A former Neligh resident can now add “national champion” to her resume.
That’s because Debra Haley recently won the Billiard’s Cue Association Pool League’s national championship as a member of the “Straight Hookin’” team.
Haley, the daughter of Bill and Alice Lyons, is a 1996 graduate of Neligh-Oakdale but now calls Carrol, Iowa home, where she lives with her husband and their two kids.
Straight Hookin’ is a team of ladies from the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. Along with Haley, the team also includes Amy Vermule, Jeanne Collings, Jennifer Stovall and Nicole Gall. The ladies began playing competitively together approximately four years ago when Haley joined the others when she was in need of a new team. She feels the team’s ability to play together has been a good for everyone.
“We play really well together, we mesh really well together,” she explained. “It’s a fun team and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
After qualifying for both individual and team events, the five ladies made their way to Las Vegas for the BCAPL’s national championship event. The event began July 20 and ran through July 31. Haley competed individually in eight-ball singles. She also competed in scotch doubles and nine-ball team. However, it was in the eight-ball team competition that the group won the national championship.
The team blew through the double elimination bracket, beating teams from all over the world. After their strong streak, they found themselves in the national finals. That’s where they found their first speed bump.
“We went completely undefeated through our bracket until the first match of the finals,” Haley explained. “We lost the first match of the finals but we came back to win the match 8-2.”
The win was not the first championship Haley and her team had won this year. They also took first in at the Iowa State Championships and finished second at the Midwest Tournament.
Haley, who explains herself as a “competitive person by nature,” is looking forward to defending their championship in 2017. Along with winning a trophy and personalized championship jackets, the group earned an automatic qualification into next year’s tournament with their win.