by George Zamora

SOCORRO – New Mexico Tech senior Elizabeth Ball racked up a third-place finish in the women’s nine-ball competition at the recently held Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Region 13 Recreation Tournament in Laramie, Wyoming. She is now shooting for the next level of competition at the upcoming ACUI international tournaments in Colorado Springs.

Ball beat out nine other competitors in a select group of Region 13’s best women pool shooters at the ACUI regional tournament to earn third-place honors and the right to advance to the international competition. Region 13 includes colleges and universities in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah.

“Pool has been my ‘addiction’ for several years,” Ball says. “It’s a great game.”

Ball began seriously competing in pool tournaments about three years ago, while still a sophomore at New Mexico Tech.

“Playing in tournaments is rather different than just playing for fun—it’s taken me three years to overcome the intense intimidation I first felt during tournament play,” Ball relates. “Now I play in tournaments as often as possible, attempting to solidify the appropriate mental state required to win.”

Ball, a member of New Mexico Tech’s Billy Aardds Club, has been practicing as often as possible in preparation for the upcoming international nine-ball tournament. She also has been getting extra coaching to improve her technique from longtime Billy Aardds Club advisor Ray Piworunas, a services coordinator at the Tech Computer Center who is also a semi-professional billiards player.

When she isn’t playing pool or studying for classes, Ball says her preferred pastimes include painting and writing philosophical prose on various aspects of life.

“I also enjoy reading fictional novels about either twisted murders or the Mafia,” she concedes.

Ball’s trip to the ACUI International Recreation and College Bowl Tournaments is being sponsored by the New Mexico Tech Auxiliary Services Office.

“With regards to academia, New Mexico Tech is an extraordinary school offering personalized instruction from professors who genuinely care about the education of each individual student,” Ball says.

“New Mexico Tech has definitely provided me with an excellent education,” she continues. “Although I’ve learned quite a bit here, perhaps the most valuable tool I’ve gained is discipline: This school has essentially forced me to become a good student, as it is almost impossible to graduate from Tech if you are not a good student.”

Ball expects to graduate from New Mexico Tech this coming May with a bachelor of science in biology, but intends to continue her graduate work at the state-supported research university.