Billiards team prepares for national championships

[su_divider top=”no” size=”4″ margin=”45″][/su_frame][/su_divider]

The Lindenwood’s billiards team has returned to the national spotlight once again, after completing one of its most successful seasons in program history.

Several members of the team have qualified for nationals and are preparing to defend their reputation as some of the top players in collegiate billiards.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 8.38.19 AM
Senior Kelly Zahn lines up a shot during a practice at the LU Billiards Arena.
Photo by Phil Brahm

This will be the third consecutive year the billiards program has had members of its team qualify for the national championships.

A total of nine members will travel to Phoenix, Arizona this summer to take part in the competition, which is set to take place June 10-12.

Senior Kelly Zahn qualified for nationals earlier this year and has competed in two previous championships. She says it takes more than out-shooting your opponent to be successful at the tournament

“I think the atmosphere at nationals makes it harder like on myself as a player since billiards is such a mental sport,” Zahn said.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 8.39.06 AM
Landon Shuffett surveys the table before taking his next shot.
Photo by Phil Brahm

Two-time defending national champion Landon Shuffett is familiar with the pressure at nationals. Compared to the other tournaments the team competes in, he says nationals in on a whole different level.

“Every event, every tournament has it’s own set of you know, you want to win and whatever, but nationals, it’s all on its own as far as the pressure that is there,” Schuffett said.

The stakes at nationals may be high, but Zahn says there is no better place than team practices to prepare for the challenge.

“If I could recreate a nationals level kind of atmosphere I’d just have to go to practice,” Zahn said. “Honestly, because everyone else on this team; their level of play is really great.

“I just come here and it’s like I gotta play my best, just like I would at nationals.”