Ussery goes undefeated to claim Open 9th Annual NC State Championship

BJ Ussery

Norris comes from the loss side to win first separate Ladies division tournament

BJ Ussery was challenged early, twice, having to win his first two matches, double hill, versus Ron Canterbury and junior competitor Cole Lewis, before settling in and eventually going undefeated to win the 9th Annual NC State Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Nov. 5-7). He was challenged in the finals by Jeff Abernathy, who, looking for his first win on the tour since March of 2019, won five on the loss side to reach him. The $1,500-added event drew 38 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. 

In the first-ever separate Ladies championship, Christy Norris won three on the loss side to challenge Nikki Mancuso Benish in the finals. Norris claimed the event’s first title with a victory in those finals. The $500-added Ladies event drew 16 entrants.

Ussery’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Abernathy in a winners’ side quarterfinal, advancing at that point to face JT Ringgold, looking for his victory on the tour since June of 2019. In the meantime, two-time 2021 BEF Junior National Champion (separate divisions) and winner of the recent Junior International Championships in the 18 & Under division, Landon Hollingsworth advanced to his winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Farrar.

Ussery downed Ringgold 9-7, while Hollingsworth sent Farrar over 9-2 (matches were race to 9 on the winners’ side and 7 on the loss side). Ussery claimed the hot seat 9-4 over Hollingsworth and waited on Abernathy.

On the loss side, Farrar drew Abernathy, who’d followed his loss versus Ussery with wins over Barry Mashburn 7-4 and, moving into the first money round, Brian Francis 7-5. Ringgold picked up a rematch versus Trent Talbert, whom he’d defeated in the third round, and who was embarked on his own five-match, loss-side winning streak that had just eliminated Joey Tate 7-4 (Tate was runner-up to Hollingsworth at the JIC, 18 & Under event last month) and, double hill, Mike Bumgarner.

In what Tour Director Herman Parker called the “upset of the tournament,” Talbert defeated Ringgold 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Abernathy joined Talbert,  after downing Farrar 7-4.

Abernathy was working on his fourth loss-side victory, while Talbert was trying to win his fifth. Abernathy wasted little time eliminating Talbert 7-1 in those quarterfinals, and then, dispatched Hollingsworth 7-3 in the semifinals. 

At that point, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ussery and Abernathy negotiated a settlement that gave the title and a share of the top two prizes to Ussery.

Christy Norris

Norris, looking for her first win in almost two years, finds it

Prior to the 2021 NC State Championships, Christy Norris had only cashed in two (reported) events since January of 2020. That January, she won the Music City Classic’s Ladies Division and this past September, she finished as runner-up to Nikki Benish Mancuso in the Ladies Carolina Cup Bar Table 9-Ball event in Chesnee, SC. She and Mancuso battled twice in this one; once in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. They split the two matches, Norris winning the critical second match in the finals.

In their first of two (all winners’ side matches were races to 7), Mancuso sent Norris to the loss side 7-5 and advanced to the hot seat match. Betty Lee Sessions joined her after defeating Beth Allen 7-1. Mancuso defeated Sessions 7-4 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side in races to 5, Norris picked up Casey Cork, who defeated Lisa Cossette 5-2 and Teri Stovall 5-3 to reach her. Allen drew Katie Bischoff, who’d recently shut out Mallory Waters and eliminated Sierra Ballard 5-2. Norris downed Cork 5-3, as Bischoff and Allen battled to double hill, before Bischoff advanced to the quarterfinals.

Norris gave up just a single rack each to Bischoff in those quarterfinals and then, Sessions in the semifinals. She claimed the inaugural Ladies title of the NC State Championships with a 9-6 victory in her rematch against Mancuso in the finals.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Randy and Rebecca Penley Canipe and their staff at Randolph’s for their hospitality, as well Kirk Overcash for adding $500 to the Ladies event. He also thanked title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 13-14), will be a $500-added ($1k with 64 entrants), hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.