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Briana Miller takes season opener on J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour

Briana Miller and Caroline Pao

She’s back.

After almost three years in which she had failed to record any sort of a payout in any pool tournament (that we know of), Briana Miller returned to Pennsylvania from St. Charles, MO, where she’d attained a degree in finance, thanks to a pool-related scholarship to Lindenwood University. She got a job upon graduation and then, later, just beyond the height of the pandemic, was allowed to transfer and do that job remotely, back at home in Allentown, PA. Just this past weekend (March 5-6), Miller went undefeated to chalk up her first win on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) in five years. Her last two recorded payouts came during the 2018 and 2019 Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Championships in which she finished 9th and 5th, respectively.

Miller’s last win on the JPNEWT, in November of 2017, featured two, back-to-back victories (hot seat and finals) over Tour Director Linda Shea. In a circumstance that at the time, we described to be “as rare as a teenager that doesn’t play video games,” Miller shut Shea out in both matches. Like that event, the tour’s 2022 season opener, with its 29 entrants, was hosted by Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

“It’s great to see her out and playing again,” said Shea after this past weekend’s event. “I loved it. She’s all grown up now; nice and settled and doing well. Her game showed it. She shot the lights out.”

It was, all told, a big come-back weekend for Miller that happened to accompany a turning point for the JPNEWT, as well. Their season opener capped an overall effort to revitalize the tour. Their 2022 season has begun with a new ‘look.’ They’ve partnered with a new streaming company – TTMD Streaming (ThinkTechMD) – which has brought a degree of professionalism and new vitality to the streaming services, including such improvements as multiple camera angles, the ability to do instant replay and steady commentary from the familiar face and voice of pool instructor George Hammerbacher and Wayne Everhart, owner of TTMD. The company has also undertaken to improve the tour’s presence on varied forms of social media and have been instrumental in creating a new tour Web site.

“They were very professional,” noted Shea of TTMD Streaming’s presence at the tour’s season opener, “and I’m looking forward to a great union with them.”

“Not only that,” she added, ‘but feature this: we held an amateur event, as well, for 450 and below Fargo rates that I’ve been trying to grow for two years. TTMD’s on board for our first event of the season and they get 25 women to participate. The most I ever got was eight. They worked that very hard and for sure, get all the credit for that 450 and under event. They even put four players in the main event, sponsored them.”

The winner of the ‘450 and under’ event was Lynn Richard, who came from the loss side (three matches) and claimed the title, with Linda Cheung as runner-up. There was also a preliminary, 17-entrant ‘chip tournament’ on Friday night, March 4, with races to one that proved immensely popular. 

“It was a lot of fun,” said Shea. “Only 17 people (mixed genders, won by Pete Boyer), but it was a blast and they want it to come back every week.”

In main event, Millers runs a gauntlet of some of the better-known competitors on the tour

In spite of what Miller encountered as a lot of new faces, she ended up facing people that she knew, beginning with Lai Li and following with Judie Wilson and Linda Cheung, which brought her to a winners’ side semifinal against another familiar face, Eugenia Gyftopoulos. Kathy Friend, in the meantime, got by Melissa Jenkins, Alyssa Solt and survived a tough double hill challenge by Caroline Pao before advancing to her winners’ side semifinal against Ada Lio.

Friend downed Lio 7-3 and met up with Miller, who’d sent Gyftopoulos to the loss side by the same 7-3 score. Miller claimed the hot seat, her first in a long while, 7-2.

On the loss side, Lio picked up Linda Shea, who’d lost her opening match to Shanna Lewis and embarked on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was almost derailed by Melissa Mason’s double hill challenge in the second, losers’ side round. Shea survived that, advancing to eventually eliminate Linda Cheung and Kia Burwell. Gyftopoulos drew Caroline Pao, who, following her defeat at the hands of Friend, had eliminated Lewis 7-4 and Judie Wilson 7-1.

Pao defeated Gyftopoulos 7-5, as Shea was busy getting by Lio 7-3. It set up a classic JPNEWT quarterfinal match between two of the tour’s most enduring event champions; Pao and Shea. Pao won this round of that ongoing rivalry 7-4 and then, dropped Friend 7-3 in the semifinals.

