2009 BEF Junior National Champions Crowned

2009 BEF Junior National Champions Crowned
Shuffett, Lovely, Crockett and Miller reign
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The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) crowned four winners in the 2009 BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships. A total of 92 junior pocket billiard players gathered in the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University on July 23-26 to compete for the title in 4 divisions. In the 19-and-under boys’ division, Landon Shuffett of Greensburg, KY, sailed through the winners’ bracket, while Liz Lovely of Centerville, OH, went undefeated in the 19-and-under girls’ division. Brendan Crockett of Bell Canyon, CA, thrived in the 14-and-under boys’ division and Briana Miller of Allentown, PA, won her third consecutive title in the 14-and-under girls’ division.

Winning his third consecutive Junior National title, the previous two in the 14-and-under boys’ division, 15 year old Shuffett steadily climbed his way through the winner’s bracket.  Shuffett handily won his first four matches before facing the 2008 runner-up, Nick Tafoya, winning 9-5. Shuffett managed to maintain his pace by defeating Jesse Engel of Columbia Heights, MN, 9-6 before claiming the hot seat as the only undefeated contestant in the 46 player division. Engel’s made his trek through the winner’s bracket before taking a slight detour to the one-loss side after losing to Shuffett and thrilled the audience with a 9-7 win over Tafoya before getting back on track to play in the finals against Shuffett.  Shuffett trailed after the first 2 games, then, shifted gear to win the match 11-6, becoming the tournament champion.

In the 19-and-under girls’ division, Liz Lovely and Chelsea Hardwick went undefeated through the winner’s bracket before performing a thrilling hill-hill match with Lovely prevailing 7-6. Hardwick was determined to have a re-match with Lovely, but fell short to yet another heartbreak match, losing 6-7 to Jauslinn Arnold of Bakersfield, CA.  The fierce Arnold was making her way through the one-loss side after losing to Lovely in the second round, but came up short in the finals. Lovely took charge, winning the match 9-3 and seized the championship title.

In the 14-and-under boys’ division, it was Brendan Crockett and Bryce Lepak who fought for king of the hill of the winner’s bracket, with each losing a total of only 9 and 8 games respectively before facing each other in the 32 player division.  Crockett sent Lepak to the one-loss side to face Billy Thorpe of Dayton, OH. Thorpe marched through the one-loss side, winning 8 straight matches for a chance to do better than his second place finish last year. Crockett remained steady and completed his mission with a 9-5 win, earning the championship title.

Briana Miller faced a determined Taylor Reynolds of Waterville, ME, winning their first of two matches 7-5 before winning the final match 7-1 to earn the championship title.

In addition to trophies and prizes, the winners of the four divisions were awarded $1,000 in academic scholarship funds and earned a trip to represent the U.S. in the upcoming World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) Junior World 9-Ball Championships, which will be held in Nicaragua this November. Second-place finishers in all four divisions received $500 in academic scholarship funds, trophies, and prizes. In addition, second and third-place finishers in the 19-and-under boys’ division will also represent the U.S. in the Junior World 9-Ball Championships.
A special “thank you” to all of the event sponsors who made the 2009 Junior National 9-Ball Championships possible: Billiard Congress of America, Brunswick Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Ozone Billiards, Aramith Billiard Balls, Dr. Cue Promotions, Delta-13.com, Illinois State University/Bone Student Center, ACUI, and BEF.  Also, thanks to all the product donors who contributed to the junior prizes. A list of donors can be viewed on the BEF website at www.Billiard Education.org.

A heartfelt thanks to all who helped make this event possible, including: Earl Munson, tournament director; volunteer referees: Rick Doner, BEF Board member, Charles Jaynes and John Taylor; Jerry Briesath for his expertise with the billiard clinic; Sarah Rousey for her inspirational talk at the banquet and challenge the pro matches throughout the event; and also, Melvin and Tammy Leonard for their assistance with the mini-tournaments and speed pool competition.

2009 BEF Junior Nationals Top Finishers (L-R) Bryce Lepak, Jesse Engel, Brendan Crockett, Landon Shuffett, Billy Thorpe, Nick Tafoya, Skyler Woodward, Briana Miller, Taylor Reynolds, Chelsea Hardwick, Liz Lovely, Jauslinn Arnold

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2009 BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championship results:

19 & Under Boys’ Division
1st Landon Shuffett    Greensburg, KY
2nd Jesse Engel        Columbia Heights, MN
3rd Nick Tafoya        Albuquerque, NM
4th Skyler Woodward       Ledbetter, KY

19 & Under Girls’ Division
1st Liz Lovely        Centerville, OH
2nd Jauslinn Arnold    Bakersfield, CA
3rd Chelsea Hardwick    Evansville, IN
4th Nicole Jaynes    Albuquerque, NM

14 & Under Boys’ Division
1st Brendan Crockett    Bell Canyon, CA
2nd Billy Thorpe        Dayton, OH
3rd Bryce Lepak        Winter Springs, FL
4th Chad Behnke    Farley, IA

14 & Under Girls’ Division
1st Briana Miller        Allentown, PA
2nd Taylor Reynolds    Waterville, ME

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.

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