Walden’s Diane Fox wins Vegas billiards tournament

By Mike Zummo
Posted 6/19/24

Diane Fox had lost her second match of the American Poolplayers association 9-Ball Shootout White Tier Tournament.

Representing Gallery Billiards in Newburgh, Fox, a Walden resident, was …

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Walden’s Diane Fox wins Vegas billiards tournament


Diane Fox had lost her second match of the American Poolplayers association 9-Ball Shootout White Tier Tournament.

Representing Gallery Billiards in Newburgh, Fox, a Walden resident, was defeated by Emily Petruiello and sent to the B bracket, where she had to battle back.

That loss ended her first day of the tournament.

She returned the morning of May 4 to defeat Christian Weigner, starting a streak of four straight victories that got her through Bracket 2, and sent her through to the championship bracket.

She won two more matches that day for a total of seven wins on Saturday alone.

“Each one, I just mentally said to myself, ‘get up on your opponent,’ because 9-ball is points,” Fox said. “Depending on your skill level is how many points you need, so I said, ‘just get up on him.’ I didn’t worry about doing the only thing at once.”

That set her up for final match on May 5 in which she beat Josh Stephens, 31-12, to win the championship at the Westgate Las Vegas.

“You just want to scream, cry, and all the emotions are going on,” Fox said.

“You can’t believe you just did this. You see that trophy, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I just did this.’ It’s amazing. You never expect it.”

The victory earned Fox a $10,000 payout. She also became the first pool player in the Hudson Valley to win a national championship.

“I don’t even know how to wrap my mind around that because we have really strong players here,” Fox said. “I cannot believe that I am the first one to take it. Even between my matches I would go over and watch the 6s and the 7s because I learned from them.”

The tiers were based on skill level. The White Tier is played among players with a Skill level of 4 or 5.

“Skill level 8s and 9s pretty much know every shot, how to hit it, where to hit it, how hard to hit it, how soft to hit it or what English to put on it, or don’t,” Fox said. “They know all the shots, where 4s and 5s are still learning all the shots. I would never try a shot in a tournament that I didn’t practice here.”

Here is her home pool hall – Gallery Billiards – on North Plank Road in the town of Newburgh, owned by Dave Pinkston. Both Pinkston and professional pool player Earl Herring, would help Fox practice any time one of them was there.

Fox started playing pool in 2004 in New Paltz when she lived in Ulster County and when she moved to Orange County, she was still playing in New Paltz.
In about 2013, she spoke to Pinkston about bringing a team to Gallery as the pool hall in New Paltz didn’t have the quality tables that Gallery does.

“He was very willing to take us, and I’ve learned a lot from almost everyone who plays here,” Fox said. “There are those key people like Aaron Butler, Sherry Balogh, Dave Pinkston and Earl Herring, who helped me tremendously to get to this trip. It was just amazing.”

She practiced at Gallery for two weeks before heading to Vegas in early May.
“Earl taught me some key shots,” Fox said. “With a flick of the wrist, and it’s a little soft and roll it to the pocket. Your cue ball doesn’t go anywhere. Just key shots that, as a 4 or a 5, you don’t know.”

She knew enough to win the tournament in Vegas, which also was a different experience for her. She had been to the national tournament before, but always as part of a team.

While on her own while competing, she had support in the hall as Hudson Valley APA league operator Ryan McAleer left Vegas on Thursday and flew back to Vegas Sunday morning for her championship match.

“It was amazing that he did that,” Fox said.

McAleer and her teammates at Gallery Billiards also celebrated her championship on Saturday.

“We’ve been involved in this league for over 30 years and playing these competitions in singles, doubles and teams and some have come in third,” Pinkston said. “Individuals, I don’t think anyone has come closer than sixth or seventh. This is our first national champion. She was wearing one of our shirts that we just got in. It’s all fantastic.”