The finals of the 2022 season, pitting Pao against Miller, was, by almost any standard, a classic of the tour’s long-standing and still ongoing history. Behind them, at this event, were quite a few former JPNEWT champions; Shea, Burwell, Friend, Lewis, Lai Li and in absentia, the memory of Karen Corr. Ahead of them, as is always the case, was the table in front of them. Miller completed her undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Pao to reclaim her spot among the tour’s best.

She’d taken a break and had now come back, to her hometown and pool. 

“After I graduated (in 2018, from Lindenwood), I felt like a needed a break,” she explained. “I’d been playing since I was eight (but) felt as though I wasn’t having as much fun anymore. So, I shifted my focus to other things.”

As for future plans, she’s keeping her expectations and specific plans on a ‘tight rein,’ so to speak. A sort of one day at a time approach.

“I think I’m going to stick with the JPNEWT for right now, to get back into the swing of things,” she said, adding that her ‘future’ eye is extended forward a little, toward future WPBA events and CSI’s Predator Pro Series, as examples. She’s considering attending this year’s Super Billiards Expo, but more likely as a spectator and to get reacquainted with some of the women she’d come to know over the years. “I might just go and say ‘Hi’ to everyone.

“I’m not at that level of play (to be) in a Pro event yet,” she added. “I’ll just get out there when I’m ready. Right now, I’m just playing pool to have fun.”

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Cues, ThinkTechMD for their streaming and social media services, as well as Gina Cunningham (real estate agent of Keller Williams Integrity) and George Hammerbacher.

The next event on the JPNEWT, scheduled for April 9-10, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

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Shanna Lewis gets by Lai Li twice, double hill, to win JPNEWT season opener

Shanna Lewis

Pool tournaments will often play host to competitors who, for one reason or another, have been away from the game for a while. Depending upon the skill level they’d attained before they stopped competing, how long they’ve been away and the overall competitive level of the field they enter upon their return, the result could go either way. The competitor could go ‘two and out,’ if they’re seriously out of practice and stroke, or they could make it seem as though pool’s like riding a bicycle, where one can more or less pick up where they left off.

Shanna Lewis, whose last reported cash payout in a pool tournament was at a Q Master Billiards Mid-Atlantic Women’s 9-Ball Open in 2015 (9th place), returned to the tables this past weekend (March 7-8) to compete in the season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. Lewis chose the ‘like riding a bicycle’ option and went undefeated through the field of 31, downing last year’s runner-up in the Tour Championship standings, Lai Li, twice. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm), NAPT Div. II Semi-Pro event drew 31 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Her own assessment of her TAFT (time away from table) was more in the vicinity of 10 years. It was an absence prompted by a decision to focus on the business career side of her life. She’s back, now, still working on the business side of her career, but with some flexibility to spend more TAT (time at table). While acknowledging that she’s returned with her skills more or less intact, she noted that it wasn’t as easy as it looked from the nature of the undefeated run and her two victories over Lai Li might indicate.

“Yeah, there were times during the tournament when I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is great,” she said, “but there were other times when I felt like I couldn’t put a ball in the hole that was a straight shot.”

That said, Lewis was back on the bicycle right from the start, winning 14 of her first 17 games. She gave up only one rack to Judie Wilson and then two to Melissa Mason before running into Elaine Wilson, who, in essence, by chalking up five racks against her, applied some brakes to Lewis’ bicycle. It dropped Lewis’ game-winning percentage by 10 points in a single match. Lewis won, though, and advanced to face Teri Thomas in a winners’ side semifinal.

Lai Li, in the meantime, had opened with a 7-1 victory over Charlynn Dzambo, defeated Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and downed the tour’s 2020 champion, Linda Shea, 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal.  The draw wasn’t getting any easier as Li advanced to face Kia Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lewis got into the hot seat match with another 7-1 victory, over Thomas, and faced Li, who’d sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-4. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed to sit in her first hot (bicycle) seat in a while.

On the loss side, Nicole Nester and Sharon O’Hanlon were working on modest three-match, loss-side winning streaks that had begun when they’d lost their winners’ side quarterfinal match to  Teri Thomas and Kia Sidbury, respectively. Nester and O’Hanlon both won two loss-side double hill battles; Nester, versus Colleen Shoop and Eugenia Gyftopoulos; O’Hanlon, over two ‘powerhouse’ opponents – Nicole King and Tour Director, Linda Shea. They did not, however, draw rematches because Nester drew Sidbury and O’Hanlon drew Thomas.

