Triumphant American Juniors Shine at the 2023 WPA World Junior Championships

Grayson Vaughan, Shane Tyree, who serves as the BCA CEO and WPA delegate, Sofia Mast, Adrian Prasad, and Samm Diep in the role of Team Coach (Photograph provided by Alison Chang).

On October 22, 2023, the WPA World Junior Championships came to a close, and the young American contingent couldn’t be more thrilled about their hardware haul. This marked a triumphant return to the finals for the United States, with five years having passed since Mahkael Parris of the Virgin Islands secured the Under 17 Boys title in 2018.

Among the standouts were 15-year-olds Sofia Mast from Wesley Chapel, Florida, and Adrian Prasad from Sacramento, California, who both clinched Silver Medals in the Under 19 Girls and Under 17 Boys categories, respectively. Additionally, 14-year-old Grayson Vaughan from Shenandoah, Virginia, earned a Bronze Medal in the U17 Boys division, having been defeated by Prasad in the semifinals.

The WPA World Junior 10-Ball Championships stands as the most prestigious junior event annually, attracting the elite young billiard talents from around the globe. Participants earn their spots by emerging victorious in national championships, vying for the coveted title of World Junior Champion. Each of the three divisions (Boys U19, Girls U19, Boys U17) began with competitors hailing from over 50 countries. This year’s competition took place at Klagenfurt Sport Park, home to Jasmin Ouschan’s training academy and situated in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Sofia Mast expressed her happiness and honor at being selected as a wild card to represent Team USA at the junior worlds. She was content with her performance throughout the tournament and, while aspiring to be the champion, she found pride in securing the second-place spot on the world stage. Mast also conveyed her appreciation for the unwavering support from her fellow Team USA members and the excitement of competing abroad.

Adrian Prasad reflected on the high level of competitiveness and discipline displayed by all the athletes representing their respective countries. Although he fell short of his goal to become the Junior World Champion, Prasad found the experience enjoyable and educational, eagerly anticipating future opportunities. He extended his gratitude to fans, family, and sponsors for their support.

Grayson Vaughan cherished his involvement in the WPA World Pool Championship and the chance to represent Team USA. He described the experience as unforgettable and expressed his eagerness to participate in more events in the future, thanking everyone who contributed to making it happen.

Team USA consisted of 12 players who had qualified through the BEF (Billiard Education Foundation) Junior National Championships, with Joey Tate and Sofia Mast receiving wild card invitations via the WPA. Samm Diep, a PBIA Master Instructor and BEF Board Member, led the team as the North American Team Leader and Coach.

Samm Diep was greatly impressed by the level of play witnessed at the WPA World Junior Championships. She eagerly anticipated what Team USA would bring back in 2024 and believed the three medals won on this occasion sent a powerful message to young aspiring players that their dreams can be achieved, with the journey commencing at the BEF Junior Nationals.

Looking ahead, the 2024 BEF Junior National Championships are slated to take place in Quincy, Illinois, from July 8 to 13, 2024. Those interested can check the BEF website at BilliardEducation.org to find a nearby qualifier or contact Steve Mathias (303-243-5070 x 124) to host a qualifier or BEF state championship in their region.

Full Results:

GIRLS U19:

  1. Xin Yu Hong – Chinese Taipei
  2. Sofia Mast – USA
  3. Linnea Hjalmarström – Sweden
  4. Jolien Schuurman – Netherlands

BOYS U17:

  1. Derin Asaku Sitorus – Indonesia
  2. Adrian Prasad – USA
  3. Maks Benko – Slovenia
  4. Grayson Vaughan – USA

BOYS U19:

  1. Yannick Pongers – Netherlands
  2. Mika van Berkel – Netherlands
  3. Fu Huan – Hong Kong
  4. Kledio Kaci – Albania

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