loss side drew back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board.  The one-loss final four saw Nicolle Cuellar draw Sonya Chbeeb; Michell Monk matched up against Jeannie Seaver; Lisa Cosette drew Jessica Barnes and newcomer Sherie Hensley drew Jeri Bouvette.

Barnes made it to the Final Board undefeated, then played two nail-biting matches edging out Lisa Cossette 7-6 in the quarterfinal and Nicolle Cuellar 7-6 in the semi-final to make it to the final match.  Hensley, who played steady all day long, got past two top TFT players, Helene Caukin 7-5 and Michell Monk 7-5, before losing to Seaver 7-2. Hensley defeated Derek Folds 5-2  on the left side to advance to the Final Board. Once there, Hensley made it past Jeri Bouvette 7-4, and then matched up with Seaver again, this time knocking out Seaver in a hill-hill match after Seaver scratched in the side pocket, putting Hensley in the final match against Barnes.  After a long day for both players, Barnes took the match 7-2 over Hensley.

Barnes won the paid entry to the Sledgehammer Open, courtesy of Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour.  Stephanie Mitchell won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Pro-9-Ball event, and Hensley won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Amateur 9-Ball event.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the TFT event!  A huge thanks to room owner Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for hosting our event again this year and their continued support of the TFT!  Our appreciation to Manager Doug Barriger and staff, and Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events for helping our event go smoothly.  Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour/players; thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support! And thanks again to Janis Sessions and the Florida Ladies Coastal Tour for sponsoring the entry to the Sledgehammer Open. Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page.

Tour Stop #3 is May 2, 2020 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar!  See you there!

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

Ussery comes from the loss side to win win VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): Reymart Lim, TD Tiger Baker & BJ Ussery

Taylor becomes only 4th woman since 2013 to win VA State Women’s 10-Ball title
 
It’s a little early to start making predictions or get too much of a ‘read’ on a tour’s point standings (at least those that run on a calendar year schedule), but the Action Pool Tour’s second stop provided some intriguing information. It wasn’t so much about who’s in the top spots at this point, but who, among last year’s top players are apparently starting out a little slow. Stop #2 on the Action Pool Tour – the 2020 VA State 10-Ball Open Championships – drew 73 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA on the weekend of February 15-16. Six of last year’s top 10 players in the tour’s final standings competed in this event. Two finished out of the money, including the event’s defending champion, RJ Carmona. Three, including last year’s tour champion, Chris Bruner, finished in the first money round. Reymart Lim, who finished in 4th place overall last year and won this year’s season opener was this event’s runner-up. In his first appearance on the tour in seven years, BJ Ussery came from the loss side to earn a finals rematch against Lim, which he won to claim the event title.
 
Meanwhile, the 2020 VA State Women’s 10-Ball Championships drew 16 women to the same location. As they did last year, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled twice to claim this title. The results of those two battles were a reverse of last year’s; Atwell, winning the first and Taylor, winning the final (more on this a bit later).
 
Ussery’s appearance on the Action Pool Tour is a reflection of his desire to play generally stronger opponents than those he tends to face on regional handicapped tours. The last time he’d appeared on the APT, he’d finished 7th in the inaugural (2013) VA State 10-Ball Championships.
 
“I’m hoping to play in more of these (APT events) this year,” said Ussery. “I want to play against better players and compete in the some of the bigger events, like the US Open or the Super Billiards Expo.”
 
Any time at table, ultimately, is good time at table, but playing in a handicap system, no matter which one it is, carries a downside. According to Ussery, it’s less about the game and more about human nature.
 
“I get so used to giving up a handicap,” Ussery explained, “that when I get into a non-handicap game, it’s hard for me to bear down.”
 
