Students compete in annual billiards tournament

Noah Brooks

At times, only the sound of clattering balls filled the game room in Gregory Gym. Players focused intently on their shots in the annual RecSports billiards tournament.

The tournament, a small event with singles and doubles brackets, drew fewer than a dozen players. But as each player lined up shots with squinted eyes, it was clear participants took their entries seriously.

“It’s pretty competitive and people get pretty upset over a missed shot,” mechanical engineering junior Ahsan Vency said. “Every missed shot makes every shot matters a lot more.”

Though players competed against others, many said the collective passion for the game was a highlight.

“My dad and I always played billiards at home, and I like playing this game, and I like to play competitively,” said Vency, who won third place in the singles tournament. “And I really like playing against the people here. They’re really nice about it.”

Some of the players had more competitive experience than others, but all had at least played recreationally before UT.

“I came to meet some people and to have fun, and I had a lot of fun,” astronomy graduate student Andrew Leung said. “I had never played competitively before, and I enjoy the fact that [this tournament] is.”

Sophomore biochemistry major Matthew Stipek said that the atmosphere was somewhat relaxed, despite the level of play and unpredictability of matches.

“We had to pull out of the rule book once, since it’s not every day you see an 8-ball go in on the first shot,” Stipek said.

Jeremy Fintel, a computer science senior, won the singles tournament over Stipek. He took home RecSports’ iconic championship t-shirt and bragging rights.

But Stipek wasn’t too disappointed.

“It was fun and games, just playing it this way and that,” Stipek said.