Defending Champs Overthrown at BCA Junior Nationals

3

113aAt the Billiard Congress of America Junior Nationals, in DeKalb, Ill., Aug. 8-10, the 18-and-under-open quarterfinal saw the surprise upset of the tournament: Three-time defending champion Shane McMinn, now 18, lost to 15-year-old Joey Gray. Gray was runner-up in the 14-and-under division at the past two Junior Nationals, and has now graduated to the older division. Gray, a dapper Paul Newman look-alike, met his match in the finals against lanky 18-year-old Beau Runningen (pictured here). Runningen reached the finals undefeated, and lost his only game to Gray in the first set, 11-10. Runningen then took hold of a slim lead in the tiebreaker game, slowly increasing his advantage until he could take the case game with a well-planned 2-9 combo to win, 11-7.

In the girls’ 18-and-under division, Eleanor Callado, in her first time at the Junior Nationals, defeated defending champion Michelle Rakin in the finals, 9-8. Rakin is a friend of Callado’s, and the person who had urged her to come to the event in the first place. “I’ve told her about it for three years,” said Rakin. The Rakin family — all of whom play pool — brought Callado with them to the tournament, and there seem to be no hard feelings. Both girls are already focused on their next piece of action: college. Rakin is going to the University of San Francisco, as a premed, with plans to be a doctor. Her education will be financed in part by the scholarship money she’s won at past Junior Nationals. Callado is going to San Francisco State University to be an advertising/marketing major.

In the 14-and-under-open division, Justin Hall beat Mike Banks, Jr. in a forced tiebreaker. Banks beat Hall decisively in the first set, 9-3, but lost steam in the second, allowing Hall to win, 9-6. Hall started playing pool with his dad at 8; Banks has been playing in his father’s poolroom since he was 4. Both boys have considered being professional pool players, though Hall also has anesthesiologist on his list of potential careers.

Comments are disabled.