Nester advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sidbury, as Thomas eliminated O’Hanlon 7-3. Nester then downed Thomas 7-3 in those quarterfinals, before herself being eliminated in a double hill fight versus Li in the semifinals.

A second, slightly longer double hill fight, Li’s third straight, ensued in the finals. Lewis won it 9-8 to claim the title to JPNEWT’s 2020 season opener.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, The Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp, billiards artist (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Pao goes undefeated to take JPNEWT stop #6 in Sterling, VA

(l to r): Caroline Pao, Bethany Sykes & Ada Lio

Caroline Pao has appeared on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour only twice in 2019 and she’s won both events. On the weekend of July 27-28, following a defeat at the hands of tour director, Linda Shea, Pao won seven matches on the loss side to earn a rematch and defeat Shea in the finals of Stop #4. On the weekend of September 14-15, she opted for an undefeated route to the winners’ circle, downing separate opponents in the hot seat (Ada Lio) and finals (Bethany Sykes). The $500-added (from Coins of the Realm) event drew 26 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.
 
Luck of the draw kept Pao from having to face Shea early in this event. Instead, she opened with a 7-1 victory over Noel Rima and followed it with a 7-4 win over Melissa Mason. Shea, in the meantime, had defeated Jenn Sylvester 7-1, but was subsequently defeated 7-5 by Kia Sidbury, who advanced to meet Pao.
 
Pao sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-3 and drew Bethany Sykes in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Ada Lio, in the meantime, who’d survived an opening round, double hill matchup versus Melissa Jenkins, went on to defeat Melissa Perez 7-1 and Suzzie Wong 7-4 to draw Serafina Concannon in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Pao and Lio met in the hot seat match, once Pao had defeated Sykes in their first of two meetings 7-2 and Lio had dispatched Concannon 7-4. Pao claimed the hot seat 7-1 over Lio and waited on the return of Sykes.
 
Concannon arrived on the loss side and drew Sidbury, who, following her defeat at the hands of Pao had defeated Lai Li 7-2 and eliminated Anita Sowers, double hill. Sykes picked up Kelly Wyatt, who’d lost to Concannon in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Judie Wilson 7-4 and spoiled whatever hopes Linda Shea had of meeting up with Pao by eliminating her double hill.
 
Sidbury downed Concannon 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Sykes who’d come out on the winning side of a double hill battle against Wyatt. Sykes and Sidbury locked up in a double hill fight in those quarterfinals, as well, with Sykes prevailing again.
 
Sykes then ended Lio’s weekend 7-2 in the semifinals and turned to face Pao in the finals. Sykes was looking for her third major event victory in 2019, having won a Ladies Division stop on the Action Pool Tour in January and the NAPT Div. II Championship in February. She’d also tied for 5th place with Kia Sidbury at a JPNEWT stop (#3) in May, making 2019 her best recorded earnings year, to date. Pao, as noted, was making only her second appearance on the 2019 JPNEWT Tour, although she’d cashed in three WPBA events earlier in the year, making 2019 her best earnings year since 2008.
 
The final match was a repeat of their winners’ side semifinal match. Pao won it 7-2 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Sports Bar, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, Billy Bay Bunn Cue Repair and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp of angle aim art. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of October 12-13, will be hosted by Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.

Pao wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Shea in JPNEWT finals

Caroline Pao (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Going into the finals of the July 27-28 stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT), Caroline Pao had something of a dismal record on the winners’ side of the bracket. Of course, she’d only played twice, downing C.C. Strain 7-1 and then, falling to tour director Linda Shea 4-7 (11-8; 57%). Over the next seven matches on the loss side of the bracket, Pao gave up an average of less than two racks per match (1.43) and chalked up a remarkable aggregate score of 49-10 (83%), that included back-to-back shutouts in the quarter and semifinals. She capped the loss-side performance with a 9-4 victory over Shea in the finals to claim the event title. The $1,600-added event drew 28 entrants to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
 
Shea and Pao had distinctly different opening rounds, which may have contributed to their first matchup in the second round. Pao gave up only a single rack to Ceci Strain, while Shea locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Melissa Mason to the loss side. Odds were likely to have been good that Shea and Pao would have a double hill fight, but they didn’t. Shea prevailed 7-4, adding two matches to Pao’s event total.
 
