Western sharks rack one up in Texas
By Kevin Gale
Members of Western's Billiards Society did the Texas two-step around opponents last week on their way to top honours at the inaugural North American Challenge.
The pool tournament, an 8-ball format, held in College Station, Texas, featured 125 participants from eight universities with Western being the only non-American entrant.
Of the 20 participants from Western, first-year social science student John Chirico posted the best result taking home second prize in the intermediate division of the tournament, losing 5-2 to a student from the University of Texas. "I was really impressed with my performance," he said. "Going into the tournament I thought would win it was a bit cocky on my part."
Western's winning team was made up of five students, including Chirico, two more of whom finished in the top eight. First-year administrative and commercial studies student Brendan Howe finished fourth and Steve Baxter seventh. The other members were Mark Reaume and Jaime Bartlett.
Rob Keto, president of the club, said in addition to the tournament, the players were treated to tours of the state at the expense of the tournament organizers. "It is mainly because the people we were dealing with had a lot of political connections," Keto said. "They were out of control. I can't believe how much they helped us."
Keto said the organizers spent about $4,000 on the team for transportation to Austin, Texas and a free city transit pass for the week.
Players accumulated two points for their team for every victory. Western's winning team accumulated close to 60 points, finishing ahead of Texas A&M, who finished with 50 points, Chirico said.
Keto said he has expressed interest in bringing the event to Western next year and would like to include more Canadian teams like the University of Toronto and Guelph, who both have billiard teams.
However, he said this year's tournament was heavily sponsored and all prizes donated were by the local community, a practice he added is not as frequent in Ontario. Keto said the cost of a tournament would likely run $65,000.
Chirico said the trip was more of a vacation than a tournament as only the first three days were used for the tournament and with the climate in Ontario in February might make it unattractive for teams from the south to enter an event at Western.