Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tech Student Competes In National Billiards Tournament

Mountain Mail reports

New Mexico Tech student William Aitken competed in a national billiards tournament, the 2009 ACUI Collegiate 9-Ball Championships, in Normal, Ill., this week. Aitken is a senior computer science major.
Aitken posted reports on his progress to his Facebook page during the event.
“This pool room is amazing, but naturally I have complaints,” Aitken’s first post Tuesday said. “Tables are too close together, and the cloth is a little faster than that of our 10-foot table back in Socorro.”
Aitken lost the first match 8-6.
“I played a couple of fantastic players out of the gate, and am enjoying watching the other players,” he wrote to the Mountain Mail via Facebook on Wednesday.
In the first round, Aitken fell to Varun Raheja; in the second round, John “Tadpole” Martinovich knocked him out of the double-elimination tournament.
“Played well, not at all disappointed, it was a fun match,” he wrote of the first match.
Then on Wednesday: “(Aitken) has been destroyed. Wasn’t expecting to play someone who could break and run in the loser bracket. Lost 8-0,” he wrote.
Aitken qualified for the tournament by participating in a tournament in New Mexico Tech’s game room in the fall of 2008. He then placed sixth in the regional tournament, which was in Utah in February.
Aitken is a member of Tech’s Billy Aards Club, which specializes in billiards and related games. Tech has been participating in tournaments held by the Association of College Unions International, or ACUI, since the spring of 2001.
Ray Piworunas, who was adviser to the Billy Aards Club until last year, had this advice to offer Aitken: “A prime focus would be staying calm so the thinking and execution doesn’t lock up or stutter. His tournament experience in other disciplines could be a plus.”
Tech’s Office of Auxiliary Services pays travel and tournament fees for Tech students to attend the competition, then in a regional qualifier in February.
“I am thrilled that my hard work in the Game Room has allowed me to play at this level,” Aitken said in the press release from Tech. “I am grateful for the support of the school and all of my friends; without their help, I could not have gotten this far.”
Qualifiers for the next ACUI tournament will be held in the Tech game room in November 2009.
Aitken is the son of John and Jean Aitken of Meeker, Colo.

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