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BEF Crowns Junior National Champs
Jul 16, 2008, 11:55 AM

After an early loss, Shuffett strung together 8 straight wins.
At this year's BEF Junior Nationals, reigning 14-and-under champion Landon Shuffett didn't exactly start his title defense the way he wanted.

The pool prodigy lost a hill-hill match to Tyler Adolini, 7-6, in the first round. But after that wake-up call, Shuffett went on a tear. He dominated in his next seven matches, earning a berth in the final through the one-loss side.

At the Nationals held July 10-13 at the University of Arizona Student Union in Tucson Shuffett strung together three 7-1 wins and a pair of 7-3 victories to advance to the final four.

He then topped Ronnie Kidd, 7-4, and Chad Behnke, 7-4, for a spot opposite Billy Thorpe in the single-set final. In his closest match since the opening-round defeat, Shuffett edged Thorpe, pulling away for a 9-6 win.

In the 19-and-under boys division, Austin Murphy took a similar route. Fresh off his appearance on the International Pool Tour opposite Efren Reyes, Murphy ran amok on the one-loss side after a second-round loss to Chuckie Holyoke.

Murphy celebrated his 15th birthday on July 12, making him just two days too old to qualify for another year in the 14-and-under division. No doubt the youngest player in the boys senior division, Murphy showed plenty of fight.

He was on cruise control in his first seven matches, never letting an opponent past five games in the race-to-9 format. In the fourth-place game, Murphy turned the tables on Holyoke, earning a 9-6 win.

Then, in the left-side final, Murphy matched up with Richard Barney, last year's national champion. In a hill-hill barnburner, Murphy edged the reigning champ, 9-8.

The final wasn't much different, as Murphy and Nick Tafoya traded racks, eventually meeting on the hill at 10 games apiece. Once again, Murphy prevailed in the clutch, clearing the final rack for an 11-10 win.

On the girls side, the 19-and-under division was the story of the Hardwick sisters. The two, Allison and Chelsea, first met in the third-round, with Chelsea notching a 7-4 win.

Allison did her work on the one-loss side, winning three straight for a second chance at her sister in the final. Allison made the most of it, posting a 9-4 win over Chelsea.

Briana Miller, last year's 14-and-under winner, kept serve with Shuffett by defending her title. With only four girls in the division, Miller won her title through round-robin play.

BEF Junior Nationals
University of Arizona Tucson, Ariz.
July 10-13

Boys 19-and-Under
1. Austin Murphy
2. Nick Tafoya
3. Richard Barney
4. Chuckie Holyoke

Girls 19-and-Under
1. Allison Hardwick
2. Chelsea Hardwick
3. Nicole Hernandez
4. Heather Torpin

Boys 14-and-Under
1. Landon Shuffet
2. Billy Thorpe
3. Chad Behnke
4. Ronnie Kidd

Girls 14-and-Under
1. Briana Miller
2. Taylor Reynolds
3. Macy Bullard
4. Courtney Frank