MOUNT VERNON — Eight area teams will be headed to the Valley National 8-Ball Association tournament Friday through Sunday in the Canton Civic Center with Theresa Bubaugh leading the only all-female billiards team in Mount Vernon. Blubaugh, along with Jodi Boggs, June Fiorilli, Robin Darling make up the “Sassy Sticks.”
The regular season started Sept. 17 and follows a split format.
“There’s two sessions,” said Blubaugh. “There’s the first half and there’s the second, but you don’t have to play them both.”
This will be Blubaugh’s 11th year going to the championship, so she will not be nervous — even with all the extra competition from all around Ohio and beyond.
“We have people there that come from West Virginia,” said Blubaugh. “They come from Canada. They’re from everywhere.”
The women’s teams have four players compared to the men’s five, in part, due to there being fewer women players.
“That’s also because we’re women and we take longer,” joked Blubaugh, who has finished as high as 24th in the state tournament.
They have singles and team tournaments in double-elimination format. Although Blubaugh and her teammates are all very good in their own right as individuals, they have had to learn to work together. Blubaugh hopes they can do as well as her husband’s team, which took third at last year’s championship.
“The more time you play together the better your team is going to do,” said Blubaugh. “In one year, it’s hard to get to the point where you know all their strengths and all their weaknesses and feel that you can rely on them in a big way. In time, I think we’re going to be good.”
It can also be a spring board to a shot at the nationals, if you are good enough.
“If you place first, second or third, you get to go to (the national tournament in) Las Vegas,” said Blubaugh. “That’s really big. When you take third place among 500 or 600 teams, that’s pretty good.”
Blubaugh knows she has to continue to work at her craft to attain her goals.
She and her teammates play in the tournaments, which are held at The Office every weekend.
“We also drive to Newark and play in a Valley League there,” said Blubaugh.
He advice is simple for a young player. “Practice,” said Blubaugh. “Have self-confidence.”