A true ‘Natural’ at pool!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

At the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) national eight-ball tournament in Las Vegas from May 8-18, Jacki Redmon was always &uot;in the money.&uot;

&uot;Over 8,000 people were competing,&uot; said Redmon, a contractor for Joint Task Force Civil Support at Fort Monroe in Hampton. &uot;There’s a room full of bracket boards, and you have to search all through them to find your name.&uot;

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As players are eliminated, the boards become fewer and fewer. Finally, only one large board is left to list all the remaining participants. Players who reach this level are known as being &uot;in the money.&uot;

Redmon scored a perfect three-for-three at the tournaments. She made it to the final board in singles, scotch doubles and team competition.

But, hey, what could anyone expect from Redmon? After all, she’s a Natural at pool.

A Newtowne Natural, that is. Redmon, a married mother of three, is one of six Hampton Roads women (and the only Lady Suffolkian) to play on the Virginia Beach-based pool squad. Back in December, the team won a tournament against five other Hampton Roads teams to win the Vegas trip.

&uot;I wanted to get in the money all three times,&uot; she said. &uot;I wanted to step up to the plate and show everyone what I was all about.&uot; She did so, finishing 65th out of 512 participants in singles play.

Now it was time for scotch doubles (which is not a drinking contest!), in which men and women team up. It would have been tough for Redmon to find a better partner; she teamed with Reno Villanueva, who owns Mid-Atlantic Billiards Academy in Virginia Beach, where interested locals can learn the basics of one of the world’s oldest table games.

&uot;We really clicked as partners and had a lot of fun,&uot; said Villanueva. &uot;We yielded a lot of wins.&uot; They took 33rd out of 518 teams.

The final competition pitted Redmon and the rest of the Lady Naturals against teams from across the country. Each Natural would play against three members of opposing teams, with the first team to win eight matches being declared the victor. The Lady Naturals finished at third in the nation, beating out 133 other squads (early in the competition, they defeated the California Cuties, who took first).

Now Redmon, whose teammates elected her the Most Valuable Lady Natural at the Vegas tournament, continues her trade as a member of the coed Two Wheel Slick Shots team, which holds tournament games every Wednesday night. Currently ranked second in the local branch of the Amateur Pool Players Association, the group plays its home games at the Two Wheel Caf on Holland Road.

&uot;If you have a bad game, you can’t let it get to you,&uot; Redmon said when asked for advice for novice pool players. &uot;Just keep your confidence in yourself, and never let your opponent see you sweat!&uot;