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'Pool is pool' at pro-am event in Hagerstown

February 18, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - One of the world's best pool players joined more than 100 other competitors over the weekend for a chance to pocket cash during the Tiger Pool nine-ball tournament at Hagerstown Billiards & Cafe.

Megan Minerich, who is ranked 20th in the world and eighth in the United States by the Woman's Professional Billiards Association, said she hadn't competed in a tournament for about three months.

When asked whether playing in the pro-am competition was beneath her, Minerich said, "Pool is pool."

"It's a different competition level as far as the pro tour," Minerich said. "It's not beneath me. It's great practice."

Cecelia Strain, regional tournament director of the Tiger Pool Tour, said the pro-am was open to men and women. Competitors came from as far as South Carolina and Michigan for a shot to win $1,250 in the men's division and $400 in the women's, she said.

Contestants in the women's division also vied for points to compete professionally.

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Strain said the woman who earns the most points this year over the course of several Tiger Pool Tour competitions will be invited to play professionally in tournaments sponsored by the Women's Professional Billiard Association.

My-Hahn Lac, 23, of Alexandria, Va., is the current points leader.

Lac said she hopes to turn professional and uses the pro-am tournaments to hone her competitive skills.

Lac plays in about three or four tournaments a month, she said. When Lac first started playing six years ago, she said she got nervous but started playing against men to calm her nerves.

Minerich said one of the most important things about practicing pool is to ensure that each session produces quality results. If she can't focus, Minerich said she stops practicing and comes back at another time.

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