Robert Prince Jr. from Beltsville, Md., is the 2011 Wheelchair Challenge Champion! He took home $1,700 for the win! In addition to the Wheelchair Challenge title, Prince Jr. also earned the Sportsmanship Award! He was nominated for the award by fellow players, referees and APA staff. Prince Jr. has been playing in the APA since it was the Busch Pool League. He’s been to Vegas for the Wheelchair Challenge event five times and this is by far his best trip! The best he’d finished before taking home the title was 9th. Win, lose or draw, he just wanted to play his best, which he certainly did!
Take Care Brush Ya Hair from Cheshire, Conn., is the 2011 APA 9-Ball Doubles Champion! For the win, they earned $5,000! The two have been playing together for about five years now. They almost didn’t even go to the qualifying event, however decided to give it a try at the last minute – and they’re glad they did! The two really just had a goal of having fun at the tournament, which they definitely did!
Pork Fried Rice from Danbury, Conn., has been playing together for about 2 years now. While some have been to the National Team Championships for other events, this is their first time as team. Half of the team is of Asian descent and the half is Portuguese, which is where their team name comes from. People have been stopping them constantly and asking about their team t-shirts, which was designed by a team member. While at the event this week, one member of the team challenged Jeanette Lee “The Black Widow” and beat her. The team decided to sign a team t-shirt for her, which she really enjoyed. They say that it’s just an awesome feeling right now to have made it so far in the competition; they win as a team and lose as a team.
Team members include: Anthony Wilkie, Khamla Thongkham, Gilbert Black, Mark Borges, Jeffrey Chang, Neil Robinson, Ryan Parker and Tommy Chansouk.
The Head Hunters from Philadelphia, Pa., are having a great time at the National Team Championships! They’re competing in the 8-Ball Open Division for the third consecutive year. They even happened to win the Open 8-Ball Division Team Shirt Contest the past two years. There’s no magic formula behind their t-shirt designs, they just get together as a team and think of the design they’d like to see. The tournament is going well for them, as they’ve made it further this year than in previous years. The tournament is a little less intimidating for the team since they’ve competed at the Championships before. They say prayer works for their team.
Team members include: Benjamin Moore, Joe Flax, Kareem Richardson, Reggie Harris, Samuel Odom, Ron Curry, Brian Jones and Darryle Crawley.
Stix & Stones from Birmingham, Ala., are competing in the Open 8-Ball Division at the National Team Championships! The team says they have really good chemistry, helping them work well together. There are a lot of different personalities on the team – everything from a nurse, teacher, engineer and in between are team members. Some members of the team have been out to the National Team Championships before however, this is their first time competing as Stix & Stones. They’ve really found a way to play pool and have fun while doing it. They’re having a great time at the tournament!
Team members include: Kenneth Powers, Stefano Minervini, Jay & Michelle Anderson, Brittany Jefferys, Phil Ball and Jason Campbell.
The Blandon Bandits from Blandon, Penn., have been playing together for about five years now. They’re goal has always been to qualify for the National Team Championships, so they were ecstatic when they finally did this year! The team consists of friends from around town – including two father and son combinations. As far as the tournament goes, the team has really enjoyed the experience. They’re competing in the 8-Ball Open Division. Win or lose, they’re in it to have fun – they’re giving it their best shot.
Team members include: Garry Schell, Larry Schell, Keith Hertzog, Kevin J. Becker, Kevin C. Becker, Joshua Webber, Keith Guldner and Bruce Pflueger Jr.
Still Don’t Know from Richmond, Va., are the 2011 APA Masters Champions! They’re going home $10,000 richer for the win! The team has only been playing together for one session now. Two members of the team did compete in last year’s Masters Championship, and they really felt that helped them make it even further this year. Unfortunately, one of the teammates, had to leave this morning before he had a chance to play in the finals. The teammates are all really good friends and so excited to share in the experience together. Team members include: Larry Kressel, Andre Shank, Chris Bruner and David Hunt.