His opening matches tended to demonstrate this. Ussery opened with an 8-6 win over Reggie Jackson, had a strong 8-1 victory over Jonathan Syphanthavong, and then gave up five against Shorty Davis. He had to win a deciding, 15th game in his fourth match, against Justin Martin. Nathan Childress chalked up six against him next, but Ussery prevailed and advanced to his first meeting against Reymart Lim, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Lim had downed Barry Mashburn, RJ Carmona, Larry Kressel and shut out Greg Sabins (last year’s #12 in the point standings) to reach Ussery. Shane Wolford and Eric Moore (the APT’s 2016 Tour Champion) squared off in the other one.
 
By identical 8-1 scores, Lim and Wolford advanced to the hot seat match over Ussery and Moore. Lim and Wolford then locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Wolford to the semifinals and left Lim in the hot seat.
 
Ussery opened up on the loss side against Mike Davis, who was working on a five-match winning streak that was about to end and had included recent wins over Kelly Farrar 7-3 and Justin Martin 7-2. Moore picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been shut out by Greg Sabins in the second round and was working on his own seven-match, loss-side streak that included a successful 7-5 rematch against Sabins and a 7-5 victory over Nathan Childress, which led to Moore.
 
Ussery ended Davis’ streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Roberts, who’d defeated Moore 7-4. Ussery ended Roberts’ streak and Wolford’s short visit to the loss side in the semifinals, both 7-5.
 
Going into the final match, Ussery was mindful not only of the earlier matchup, in which Lim had allowed him only a single rack, but previous matchups, as well. They’d faced each other on a number of occasions over the years, and playing against him, Ussery knew what the difference was.
 
“I knew he was a good player when we’d met before,” said Ussery, “but I knew then, that part of the reason he was beating me was that he’d been putting in the time.”
 
“These days,” Ussery added, “I’m as prepared as anybody.”
 
Ussery spoiled Lim’s bid for a second straight win on the APT. He defeated him 10-8 to claim his first APT title.
 
Taylor spoils Atwell’s bid for a third straight, sixth overall VA State 10-Ball Woman’s title.
 
[photo id=51605|align=right]Since 2013, there have been four women who’ve claimed the VA State Women’s 10-Ball title. Tracie Majors won it in 2014 and Meredith Lynch captured the title in 2017. Janet Atwell has claimed the title five times; once in its inaugural year (2013) and then, back-to-back, twice (’15,’16, ’18, ’19). Last year, Atwell was defeated by Liz Taylor, double hill, in the hot seat match and came back to down Taylor 8-2 in the finals to claim her second straight and fifth overall title.  This year, at the event that drew 16 entrants (one more than last year), they reversed things. Taylor was defeated in the hot seat match and came back to defeat Atwell in the finals and claim the 2020 women’s title.
 
It took them each three matches to meet for the first time in the hot seat match. Atwell got by Nicole King, Tina Nash and, in a winners’ side semifinal, shut out Hayleigh Marion. Taylor defeated Soo Emmett, Christy Norris and, in her winners’ side semifinal, survived a double hill match against Lisa Cossette. Atwell claimed the hot seat 6-1.
 
Taylor’s return faced a stiff challenge from Deeqa Nur, who’d been defeated in the opening round of play by Cheryl Sporleder and came back through five opponents to draw Taylor in the semifinals. Nur battled to double hill against two of those opponents. She picked up Hayleigh Marion, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal and defeated her, just ahead of downing Lisa Cossette in a double hill quarterfinal. Taylor spoiled the strong, loss-side bid 5-3 in the semifinals.
 
And so it was, that for the second year in a row, Liz Taylor and Janet Atwell battled for the State of Virginia’s Women’s 10-Ball title. In a reversal of fortunes, Taylor gave up only one rack to Atwell in claiming the event title 8-1.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Full Stroke Billiards Apparel and Haselman & Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry. The next stop on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 28-29, will be a Double Points event – The East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash – to be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Jeannie Seaver Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #1 At Brewlands

Helen Caukin, Nicolle Cuellar and Jeannie Seaver

The Tiger Florida Tour kicked off the 2020 season at Brewlands Billiards South in Lakeland, Florida, with 30 players turning out and where Jeannie Seaver took top honors, in more ways than one!

