View Full Version : Area woman one of world's top billiards players

07-18-2005, 09:27 PM
EAST NORRITON - Jennifer Barretta was once a tennis star who notched win after win for Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School.

Now she records victories over opponents but instead of slamming tennis balls, she crashes billiard balls into corner and side pockets on tables across the country.
Barretta, ranked the No. 12 womens' billiards player worldwide, brought her skills near hometown Saturday.
She was at Royal Billiards in Hatfield from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
But the purpose of her visit was not only to reminisce. Each pool player had the chance to win an Olhausen Billiards table.
Her competitive nature spurred her success and rise in billiards, she says, as did the cheap price of the game.
After moving to New York City in 1992, Barretta found it hard to continue playing tennis as court time ran nearly $75 an hour. However, for only $5 an hour she and her husband, who shared her competitive tendencies, could play an hour of pool.
"I was searching for something to be competitive at... When my husband and I went to pool halls, he always won and that made me angry," Barretta said.
So she decided to take lessons in secret - a secret she only kept from her husband for one lesson.
"The guy that started to teach me told me I had natural ability and with a little work I could go pro," she said.
At the time, it seemed to most people like an out of reach notion for someone that could not hit two balls in a row.
"Everyone thought I was crazy. People kept telling me I started too late and other girls had started playing when they were young. ... I had no natural talent. (But) no one tells me I can't do anything," Berretta stressed.
Soon, she was spending her lunch hour in pool halls. Barretta progressed quickly.
"Within a month, I could see a huge difference. I competed after six months," she said.
She won her first match in her first tournament against pool professionals. Of course, she says, they had a handicap. But now, when she plays smaller local tournaments, it is Barretta that plays with a handicap.
"We play a race to nine (games) and they might be given four games," she said.
She plays eight national Women's Professional Billiards Association tournaments yearly. Las Vegas and San Diego are two of the largest with the Vegas tournament's jackpot reaching $15,000.
Barretta plays well at all her tournaments, but her best finish came in the Southeast Classic in Hollywood, Fla. She finished third and beat then No. 1 womens' player Karen Corr on the ESPN network.
For her six hours of work, she earned $6,000 and for her competitive nature's sake she knocked Corr from No. 1 to second place where Corr finished that year.
In between WPBA's national tournaments, Barretta plays in international invitational tournaments. For each one, she must obtain approval from the WPBA. Some of these tournaments include matches in Korea, Taiwan and an upcoming all-mens tournament in New York City.
Usually league sanctions prevent women from playing men, but for this tournament anyone could enter.
"The best mens players in the world will be there," she said.
To prepare for this and all other tournaments, Barretta treats pool as a full-time occupation.
"I practice every day. Once I turned pro, I quit my job. I do it like a regular 9 to 5 job. But since pool halls aren't open that early it's more like a 12 to 8," Barretta said. Although she has her favorite halls, she likes to shoot pool in different places around the city.
"It's important (to play in different places) because you play different people on different equipment," she said.
Difference is a theme she enjoys the most about billiards.
"I like the fact every table is different from the last one. It's like a puzzle you have to solve. Every time you hit the balls, it comes out differently. Figuring out how to solve it is part of the fun," Barretta said.

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