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Atencio downs Davis, Jr. twice to claim 10th Annual NC State Open Championships

Jesus Atencio

Norris defeats junior competitor, Bethany Tate twice to win 2nd Annual Ladies Open

Whoever said that “showing up is half the battle” might have had pool in mind and could point to Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio as a case in point. This past Memorial Day weekend (May 28-29), Atencio signed on to the $1,000-added, 10th Annual North Carolina State Open Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and hosted by Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC.

Atencio went undefeated through the field of 73 entrants to chalk up his 12th recorded cash payout of the year, but only his first event title. He is moving toward improving on his best recorded earnings year (2021), in which he cashed in 17 events, including victories on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and the New City Heritage Super Tournament. So, 29 cash finishes in two years, only four of them event victories, and Atencio is halfway toward making 2022 his best recorded earnings year. Primarily by just showing up. 

It was a competitive field, according to Tour Director Herman Parker, and although it did not include the 2021 champion (BJ Ussery), it did include Mike Davis, Jr. who has won the event four times, as well as NC State Championships in other disciplines over the years (8-Ball, 10- Ball). A glance at Davis’ earnings record over the years has its share of event wins, but like Atencio, the lion’s share of it has been the result of “just showing up.” 

Atencio and Davis, who’d last run into each other on a Player Madness Tournament in March, when they were to appear in the event final but opted out and split the top two cash prizes, met twice in the 2022 NC State Open. They advanced from different ends of the bracket to a winners’ side semifinal; Atencio versus Eric Roberts and Davis facing Adam Pendley.

Atencio defeated Roberts 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Davis, who’d sent Pendley west 7-2. Atencio and Davis battled to double hill, before Atencio prevailed to claim the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Roberts and Pendley ran right into their second straight loss. Roberts had picked up Brian White, who’d assured himself a $200 reward for his version of “showing up” by downing Josh Newman 7-5 in the first money round and then, and at least $100 more when he defeated Clint Clark 7-3 to face Roberts. Pendley drew Billy Fowler, who’d run the same early-money-rounds gauntlet, eliminating Danny Farren 7-5 and Michael Robertson 7-3.  

White and Fowler defeated Roberts and Pendley, respectively, both 7-4. Fowler advanced one more step, eliminating White in the quarterfinals 7-5, before having his run ended by Davis in the semifinals, also 7-5.

Atencio completed his second appearance and second win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour with a 7-4 victory over Davis in the finals. 

Norris comes back from hot seat loss to double dip her junior opponent, Bethany Tate

The finalists in the short field of 10 that signed on to the $500-added, 2nd Annual NC State Ladies Open were appearing at opposite ends of their individual “showing up” spectrum. Christy Norris, who’s been showing up longer than her opponent, Bethany Tate has been alive, got to the hot seat match, but found herself facing a former Junior National Champion (at the age of 11 in 2018), a recent winner of the 18 & Under Girls division of the Junior International Championships series in February, and the third-place finisher in the Women’s VA State 10-Ball Championships in April. Norris lost to Tate, but came back to double-dip her in the event’s true double elimination final.

They’d both advanced to winners’ side semifinals against Allie Tilley (for Norris) and Shannon Johnson (for Tate). Norris gave up just a single rack to Tilley, while Tate gave up four to Johnson. Tate claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Norris, not knowing, and arguably not suspecting, that she’d won her last match of the event.

On the loss side, Tilley picked up Lisa Cossette, who’d defeated Bethany Tate’s younger sister, Noelle, double hill, to reach her. Johnson drew Katie Bischoff, who’d eliminated Dorothy Strater, also double hill. 

As had happened in the Open, the competitors who came to the loss side from the winners’ side semifinal, ran right into their second straight loss. Cossette shut out Tilley and in the quarterfinals, faced Bischoff who’d eliminated Johnson 5-3.

Bischoff won the quarterfinal match 5-1 over Cossette before having her very brief loss-side trip stopped by Norris 5-3 in the semifinals. Norris went on to win the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-3 and then allowed Tate only a single rack in the second set to claim the event title 5-1.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, June 4-5, will be the Brian James Memorial, hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

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Robertson goes undefeated to win his second Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in a month

Michael Robertson

Michael Robertson worked his way through a small field that was on-hand to compete in the Saturday, December 11 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. He went undefeated to win his second tour stop in a month, having gone undefeated to claim the November 20 tour stop at Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC. Robertson’s effort this past weekend was challenged at the end by Scott Roberts, who’d lost his second-round match and won seven on the loss side to meet him in the finals. The $500-added event drew 27 entrants to The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

With Roberts already on the loss side, Robertson advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Earl Kent. Chris Woodrum, in the meantime, faced Anthony Rock in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Robertson got into the hot seat match 6-3 over Kent and was joined by Woodrum, who’d sent Rock to the loss side 6-2. Robertson claimed the hot seat with a 6-4 win over Woodrum and waited for Roberts to complete his loss-side run.