Chastity Roberts from Charlotte, N.C., came out to the National Team Championships to play in the MiniMania events. She’s also decided to compete in the Dr. Cue Artistic Pool Championship. Although she didn’t know about Dr. Cue’s event before coming to Vegas, she did know he was going to be at the event and planned on seeing him. When at the National Team Championships in 2004, Chastity saw one of Dr. Cue’s shows, where he gave good advice that helped improve her game. So, she couldn’t wait to see what kind of shows Dr. Cue would have this year. She watched a helpful clinic on banking that she’s excited to apply to her game.
After walking by Dr. Cue’s room, Chastity decided to try out Dr. Cue’s lag competition. She currently has one of the top 3 scores, but she’s determined to improve that score. She says she’ll continue to try for a better score any chance she gets. She’s convinced her husband to play as well. Chastity is guaranteed a place in the Dr. Cue Artistic Championship finals that take place on Friday!
Git-R-Done from Lupton, Mich., began playing together about 3 years ago. Six teammates even live in the same subdivision. Their team shirts feature all of the APA patches they’ve earned throughout their APA careers. All of the teammates elected to bring their significant others to enjoy Vegas together. This is the team’s first time to compete in the National Team Championships together and they don’t plan on it being their last! They’re ecstatic to be here and feel satisfactory with their performance so far. The team is really having a great time!
Vinny Zuniga from New Britain, Conn., has been an APA member since 1994! In that time, he’s moved up to a skill level 7, now playing in the Masters Division. He’s at the National Team Championships competing in the Masters Championship with his team, What Would Parica Do?. Their team name comes from a pro player that the team always refers to when looking at what to do on the table.
In 2009, his team, Ying & Tang, finished 2nd in the Masters Championship. His Masters team also came out last year and finished 33rd. Vinny has always enjoyed playing in the APA. What he enjoys most is playing different people and poolplaying styles. What Would Parica Do? has made it to the top 16 in the Masters Championship so far. They’re hoping to go all the way!
Am I Solids or Stripes? from Shreveport, La., competed in the 9-Ball Division and had a wonderful time! This is the team’s second consecutive year competing in the National Team Championships. Five members of the team also competed in the tournament 10 years ago, when one teammate, Josh, also got married! While the team as a whole has been together for two years, some members have been playing together for about 10 plus years. All the teammates met playing pool about 15 years ago!
The team says that they most enjoy the environment, atmosphere and great people at the National Team Championships! Team members include: Penny Sparks, Scott Cox, Tim Newell, Dave and Deborah Stack, Josh Blackburn, Tom Parish and Jerry Curry.
Natalie Garcia and Mike Sykos are competing in the 8-Ball Open Division and are also getting married this week! The two met on their APA team, W8-4-It, about a year ago. Mike had played on the team on and off for several years due to traveling for his job. When he returned to the team about a year ago, Natalie was a member, and they hit it off. They got engaged about two months ago and decided that the timing of being in Vegas was perfect to get married. Mike will be leaving to go out of the country again soon, so they wanted to tie the knot before that time came.
Natalie and Mike are getting married on Friday with their APA teammates as part of the wedding party! They met through the League, so it was only appropriate to get married during an APA event!
Now What from Dayton, OH are the 2011 9-Ball National Team Champions! They’re leaving Vegas $15,000 richer! The team has been playing together for almost three years now. In 2010, they made it to the National Team Championships for 8-Ball and 9-Ball. Two members of the team also placed at the 2011 National Singles Championships – Randi finished 9th in the 9-Ball Shootout White Tier and Alex won the Black Tier of the 9-Ball Shootout.
The win is special to the team as they’re all really good friends. They hang out and play pool together all the time. The team didn’t expect to make it all the way to the end – they just wanted to come out and have fun! They certainly did that!
