Cream Rises to the Top at the ACS Nationals in Las Vegas!

Cream Rises to the Top at the ACS Nationals in Las Vegas!

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The American CueSports Alliance (ACS) celebrated its fifth annual National Championships at the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas with its most positive event to date. The vast smorgasbord of divisions and events in which competitors of all skill levels could compete was mind-boggling”¦with the Valley Cougar tables provided by High Country Promotions packed with play on most days of the May 31-June 6 spectacle! New names sprinkled the lesser-skilled “Standard” lists of winners, while many of the traditional champions in the higher-skilled levels added to their legends.

Top national amateurs such as Tina Larsen (Palatine, IL) and Jessica Frideres (Ft. Dodge, IA) continued to showcase their skill sets with multi-win performances, with Tina anchoring the Chicago-based teams of Red Shoes (1st place – Women’s 9-Ball Teams) and Just Put Together (1st place – Women’s Open 8-Ball Teams) and teaming with Ike Runnels (1st place – Master Scotch Doubles 8-Ball); while Jessica took down singles honors in capturing the National Speed Pool Challenge, Women’s 9-Ball and Women’s Master 8-Ball singles titles! Madison Adkins (Winchester, KY) recovered from an earlier-round loss in the Super Seniors 8-Ball [aged 65+] to “rookie” Roy Skenandore (Oneida, WI) to defend his 2008 title with a double-dip of Skenandore in the finals! Debbie Snook (Boone, CO) – a former BCA Nationals Open champion – added to her laurels by capturing the ACS Women’s Seniors 8-Ball. Former ACS Nationals open singles and team winner Dustin Gunia (Omaha, NE) contented himself with a title in the 5th Annual ACS National Artistic Pool Championship – Shootout #1. Las Vegas Cue Club (NV) and Dick’s Picks (NV) again dominated Men’s Master 9-Ball Teams top two places, with Dick’s Picks also adding the Men’s Open 8-Ball Team Championship to its ever-growing resume. In the NWPA-sanctioned Las Vegas 9-Ball Open Wheelchair event, Aaron Aragon (Lake Elsinore, CA) improved upon his 2008 runner-up showing to claim the 2009 title, while Team Canada took its third title in four years of the Can-Am Snooker Challenge – easily eclipsing Team USA by a 16-4 margin.

But new champions abounded as well. Minnesota’s renowned Beau Runningen (Falcon Heights, MN) took the Men’s 9-Ball Singles crown, and placed runner-up to Gene Albrecht (Eau Claire, WI) in the Men’s Masters 8-Ball Singles division. 16-year old Skyler Woodward (Ledbetter, KY) had no problems tackling the adults to claim the Men’s Open 8-Ball Singles crown. Kimberly Benson (Sparks, NV) made an admirable showing to take off her first national championship as well – the Women’s Open 8-Ball Singles. Other first-time national titlists included Jarret White (Barrie, ON) [Men’s Standard 8-Ball Singles], Amy Encinias (Las Vegas, NV) [Women’s Standard 8-Ball Singles], Arland White (Wallaceburg, ON) [Men’s Senior 8-Ball Singles – aged 55+], Teresa Bordelon-Perser & Derrick Cantu (LA) [Open Scotch Doubles 8-Ball], ZANG!! (Alberta, CANADA) [Men’s Standard 8-Ball Teams], Dream Catchers (TX) [Women’s Standard 8-Ball Teams], Malarkey’s (WA) [Men’s Open 9-Ball Teams], Jerrod Frideres (Ft. Dodge, IA) [5th Annual ACS National Artistic Pool Championship – Shootout #2], and Jason Kane (New York, NY) in the National Speed Pool Challenge – whose performance makes Jason eligible for consideration of invitation to the 2009 ESPN International Speed Pool Challenge!

The ACS added $20,000 to the purse to host the UPA-sanctioned 2009 Diamond World Summit of Pool Professional 9-Ball Championships. Mike Dechaine (Waterville, ME) placed 3rd in the Men’s 9-Ball Singles at the 2008 ACS Nationals, and he returned to Vegas in the World Summit as a force with which to be reckoned in the pro ranks in 2009 on the 9-foot tables. Dechaine glided undefeated through the field, turning back the likes of Larry Gunninger, Stevie Moore, Walter Glass, Roberto Gomez and Rodney Morris in the winner’s bracket finals. Sitting in the hot seat, Dechaine observed as Germany’s former World 9-Ball and 14.1 Champion Thorsten Hohmann emerged as his challenger in the finals. Having to defeat Dechaine in two sets for the title, Hohmann displayed his usual precision mastery to take set #1 by a 13-7 margin. An obviously dejected Dechaine took the break between sets to gather himself and came out more competitive in the penultimate set to close out Hohmann 13-11 for Mike’s first professional crown!

The ACS would like to thank its many members, fans, vendors, sponsors (Valley Recreation Products, McDermott Handcrafted Cues, Instroke Cases, Ivan Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Delta-13 Rack, Quick-Clean, and Diamond Tables) ACS board of directors, tournament directors Gary & Shannon Benson and their staff, the Riviera Casino and especially volunteers Janet Ybarra, Betty Harris, Connie Lackey, Julie Ann Mitchell, Ray Lambotte, Dan Taylor, Joseph Mejia, Jyri Kari, Hugh Brown, Odie Willet, Gibbi Tkatch, Shannon Lynde, W.C. Dixon, Yvonne Williams, Ginger Clark, Sandra Walsh, Mike Brunswick, Cathy Koepke, Tara Kimble, Chris Wilder, Tom & Marty Rossman, Darrin Brown & Frank Alvarez of the UPA, Paul Smith and the excellent crew of ACS Referees headed by Cecil Messer, David Merrill, Jeff Phythian and Ron Zech. The ACS looks forwarded to continuing to build its ranks in 2009/2010 through its twelve state associations and championships and its independent leagues, and to welcoming players to its $10,000 added 2010 Midwest 8-Ball Championships, January 21-24 in Iowa City, IA, and to the 2010 ACS Nationals in Las Vegas, NV! [Winner’s Photos online at

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