Mont Alto pool star returns from Germany

Richard Barney finished 17th at the World Pool-Billiard AssociationâEUR(TM)s Juniors World 9-Ball Championship

Richard Barney finished 17th at the World Pool-Billiard AssociationâEUR(TM)s Juniors World 9-Ball Championship

December 07, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MONT ALTO, PA. ? At a world pool championship in Germany last week, Richard Barney needed to sink two balls ? the 8 and the 9 ? to win his second straight match.

The match was tied: eight games for Richard, eight games for his German opponent, Fabian Breuer. The first to win nine games won the match.

Richard, 16, of Mont Alto, Pa., lined up his shot.

He drew his arm and his cue stick back, and...

"I was ready to shoot and the German coach jumped up and started yelling," Richard recalled on Friday.

Accustomed to a protocol that calls for quiet when a player is at the table, Richard was surprised. The coach's racket seemed intentional.

Richard stood up briefly, then returned to his stance.

Richard's mother, Christy Sharer, said her son's concentration seemed broken. He hurried, and missed, a shot he could make.

Fabian returned to the table and won.


Four years beyond his first game of pool, Richard was one of seven U.S. teens competing in the World Pool-Billiard Association's Juniors World 9-Ball Championship in Willingen, Germany.

Richard finished 17th out of 62 players, according to Sharer.

To qualify for the championship, Richard won a national tournament for players 19 or younger at Minnesota State University in July.

In October, as the youngest competitor in this year's U.S. Open nine-ball pool championship in Chesapeake, Va., he finished 101st out of 245 players, according to information posted on the world championship tournament Web site.

Richard, an even-keeled boy, said he got nervous on the second rack of his first match, against Nico Wehner of Germany. The flutters lasted for about three racks.

Richard lost the first two games of that match, won the third, then lost three more.

When he settled down, Richard captured eight of the next 10 games to win.

After losing his next match to Fabian Breuer, Richard lost to Heesup Kim of Korea, 9-4, ending Richard's tournament.

Richard said he was still thinking during his final match with Heesup about the unexpected yelling during his match the day before.

"He just wasn't in the right frame of mind," Sharer said.

The trip's other adventures included flying for the first time and seeing a new country.

Sharer said the new and sometimes difficult environment they encountered in Germany made Richard thankful for what he has.

They saw groups of houses that looked roughly like flat-roof shacks. They had trouble with the language barrier and struggled to find a bottle of regular water instead of mineral water.

But they also enjoyed the sights in and around Frankfort. They pondered a country that legally serves beer to 16-year-olds (but not Richard).

Before they went to Germany, Richard spent a week staying up late so he could adjust to a time zone six hours ahead of Mont Alto.

Richard said he came home tired, satisfied with how he played and amazed by an Asian approach to pool that uses a system of patterns he hasn't grasped.

The day after he returned, he was back at Hagerstown Billiards & Cafe, where he practices and is treated like family.

His mother said their time in Germany, with its ups and downs, meant a lot.

"It's an experience that he'll hold dear for the rest of his life," she said.

The Herald-Mail Articles