This event drew tough competition from out of state including US Amateur Champion Lisa Cossette, Marianne Merrill and Kelly Nickl, as well as several strong local players and newcomers. The tournament could have been won by any one of at least a dozen different players – the competition was that tough!  In the end, and to no one’s surprise, Seaver won Tour Stop #1, and is four-for-four on the Tiger Florida Tour!

The women played a modified double-elimination format. The final four from the one-loss side drew back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board, race to seven.  Early upsets saw top TFT players Stephanie Mitchell and Michell Monk, also a former US Amateur Champion; Sonya Chbeeb and Debbie Teichert leave the tournament early.

Caukin played flawlessly all day, and showed everyone that she came to win – with a surprise 7-3 win over Seaver early in the day.  Caukin, Carrie Vetrono, Jessica Human and Lisa Cossette reached the Final Board undefeated.  Nicolle Cuellar, Shanelle Loraine, Seaver and newcomer Christina Moxley reached the Final Board from the one-loss side.  In the first round of the Final Board, Cuellar knocked out Vetrono; Moxley lost to Human, Caukin ended the day for Loraine, who shot lights out all day in one of her best events; and Cossette was stopped by Seaver.

In the semi-finals, Caukin defeated Cuellar 7-4; Human lost to Seaver 7-2, leaving Caukin versus Seaver in a rematch that Seaver took in Seaver-style 7-4.  In addition to winning Tour Stop #1, Seaver’s top-line play, winning three of five events in 2019, also earned her the 2019 Tiger Florida Tour Champion title once again.  Seaver’s win also earned her the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Pro 9-Ball tournament.

Three paid entries to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Amateur 9-Ball event, courtesy of Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour, were won by Cossette, Loraine and Moxley.

Thanks to all 30 players who came out to the TFT event! Thanks to room owners Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for hosting our event again this year and their continued support of the TFT – and for going non-smoking!

Thanks to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events and staff for helping with the arrangements and making sure our event went off smoothly.  Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour/players; thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support! And thanks again to Janis Sessions and the Ladies Coastal Florida Tour for sponsoring the amateur entries at the SBE, and thank you to Nicolle Cuellar, Stitch It To Me, for the embroidery on the TFT Member shirts.  Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page.

Seaver Wins 3 In A Row At Tiger’s “Cues For The Cure!”

Stephanie Mitchell, Michell Monk, Kelly Cavanaugh, Vanessa Seaver & Jeannie Seaver

For the third time in a row this year, Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to win the Tiger Florida Tour’s 11th Annual “Cues for the Cure” breast cancer awareness fundraiser. Thirty-two women played in pink at this $1,150-added event which benefitted Susan G. Komen, Florida. 
 
 
The event was a modified double elimination format, playing down to four on each side.  Four players from the loser’s side drew back into the winners’ side into a final single elimination board.  On the winners’ side, Seaver got past Amanda Mungeon, Denise Reeve and edged past Nicolle Cuellar in a double hill match to get to the Final Board.  Also making it to the Final Board on the winners’ side – Lisa Cossette, sending Marge Soash west, followed by Sonja Chbeeb and Kelly Cavanaugh; and Michell Monk got past Gianna Fiore, Dawn Logan and Deanna Frost. Vanessa Seaver also made it to the Final Board undefeated, winning over Stephanie Mitchell, Jennifer Berzinski and Deb Teichert. 
 
The final four from one-loss side – Kelly Cavanaugh, Nicolle Cuellar, Jeri Bouvette and Deanna Frost – redrew into a single elimination bracket race to seven.  In a blind draw, Cavanaugh drew Monk, Cuellar drew Vanessa Seaver, Bouvette matched up with Jeannie Seaver and Foster played Cossette.  Cavanaugh advanced to the semi-finals with a win over Monk 7-5, Vanessa Seaver ended the day for Cuellar 7-4, Foster stopped Cossette 7-4 and Jeannie Seaver said good night to Bouvette 7-2.  That left Jeannie Seaver against Deanna Foster in the semi-finals, with Seaver wining 7-3.  Kudos to Foster who made the money for the first time! Cavanaugh won the match against Vanessa Seaver 7-4, ending the potential match up of the Seaver sisters as in 2016.  In the Final match, Jeannie Seaver cranked it up to win the final match over Cavanaugh 7-4.  This win also secured the TFT Tour Champion title for Seaver, back on top again!
 