With Pao at work on the loss side, Shea, the tour’s current #1-ranked player, advanced through Teri Thomas 7-2 and arrived at a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s current #2-ranked player, Nicole King. Lai Li, in the meantime, the tour’s #3-ranked competitor, having dispatched Sharon O’Hanlon, Judie Wilson and Elaine Wilson to the loss side, faced Kia Sidbury (#7) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Shea and Li advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over King and Sidbury. Shea downed Li 7-2 to claim the hot seat, and waited on the fateful return of Pao.
 
On the loss side, it was King who drew Pao, four matches into her winning streak. At that point in time, Pao had given up only seven racks; one each to Noel Rima, Sharon O’Hanlon and Christie Hurdel and four to Anita Sowers. Sidbury drew Thomas, who, following her defeat at the hands of Shea, had eliminated Eugenia Gyftopoulos 7-5 and survived a double hill fight against Kathleen Lawless.
 
Thomas and Sidbury locked up in a double hill fight for advancement to the quarterfinals. Thomas, who’d already improved on her two previous appearances on the 2019 tour (finishing 17th in March and May), downed Sidbury to meet Pao, who’d defeated King 7-3.
 
Pao then chalked up two straight shutouts, against Thomas in the quarterfinals and Lai Li in the semifinals, to earn a shot against the so-far undefeated hot seat occupant, Shea, who came into the finals with a 72% game-winning percentage. Thanks to her 83% loss-side performance and her two winners’ side matches, Pao entered the finals at 76%. Pao completed her run with a 9-4 victory over Shea in the finals.
 
Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards and Sports Bar and Coins of the Realm, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, angle aim Art (Britanya Rapp), The Turtle Rack, Baltimore City Cues, and Billy Ray Bunn Cue Repair. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for August 10-11, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD. 

Kiamco battles Davis twice to claim VA State 8-Ball Championship Open title

(l to r): Tiger Baker, Warren Kiamco, Mike Davis, Jr. & Kris Wylie

Sykes downs Sidbury in finals of Ladies event
 
The Action Pool Tour has a way of attracting top-notch talent from both the amateur and professional levels of the sport to their regularly-scheduled events throughout the year. Its no-handicap policy is attractive to players from the semi-professional to professional end of the spectrum. Its consequent tournament entrant list proves to be attractive to amateur players, looking to challenge themselves against the best, while, depending on the draw, not running into a constant stream of pros.
 
The 2018 list of winners on the APT includes Johnny Archer (May), Ruslan Chinakhov (February, with Warren Kiamco as runner-up), Zoren James Aranas (April, with Dennis Orcollo as runner-up), Shaun Wilkie (three times, with Karen Corr as runner-up in July) and Reymart Lim (twice). On the weekend of November 10-11, at the 2018 VA State 8-Ball Championships, hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA, Warren Kiamco added his name to the list of 2018 winners with an undefeated run through a field of 37 entrants, that included two victories over Mike Davis, Jr. As these more recognizable names battle it out for the top spots, Steve Fleming maintains his spot at the top of the APT rankings, while other players like Jason Trigo (#2), and Eric Moore (#8), all on the basis of repeated appearances on the tour, maintain their slots, as well.
 
A concurrently-run Ladies VA State 8-Ball Championships, impacted by a local VNEA league event on the same weekend (with a trip to Las Vegas on the line), saw only five entrants compete. Bethany Sykes earned the 2018 Ladies Championship title with a 7-4 victory over runner-up Kia Sidbury in the finals. Also competing were Gwen Townsend, Kim Whitman and Melissa Mason.
 
Kiamco and Davis met in both the hot seat and finals of Open event. Kiamco opened his campaign against Reymart Lim, sending him to the loss side 7-3, and then, downing Christopher Wilburn 7-1 and Eric Moore 7-3 to draw Cary Dunn in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Davis, in the meantime, worked his way through Sean Millican 7-1, Larry Kressel 7-2, and Elias Nassif 7-3 to pick up Jason Trigo in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Kiamco moved on to the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Dunn. Davis joined him after sending Trigo over 7-2. In their first of two, Kiamco and Davis battled to double hill before Davis prevailed to sit in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Trigo picked up Reymart Lim, who’d come all the way back from his earlier loss against Kiamco; five loss-side wins that included recent victories over Rodney McLamb 7-3 (in the first money round) and Eric Moore 6-2. Dunn drew Chris Bruner, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal against Trigo and then defeated John Newton 6-2 and Elias Nassif 6-1 to reach Dunn.
 
