After 4 years of trying (including three 2nd place finishes) at the National Amateur Championship regionals, I took 1st place this weekend! I will be participating in the national event in Tampa, Florida on November 7-9.
Congratulations to Jaynard Orque, who won his bracket as well!
After winning my first two matches against Ryan Urso (7-3) and Daniel Alexanyan (7-0), I played Jaynard. He beat me 7-2, sending me to the one-loss side of the other bracket. Jaynard went on to win his bracket, undefeated for the match.
I beat Changa “CJ” Robinson 7-5, and met Horia Udrea in the final match. Horia had won the last two years, beating me two years ago to secure his berth in the Nationals.
We went back and forth, and I finished the 8-ball portion up 5-3. Horia then beat me at the first 4 games of 9-ball, to go up 7-5. We traded wins for a while, eventually ending up at 9-9. We both needed 2 more wins in a race to 11. I ran the next rack down to the 9-ball, and managed to whiff a fairly routine cut into the corner pocket. I was down 9-10, and needed the final two games to clinch the win!
I won the next game, giving me the break on our final game. I broke, and managed to pot a ball (something I had been struggling with until now). I ran the rack down to the 8, and was left with a cut on the 8 into the corner — identical to the one I missed in game 19. I took an extra moment and a deep breath, then nailed the shot (leaving me straight in on the 9). I potted the 9, securing my victory!
Regardless of how I do in Florida, I’m happy with my result. I was a tough battle, over a 15 hour day, and I proved to myself that I can handle the long days (and long waits between matches!).
Wish me luck in Florida!