Association of College Unions International Collegiate 9-Ball Championships / Normal, IL
by Lea Andrews
After three days of intense play in the Association of College Unions International Collegiate 9-Ball Championships presented by Ozone Billiards, one male and one female student have become 2009 Champions. Adam Maloney of Texas A & M University and Shari Cui of the University of Illinois – Chicago were among the 37 men and 16 women who traveled from 41 different colleges and universities from across the country to compete for scholarships and prizes in the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University in Normal, IL.
Maloney rode strong wins all the way into the hot seat match, where he came upon Lars Vardaman of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Vardaman was no ordinary competitor, attempting to be the first man in the history of the ACUI championship, which dates to 1937, to win the title four times. And at the end of day two, it seemed Vardaman was going to pull it off as he sent Maloney west 8-4.
Waiting for Maloney in the one-loss semifinals was Mississippi State University’s Sam Gilmer, who’d already met with Maloney in the fourth round and fallen 8-3. This matchup was no better for Gilmer, who’d just put Grant Moller of the University of Maryland in fourth with a score of 8-4. Gilmer managed only two games against Maloney, landing in third and sending Maloney to his rematch with Vardaman.
With the single race-to-13 format for the finals, Maloney’s earlier loss was as good as erased, and thwarting Vardaman’s attempt at making history and writing himself in instead, Maloney took the title with a 13-9 win.
Over in the ladies’ bracket, Cui bounced back from an early mid-match dress code violation to win not only that match but each one after that on her way to the hot seat match. There, she faced Stephanie Sevigny of North Dakota State University and sent her on to the one-loss semifinals 7-2. Sevigny’s opponent was none other than Morgan State University’s Karla Yates, to whom she’d earlier delivered a hill-hill quarterfinal loss. This time, the outcome was quite different, as Yates put Sevigny in third with a very strong 7-1 win. The final match was a different story for Yates, though. The single race-to-9 final set was all Cui, and she earned her title with a decisive 11-3 win.
Others who earned recognition in the competition are Varun Raheja of the University of Houston, winner of the men’s break competition, and Cindy Ho of Sacramento State University, who won the women’s break competition. By peer vote, Quentin Weir of the University of Michigan was given the Men’s Sportsmanship Award, while Cindy Ho of Sacramento State University was given the Women’s Sportsmanship Award.
1st Adam Maloney, Texas A & M University $1,000 Ozone Billiards Scholarship + free entry in 2010 (if eligible)
2nd Lars Vardaman, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville $500 Ozone Billiards Scholarship
3rd Sam Gilmer, Mississippi State University $250 Ozone Billiards Scholarship
4th Grant Moller, University of Maryland $100 Ozone Billiards Scholarship
1st Shari Cui, University of Illinois – Chicago $1,000 Ozone Billiards Scholarship + free entry in 2010 (if eligible)
2nd Karla Yates, Morgan State University $500 Ozone Billiards Scholarship
3rd Stephanie Sevigny North Dakota State University $250 Ozone Billiards Scholarship
4th Kris Landry, Fitchburg State University $100 Ozone Billiards Scholarship