The newest generation of poolplayers will make their way to St. Louis this week for the fifth annual Junior Poolplayer Championships. The competition, which is hosted by the American Poolplayers Association, is a multi-day tournament of competitors between age 7- and 18-years-old from all over the United States and Canada.
Nearly 400 youth are set to compete in this year’s tournament, which will take place at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel from Thursday through Sunday.
Jason Bowman, the director of marketing for the association, said about 15 to 20 percent of all junior poolplayers make it into the championships.
“So this is really kind of the cream of the crop that makes it here to the national event,” he said.
Participants will compete at four skill sets, from beginning to expert. Bowman said many of the kids who make it to the expert level go on to play more advanced competitions.
“Some of these kids are selected to go on to play in an event called the Atlantic Cup, which pits five of the U.S. top amateur juniors against five of the top juniors from Europe and that’s played once a year,” Bowman said.
This marks the first time in five years the tournament is being held in St. Louis. The junior championships were initially held in Davenport, Iowa. But in recent years the competition has outgrown its location. Bowman said since St. Louis is home to several attractions and the association’s global headquarters are within the region, the organization decided the city was a natural fit.
Bowman said often times kids become interested in pool because their parents play, but he said there also are educational benefits. He said the game teaches kids about sportsmanship, exposure to a diverse group of players and surprisingly — math.
“There is also an educational component I think because there’s a lot of geometry and physics that kind of go into the game of pool from the angles to the spin of the ball and that kind of thing,” Bowman said.
The event will include a guest appearance from billiard player Jeanette Lee, who is popularly known as “The Black Widow.” There will also be a special exhibition, as well as a ceremony to recognize participants for outstanding achievement. The winners will receive trophies and laptop computers.
The championship round matches can be live-streamed at poolplayers.com/live.
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