Texas Leads the Way in High School Billiard Play

The 2006-2007 BEF Texas High School 9-Ball Billiard season has successfully ended with the Rowlett High School Eagles winning their 5th Texas State Championship. On April 10th and 24th, several high schools from four different Dallas area school districts competed to see who would be #1 in the State of Texas. The Rowlett Eagles, repeating last years championship match-up with the Berkner H.S. Rams, once again soared over their arch rival Rams 34-21 to end the sixth season of exciting Texas high school billiard competition.

The Rowlett Eagles and the Berkner Rams have gained the reputation as the top two high school billiard teams in Texas. These two teams have faced off twice in regular season competition with the Rowlett Eagles victorious in both matches. Everyone had predicted these two teams would see each other again in the “State Championship”. In their second match competing an interested local TV station, CBS Channel 11 KTVT, interviewed and filmed the Rowlett and Berkner players, parents, teachers, and program director Earl Munson. The televised interview and match took place at Berkner High School where three 9' tables have been installed for the Rams Billiard Team. The mid-season televised match between the Eagles and then undefeated Rams was one of the most exciting high school matches ever. The match, a total of 55 games, had come down to the last ball in the last game with the Eagles coming from way behind to win 28-27.

The young squad of the Rowlett Eagles will be an even better team next year with their battle hardened experience and all of the participating students returning. The high school junior Logan Elkins, a 2006 BEF Academic All-American and 2006 BCA Junior Nationally ranked player, led the Rowlett Eagles. Logan will be competing at the 2007 BEF Junior Nationals in Minnesota this summer and will once again be eligible for the 2007 BEF Academic All-American honors due to his continued academic high school excellence. Logan was the 2007 B.E.T.T.E.R. High School Billiard Program “Most Valuable Player” Runner-Up this season behind another great high school player, William Howard from the Berkner Rams. Logan was also the MVP for the 2007 Texas State Championship match between the Eagles and Rams.

In the United States intra-high school billiards competition started in Texas in 2001. Since its inception these two champion high schools along with seven other Dallas area high schools have been part of a pilot BCA and BEF junior billiard program. This program is currently a model for future high school billiard programs for other cities and states. The B.E.T.T.E.R. High School Billiard Program founded by BCA Certified Instructor Earl Munson has completed its research and testing phase and is looking to expand to other parts of the country. The program works very closely with the Billiard Education Foundation in developing and sustaining junior interest in the sport.

“High school billiards has been invisible to the billiard world for several years and it is time to change that,” remarks Earl Munson. “We are now very confident that billiards is a viable alternative after high school sport for the students. The groundbreaking work has been completed and the path has been set for others to start a high school billiard program in their area. The educational, economic, and social impact of the junior program has been a boom for billiards in the Dallas, Texas area for the last six years of operation.”

William Howard, from the Berkner High School Rams, is a great case in point of the educational impact of the program. Prior to William finding the world of billiards he was just an average high school student starting to lose his way. Because of his passion, focus, and love for the sport William has gained a renewed interest for school and learning. His grades have improved from C average to straight A's due to billiards. William's self-esteem and confidence also soared as he excelled on his high school billiard team and he was awarded the programs “2006 Most Improved H.S. Player”. His academic achievements and skillful play were recognized and he was honored as one of the 2006 BEF Academic All-Americans while competing in the 2006 BCA Junior Nationals at the University of Arizona. He caught local Dallas area media attention and was featured on CBS-News, “Billiards Helping High School Students Improve Math Skills.” Williams's academic and billiard excellence has continued and will once again earn him the 2007 BEF Academic All-American award and has also qualified him to compete at this year's 2007 BEF Junior Nationals.

This 2006-2007 season has ended with great success and the program will be sending a total of 8 high school players from the program to this year's BEF Junior Nationals. The high school program director Earl Munson has been invited and has accepted to be this year BEF Junior National Tournament Director at the Minnesota State University. He was also last years BCA Junior Nationals Tournament Director at the University of Arizona. Earl Munson has had great interest in the high school billiard program from all across the U.S. and he hopes the program will expand to other cities and states this fall. A 2007-2008 Regional H.S. Program Directors Guide will be available this summer giving all needed information on how to start and implement a high school billiard program.

The program would like to thank the 2006-2007 season sponsors for making high school billiards more fun and enjoyable to the students to include: Championship Billiard Fabric, AcCue-Shot, OB-1 Cues, Rec Warehouse, Hawley's Billiards, Billiards & Barstools, and Games Etc. Please help us support and grow high school billiards. We need your help to promote junior billiards. If you would like to help or donate to a great junior program please contact emunson@betterplaybilliards.org or laurasmith@billiardeducation.org.

If you are interested in starting a high school billiard program in your area you may contact the BEF Executive Director Laura Smith at www.billiardeducation.org or the B.E.T.T.E.R. High School Billiard Program Director Earl Munson at www.betterplaybilliards.org.