Aces Wild from Arlington, Wash., is excited to be competing in the 8-Ball Open Division of the National Team Championships! The team just began playing together in the 2010 Fall Session, so under one year! Everyone on the team is friends, and when they got together they just all really meshed really well together. They feel really lucky to have made it all the way to Vegas so early in their APA careers. One member of the team, Kim Rockwell, said she feels like the luckiest person in Vegas because she’s not a great poolplayer, but has been awarded the opportunity to play on such a competitive level. The team says it’s really fun to have a variety of ages and skill levels on the team!
Team members include: Jeremy Harvey, Tony Moreau, Rocky Rockwell, Kim Rockwell, Peggy Thompson, Dan Camarillo and Craig Olson.
Business Pleasure from Lindenwold, N.J., just began playing together as a team in the Fall 2011 Session. Some members of the team played together before. About 3 years ago several members of the team competed in the 8-Ball Division of the National Team Championships. A few current members came with them on that trip and joined the team shortly after so they could have a chance at playing in the tournament. Lo and behold – just a few years later, the team is back and competing in the 8-Ball Division once again. They came up with the team name because they say that pool is business and hanging with the team is pleasure, so they mesh well together!
Team members include: Chad Mullison, Shelli Clement, Joe Clement, Chris Mikulski, Mike Hutchinson, Erin Barefoot, Irv Hutchings and William Gallagher Jr.
Snook Hers from Arlington, Va., is the 2011 Ladies Division National Champions! The team was more than ecstatic when they won 3-1. They’ve only been playing together for about a year now! The team all met through mutual friends and immediately discovered a bond that went beyond pool. They’ve been best friends every since! While there are a few APA newbies on the team, some have been playing for many years now. Snook Hers took home $10,000 for their victory!
Team Members are: Jessica Lewis, Evelyn Puzon, Sylvia Nolan, Amy Tourison, Gayl Gokee, Deborah Ramsdell and Alexandra Keiser.
Duane Green from Willingboro, N.J., is enjoying his third time to Vegas in the last year! He competed in the 2010 APA National Team Championship 9-Ball Division where his team placed 65th. Then, he returned to Vegas in April for the APA National Singles Championships, where he was crowned champion in the Blue Tier of the 8-Ball Classic! Now, he’s back playing in the 8-Ball Doubles Championship with a teammate from his 9-Ball team. Duane said he almost feels like he needs a PO Box in Vegas this year!
While playing in the MiniMania events, Duane met up with a fellow National Singles Championship winner! Nicole Goin from Danville, Ill., won the Green Tier of the 9-Ball Shootout in April! She found Duane and told him that they had to play together in MiniMania! So, the two found each other and played in a Doubles MiniMania event, placing 3rd. People may have been a bit intimidated to compete against two APA champions!
The Krazy Kajuns from Abbeville, La., are competing in the 9-Ball Open Division of the National Team Championships. They’ve been playing together for about one year now. The team consists mostly of couples. They do, however, have a 19-year-old powerhouse on the team! Hanns Rivet has already made it to a skill level 7. He played his first match as a 7 in Vegas and won it! He’s been shooting pool since he was very young. His mom plays in the APA, so he really grew up with the game.
This is the team’s first time to Vegas and they’ve really enjoyed meeting all the new and friendly people! Team members include: Darrel Connor Jr., Colt Touchet, Jessie Connor, Devin Richard, Matt Sanders, Rhonda Sanders and Hanns Rivet.
U Just Got Hoff’d from Windsor, Ohio, won the APA 8-Ball Doubles Championship! Teammates Tony Fuduric and Neal Shirk have been friends for about 20 years now – they actually went to school together. They’ve been playing Doubles together for 6 months, but have played pool together for about 3 years or so. They performed great in their final match! U Just Got Hoff’d won the lag and then captured the second, third, fourth and sixth games in the match to win! They’re taking home the $6,500 1st Place prize and championship trophies!
