Three champions defend, one newcomer crowned

Colorado Springs, Colorado: The Billiard Congress of America [BCA] named its national champions at the Junior & Intercollegiate 9-Ball Championships in Tucson, Arizona last week, where 98 youngsters entered the four age division playoffs, representing 25 states and Canada. Three defending champions retained their titles, and one newcomer brought home the gold following four days of play.

In the Boys 19 and under division, Justin Bergman, of Fairview Heights, Illinois added a third national title to his career record, after wins in 2003 and 2005. His decisive 9-1 final victory over Chad Palmer, of Battle Creek, Michigan, was the end of a run that had included an earlier - and closer - 9-7 win over Palmer in the fifth round. Undefeated enroute to the final, Bergman had advanced past Trey McMullen, Zar Ravitskiy, John Strezewski, Kevin Peterson, Chad Palmer, and Daniel Rakin.

In the Girls 19 and under division Anna Kostanian, of Albuquerque, New Mexico also mounted a successful defense with a 7-2 win over Mary Rakin of Daly City, Calif., after advancing through a much smaller field. Her string of prelims included wins over Lisa Dunbar and Alicia Caterisano before meeting Rakin in consecutive face-offs.

Earlier in the day, the Boys 14 and under finals lead off with a successful title defense by Austin Murphy, of Folsom, California, with his 7-5 win over Ryan Dunn of Hillsboro, Tennessee. In the round before, Dunn had been sent to the one-loss side by Corbin Coe, who was Murphy's last hurdle before reaching the final. From the starting gate, Murphy had advanced past Travis Satterwhite, Matt Person, J.T. Nelson, Adam Tanner, Pahdahsung Shognosh and Scott Coe with solid, steady play.

In the Girls 14 and under, a 5-3 victory by Elizabeth Lovely, of Centerville, Ohio, over defending champion Chelsea Hardwick, of Evansville, Indiana, marked the only upset of the round. In another small division, Lovely advanced past Nicole Jaynes and Chelsea Hardwick (twice) to add her name to the junior national recordbooks.

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