It was great to see so many new faces and players from the past, several players from around the state and out of state, and two young 9-Ball future stars, Giana Fiore and Sophia Mast.  All players received Cues for the Cure T-shirts. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this a great event – we could not have done it without your support!  All monies raised from the raffle and games benefits Susan G. Komen, Florida.  
In particular, we thank our title sponsor Tiger Products; Simonis Cloth; Stich It To Me; The Bay Area APA; Relocations & Estate Sales by Dixie; Boynton Billiards; AZ Billiards; Great Lakes Billiards, Bill Dunsmore and Susan G. Komen, Florida.  Of course, a huge thanks to Stephanie Mitchell for all her hard work in helping to make this a successful event and for hosting this event again. Thanks to the staff at The Corner Pocket for their great service! Thanks to Nicolle Rasmussen for her hard work on the T-shirts! Thanks to Jerry Sotelo for running another great tournament!
 
Portions of the matches can be viewed at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-tdcEQ9Al4.
 
Results – $1150-added
1st Jeannie Seaver $650
2nd Kelly Cavanaugh $400
3d/4th Vanessa Seaver $225
3d/4th Deanna Foster $225
5th/8th Michell Monk $150
5th/8th Nicolle Cuellar $150
5th/8th  Lisa Cosette $150
5th-8th Jeri Bouvette $150
 
The top APA players -$50 each:
 
1 – 3 winner – Dixie Sutton
4 – 5 winner – Erika Pennington
6 – Christina Rodriguez Miller
 
Winner of the M&Ms – Stephanie Mitchell
Winner of the Hershey Kisses – Giana Fiore
 
The Tiger Florida Tour is a NAPT-recognized Division II Women’s Regional Tour.
 

Ringgold adds to his list of victories (the most) on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

JT Ringgold

Eight months ago, with a distinct ‘home field’ advantage playing in his home town of New Bern, NC at Mickey Milligan’s Billiards, JT Ringgold chalked up what was his 13th overall victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. It was seven more than his closest competitor in the category, and the last time, in a handicapped tournament, that he would race to 10. On Saturday, June 15, Ringgold returned to Mickey Milligan’s to win his 14th event title on the tour. Unlike the quest for #13, #14 started and stayed on the winners’ side of the bracket. The 13th featured an opening-round loss, seven wins on the loss side (with an aggregate score of 74-16) and a double dip win in the final that saw him win all but three of the 23 matches he played. The 14th title came at the end of four matches, two of them against Justin Clark. The 13th title event drew 18 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s. The $250-added, 14th title event drew 15.
 
Ringgold and Clark met first in a winners’ side semifinal (match #3), as Larry Pierce and Ron Sellers squared off in the other one. Pierce sent Sellers to the loss side in a shutout, as Ringgold took his first of two over Clark 11-4. Ringgold settled into the hot seat after an 11-3 win over Pierce.
 
Sellers and Clark moved to the loss side and entered the matches that would determine whether they had a chance of going home with any cash. Clark did. Sellers didn’t. Clark got into the first-money-round quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Matt Raden, who’d eliminated Walter Berry and Chris McSorley, both 7-3, to reach him. Danny Farren, who’d defeated Lisa Cossette 7-3 and Robert Perez 7-5, eliminated Sellers 7-1.
 
The next two battles were hotly contested, representing, as they did, a difference of $100 between the quarterfinal and semifinal winners and losers. Clark dropped Farren out of the race, double hill, in the quarterfinal to send him home with $50. Clark then eliminated Danny Pierce, double hill in the semifinals and saw him pocket $150.
 