Cutie’s On Duty from Wilmington, Del., is having a great time at the National Team Championships! They really just love playing in the APA League! They say that everyone in the League is very friendly. They’re trying to get more women involved in the League, as there are only about eight Ladies Division teams in their area. The team just began playing together in the 2011 Spring Session. Although the team is out of the tournament now, they feel that they shot well and had very competitive matches – each was down to the wire. All the teams they played were very friendly, and they plan to go back and watch other teams compete. Cutie’s On Duty definitely plans to be back next year! Members of the team include: Lena Grayson, Terry Evans, Tonya Cropper, Veronica Brooks, Adriennia Crawley, Deirdra Golden, Lydesia Long and Lakisha Outlaw.
Kelly’s Shooters from Racine, Wis., has been playing together as a team for about 7 years now. The majority of the players are related. The team name comes from their Team Captain – it’s her last name, however, it’s normally spelled Kelley. They didn’t want to modify the name before the tournament because they thought it may be bad luck. This is their first time in Vegas and they hope it won’t be their last. They’re having a great time and have met a lot of great people. Kelly’s Shooters say that the League really shows that everyone has a possibility to make it to Vegas, regardless of skill. Team members include: Veronica Kowakzyk, Julia Kelley, Anabelia Sanchez, Anita Balderas, Dianna Sanchez and Lauren Janes.
Hall Pass, Curtis Sheppard and Kevin Jones, from Portland, Ore., are playing in the 8-Ball Doubles Championship at the National Team Championships. They began playing Doubles together just 3 months ago! Originally Curtis was playing with someone else, then his skill level increased, so he had to find another partner. He began as a skill level 2 one year ago and has moved up to a skill level 5 since then. He attributes the increase to coaching from his Team Captains, a sharp mind and smooth stroke. The two of them play on a Double Jeopardy team together out of River Roadhouse in Milwaukie, Ore., so the match-up just fit.
Kevin made it to Vegas last year for the 9-Ball National Team Championships. This is Kevin’s third National event in less than 2 years! He competed in the APA National Singles Championships this past April. The two already won their first match, so they’re hopeful that they’ll make it all the way to the end!
Gone Country Too from Mt. Dora, Fla., is at the National Team Championships competing in the 9-Ball Open Division. The majority of the team has been together for about 11 years now. A few members of the team competed at the National Team Championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2007 – all odd numbered years! A newer member of the team, Gabriel, was looking to join a team and when he was asked to join Gone Country Too, they told him that they will make it to Nationals. He of course was apprehensive; however, the team did end up making it! Gabriel even won all four of his matches at the Local Team Championship! He feels very lucky to have made it so far so quickly, because he knows people who’ve tried for many years and have never made it to Vegas.
Another member of their team, Thomas, is 84 years old and still enjoys the game! Unfortunately, he was unable to make the trip to Vegas. Members of the team include: Gabriel Whittington, Leona Patterson, Randy Patterson, Daniel Saxon, Roy Olson, Charles and Elena Dozier and Thomas Wild.
Corner Pocket Kings, Jason Johnson and Andy Bowden, from Fayetteville, N.C., are playing in the 8-Ball Doubles Championship at the National Team Championships. The two knew each other from playing pool out of the same bar. They decided that they’d give Doubles a shot. They’ve only played together three times now; the first two were qualifying for Vegas and the third time was in Vegas!
Andy is also playing in the Masters Championship and 8-Ball Open National Championship, and Jason is also competing in the 8-Ball Open National Championship! This is Jason’s fifth trip to Vegas and Andy’s eighth trip; in fact, Andy was just at the APA National Singles Championships in April, placing 33rd in the 8-Ball Classic. When asked how they’d handle playing each other if their teams are paired up during the 8-Ball Open Division, they both said, “good luck” to the other. Thus far, they’ve won their first two matches, so they’re hopeful they’ll make it all the way to the finals on Saturday.