Lim extended his loss-side streak to six with a 6-1 victory over Trigo. Bruner extended his loss-side streak to three with a 6-4 victory over Dunn. Lim ended Bruner’s streak with a 6-3 victory in the quarterfinals.
 
By the same 6-3 score, Davis ended Lim’s streak in the semimfinals for a second shot at Kiamco. In a race to 9, Davis chalked up as many racks as he had against Kiamco in the hot seat match. Kiamco added two to his hot seat number and took the 2018 VA State 8-Ball Championship title 9-6.
 
Tour directors Tiger Baker and Kris Wylie thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Tiger, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, Kamui Tips and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). The Action Pool Tour will conclude its 2018 season with a $10,000 Top 64 Invitational Tournament, scheduled for the weekend of December 15-16 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA (NOTE: The date was changed from its original, Dec. 8-9).

Aranas drops in on the Action Pool Tour and goes undefeated to claim event title.

(l to r): Reymart Lim, Raymond Walters, Zoren James Aranas

In his first-ever appearance on the Action Pool Tour (APT), Zoren James Aranas from the Philippines went undefeated through a strong field of 48 entrants, beginning what proved to be a six-match march to the winners' circle with an opening round shutout, and finishing with victories over the APT's top-ranked player, Shaun Wilkie in the hot seat match, and Reymart Lim in the finals. The Aug. 5-6 event, Stop # 8 on the APT, was hosted by Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.
 
In a concurrently-run Ladies event that drew 10 entrants, USA Atlantic Cup Challenge team member Sierra Reams avenged an opening round loss to Gwen Townsend to defeat her in the finals and capture the Ladies' title. Reams also competed in the Open event.
 
In the Open event, after shutting out Leo Taborn, Aranas defeated Chad Pike and Greg Sabins, both 9-2, to arrive at a winners' side semifinal with an aggregate score of 27-4. Aranas faced Bill Duggan. Wilkie, in the meantime, who'd played an extra preliminary round, had defeated Roy Taylor, Jim Bilderback, Nilbert Lim and Dwight Cherry to arrive at his winners' side semifinal with an aggregate score of 36-13, and faced Reymart Lim. Aranas sent Duggan to the loss side 9-4, and faced Wilkie, who'd sent Lim over 9-7. Aranas claimed the hot seat 9-6 over Wilkie and waited on what turned out to be Reymart Lim's return.
 
Lim moved over to pick up RJ Carmona, who'd been defeated by Duggan in a winners' side quarterfinal, and then, on the loss side, defeated Scott Haas 7-4 and  survived a double hill match against Eric Moore to reach him. Duggan, in the meantime, picked up Dwight Cherry, who'd  navigated his way through two straight double hill matches, against Dave Hunt and Brian Dietzenbach.
 
Carmona ended up on the wrong end of his second straight double hill fight, which advanced Lim to the quarterfinals against Duggan, who'd eliminated Cherry 7-4. Lim, picking up speed, downed Duggan in the quarterfinals 7-3, and then allowed Wilkie just a single rack in the semifinals. In a single race to 11, Aranas stopped Lim's run 11-7 to claim his first APT title.
 
In the Ladies event, Gwen Townsend's defeat of the eventual winner, Sierra Reams, 6-1 in the opening round, set her (Townsend) up for a winners' side semifinal against Barbara Yeager. Daisy Lim, who'd defeated Jackie Duggan 6-3 in her opening round, faced Soo Emmitt in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Townsend shut Yeager out and in the hot seat match faced Lim, who'd defeated Emmitt 6-3. Townsend claimed the hot seat 6-4 over Lim, and waited on Reams.
 
