Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 – I just got off the phone with Hayleigh "Warrior Princess" Marion from Bristol, Tennessee; At the young age of 15, she appears to me to already be a seasoned pool player, having been taken under the wing, and guidance of none other than touring WPBA (Women's Professional Billiards Association) professional Janet Atwell from the age of 8. Atwell is ranked 8th in the WPBA.
At that time, her father, Jamie Marion had taken her with him to Borderline Billiards in Bristol where they live in their hometown, and wanted to play, and Atwell noticed her interest in the game right away – got her into a doubles match against two other players – set her up for the winning shot, and the rest is history. Hayleigh had found her passion in pocket billiards. She was at home. She had found a mentor and kindred spirit in her new coach/teacher/friend, Janet Atwell.
And Hayleigh has high marks in her school coursework, in advanced courses for the most part, math being her favorite subject. She is currently taking Geometry, maintaining an "A" average in all of her classes, but she said she had a couple of "B's," on papers and/or tests, which is not to her liking, always striving for perfection in both her education, and her pool game.
At 15, she really appears to know what direction she wants to go in, and is pursuing her dreams with the focus of a laser. Incredible.
Just last year, Hayleigh played in the Junior National Championships in Vegas, placing first in the 14 and under age group, 3rd in the 16 and under age bracket, and 5th in the 18 and under category; as a result, she qualified for the World Junior 9-Ball Championships last October 6-10th, placing 9th out of 32 players from around the globe. Impressive.
This young lady is making big moves on the billiards scene, and has been featured in InsidePool magazine, Billiards Buzz from AZ billiards, her local paper, the Bristol Herald Courier, and now SPM (Sneaky Pete Mafia) Magazine with this article. Astounding.
She found herself in the right place at the right time to be introduced into the game by Atwell at age 8, just eight years ago now. Serendipity.
She told me that she'd like to receive a scholarship to a major university. And we talked about some options for her future, like possibly Lindenwood University, in Missouri where legendary player/coach/teacher, and Mosconi Cup team USA player/captain Mark Wilson hails from. Hopefully some college recruiter sees this; they don't want to miss snatching up this young billiards savant.
Of becoming a national champion last year, her local paper reported then:
"She returned to a hero’s welcome at Borderline Billiards on Main Street in Bristol, where she was met with hugs, cheers, flowers and even a cake lettered with “Congratulations, National Champ.” That support has only continued to grow.
'The community has been amazing,' Hayleigh said. 'Everyone is sharing my posts on Facebook, donating money and giving me as much help as they can. Even just saying thank you is helping me knowing that all these people know my name now. It is crazy.'" – https://heraldcourier.com/sports/billiards-pool-prodigy-virginia-high-freshman-marion-to-play-in-world-junior-championships-next-week/article_7a06f4ea-2195-11ec-b2cd-8f14f28d8538.html
Janet Atwell is also the owner of Borderline Billiards there in Bristol. She saw her there that first day, wanting to play, and just took to her like an amphibian to water, as did Hayleigh to the game of 9 ball, and the two have become inseparable ever since. Hayleigh gives much of the credit to her success in the fundamentals Atwell instilled in her from the start.
All the above is to say, Hayleigh comes from an all-encompassing pedigree, straight from the laurels of none other than a WPBA champion, Atwell.
Atwell has helped Hayleigh obtain sponsors like Pechauer cues – well respected cues – at the Super Billiards Expo in 2018, when they began sponsoring her at that time. She has since picked Outsville, iCue, Borderline Billiards, Jam Up apparel, TSP team, Straight Pool Eye, and the League Room as sponsors. Hayleigh plays with all Pechauer cues, including a jump cue, break cue, and playing cue.
From my perspective, Hayleigh is very courteous, courageous, respectful of others, and is leading the way for the youth in pool as a whole in the United States, and what a glowing, translucent horizon ahead with the likes of her at the helm.
"I am Incredibly proud of Hayleigh, on and off the table. She strives to be the best that she can be, at everything she does. She works hard in school and is an honor student. We work hard on fundamentals and I feel her stroke and pre-shot routine is very solid, if not one of the best that I have seen in her division. I think her fundamentals will accelerate her growth as a player." – Atwell writes in a recent article in InsidePool magazine, https://insidepoolmag.com/hayleigh-marion-the-game-face-of-a-champion/
All in all, Hayleigh Marion is a billiards soldier, warrior princess, pool prodigy, and consummate class act of the highest order. I count myself lucky to have had a moment to talk with her today and learn about one of the new, bright shining stars of the future of pool. And the future's so bright, she's gotta wear shades.
Reporting to you with SPM, Patrick Sampey, the Tallahassee Squirrel out until next time. Keep on hitting them balls players, and look for Hayleigh Marion for years to come. Well played girlfriend!