Volume 80 | Issue 5
September 2012

ACUI 9-Ball and Table Tennis Championships Collocated for First Time

ACUI had the first combined Collegiate 9-Ball and Table Tennis Championships at the Indiana Memorial Union and University Gym on the campus of Indiana University–Bloomington, June 29–July 1. The Indiana Memorial Union served as the event hotel and site of the awards banquet, player dining, and multiday 9-Ball Championship, while the Table Tennis Championship was at the University Gym.

These programs have a 75-year history with ACUI. This year, 89 students representing 55 institutions from 26 states competed. Participants qualified at either the regional competition or at one of three independent qualifying events.
“These tournaments are a great display of student learning and community building,” said ACUI Executive Director Marsha Herman-Betzen. “Both of these are at our core as an organization, and we are proud to continue this tradition as the sports grow and thrilled to host here in our hometown.”

Collegiate 9-Ball Championships
The 72nd Collegiate 9-ball Championship featured the largest field in event history with 41 men and 23 women. The Indiana Memorial Union Back Alley has 10 9-foot, 1971 Topline billiard tables that were refelted just days before the start of the tournament. New Premier Belgian Aramith Balls were provided by the IMU for the tournament.

Last year’s winner, Delia Mocanu, Northeastern University, forged through the winners’ side of the women’s division with decisive matches over Angelica Rudow, University of Arizona (7-0); Melissa Chesky, University of Minnesota–Duluth (7-3); Heather Platter, University of Florida (7-2); and Cindy Ho, California State University–Sacramento (7-5). She sat comfortably in the hot seat while Michelle Yim, University of Houston, handily defeated Jackie Sanchez, Barry University (7-0); Morgan Bowles, University of North Carolina–Charlotte (7-2); and Miranda Blazek, Northern Wyoming Community College District (7-2) before falling to Cindy Ho in the winners’ side semi-finals (7-4).

Yim then bested Jennifer Acierto, Virginia Commonwealth University (7-5); Platter (7-5); and Ho (7-3) on the one-loss side to face Mocanu in the finals. In the first set, Mocanu fell to Yim 7-2. The second set, however, was close, coming down to the final two balls. Yim jumped out to a 4-2 lead, but eventually Mocanu tied it. In the last game, Mocanu narrowly missed the 7-ball, allowing Yim to claim victory.

On the men’s side, newcomer Matt Shilinski, University of Maryland–University College, was quiet but confident and steady as he was victorious over Mark Muir, University of Illinois (8-0); Brian Myung, Indiana University (8-3); George Mansour, University of Akron (8-3); Mack Harrell, East Carolina University (8-6); Lee Nathanson, University of Maryland (8-7); and Bo Jin, Purdue University (8-6).

Three-time ACUI contestant Charles Barker, Weber State University, won his first three matches with victories over Cody Terry, University of North Carolina–Charlotte (8-3); Thomas Smith, James Madison University (8-3); and defending champion Raymond Linares, Miami Dade College–Kendall Campus (8-6) before falling to Jin (5-8). On the one-loss side, Barker topped Harrell (8-3); Stephen Skvarka, Virginia Tech (8-7); and Jin (8-3) to advance to the finals. The true double-elimination playoff match was close. Shilinski came out on top, 8-7, to take the 2012 title in a single set.

The winners of this year’s sportsmanship awards were:

  • Jennifer Acierto, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Brian Myung, Indiana University

The 2012 winners of the annual break contest were:

  • Will Hill, East Texas Baptist University (21)
  • Amanda Neal, Ivy Tech Community College–Central Indiana (15)

Table Tennis Championships
The 2012 ACUI Table Tennis Championships brought together 23 of the top collegiate men and women players from around the United States. There were 18 men and five women from 11 ACUI regional events. They were “the best of the best,” and they represented 16 institutions. These athletes competed in four events within the tournament: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles.

The women’s doubles featured Naruekamol Pookhao, University of Arizona, and Diana Phung, University of Utah, facing Xiaoling “Shelly” Huang and Thi Nguyen, both from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Even though they are from different universities, Pookhao and Phung were able to develop a keen understanding and took the title home.

The men’s doubles also featured champions from different schools as Wahsin Leeksul, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, and Karan Arora, University of Houston, teamed up to take the title.

Men’s and women’s singles were hotly contested as they were playing for scholarship money for the first time in the history of the event. In the women’s singles, Pookhao only lost one game. Huang and Phung placed second and third, respectively.

Men’s singles, however, was a bit different. No one ran away with the competition as four men entered the finals: Leeksul; Arora; Sunday Agboke, Texas Southern University; and Aron Frank, Indiana University–Bloomington. Agboke plays in regular tournaments in Texas, while Leeksul played competitively in his country of origin, Thailand. The two defeated their opponents (Arora and Frank) to set up a competitive final match. The final match featured Leeksul’s blazing attacks and Agboke’s controlled blocks, but Agboke claimed the men’s title.