Wolford goes undefeated to claim MD State Bar Table 9-Ball title

Loye Bolyard, Rick Molineiro, Matt Krah, Shane Wolford and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

Shane Wolford is hard at work making a name for himself. After a few years as a junior competitor, he has stepped up in the ranks with a series of notable event victories and competitive performances. Starting about four years ago, as a teenager, when he first started showing up on the payout lists of the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour, Wolford has gone on to compete in the Derby City Classic, the Action Pool Tour, and a number of Maryland state championship tournaments. 

Wolford has been a winner on the Q City 9-Ball Tour on a couple of occasions, and last year, teamed up with another ‘young gun,’ Nathan Childress, to win the Maryland State Scotch Doubles 9-Ball Championship. In November, he and Childress signed on for the Maryland State 8-Ball Championship and though Childress got sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Mike Davis, Wolford eventually met and defeated Davis in a winners’ side semifinal, after which he defeated Matt Clatterbuck to claim the hot seat. Davis came back to down him in the finals of that event, but in the brief time he’s been around, Wolford has rung a few pool-community bells that at this stage of his career, are not likely to be unheard.

Well, ring-a-ding-ding, Wolford signed on to the 2021 Maryland State Bar Table 9-Ball Championships this past weekend (April 10-11) and went undefeated through the field of 118 competitors to claim that title. The event was hosted by On the Hill Productions and Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

By luck of the draw, Wolford had the opportunity to chalk up a few victories before he moved into the ‘meat’ of the field that included the likes of Shaun Wilkie, Brandon Shuff, Steve Fleming, Jason Trigo, BJ Ussery, Pooky Rasmeloungon (who hasn’t been heard of, officially, since he finished 4th at a stop on the Action Pool Tour, seven years ago), Matt Krah and last year’s MD State Bar Table 9-Ball Champion, Brett Stottlemeyer.

Wolford opened up by shutting out Joshua Oesterboro, then defeated Karl Friedenberg, Shane Clayton and Joseph Wright, before running into BJ Ussery and defeating him 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. This set Wolford up against Pooky in a winners’ side semifinal; Pooky had just sent Shaun Wilkie west 7-4 in one of the other winners’ side quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Rick Molineiro and Matt Krah met in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Molineiro sent Krah to the loss side 7-5. Wolford joined him in the battle for the hot seat after defeating Pooky 7-5. Wolford then claimed the hot seat, downing Molineiro 7-3.

On the loss side, Krah picked up BJ Ussery, who followed his loss against Wolford by shutting out Josh McCauley and eliminating Shaun Wilkie 7-2. Pooky drew Rob Cord, who’d been sent to the loss side by Krah in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Brandon Shuff 7-3 and Ron Frank, Jr. 7-1.

Krah and Pooky advanced to the quarterfinals, chalking up identical 7-4 wins over Ussery and Cord, respectively. The two veteran pros, each of whom has been around pool longer than the man in the hot seat had been alive, locked up in a double hill fight in those quarterfinals. Krah hung on to win it and face Molineiro in the semifinals.

According to our records, Krah hadn’t been in the finals of an event since 2015, when he was involved in five of them; that year’s VA 10-Ball Championship (won by Shaun Wilkie), three stops on the Mezz Tour (one of which he won by virtue of being in the hot seat when a final match was not held) and a Labor Day 9-Ball shootout in Maryland (also won by Shaun Wilkie).

History is not something generally brought to the tables in a pool match. By player inclination, the job at hand is playing the game in front of you, whether your opponent is a veteran of the game or a barely-out-of-teen-years junior player. The junior player prevailed in Maryland this time out. Wolford completed his undefeated run with a 7-3 win that earned him Maryland State’s Bar Table 9-Ball Championship.

Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues on the Boulevard, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region and Safe Harbor Retirement Planners. The event was streamed throughout the weekend by Bolyard and Scarlato’s On the Hill Productions.