Barney, Rakin, Shuffett, and Miller Triumph in BEF Junior Nationals

Barney, Rakin, Shuffett, and Miller Triumph in BEF Junior Nationals
The 2007 Junior National 9-Ball Championships has crowned the 2007 winners and was a huge success. Over 130 players representing 29 states and Ontario, Canada, demonstrated great talent throughout the week of July 12-15. This event was held in conjunction with the ACUI Collegiate 9-Ball Championships at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Nearly 350 people attended the Thursday evening banquet to welcome the junior players, to honor the winners of the ACUI event and to congratulate the 39 recipients of the 2007 Academic All-American Awards. Special guests at the dinner included reigning world artistic pool champion Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman, Jerry Briesath of “The Pool School,” and Shane Van Boening, 2007 World 10-Ball Champion. The evening ended with almost two hours of artistic pool entertainment from Dr. Cue and hours of challenge-the-pro matches.

The competition kicked off on Thursday with players competing in four separate divisions. The 19 under boys’ division saw Christopher Futrell matched up against Richard Barney in the finals. Christopher went undefeated through a field of 73 players with wins over Reza Dastmalchian 9-2, Brent Newman 9-5, Chuckie Holyoke 9-5, Adam Behnke 9-8, and a narrow victory over Richard Barney 9-8 before facing Tyler Van Wulven for the winners’ bracket seat. Van Wulven was working his own magic on the bottom half of the bracket, defeating Curtis Froncheck 9-0, Eric Opitz 9-6, Adam Tanner 9-7, Tanner Pruess 9-7, and Adam Shively 9-4 before a strong win against Daniel Rakin 9-4. Van Wulven’s winning streak was halted by Futrell , who bested him 9-4. On the one-loss side, Barney was determined to make his way to the finals as he ousted DJ Holloway 9-7 and Rakin 9-2. He almost lost his chance at a rematch with Futrell but managed to win 9-8 against Van Wulven. In the finals, Barney maintained his momentum with a win over Futrell 11-6 and captured the 2007 Junior National 9-Ball Championship title for the 19 under boys’ division.

Visit the BEF Nationals image gallery (/gallery2/v/Pool+Tournaments/acui_bef_2007/)
The 14 under boys’ division proved to be exciting as early round matches heated up. Landon Shuffett started off with a close first match, barely winning 7-6 against Carlos Esparza. He then went on to defeat Billy Thorpe 7-4 and a tournament favorite, Austin Murphy, 7-1, before Chad Behnke caught up with him and dealt him a 7-3 defeat. Behnke made his way through the winners’ bracket with wins against Daniel Olson 7-2, Cyril Buzek 7-1, Logan Ross 7-1, Corbin Coe 7-4, and Shuffett 7-3 before being stopped by Joshua Newman 4-7.

Undefeated through the winners’ bracket was Newman, with wins over Simeon Tate 7-0, Frank Linder 7-1, Luke Cason 7-5, Michael Perron Jr. 7-6, and Behnke 7-4. In the one-loss bracket, Shuffett barely squeaked by his next two matches against Olson and Perron Jr., winning both 7-6. Landon once again faced Behnke and exacted his revenge, winning 7-3 and thus earning his way for a chance to play the undefeated Newman. In this riveting match, the players traded racks until the score was tied 8-8 in a race to 9. While both boys made an appearance at the table in the last game, Shuffett made good on a winning opportunity and dropped the final 9 ball to earn the title as 14 under boys’ Junior National Champion.

In the girls’ division, Mary Rakin was determined to make the 2007 Junior Nationals memorable, as it would be her last appearance in the junior ranks. She went out with a bang, losing only 7 games before reaching the finals. En route to the championship match, Rakin defeated Alexandra Calabrese 7-3, Amber Yniguez 7-1, and Nicole Keeney 7-3. A newcomer to the national scene, Keeney was determined to make her debut a challenge for Mary. Hungry for the title, she defeated Chelsea Hardwick 7-4 and Allison Hardwick 7-3 before being foiled by Rakin in the hot seat match. Keeney recovered from the setback with another win over Hardwick, anxious for a rematch with Rakin for the championship title. The final was sharply contested, but Rakin was able to seize the match by a score of 9-7, becoming the 2007 Junior National Champion for 19 under girls’ division.

Last but not least was the 14 under girls’ division. Competing in her first Junior Nationals, 12-year-old Briana Miller was unstoppable and went undefeated through the winners’ bracket with victories over Amy LaCanne, Gwen Lindauer, and Nicole Jaynes. Jaynes has been a consistent top finisher in the Junior Nationals and just came off a win in the 14 under girls’ artistic pool competition for her second year in a row. Miller made her presence known, and it was evident that she wanted this title as she glided through the tournament, becoming the 14 under girls’ Junior National Champion.

Along with trophies and prizes, all winners of the 4 divisions were given a $1,000 scholarship, as well as a berth to represent the U.S. in the upcoming Junior World Championships. In addition, second-place finishers in all 4 divisions were given a $500 scholarship with second place in the boys’ divisions also earning an entry to the Junior World 9-Ball Championships. Mary Rakin will be defending her title as reigning Junior World 9-Ball Champion in the girls’ division November 27– 30 in Willingen, Germany.
Thanks to all of the sponsors who made the 2007 Junior National 9-Ball Championships possible: Billiard Congress of America, Brunswick Billiards, Simonis cloth, RST2 International, Aramith Billiard Balls, Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Dr. Cue Promotions, Minnesota State University, Mankato, ACUI, BEF, and Mankato Convention Visitor Bureau.

Also, special thanks to Jerry Briesath, who shared his billiard knowledge and expertise for hours to help kids of all ages (the adults took advantage of this quality time too!) who were interested in improving their game. Also, thanks to Tom “Dr. Cue” and Marty Rossman for their wonderful display of kindness in hosting the 15th Annual Artistic Pool Challenge. This is a great addition to the Junior National schedule of events, and Dr. Cue has again demonstrated why he is the master of entertainment in the billiard industry! A warm thanks to pro player Shane Van Boening for being an inspiration and role model to our aspiring young billiard players.

A heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this event possible: Earl Munson, tournament director; Charles Jaynes, head referee; John Taylor, Genero Vasquez, Deborah Jaynes, Carol Clark, Anna Quadara, Mike Quadara and Joey Quadara.

19 Under Boys Results (73 players):
1st Richard Barney
2nd Christopher Futrell
3rd Tyler Van Wulven
4th Daniel Rakin
19 Under Girls Results (11 players):
1st Mary Rakin
2nd Nicole Keeney
3rd Allison Hardwick
4th Chelsea Hardwick
14 Under Boys Results (45 players):
1st Landon Shuffett
2nd Joshua Newman
3rd Chad Behnke
4th Michael Perron, Jr.
14 Under Girls Results (7 players):
1st Brianna Miller
2nd Nicole Jaynes
3rd Amy LaCanne
4th Courtney Frank
Visit the BEF Nationals image gallery (/gallery2/v/Pool+Tournaments/acui_bef_2007/)
Winners of all four divisions won a trophy, a $1,000 scholarship, and a spot in the WPA Junior World Championships, to be held later this year in Germany. Runners-up received a $500 scholarship, and the boys finishing second also received an invitation to the World Championships.