On the loss side, it was Anthony Rock who ran into Roberts, four matches into his loss-side run. Roberts had recently eliminated Shane Woodrum (brother to Chris), double hill, and James Tyree 8-3. Earl Kent drew Collin Hall, who, most recently, had eliminated a father/son pair, in order; Father Greg Vaughan 7-2 and then, shut out son Garret Vaughan, who’d defeated Roberts in the second winners’ side round.

Roberts shut Rock out and was joined in the quarterfinals by Hall, who’d defeated Kent, double hill (7-4). Hall ended up on the wrong side of his second, double hill match, falling to Roberts 8-6 in those quarterfinals.

Roberts gave up just a single rack to Chris Woodrum in the semifinals that followed, earning a shot at Robertson, in the hot seat waiting for him. Robertson began that final match with two ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 8. He and Roberts both won six racks, but Robertson’s two ‘beads’ gave him the ‘8’ he needed for the win.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at The Clubhouse for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 18-19, will be a $500-added event, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV. 

Robertson goes undefeated to chalk up his first win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Michael Robertson

It was already his best recorded earnings year. By a lot. It’s also been something of a return-to-the-tables year for one Michael Robertson, whose last recorded cash finish on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, prior to three this year, was five years ago, when he finished 9th in the 2016 Tour Championships. If he’s of a mind to, he’ll get another crack at the Tour Championships in a couple of weeks. This past weekend (Nov. 20-21), Robertson went undefeated to claim his first recorded event title at a tour stop that drew 60 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

Robertson and Travis Guerra battled twice in this one; Guerra, looking for his first tour win since his best recorded earnings year, 2017. Robertson had downed Don Lilly 6-3 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Guerra was busy sending Buzzy Gonzalez over 6-5 (Gonzalez racing to 7). They fought to double hill in their first meeting and it was Robertson who claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Lilly and Gonzalez walked right into their second straight loss. Lilly had drawn Justin Knuckles, who’d shut out Jon Kochanski, and then, eliminated both Matt Hall and Don Lilly, double hill. Gonzalez picked up Jason Rogers, who, defeated by Robertson in the second winners’ side round 6-5 (Rogers racing to 8), was working on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would carry him to the semifinals. He eliminated John Walker 8-2 and in the first money round, Ricky Carcamo 8-3, before ending Gonzalez’ weekend, double hill.

Rogers took one more step forward, downing Knuckles 8-3 in the quarterfinals. Guerra put a stop to that loss-side run in the semifinals 6-6 (Rogers again racing to 8). Robertson completed his undefeated, first win on the tour with a 6-4 victory in the finals.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 4-5, will be the 9th Annual, $1,000-added Tour Championships, which will be hosted by Janet Atwell in her room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Davis successfully defends NC State 8-Ball title

Mike Davis

Though by any kind of figuring, Mike Davis was the odds-on favorite to win the 2nd Annual North Carolina State 8-Ball Championships, held on the weekend of November 5-6, and did, in fact, win it, successfully defending his title, it wasn’t without its moments of drama. He had to survive a double hill hot seat match, during which his opponent – Shannon Fitch, the current NC State 10-Ball champion – was able to take aim at the 8-ball in the deciding game. Later, Davis had to face a surging Chris Gentile, who’d won three on the loss side to face him in the finals. Davis weathered both storms to win the $400-added event on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour that drew 28 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC.
 
 
In a winners’ side semifinal, Davis defeated Mike Gulyassy 9-5 to get into the hot seat match, while Fitch downed Gentile 9-6 to join him. A tight hot seat match led to the circumstance of Fitch taking aim at the 8-ball in the deciding double hill last game. Though reportedly not a particularly easy shot, it was high up in the probability percentages. Fitch missed it, and Davis was in the hot seat.
 
 
Meanwhile, on the loss side, Gentile had picked up James Blackburn, who’d gotten by Dan Heidrich 7-3 (ending a five-match, loss-side streak by Heidrich), and shut out Jake Spataro. Gulyassy drew George Crawford, who’d lost his opening match and was on his own five-match, loss-side streak, having eliminated Steve Page 7-1 and Michael Robertson, double hill, to reach Gulyassy.
 
 
Gentile advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Blackburn, and was joined by Crawford, who benefited from a forfeit by Gulyassy. Gentile then chalked up two straight double hill matches; versus Crawford in the quarterfinals, and Fitch, in the semifinals. 
 
 
Given the double hill drama of the three matches that preceded the final, the final itself was a little anticlimactic. Davis defeated Gentile 11-5 to retain his NC State 8-Ball Championship title.
 
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and Ruthless Billiards. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 12-13, will be hosted by Corner Pockets in Fayetteville, NC. 