The financial gap between 1st and 2nd place was $150 ($400/$250) and the battle for it, just as fierce. Clark, granted five on the wire at the beginning of a race to 11, chalked up one more rack against Ringgold than he had in the winners’ side semifinal and forced a 16th deciding game, but Ringgold added a 14th notch to his Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball ‘gun’ with an 11-5 win.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (June 22-23), will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by a new venue for the tour – Break and Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC. 

Cossette Captures NC 10-Ball Title

Lisa Cossette

The 3rd Annual Women’s State 10-Ball Championship was held May 25, 2019, at the Rock House Sports Tavern in Gastonia, NC. Play was on pristine 9’ Diamond tables with Aramith Balls and Simonis Cloth which provided conditions for a maximized display of talent.  
 
An arduous day of play culminated with Lisa Cossette and Billie Billing reaching the finals with undefeated records. The day’s play saw Lisa defeat Vera Livesay-Camp 6-5; Debbie Teichert 6-4; Bridgette Simon 6-3; and Marianne Merrill 6-2 while Billie’s road to the finals included victories over Debbie Teichert 6-4; Bridgette Simon 6-0; Marianne Merrill 6-4; and Vera Livesay-Camp 6-3.  Once the match was tied at one, Lisa took control and raced to a 6-1 win and title of 2019 North Carolina Women’s State 10-Ball Champion.  
 
The Rock House was opened by Dave Vick in October of 2011. Dave, formerly of Denver, CO, is a long time resident of Gastonia. He was an electrician, by trade, and due to his love of pool jumped at the opportunity of opening the business when the owner of the building made the suggestion.  Vick equipped the room with four 9’ Diamond tables, two 9’ Global tables, and two 7’ Diamond tables.  Monday and Tuesday offers APA 8 and 9 ball league play, with Sunday evening reserved for alternating 8 and 9 ball tournaments.  Rock House offers live entertainment on Saturday nights with karaoke featured on Thursdays and Fridays.  Your dining pleasures are met by a full service menu featuring dinner specials on Tuesdays for the Rock House clientele. For all your entertainment needs, the Rock House should definitely be on your agenda anytime you are in the Gastonia/Charlotte area.   Thank you to Dave and his friendly staff who will be hosting our November tour stop!  For future details, keep an eye on your Facebook and email notifications.
 
Many thanks to our Title Sponsor Tiger Products, Simonis cloth, Aramith Balls, and Quick-Clean Cloth Cleaner who all contribute to the continued success of the Tiger Southern Mid-Atlantic Regional Tour.
 

Whitman comes back from the semifinals to win JPNEWT season opener

(l to r): Lai Li, Ada Lio, Lisa Cossette, Nicole Christ, Cheryl Sporleder & Kim Whitman

Of the 22 women who competed on the March 2-3 season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, three of them had just returned from Phoenix, Arizona where they, and five others from the tour, had competed in the North American Pool Tour’s 3rd Annual Division II Championships, held from February 21-24. Two of the eight, having advanced out of an initial round robin phase of the event, came home with cash in their pockets. Judie Wilson had been among the eight competitors who finished in the tie for 17th place. The other JPNEWT competitor, Bethany Sykes, won 12 matches and lost two (six each, in the round robin and double elimination phases of the event) to capture her first major tournament win.
 
Unfortunately, or fortunately, dependent on your viewpoint, pool careers tend to follow a twisted path that features a relentless series of hills and valleys. From the hill and confidence glow of her first major tournament win, Sykes hit an immediate valley in the JPNEWT’s season opener, drawing tour director, and Division I NAPT competitor, Linda Shea, in the opening round of play. Sykes moved to the loss side, where after two wins, including a double hill victory over fellow NAPT Div. II competitor Judie Wilson, she was eliminated by JPNEWT veteran, Sharon O’Hanlon.
 