On the loss side, Reams got by Melissa Mason and Jen Giampa, both 6-2 to draw Emmitt. Yeager drew Duggan, who'd picked up an opening round, loss-side bye and defeated Kitty Nguyen 6-2. Reams and Yeager advanced to the quarterfinals; Reams 6-1 over Emmitt, and Yeager 6-4 over Duggan. Reams survived a double hill quarterfinal against Yeager, and then, in the semifinals, defeated Daisy Lim 6-2.  Reams completed her run, avenging her opening round loss, with an 8-6 win over Townsend in the finals.
 
A 13-entrant, Second Chance Tournament saw Nilbert Lim go undefeated through the field, downing Kenny Daughtrey in the hot seat match 4-2 and Scott Haas in the finals 6-3.
 

Wilkie and Malm come from the loss side to chalk up their third win on The Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

Tina Malm had to come a little further on the loss side than Shaun Wilkie did, but when the Open and Ladies events' of the Action Pool Tour's (APT) seventh stop concluded on the weekend of July 8-9, they'd both come back to challenge their respective hot seat opponents, and chalked up their third victory on the tour. The Open event drew 71 entrants, while the Ladies' event drew 13 to Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD.
 
It could be argued that it would have been Wilkie's fourth win on the tour, had it not been for the presence of Dennis Orcollo at the VA State 10-Ball Championships back in February. That said, though, Wilkie did defeat Orcollo in a winners' side semifinal in those championships, and advanced to the hot seat, only to fall in the finals. This time around, Wilkie had to contend with Karen Corr. Following victories over BRyan Jones, Alan Duty, the winner of the Ladies' event, Tina Malm and TJ Moore, Wilkie drew Corr in a winners' side semifinal. Scott Haas, in the meantime, squared off against Jordan Grubb. Corr took Wilkie right to the brink before Wilkie finished the double hill win that put him in the hot seat against Haas, who'd defeated Grubb 7-4. Wilkie took Haas to the brink in that hot seat match, before Haas finished it, consigning Wilkie to a semifinal re-match against Corr.
 
On the loss side, Corr picked up Bruce Nagle, who'd eliminated Malm via shutout and Dave Hunt 6-4 to reach her. Grubb drew veteran APT competitor Brandon Shuff, who'd been sent to the loss side by Haas in the third round and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that included two double hill wins (over Duty and Matt Krah), before chalking up a shutout over Paul Oh and a 6-4 win over Jimmy Varias that set him up against Grubb.
 
Corr got into the quarterfinals 6-3 over Nagle, and was joined by Shuff, who'd eliminated Grubb 6-4. Corr and Shuff went double hill before Corr advanced to a re-match against Wilkie in the semifinals. Wilkie defeated Corr 6-4 and got his own re-match, versus Haas in the finals. In the extended race to 9, Wilkie defeated Haas 9-4 to claim his third APT title.
 
Malm loses opener, wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Lampert in Ladies final
 
Things did not start out well for Tina Malm, who entered the ladies event of the APT's 7th stop in the #2 position in the ladies rankings (behind Judie Wilson, who's appeared in all seven stops on the tour). In the opening round, Malm faced Tina Castillo, who was appearing on the tour for the first time this year. Castillo won that opener 6-4, and after a 6-1 victory over Peggi Wilkinson, faced Anita Sowers in a winners' side semifinal. Amanda Lampert, in the meantime, faced Terri Stovall, who'd defeated Judie Wilson 6-2 and Jennifer Tully 6-3 to reach her.
 
Lampert and Sowers advanced to the hot seat match; Lampert 6-4 over Stovall and Sowers 6-3 over Castillo. Lampert claimed the hot seat over Sowers 6-1 and waited on Malm.
 
Castillo's move to the loss side put her in an immediate re-match against Malm, who'd defeated Tully 5-1, and Gwen Townsend 6-4 to reach her. Stovall drew Kia Sidbury, who, after an opening round loss to Townsend, had defeated Melissa Mason (double hill), Nicole King and shut out Judie Wilson to reach her. Stovall and Sidbury battled to double hill before Stovall advanced to the quarterfinals to meet Malm, who'd successfully wreaked her vengeance on Castillo 5-3.
 
With two more, back-to-back 5-3 wins – against Stovall in the quarterfinals and Sowers in the semifinals, Malm got a shot at Lampert, waiting for her in the hot seat. The two battled to double hill before Malm dropped the final ball and chalked up her third APT victory of the 2017 season.
 
