Monday, August 31, 2009

Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge Recap

Here's my article fully recapping the Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge:

Twelve of the top trick shot artists in the world descended on Las Vegas from August 24-28, 2009 for the Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge. Their talents were on full display for this freestyle trick shot tournament held at the APA National Team Championships, providing free entertainment to the APA players between their matches. The preliminary rounds consisted of round-robin play in two groups of six, with the top four in each group advancing to the playoffs. One point was awarded for a win and one half point for a tie. Group one was headlined by Tom "Dr. Cue" Rossman and Bruce Barthelette, perennial Trick Shot Magic and World Cup of Trick Shots contenders. Also in the group was Sal Conti, Gordon Hedges, Jason Lynch, and Stefan Mendrick. Group two saw the past two World Champions together, Andy Segal (2007) and Jamey Gray (2008), along with Tim Chin, Paul Danno, Mark Dimick, and Dave Nangle.

Skill and creativity ran rampant throughout the tournament with the unveiling of some ridiculous shots, including a quadruple jump, massive fouettes, lighting speed shots, and no-look wing shots. Racks, ball trays, chalks, and cues also found some incredible uses, from building pyramids to creating obstacles for the balls. When the chalk dust settled, Bruce Barthelette and Andy Segal found themselves undefeated in group play. Tom Rossman, Stefan Mendrick, and Jason Lynch followed Bruce into the playoffs from the first group, rounded out by Gordon Hedges and Sal Conti. Jamey Gray, Mark Dimick, and Tim Chin squeezed into the playoffs from the second group, trailed by Dave Nangle and Paul Danno. Tim narrowly beat out Dave on a tiebreaker to decide the fourth playoff spot as they tied on points and in their head-to-head match up. Tim won out based on overall shot make percentage, earning him a shot at Bruce Barthelette in the quarterfinals. The other matchups included Jamey Gray vs Stefan Mendrick, Mark Dimick vs Tom Rossman, and Andy Segal vs Jason Lynch.

Tim Chin managed to overcome Bruce Barthelette in their quarterfinal match, while Jamey Gray held off Stefan Mendrick. Mark Dimickand Tom Rossman's semifinal went the distance to a tiebreaker shot - a five rail lag to a target ball on the spot, closest ball wins. Each player had promising practice attempts, landing inches from the target. Mark went first for the real thing though and came up about a diamond short. Tom didn't fare much better, but his cue ball crawled just a couple inches closer letting tournament referee Gil Olsen easily declare him the victor. In the last quarterfinal, Andy Segal defeated Jason Lynch. In the semifinals, Jamey and Tim couldn't quite replicate their spectacular preliminary round match as Jamey pulled away for the victory. Andy and Tom battled neck-and-neck through their semifinal match, but Andy won it at the end as Tom missed some key shots. The final between Jamey and Andy looked to be a great matchup as Andy barely won their preliminary round match on the final shot. The match stayed close towards the end, but Andy took a late lead. Needing to make his remaining shots (and hope that Andy missed them), Jamey pulled out a high jump, trying to jump the cue ball out of stack of two racks and two balls. He was unable to connect though and Andy came out victorious, surviving the entire tournament undefeated.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge

Just got back from Vegas where I took 3rd place at the Ultimate Trick Shot Challenge held at the APA National Team Championships! I started out on fire beating reigning world champion Jamey Gray 13-12 while hitting all of my challenges. It might have been the most exciting match of the whole tournament. I couldn't sustain the momentum though, losing to Mark Dimick. On the second day, I ended up tying Paul Danno and Dave Nangle. In my final preliminary round match, I lost to Andy Segal. I finished fourth in our group based on a tiebreaker, beating out Dave for a spot in the playoffs. In the quarterfinals, I met the top seed from the other flight, Bruce Barthelette. He was undefeated at the time, but I managed to pull out a victory 9-4, hitting the vaunted Triple Jump along the way. I met Jamey again in the semifinal, but couldn't replicate my initial performance, finishing tied with "Dr. Cue" Tom Rossman in 3rd. Jamey ended up taking 2nd with Andy finishing 1st. So I was the only person to beat Bruce and only one of two to beat Jamey and finished behind the last two World Champions. Not too bad...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

League night

I ended up having to play two matches in league last night, against different opponents, both races to 5. I got smashed in the first game 5-1, but rebounded to win the second one 5-2.

My first opponent played really well. At 1-1, I broke dry and he ran out, then proceeded to break and run the following rack. I had a chance to win a couple more games, but I slow rolled a thin cut on the 8 and hung it in the center of the pocket. I still left my opponent with a tough bank on the 6 ball, which he made, and then took the rack. Then, I missed a long shot on the 8 after having run my seven balls giving him the hill.

I fared better in the second match, but my opponent appeared hurried, having just arrived and left immediately after the match was over. I definitely need to work on some of my kick shots as I missed a few giving him ball-in-hand which led to the games he won.