The season opening event of the 2019 JPNEWT season saw Kim Whitman and Lisa Cossette battle twice to claim the title. They battled to double hill in the hot seat match before Cossette won it Whitman came back from the semifinals to down Cossette in the finals and claim the season-opening title. The $500-added event drew its 22 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.
 
Whitman’s path to the winners’ circle went through Linda Tunmatip, Judie Wilson, and Kathleen Lawless before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Lai Li. Cossette, in the meantime, got by Melissas Mason and Jenkins, and survived a double hill meetup with Linda Shea, to face Nicole Christ in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Whitman and Li locked up in a double hill fight for advancement to the hot seat match, eventually won by Whitman. Cossette downed Christ 7-3 to join her. Whitman, in her second straight double hill match, watched Cossette down the last 9-Ball and claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Christ picked up Ada Lio, one of the participants in the Div. II Championships, who was on a six-match, loss-side winning streak and had most recently defeated Leslie Furr 7-3 and Lawless 7-4 to reach her. Li drew Cheryl Sporleder, who was on her own six-match, loss-side winning streak, had just eliminated Shea and O’Hanlon, both 7-1.
 
Lio and Christ locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Lio to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Sporleder, who’d defeated Li 7-4. Sporleder stopped Lio’s loss-side streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals. Whitman then ended Sporleder’s loss-side streak 7-5 in the semifinals.
 
Whitman got her second shot at Cossette in the hot seat, and took advantage. She downed Cossette 9-7 to claim the JPNEWT’s 2019 season opener. As a qualifier for the upcoming Super Billiards Expo, Whitman received a paid entry to the Ladies Pro event.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, Livestream sponsor Britanya E. Rapp (angle aim Art), Turtle Rack and Baltimore City Cues. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 27-28, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA. 

Carmona comes back from semifinals to win 7th Annual VA State 10-Ball Championships

(l to r): TD Tiger Baker, Scott Haas & RJ Carmona

Atwell comes back from semifinals to claim her 5th VA State 10-Ball title
 
In the seven-year history of the Virginia State 10-Ball Championships, there have been seven different winners in the event’s Open Division. The most recent winner at the 7th Annual event was RJ Carmona. In that same time frame, there have only been three women who have claimed the title – Tracie Majors (2014), Meredith Lynch (2017) and Janet Atwell, who won the inaugural event in 2013, and claimed the title in successive years, twice; 2015, 2016, 2018, and this past weekend, February 16-17, 2019. Both competitors at this year’s championships, held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour and hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA, made it to their respective hot seat matches, and lost. They both came back to meet and defeat their hot seat opponent and claim the event title.
 
The Open division of the annual event drew 48 entrants, and only one former champion (Eric Moore, 2016). The Women’s Championship drew 15 entrants, including four-time and defending champion, Atwell. The Open event drew 9 of the top 10 finishers from the APT season opener in January, including that event’s winner (Reymart Lim).
 
Carmona opened his bid for the 2019 title with a shutout over Christopher Wilburn and then, battled to double hill against Del Sim before advancing. He downed Reymart Lim 8-6 and met up with Scott Roberts in a winners’ side semifinal. Carmona’s hot seat and finals opponent, Scott Haas, got by Danny Mastermaker, double hill, in the opening round and went on to defeat Shane Buchanan 8-5, before getting locked up in a second double hill battle against David Hairfield. Haas won that one to advance to a winners’ side semifinal against Brian Bryant.
 
Haas got into the hot seat match with an 8-4 win over Bryant. Carmona joined him after sending Roberts to the loss side 8-2. Haas claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Carmona and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Bryant picked up APT veteran/pro player Brandon Shuff, who’d lost a second- round match to Reymart Lim (double hill) and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d most recently eliminated Shorty Davis 7-3 and winner of the APT season opener, Reymart Lim 7-2. Scott Roberts drew Chris Bruner, who’d lost his second-round match to John Newton, and like Shuff, was on an extended loss-side streak (eight matches) that would take him to the seminfinals. He’d most recently defeated David Hairfield 7-5 and Danny Mastermaker 7-4.
 