A Second Chance tournament, which drew 23 entrants, saw Steve Fleming come back from a hot seat loss to Josh McCauley to defeat him 6-2 in the finals.

Wilkie chalks up second victory on the Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

It was, in a way, the final that might have happened at the 2017 VA State 10-Ball Championships in February, had it not been for Dennis Orcollo. At that event, the second stop on the 2017 Action Pool Tour (APT), Orcollo was sent to the loss side by Shaun Wilkie in a winners' side semifinal, and immediately picked up Mike Davis, who was in the middle of a six-match, loss-side winning streak. Orcollo shut Davis out, advanced to the finals and claimed the title with a victory over Wilkie.
 
On the weekend of April 15-16, at the fourth stop on the APT, Wilkie and Davis got the chance they never had to face each other in the earlier tournament. They met twice in this one; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Davis took the first one, but Wilkie came back to chalk up a 'deuces wild' victory in the finals. Wilkie claimed his second match against Davis (who was playing in his second APT event of the year), and, following his victory on the tour's second stop, picked up his second APT title of the year. The event drew 70 entrants to Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA. 
 
In a concurrently-run Ladies event, which drew a short field of 11 entrants, Nicole King and Tina Malm played twice as well, each looking for their second title on the APT Tour. Malm had taken the season opener in February, and King claimed Stop #3 last month. Like Davis in the Open, Malm claimed the hot seat, but like Wilkie, King came back from the semifinals to defeat Malm in the finals and claim the title. It was the second time in a row on this young APT season that Wilkie and King had won the Open and Ladies titles.
 
Wilkie got off to a flying start in the Open. After an opening round bye, he played four matches to get into a winners' side semifinal match against Larry Kressel (runner-up to Chris Byers in the Amateur event of the Super Billiards Expo earlier in the month). He'd given up only five racks total in those opening four matches, which included a shutout over Jenny Acot, a single rack each to Steve Ball and Aldrin Manreal, and three against Greg Sabins in a winners' side quarterfinal. Davis, too, opened with a shutout (over Jon Crider) and gave up only six racks in his four-match run to a winners' side semifinal against Alex Parker. Davis gave up three to Jamey Mellott, two to Justin Powers and (obviously picking up some speed) one to Chris Funk.
 
Wilkie sent Kressel to the loss side 7-3, as Davis was sending Parker over 7-1. In what proved to be their only double hill match, individually or together, Davis claimed the hot seat, and waited for Wilkie to get back.
 
On the loss side, Kressel drew Matt Krah, who, following a defeat at the hands of Parker, downed Jamey Mellott 6-3, and Jimmy Varia 6-4. Parker picked up Brian Dietzenbach, who'd lost to Kressel, and then defeated Tom Zippler 6-3, before surviving a double hill battle versus Greg Sabins. Kressel eliminated Krah 6-2, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Dietzenbach, who'd ended Parker's weekend 6-4.
 
Kressel appeared to be a man on a mission in those quarterfinals, and shut Dietzenbach out for a crack at Shaun Wilkie in the semifinals. It turned out to be something of a 'mission impossible' as Wilkie allowed Dietzenbach only two racks in those semifinals for his own second shot against Davis in the hot seat. Now, it was Wilkie who was on a mission. Mission accomplished with a 9-3 win over Davis in the finals.
 
King wins her second Ladies APT event of the year
 
Nicole King's second straight Ladies APT victory took five matches to claim, two of them in matches against Tina Malm. King opened with a shutout over Giulletta Dahl, and a 5-2 win over Kristin Horgen, before coming up against Judie Wilson in a winners' side semifinal. Malm played only four matches total. An opening round bye was followed by a 5-1 victory over Deeqa Nur, which set Malm up in a winners' side semifinal against Sharita Green.
 
King downed Wilson 5-3, while Malm was chalking up a shutout over Green. Malm claimed the hot seat 5-3.
 
On the loss side, Wilson picked up Nur, who, following her defeat at the hands of Malm, had (after an opening round, loss-side bye) Lai Li 4-1. Green drew Sierra Reams, who'd defeated Tina Scott 4-1 and Melissa Mason, double hill, to reach her.
 
Nur survived a double hill fight against Wilson, and in the quarterfinals met up with Reams, who'd shut out Green. Nur took the quarterfinals 4-2 over Reams, but was shut out by King in the semifinals. King downed Malm 7-2 in the finals, denying Malm her second APT title to claim it for herself. 

