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April Larson. ~ Missy Moran Capestrain

Look who’s tearin’ it up in the Minnesota junior pool world!

A very poised, well spoken, intelligent, 15 year old young lady: April Larson. She plays great pool and has been since she was eight years old. While she credits learning the game to playing on a pool league with her dad, Dave, he credits her strength in playing pool to her own talent and work. He said that she watched him in league play for over a year.

“From the minute she picked up a cue, she could hit balls in. She wanted to make them. She understood.”

One of her greatest attributes, according to dad, is that “She walks into pool halls and people know her. Adult men don’t mind losing to her.” Mom, Angie, and her husband both describe April as “easy going, but also a good student in school.” Though April enjoys math and science, she has not yet chosen a field of study for college.

April practices on a table over top of the garage at home. It is a Diamond nine foot, pro cut. She shoots with a Pechauer 19 ounce Custom Cue, and breaks with a Pechauer as well — she prefers this one heavier, at 21 ounces. Pechauer Cues is, in fact, her sponsor, helping with apparel and repairing or changing tips as needed.

April has had a few professional lessons, which include a three hour by David Pearson at her home, working on fundamentals and learning drills. June Maiers (a top 16 from the WPBA,) and Lee Huawagen have also helped her a bit.

While she tries to get in some daily practice, keeping high marks in high school takes most of her time. Other activities include swimming, riding her bicycle, and skiing with family. Not yet seeking employment, she is striving to become a professional pool player, though “realizing it’s not a living.”

Locally “there’s a lot of really good competition,” of which April is part. She has played in local tournaments, both large and small. The local Midwest Pool Players Association (MPA) organization runs 8-Ball tournaments, which April has won.

The highlight of this local venue, however, was when her team took first place in the large championship tournament. It was a “really big highlight” in her life. April is no stranger to playing in the local “Toys for Tots” benefit tournament.

Summer league play consists of 8 and 9-Ball in the BCA League. In fact, since her 1st place doubles with Josh Prestegard and 3rd place singles wins last year, she is limited with whom she can have as a partner. In her younger days as a player, opponents thought it a joke that a person so young was going to challenge them. Then they had the experience of watching her with ease and grace sink ball after ball, including the eight. It earned her respect. She was on her way to great play!

Nationally, April has participated in the Billiard Education Foundation’s Junior National Tournament four different years. Globally, she has played several venues on the other side of the world including Germany (the best venue in that “the hotel was very giving to the tournament,”) South Africa (with it’s “prison in the middle of town,”) and China (which was “very polluted and the food not so good.”)

Sure to be the biggest highlight in her pool life will take place this summer, July first through fourth, 2015, when April (along with a second female junior player as well as four young male junior players, and two more alternate girls and boys,) will participate in the highly prestigious, highly anticipated, 9-Ball tournament: The Atlantic Challenge Cup.

These six invitees will travel to Rankwell, Austria to face Team Europe in what is loosely referred to as “The Mosconi Cup” of junior players. These seasoned young players were chosen from across the United States. They are the crème de la crème. They will proudly and deftly represent us, the United States!

With her winning, outgoing personality, sweet disposition, and excellent play, April is sure to leave this venue with many new friends, plenty of good memories, and — if she listens to what a wise woman (yours truly) once suggested — plenty of pictures capturing her many grand moments of this travel/pool experience.

We wish April and all of our young players the best of luck and a very beautiful trip to Rankwell, Austria. This is a tremendous honor and a big deal. We are very happy for, and very proud of you. Stroke em straight and follow through.

Editor’s note: Unfortunately, team USA had a close lose to team Europe with a final score of 11-9.

In her 35+ years of pool playing, Missy has been deeply involved with many aspects of the sport. She and her husband ran a BCA 8-Ball League for 15 years, as well as three person 9-Ball, Singles 8 & 9, and Scotch Doubles part of that time. She ran a Junior BCA/BEF Junior League—the largest and longest running in her area—for 13 years, with year end banquets and tournaments for all of the leagues. She has run tournaments for all ages and levels of play groups, and is a Certified BCA Instructor with concentration on children and females.Missy has played at local, regional and national venues. She even has a $6400 fundraiser tournament for Domestic Violence and Wheelchair Players under her belt. Many, many hours have been donated to the sport with 300+ in free lessons and clinics for juniors. She is happy to be writing articles for Sneaky Pete Mafia Magazine, presently. Missy has been, and will continue to be, a true ambassador of the sport. Photo: provided by April Larson Editor: Hannah Blue

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