Shuff and Bruner advanced to the quarterfinals with seven loss-side wins each, once Shuff had eliminated Bryant 7-5 and Bruner had defeated Roberts 7-3. Bruner broke the loss-side match tie with a 7-5 win over Shuff and with some momentum on his side, battled to double hill against Carmona in the semifinals. Carmona, though, finished it for a second shot at Haas in the hot seat.
 
Whatever happened in the Carmona/Haas finals, Reymart Lim was going to retain his top spot on the tour’s (two event) points-leader board, and RJ Carmona would hold on to his #2 spot. Haas, competing in his first 2019 APT stop, would enter the points-leader board at either #18, if he won, or #20, if he lost. Carmona completed his 2019 VA State 10-Ball Championship run with a 10-8 victory over Haas.
 
Atwell goes 3-1 to claim her fifth VA State 10-Ball Ladies title
 
It’s never easy, but short fields make for short runs to event titles. Janet Atwell played four matches and won three of them to claim her fifth VA State 10-Ball title. It was her first appearance on the APT in 2019 and her victory allowed her to enter the tour’s points-leader board at #83 (points are awarded based on a player’s finish and a formula related to the total number of entrants).
 
Atwell was awarded an opening round bye and then defeated Buffy Jolie 7-4 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Marianne Merrill. Liz Taylor, in the meantime, got by Cheryl Pritchard 7-2 and Tina Castillo 7-4 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Linda Shea (tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour).
 
Atwell and Taylor advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-4 victories over Merrill and Shea. Taylor claimed the hot seat in a double hill win.
 
On the loss side, Shea picked up Lisa Cossette, who’d defeated Kim McKenna and Nicole King, both 6-4, to reach her. Merrill drew Cheryl Sporleder, who’d defeated Dorothy Strater 6-1 and Bethany Sykes 6-4. Shea and Sporleder advanced to the quarterfinals, having given up only three racks between them in 15 games; Shea gave up two to Cossette and Sporleder gave up one to Merrill.
 
Shea gave up none at all to Sporleder in those quarterfinals, only to get locked up in what was most likely a predictable double hill fight between her and Atwell in the semifinals. Atwell prevailed and then in the finals rematch, downed Taylor 8-2 to claim the VA State 10-Ball Ladies title.
 
A Second Chance tournament drew 18 entrants. Greg Sabins and Robert Farmer worked their way through the field and battled in both the hot seat and finals. Farmer claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight, but Sabins came back from a shutout over Graham Swinson in the semifinals to shut Farmer out in the finals and claim the Second Chance top prize of $160. Farmer took home $100 as runner-up. Swinson finished third ($75), Cheryl Sporleder finished in fourth place ($50). Jamie Bess and Andrew Stephan each took home $30 for the 5th place tie.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Viking Cues, Predator, Tiger, Kamui Tips, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the 2019 Action Pool Tour, scheduled for March 23-24, will be the East Coast Landscaping Bar Box Bash and will be hosted by Peninsula Billiards in Newport News, VA.

Schaad and Cossette Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles

Abrin Schaad

The U.S. Amateur Championship is all about legacy, leaving your mark in a tournament contested by some of the best amateur players to ever pick up a cue stick – names like Parks, Brodt, Chen and Jones.
 
Pool tournaments come and go, but securing the title of U.S. Amateur Champion is something you carry with you forever, literally.  Not only does it stand out on an amateur billiard resume, but your name is forever added to the Trophy of Champions for generations to come.
 
Legacy is what drove more than 2,100 of North America’s top amateur players to try and qualify for the 25th Annual event.  That’s what brought 128 men and 41 women to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., in early November to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Of course there were some great perks too.  Like a getaway to the Tampa area, one of the premier vacation destinations in the world, at a time when most of the country is experiencing their first taste of winter.  An all-expenses paid trip to a pro event next year courtesy of the APA for the winners of each division. 
 
