College’s pool club finds success in challenging year


Photo provided to The Clarion

Members of the Madison College Pool club, left, pose for a group photograph with the Carnegie Mellon team on Nov. 13 after winning the University of Michigan’s annual Team Pool Championship. Carnegie Mellon finished second. Madison College team members include Eric Bumgarner, Touy Bouapha, Ian Robertson and Jason Matzke.

Ethan Maurice, Staff Writer

Many people see pool as just a recreational game – something you play at a bar or in the man cave. To members of Madison College’s pool club, it’s more than just a pastime. It’s a competitive sport in which they are able to test their skills against opponents from other college’s throughout the nation.

Madison College’s pool team, which competes in various disciplines of the game, recently took first place overall in the University of Michigan’s 13th  annual Team Pool Championships. Team members include Eric Bumgarner, Touy Bouapha, Ian Robertson and Jason Matzke.

The team took first in the 9-ball competition and second in 8-ball play. These, combined with a positive result in the “Equal Offense” discipline, were enough to give the WolfPack Pool Club an overall victory out of the 16 teams that were competing.  

The competition was held from Nov. 11 through Nov. 13 with about 10 hour days, and the final ball being shot around 9 p.m. the final night. Having quite a large weekend took a toll on some of the players, but they won’t have much rest.

Madison College won the team title at a University of MIchigan tournament.
Photo Provided to the Clarion
Madison College won the team title at a University of MIchigan tournament.

Bumgarner, the team captain, said the club immediately started preparations for the next tournament, which is an individual regional tournament. If the club members do well, the top players are selected to play in a national tournament. Madison College is no stranger to success at the regional tourney, with Bouapha having placed second in the past and Matzke having a top 10 finish.

For as much as success as the club has enjoyed, there have been some challenges.

“The hardest part is not having the tables” available this year at the college, said Bumgarner.

As you know, the construction project at Madison college has caused some inconveniences, not least to the pool club. Their regular practice space, the WolfPack Den, is under construction.
The pool tables have been placed in storage, but this has not stopped the club. They have practiced in spots around Madison, but this has not solved all of the challenges.

“The easiest way to recruit is by watching people play in the lounge,” Bumgarner said.

The pool club has many accomplished players. But the range of members and their skill levels are quite diverse, Bumgarner said.

“We have plenty of causal players who are members, even if those numbers have gone down because of the construction project,” he said.  

There are about 65 official members listed on the pool club’s page in The LINK. (

This makes the club one of Madison College’s largest, but the club is always looking for new players.

“It’s a great way to learn patience and mental strength,” said Bumgarner of his club.

Pool Team coach Walter Ma showed his pride in his players efforts through the email announcing the latest tournament results.

“Kudos especially to these four players,” Ma wrote. “Not only for their excellence on the pool table, but also their dedication and perseverance during these times when the pool club is in transition.”

Photo Provided to the Clarion