Tate, Childress and Hollingsworth earn entry to International Open at their last JIC event

Landon Hollingsworth, Joey Tate and Nathan Childress

Childress and Cutting win 18 & Under divisions in prelude to Championships

Unlike the young men and women in the 13 & Under divisions of the Junior International Championships, who competed in their final events this past weekend (Sept. 17-19), the young men and women of the JIC’s 18 & Under and ProAm divisions began the weekend knowing that there was more to come. The 18 & Under divisions would be competing in their Championship events on the weekend of Oct. 28-30 at the International Open in Norfolk, VA, while two of the ProAm competitors could look forward to actually competing in the International 9-Ball Open. As it turned out, three ProAm competitors earned entry into the event because Nathan Childress and Landon Hollingsworth tied for second place in the ProAm’s final rankings.

Won by Nathan Childress for the fifth time, the 18 & Under Boys division drew the largest group of competitors (39) to the seven events that were hosted by Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA over the long weekend. The ProAm division, won by Landon Hollingsworth (his first, which propelled him into the tie for second place in the rankings) was next in the attendance department with 32 competitors. The 18 & Under girls event drew 14 and saw Tatum Cutting win her third.

The eight events held in the ProAm division since January were designed to accommodate players who had grown out of the two age-specific divisions. The eight events were won by seven different competitors, all of whom, with the exception of Lukas Fracasso-Verner, had not grown out of their age groups. Joey Tate was the only player to win the event twice; in April and August. Fracasso-Verner took the January opener, followed by, in order, Gabriel Martinez, Tate’s first win, Nathan Childress, Ivo Linkin, Cash Keeton, Tate’s second win, and Hollingsworth. 

Hollingsworth, who, through the Pro Am’s first five events, finished, on average, in eighth place, was runner-up in the 6th stop, third in the 7th and won this one to tie Nathan Childress in the division’s rankings and earn entry into the International Open. And he had to work his way through some of the division’s toughest competitors. 

Hollingsworth opened his campaign against the competitor who’d finished third in the 18 & Under rankings, Riley Adkins. He sent Adkins to the loss side 7-4, and then downed Jayce Little 7-2 and Ivo Linkin 7-4, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Gabriel Martinez. Joey Tate, in the meantime, had gotten by Payne McBride and Ben Kleinfelter, both 7-3 and sent Trenton White over 7-4 to draw Quintin Scott in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Hollingsworth and Tate locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Hollingsworth to the hot seat match. He was joined by Tate, who’d defeated Scott 7-4. Tate claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited for Hollingsworth to come back from the semifinals, which he did.

In those semifinals, Hollingsworth faced Lazaro Martinez, who’d won three on the loss side, including a double hill win over his brother, Gabriel and a 7-3 win over Riley Adkins in the quarterfinals. Hollingsworth ended Lazaro’s loss-side streak 7-3 and then, downed Tate in the finals 9-5 to claim the ProAm’s 8th title (Editor’s note: The Hollingsworth/Tate rivalry has been going on for a long time and has played a significant role in Hollingsworth’s development and growth as a player. The rivalry will figure prominently in a profile of Hollingsworth to appear in the October issue of our monthly magazine, Billiards Buzz).

Childress cements his 18 & Under rankings with 5th win, while Cutting wins her third to tie Mast

The eight 18 & Under Boys division events have been won by four competitors; one each by Joey Tate, Lazaro Martinez and in his only appearance on the series, Cameron Lawhorne, who won the opener. Nathan Childress has won the other five, and though he opened the series by finishing in fifth place, he’s either won or been the runner-up in every one of the seven events that have followed, which, as you’d expect, has left him way ahead of the pack in the division’s rankings. 

As something of an unintended dramatic gesture, Childress had to start out on the loss side by losing his opening match to Trenton White 7-5. He, then embarked on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak just to face hot seat occupant, Gabriel Martinez. 

White at least had the courtesy to provide evidence that his opening round win was not just an accident and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Landon Hollingsworth. Gabriel Martinez and Ivo Linkin squared off in the other one. Martinez got into the hot seat match 7-1 over Linkin. Hollingsworth survived a double hill fight versus White to enter his second hot seat match of the weekend. Martinez, though, sent him to the semifinals 7-5.

In those semifinals, Hollingsworth had the misfortune of running into Childress, who was only one step away from a spot in the finals and in his eight loss-side matches had been giving up an average of a little over two racks per match. Childress gave up two more in his battle with Hollingsworth and then let up a little on Martinez in the finals, allowing him three racks in their race to 9 to claim the 18 & Under title.

Casey Cork, Tatum Cutting and Skylar Hess

Tatum Cutting came into the 18 & Under Girls division event, one win behind the division’s rankings leader, Sofia Mast, who was ahead in division victories 3-2. Cutting came into the final event, behind in the division’s rankings by 4,500 points, so unless Mast had failed to show up, she was uncatchable in the division’s rankings. Mast did show up and finished in the tie for 5th/6th. Cutting went on to win the event, coming from the loss side, and in the process, made something of a definitive statement in her single match against Mast.

Mast lost her opening match to Courtney Hairfield 7-5, who followed her over when Cutting downed her in the second round by the same score. Cutting advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Casey Cork, as Skylar Hess and Hayleigh Marion squared off in the other one. 

Hess got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Marion. Cork joined her with a 7-3 win over Cutting. Cork claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on what turned out to be Cutting’s return.

On the loss side, Cutting ran right into Mast, who was in the midst of a brief, three-match loss-side winning streak. Marion drew Taylor Perkins, who’d won two in a row on the loss side to reach her. Perkins and Marion locked into a double hill that did, eventually, send Perkins to the quarterfinals. Cutting made her ‘statement’ by shutting Mast out, advancing to meet Perkins.

Cutting chalked up a second straight shutout, over Perkins in the quarterfinals and then downed Hess in the semifinals 7-4. 

There was not really a lot at stake for Casey Cork in the finals of the 18 & Under Girls division. The event would determine which eight would advance to the 18 & Under Girls Championship next month in Norfolk. Sitting in the hot seat, it was already Cork’s best finish among the six events she was able to attend, but she came into the event below the 8-player threshold for the Championship and though it’s unlikely she’d have been calculating this prior to the finals, she had zero chance of catching any of the opponents ahead of her and the best she could do would be runner-up, in which case she’d finish 9th in the rankings.

That’s exactly what happened, but not before Cork had first, downed Cutting in a winners’ side semifinal and then, in their finals rematch, put up a double hill fight versus one of the top two players in the division to record her best showing of the entire series. Cutting completed her third division victory of the series with the 9-8 win.

JIC Tour Director Ra Hanna thanked all of his sponsors for their help in making this event possible, Mike Littman with Littman Lights, Matt Suite at American Billiard Covering, Dynaspheres, Chris Wilson at The League Room, Kory & Trena Wolford from Wolfs Den Billiards and Mike from Michael’s Billiards.