North America Shines at 2008 World Pool-Billiard Junior 9-Ball Championships
The 2008 World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Junior 9-Ball Championships was held in Reno, Nevada, December 1st – 3rd. Young billiard athletes from 22 countries traveled to the United States to participate in the 33 player boys’ division and 18 player girls’ division. Among the 17 participants representing North America were: Austin Murphy of Folsom, CA; Landon Shuffett of Greensburg, KY; Nick Tafoya of Albuquerque, NM; Billy Thorpe of Dayton, OH; Adam Davis of Raleigh, NC; Joshua Newman of Bessemer City, NC; Brendan Crockett of Bell Canyon, CA; Allison Hardwick and Chelsea Hardwick of Evansville, IN; Briana Miller of Allentown, PA; Nicole Hernandez of Des Plaines, IL; Heather Torpin of Mesa, AZ ; Jauslinn Arnold of Bakersfield, CA; and from Canada, Greg Quinn, McEarl Bucais, Marc Bucais and Brittany Bryant.
Brittany Bryant of Canada won the gold and was crowned the 2008 WPA World Junior 9-Ball Champion, Girls’ division. Bryant went undefeated throughout the tournament, beginning with a close match over Karen Garcia of Nicaragua 7-6. She continued her winning streak defeating Chelsea Hardwick of the USA 7-3, Kim Witzel of Germany 7-5 and Sabrina Naverschnig of Austria 7-3 before winning a thrilling finals match against Konischi Samia of Japan9-8.
Representing the United States in the girls’ division, thirteen year old Briana Miller became the USA high-finisher. Miller won her first 3 matches before moving to the one loss side and was eliminated in a close 6-7 match, finishing tied for 5th place. Also representing the USA were sisters Allison and Chelsea Hardwick. An unfortunate draw paired the 2 sisters in their first round with Chelsea taking the match 7-5. Chelsea continued to charge ahead, finishing tied for 7th place. Sharing the 7th place finish, Heather Torpin displayed much perseverance and remained poised in spite of her two heartbreaking 6-7 losses. Making her debut, Jauslinn Arnold finished tied for 9th, while Allison Hardwick and Nicole Hernandez, both tied for 13th place.
Leading the North American contingent in the boys’ division was Nick Tafoya. Tafoya was temporarily slowed down in his second match by World Champion Pin-Yi Ko of Taiwan, losing 4-9. The determined Tafoya regained momentum with wins against USA Junior National Champions Austin Murphy 9-6 and Landon Shuffett 9-5 before falling short in an exciting 7-9 match, finishing tied for 9th place. Other top North American finishes include a tie for 13th place by Landon Shuffett and McEarl Bucais. Although Shuffett lost a thrilling 7-9 match to Bucais, he continued his flawless play before getting ousted by Tafoya. Austin Murphy, Joshua Newman and 12 year old Billy Thorpe finished tied for 17th place, while Adam Davis, Brendan Crockett, Marc Bucais and Greg Quinn finished tied for 25th place.
For more information about the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), the World Junior Championships, players or tournament brackets, visit www.wpa-tour.com or www.wpa-pool.com
A special thanks to the Billiard Congress of America (BCA), as the North American member to the WPA, for bringing this prestigious event to the United States, for their financial support and for the opportunity made available for juniors to compete in the WPA World Junior9-Ball Championships. Also, thanks to the United States Pool Players Association (USPPA) for taking on the task of hosting and producing this event.
Many thanks to the parents, families, fans and sponsors that support and help make it possible for young billiard athletes to pursue their passion and develop life skills through billiards.
The Billiard Education Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charitable organization committed to furthering the standard of excellence and leadership within the billiard community by engaging in activities related to the education and cultural advancement of tomorrow’s leaders.
For more information about the BEF, please visit www.BilliardEducation.org or contact Laura Smith at 303.926.1039 or e-mail LauraSmith@BilliardEducation.org.