Fralin fights off loss-side challenge to go undefeated on the Q City 9-Ball Tour

It's the point where the thinking rubber meets the playing road. An undefeated competitor in the hot seat faces an opponent who's warded off elimination for a long time on the loss side of the bracket. The final match goes to double hill and in that last deciding game, the two face different kinds of stress that amount to the same thing; to have worked so hard and have it come to this – one game to decide, as if the rest of the tournament hadn't even happened. 
 
And so it went for Matt Fralin and Chad Pike as they squared off for the first time in the finals of the January 16 stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour. Fralin in the hot seat, Pike at the end of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak. Scored tied at 6-6. Fralin hung on to win it and complete the undefeated run. The event drew 33 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC.
 
As Pike was toiling away on the loss side, Fralin advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Alex Johnson. Brian Pate, in the meantime, faced Bobby Glenn. Fralin sent Johnson over to the loss side 7-3, as Pate was downing Glenn 6-1. As Fralin and Pate squared off in the hot seat match, both were mindful of the fact that they'd gotten to that point with the help and sponsor support of their (Doug) Beasley Custom Cue. Fralin's Beasley Custom Cue defeated Pate's Beasley Custom Cue 7-4, and Fralin was in the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Pike was working his way towards a meet-up with Glenn. He won his third and fourth loss-side matches against Zack Wilson, double hill, and Michael Robertson 7-3. Johnson drew Robert Ash, who'd defeated the man responsible for sending Pike to the loss side, Rashad Brooks, 4-3 and shut out J.T. Ringgold.
 
Pike and Ash advanced to the quarterfinals; Pike, 7-3 over Glenn, and Ash, 4-3 over Johnson. Pike then chalked up his third straight 7-3 win (over Ash), and let Brian Pate get one more on him in a 7-4 semifinal victory. 
 
So there they were; Fralin and Pike down to this. Last match, became last game, became last ball, became an undefeated run for Fralin and a Q City 9-Ball title.
 

Jones goes undefeated to win 2015 Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships in Raleigh

Daniel Jones got by a slightly-higher-ranked Wayne Haire twice to go undefeated and win the 2015 Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships on the weekend of January 2-3. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
With Jones racing to 5, and Haire racing to 7, they met first in the hot seat match. Jones had sent Rick "Yo Yo" Roper to the loss side in a winners' side semifinal 5-4 (Roper racing to 7), as Haire was busy surviving a double hill match against Brad Shearer, 7-8, in the other semifinal. Jones claimed the hot seat 5-2 and waited on Haire's return. 
 
Over on the loss side, J.T. Ringgold was making a bid to claim the title. He'd been sent over by Roper in the opening round of play and was working on a nine-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals against Haire. Ringgold got by Michael Robertson 8-3 and Bryan Bryant 8-4 to draw Shearer. Roper picked up Scott Roberts, who'd defeated Alex Fulcher 7-5 and Chad Pike 7-3 to reach him.
 
Ringgold downed Shearer 8-4 to earn a quarterfinal rematch against Roper, who'd eliminated Roberts 7-5. Ringgold completed his loss-side winning streak with a surely satisfying 8-4 victory over Roper in those quarterfinals. 
 
Haire got his second shot at Jones in the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Ringgold in the semifinals. Though Haire would double the number of racks he chalked up against Jones in the hot seat match, Jones prevailed a second time, winning the only set necessary to claim the Tour Championship title 5-4.

Davis goes undefeated to claim NC State 10-Ball Championship

Mike Davis

Mike Davis worked his way, undefeated, through a field of 56, to win the 1st Annual North Carolina State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Q City 9-Ball Tour. The $1,000-added event, held on the weekend of July 18-19, was hosted by Brass Tap and Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
Davis ran into a familiar foe among the winners' side final four. Keith Bennett, whose last recorded payout was at the 2013 US Open, when he finished in the tie for 13th place with Corey Deuel, Tommy Kennedy and Imran Majid, showed up for this 10-Ball event, and renewed acquaintances with Davis (among others). Steve Page, in the meantime, who would face Davis twice, met up with Chris Bruner in the other winners' side semifinal. Davis sent Bennett to the loss side 7-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Page, who'd shut out Bruner. Page almost sidetracked Davis' undefeated run with a double hill challenge. Davis prevailed, however, and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Page's return.
 
On the loss side, Bennett ran into Jeff Abernathy, who'd gotten by Michael Robertson and Corey Sykes, both 7-5. Bruner picked up Mahmoud Salamah, who'd defeated Paul Swinson (winner of the previous week's stop on the tour) 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against Brad Shearer. Bruner and Bennett advanced to the quarterfinals; Bruner 7-3 over Salamah and Bennett 7-5 over Abernathy.
 
Bruner spoiled any ideas Bennett may have been entertaining about a re-match versus Davis with a 7-5 quarterfinal victory, and then, was himself eliminated by Page 7-2, in the semifinals. Davis won his second against Page 9-4 in the finals to claim the first NC State 10-Ball Championship.