And let’s not forget the championship trophy – a combination of marble and bronze that more closely resembles a piece of art than something won in a pool tournament.
 
Hurricane Abe Takes U.S. Amateur Championship by Storm 
There’s a new kid in town, and his name is Abrin Schaad. The 26-year-old from Peoria, Ill., took this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship field by storm earning the nickname “Hurricane Abe” in the process.  Schaad went undefeated, winning seven matches, and knocking five-time champion Brian Parks to the one-loss bracket along the way.
 
He defeated fellow “young gun” Mike Leigh of Barrie, Ontario in the final round 11-3, after handing Leigh his first loss of the tournament just two rounds prior.
 
In the championship match, Schaad opened up an 8-0 lead in the 8-Ball set before Leigh finally got on board in the first game of the 9-Ball set.  By then though, the outcome seemed but a mere formality. Schaad ultimately closed out one of the most dominating finals performances in U.S. Amateur Championship history with a 9-on-the-snap to cap the victory.
 
Schaad will move on to compete in a 2019 Pro Event courtesy of APA, and, more importantly, his name will be added to the Larry Hubbart Trophy, forever cementing his legacy as a U.S. Amateur Champion.
Leigh finishes as the Runner-up, his highest finish in the U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Former champions Henry Brodt and Brian Parks finished in 3rd and 4th Place respectively. James Adams and John Mitcheltree tied for 5th Place.
 
One hundred-twenty eight players competed in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship including eight former champions.
 
[photo id=50533|align=right]Cossette Takes Down Reigning Champ in Epic Hill-Hill Battle
Lisa Cossette of Rockwell, N.C., defeated reigning champion Melinda Huang of Los Angeles in a hill-hill battle by a score of 9-8. She’ll advance to a pro event next year.
 
That’s how the story ends.  But, how it unfolded is a tale that will go down as one of the most epic showdowns in U.S. Amateur Championship history.
 
The opening act begins late on the final day of competition in the hot-seat match, with both players undefeated and the winner heading to the championship match, while the loser would have to square-off in a play-in semifinal.
 
Huang, the defending champion, and savvy veteran of many U.S. Amateur Championship matches, outlasted Cossette 5-4 in a hill-hill battle that would serve as the opening act for what was to come.
Cossette then battled her way back by ousting Tina Hess in the semifinal round, setting up a rematch between herself and Huang.
 
In the finale, Huang jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the extended race-to-9.  Cossette then found her stroke and took the next four games and a 4-3 lead.  That lead was short-lived as Huang quickly won the next three games, regaining the lead 6-4.  Then it was once again Cossette’s turn to go on a run, winning the next four games to go on-the-hill.  Like a true champion, Huang wasn’t going down without a fight.  She took the next two games, to force one final game, where the winner would take all.
 
In the final game, Huang was at the table with no clear shot on the 4-ball which was blocked by the 9-ball and the 5-ball.  Rather than give her opponent ball-in-hand, Huang attempted an aggressive shot that would have been remarkable if she could execute it.  Unfortunately, however, she fouled.  With ball-in-hand, and the 4-ball no longer tied up, Cossette ran out the table for the victory.
 
After nearly four hours, Cossette had avenged the earlier loss to Huang and captured her first Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship title.
 
Huang finished as the Runner-up while Tina Hess of Huntsville, Ala., finished in 3rd Place.
 
Forty-one ladies competed in this year’s Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship, including three former champions.
 
Match coverage, including the finals, of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship and Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship can be found on the APA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/apaleagues.  Streaming for the U.S. Amateur Championship was sponsored by PoolDawg.com.
 
The entry window for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.
 
As Champions, both Schaad and Cossette will return next year to defend their coveted titles.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.
 
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
 
The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!
 
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, Pool Dawg and Valley-Dynamo.
 
To register for next year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, visit https://usam.poolplayers.com/.  For more information on the American Poolplayers Association, visit https://poolplayers.com/.