DECATUR– The life of a typical high school student probably doesn’t involve shooting pool for four to five hours per day; but 16 year-old Warrensburg-Latham student Serena Black is anything but typical.
The 16 year old told NowDecatur.com that she first got into the sport just three short years ago when her dad, Robert, brought a table home, “When we first got it, I always wanted to play but my dad wouldn’t let me without knowing how to play so I used that as motivation to teach myself and I caught on really quickly and fell in love with the game.”
Black has competed across the nation in tournaments and has been quite successful. Since her career began she has 3 first place finishes in singles events, finished 1st in the Missouri State Championship, 2nd place for Illinois State in Peoria and 7th place in Chicago, along with 9th place in a National competition.
Despite her success, Black says she approaches every match and every tournament the same, “When I walk up to a table I don’t focus on who my opponent is, I don’t play my opponent I play the table. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses so I try and take the intimidation factor out of it by playing the table.”
In addition to her individual success, Black was selected as an alternate for the United States 18 and under team for the Atlantic Cup Challenge. The team is made up of 6 boys and 4 girls from across the nation and they will compete in Austria later this year.
“It is humbling to me to be named as an alternate for this team, the players that are heading to Austria this year are some of the most talented in the world and if for some reason I need to step in and play, I feel like I am more than ready to do that.”
Not many people get to say they have professional aspirations for their sport or their hobby, but after attending Lindenwood College on a pool scholarship, Black says she would like to try her hand as a professional player, “It’s something that I want to take advantage of if I have that opportunity, I want to be one of the people to take pool out from just being played in bars and pool halls and push it into the national spotlight.”
Black’s travel schedule isn’t getting any lighter during the summer, as a Missouri state champion she has qualified for Nationals in Las Vegas, which will be held in August. To support her trip she, along with KAtlin Schilling, are hosting a benefit to help fund their trip. The benefit will be held Saturday, July 11th at 1 pm at Starship Billiards in Decatur. There you will have the chance to challenge one of the girls to a rack of 9 ball and compete in a 50/50 raffle.