Orcollo claims VA State 10-Ball Championship title

Dennis Orcollo

Lynch claims Women's title

 

Only two of the four finalists on-hand for the Open and Ladies' 2016 VA State 10-Ball Championships made it to the 2017 Championships, held on the weekend of February 11-12. In 2016, Janet Atwell and Jacki Duggan chalked up their second straight winner/runner-up (Atwell/Duggan) titles, and though Duggan competed in this year's event, finishing in the tie for 7th place, Atwell didn't play. Eric Moore and Brandon Shuff battled in the 2016 finals, and though Moore competed, finishing in the tie for 13th place, Shuff didn't play this year.

 
Instead, the respective 2017 Open and Ladies' titles went to Dennis Orcollo and Meredith Lynch
The Open event drew 60 entrants, while the Ladies' event drew 14, both to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
 
Orcollo and the 2015 VA State 10-Ball Champion, Shaun Wilkie, battled twice in this year's event. Wilkie won their first match (one of the winners' side semifinals), and Orcollo won their second, in the finals.
 
Orcollo's position as the #3-ranked player in the world, may have led some to believe that he'd cut through this field like a hot knife through warm butter, but 'butter' fought back a bit in this event. Through his opening four matches, Orcollo was giving up between three and four racks per match; four each to Max Schlothauer and Jarrod Clowery, and three each to Chris Bruner and Reymart Lim. Orcollo was still a 'hot knife,' but his opponents in this event were doing a good imitation of butter just out of the refrigerator. In the winners' side semifinals, the 'hot knife' ran into some fresh-out-of-the-freezer butter, in the person of Shaun Wilkie, who defeated him 8-4 to get into the hot seat match. Wilkie was joined by Larry Kressel, who'd sent John Newton to the loss side 8-3 in their winners' side semifinal. Wilkie claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Kressel, and waited (the butter approaching room temperature) for the return of the 'hot knife.'
 
On the loss side, Orcollo picked up Mike Davis, who'd been defeated by Bobby Stovall in the second round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him just as far as Orcollo. Newton drew Reymart Lim, who'd gotten by Chris Futrell 6-2, and Sean Sporleder 6-4 to reach him. 
 
Orcollo cut through Davis without giving up a single rack, and in the quarterfinals, faced Lim, who'd given up only one rack to Newton. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Lim and then, Kressel, put up back-to-back, three-racks-against fights, but were eliminated, sending Orcollo back for a re-match against Wilkie. 
 
It wasn't looking good for the 'knife' in the early going of the finals, as Wilkie took a 5-2 lead. Orcollo, though won eight of the next nine games to claim the event title.
 
Lynch goes undefeated to claim VA State Ladies' 10-Ball title
 
[photo id=45763|align=right]It took Meredith Lynch just five matches to claim the 2017 VA State Ladies' Championship title. She got into the hot seat with an aggregate score of 24-11. Once by Sierra Reams and Lisa Cossette, she faced Bethany Sykes in a winners' side semifinal, as Cheryl Pritchard squared off against Nicole Fleming. Lynch downed Sykes 6-3, and in the hot seat match, in their first of two, faced Pritchard, who'd sent Fleming west 6-4. Lynch gave up four of the 11 racks she'd given up to gain the hot seat by defeating Pritchard 6-4.
 
On the loss side, Sykes picked up Tina Malm (winner of the APT's Ladies' season opener in January), who'd been defeated by Cossette in the opening round, and gotten by Sierra Reams 5-3, Melissa Mason 5-2, and last year's runner-up, Jacki Duggan, double hill, to reach her. Fleming drew Daisy Lim, who, like Malm, had lost an opening round match (to Fleming 6-1) and downed Terry Stovall, double hill; Cossette 5-3, and Gwen Townsend, double hill to earn a re-match against Fleming.
 
Sykes and Fleming advanced to the quarterfinals; Sykes 5-2 over Malm, and Fleming 5-3 over Lim, a second time. Three straight double hill battles marked the end of the Ladies' event. Fleming downed Sykes in the quarterfinals, and then, Pritchard eliminated Fleming in the semifinals. Pritchard put up a double hill fight in her second match against Lynch, but Lynch hung on to win 8-7.