Youth pool tournament in Escanaba

LaValley, Betka capture titles in 30th Escanaba tournament

ESCANABA — Moving up an age class worked like a charm for Levi McCarty of Escanaba Saturday as he earned top honors in the 17-20 division of the 30th Annual Great Lakes Youth Pool tournament.

McCarty, who placed third in 13-16 a year ago, outlasted 17-year-old Dakota Totten of Gladstone for Saturday’s title.

“There was a lot of competition,” said McCarty. “I knew quite a few of the kids and there were some rivalries. I was undefeated until the championship match, then he (Totten) beat me in the first game. He started running the table on me in the second game, then I started hitting some shots. I was leery of the 8-ball. Fortunately, I sank it in the right pocket.”

The tournament drew 54 participants, 11 fewer than last year. The 17-20 division, however, had a record turnout of 19.

“Overall, there weren’t as many people as last year, but there were a lot more in this class than last year,” said McCarty. “I didn’t expect nearly as many people in our division. This is something I just do for fun. This gives me a chance to get out and meet new people. I look forward to doing it again next year.”

Fifteen-year-old Dominick LaValley of Kingsford edged 16-year-old Logan Smith of Escanaba in a tie-breaker game for the 13-16 title.

“Concentration is a big part of my game,” said LaValley, who was runner-up last year. “We were very evenly matched. I think being here last year helped me a lot. I wasn’t as nervous. Playing through the summer also helped. I have a table to practice on at home and I had a chance to play better players than myself. I hope to be back here to defend my title.”

Eleven-year-old Tyler Quinnell of Marquette was crowned 8-12 champion after defeating 10-year-old Breedon Ausborn of Escanaba.

“I just focused on my shots and tried to calm down when my opponents were catching up,” said Quinnell. “This is a lot like basketball. Everybody goes on runs. It was fun meeting new kids and making new friends. I’ll be coming back.”

Ten-year-old Kylah Betka of Pembine, Wis. won a $500 college scholarship and earned a custon cue and cue case as the highest female finisher in her (8-12) division.

“I think I did pretty well,” she said. “This is my first time here and it was really fun. I enjoyed seeing all the smiles. All the referees were saying ‘nice job’ and encouraging everyone. I want to come back next year.”

Shannon Timler of Escanaba (age 19), who won a $300 gift card from Wal-Mart, was the highest female finisher in 17-20 and Anna Scheeneman (16) of Gladstone was the top girls’ finisher in 13-16. They were also awarded a custon cue and cue case.

Andrew Tourangeau of Escanaba won a $500 scholarship and Alex Arcas, also of Escanaba, won a $300 Wal-Mart gift card.

“We were down 11 people from last year, but there were a lot of other things going on,” said tourney director Don Shope. “Overall, we’re very pleased with the turnout. Angela Coombs helped move everything along. She makes up all the brackets and makes the tournament move along smoothly. The facility here at Crazy Joe’s is great. We appreciate the efforts of their staff and letting us use their facility.”

The tournament, however, is in need of donations as Shope explained.

“We spent more than $3,000 for trophies, scholarships and prizes,” he said. “We need a corporate sponsor. If we don’t get that we may have to scale back on prizes and I really don’t want to do that. Some people have suggested charging an entry fee, but I don’t want to do that either. Any financial assistance we can get would be appreciated and is much needed to continue the tournament next year.”

For more information contact Shope (399-2832).

The summary:

Age 8-12 — 1, Tyler Quinnell, Marquette; 2, Breedon Ausborn, Escanaba; 3, Gavin Sommers, Escanaba.

Age 13-16 — 1, Dominick LaValley, Kingsford; 2, Logan Smith, Escanaba; 3, Brock Viau, Escanaba.

Age 17-20 — 1, Levi McCarty, Escanaba; 2, Dakota Totten, Gladstone; 3, Kaden Betka, Pembine, Wis.

Top female finishers:

Age 8-12 — Kylah Betka, Pembine

Age 13-16 — Anna Scheeneman, Gladstone

Age 17-20 — Shannon Timler, Escanaba.