Photo Courtesy of Alison Chang
December 8, 2015 (Denver, CO): Last month, 15 American billiard student-athletes traveled to Shanghai, China not for cash, not for scholarships and not for a free vacation. They flew across the world with their families for an opportunity to represent our nation and earn a medal at the 24th Annual WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships.
That’s right. Just like the Olympics. These talented young players trained and performed in a venue alongside their international peers for a chance to bring home a medal and trophy which proves they are the best junior player in the world.
The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) & Billiard Congress of America (BCA) through its membership with the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) have been qualifying these remarkable young athletes for the past two decades. It’s the only youth billiard event that is recognized all the way up to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). And if you’re an American, the only way to earn a spot at this prestigious event is by way of the BEF Junior National 9-Ball Championships.
This year’s group of 15 players all displayed tremendous heart and sportsmanship, and will all be nominated for the upcoming Atlantic Challenge Cup event. 18-year-old Christopher Robinson and 15-year-old April Larson were the two highest U.S. finishers at 9th place just shy of the redraw.
On behalf of the BEF and each of these players, we proudly recognize and thank this year’s premier sponsors/supporters of the U.S. Junior Team:
Ultimate Team Gear (UltimateTeamGear.com), for outfitting the team with a jersey enviable by all other nations.
Allison Fisher, for her incredible efforts to raise over $1,500 in donations and continued support throughout the year.
Diamond Billiard Products, for offering a 9’ Diamond Pro-Am table to be drawn during the 2016 Junior Nationals and allowing the players to raise funds through ticket sales for this drawing.
Pechauer Custom Cue, for their long-time support of youth billiards and for donating their annually cue to be drawn which the players were able to sell tickets for.
Cyclop, for donating ball sets for each of the players to practice with.
There were of course many other contributors who have helped these budding young stars along the way and we are grateful for each of them. Congratulations again to the 15 players who proudly represented our nation at the 2015 World Junior Championships. It was an amazing journey and we can’t wait for next year!
- Chris Robinson, age 17 (Ventura, CA)
- Joshua Franklin, age 17 (Creve Coeur, IL)
- Zachary Gurganus, age 18 (Marietta, GA)
- Nickolas Kline, age 17 (Prescott Valley, AZ)
- Jacob Watson, age 17 (Tyler TX)
- April Larson, age 15 (Bloomington, MN)
- Emily Herpel, age 15 (Freehold, NY)
- Hannah Hohn, age 17 (Ethan SD)
- Michelle Jiang, age 15 (Harvard, MA)
- Hailey Fullerton, age 15 (Lake Park, MN)
- Ashley Fullerton, age 14 (Lake Park, MN)
- Nathan Childress, age 14 (N. Chesterfield, VA)
- Kaiden Hunkins, age 13 (Waukesha, WI)
- Lukas Fracasso-Verner, age 15 (Wallingford, CT)
- Daniel Sardoncillo, age 14 (Puyallup, WA)
For more information on how to qualify for the 2016 World Junior Championships or more on how you can get involved, contact the BEF office at (303) 926-1039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Billiard Education Foundation (BEF)
The BEF was formed in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity committed to promoting a lifelong love of pool and building the next generation of players through youth programs and academic scholarships. Visit billiardeducation.org or call (303) 926-1039 to learn more about junior billiard programs in your area.