What an honor it is for a junior pool player, age 14 through 18, to be chosen for the spring training camp, sponsored and put on by the Black Widow Foundation, to prepare for the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Atlantic Challenge Cup. Ten players are invited to the camp and out of ten, six will be chosen as the official starting team. Emily Herpel is one of those ten participants and here is her story.
Emily started playing pool when she was six (she’s now 16). She started to seriously compete after her first tournament at the Super Billiards Expo, in 2011 at the age of 11. From then on, she has collected a string of accolades to include (but not limited to)…
2013 – 3rd place – BEF Junior National Championships – Las Vegas (Girls 18 & under)
2014 – 4th place – BEF Junior National Championships – Kentucky (Girls 18 & under)
2013 & 2014 – 1st place Dr. Cue Artistic Pool Championships (alongside BEF Junior Nationals)
2015 – 2nd place BEF Junior National Championships – Las Vegas (Girls 18 & under)
2015 – 1st place New York Junior State 9 Ball Championships (Girls 18 & under)
2015 – 2nd place New Jersey Junior State 9 Ball Championships
2015 – 2nd place New York Junior State 8 Ball Championships
Emily’s parents are avid pool players, so she was introduced to pool at a very young age. Her mother, Jessica, is also a TAP (The Association for P.O.O.L.) League licensee from New York, so many of Emily’s friends and acquaintances throughout the years have been players as well. With all this exposure and support it makes sense that she would excel at the sport.
Emily practices no less than 1-2 hours each day with a variety of drills to develop a well-rounded skill set. An excellent junior player needs repetitive experience on all shot variations to be able to compete with the best junior players in the country.
Being part of the Team USA, means there is much travel involved and even though Emily loves to travel, she values her time with her family and being away from them for long periods of time is probably one of the only things that she finds difficult when competing.
There is more to Emily than billiards. She participates in many volunteer programs, one in particular, called the “Interact Club” is a non-profit which helps local businesses, organizations and fundraisers. The others are the “Kids Fit Club” which is a mentoring program for grades K-2, where she works with kids who need extra help, teaching them character-building and help them open up and make new friends.
Also, she is a member of RAPP (Responsible Adolescent Peer Program). This organization works with the local New York Greene County Public Health Center to help raise awareness for teens and give support for various teen-related issues.
Emily presents herself very professionally and appears to be wiser than her age, considering she is only a sophomore in High School with plans to continue on to college.
She tells me, “I feel that every person and new friend that I meet has an impact on my life greatly. They inspire me to be the best player that I can possibly be and to constantly push myself harder. Also, my sponsor is Cyborg through On-Tips USA. They are the best sponsor that I could ever have, and they give me an unbelievable amount of support.”
She certainly has a positive outlook for her future; which, by the way, includes a career in professional billiards, and to one day have her own pool room and be a TAP league operator like her parents.
The Billiard Congress of America, The Black Widow Foundation and The Billiard Education Foundation is doing an excellent job of bringing up-and-coming talent to the game of billiards. Their hard work and dedication to offer a path for the junior players is unsurpassed. Emily is just starting on her journey to become an excellent pool player and a conscientious adult. I see her excelling at everything she does in life.
[More about the Atlantic Challenge Cup (July 8-11, 2016) spring training camp, via James Doner: The ten players (six boys and four girls) were selected, out of thirty junior players nominated nation wide by the Billiard Congress of America through it’s supporting members, to make up the US team. These ten then participate in an intensive training camp sponsored, and hosted, by Hall of Fame Professional Jeanette Lee and her Black Window Foundation. At the end of this training camp, six team members (four boys and two girls) will be chosen as the starters for this years event, with the remaining four (two boys and two girls) being named alternate players.]
Peggy Mallen has been promoting the game of billiards for over 20 years as an avid player, a National League operator (TAP League), billiard retail store owner (G Cue Billiard Store) and billiard product manufacturer (Balabushka Cue Company). Photo: provided by author Editor: Shaylyn Arthurs