The Sam Houston State billiards team went head-to-head at the Association of College Unions International 9-Ball regional tournament for Region 12 last Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23. Region 12 consists of all the universities in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mexico. Sam Houston’s participants were seniors Eric Garcia and Michelle Moul, juniors David Givens and Kristie Cozier and sophomore Rob Quarantello. The best players in every region participated in the event. One competitor out of eight moves on to nationals. This year, the seven top males and two top females will advance. Out of Sam’s participants, Cozier placed third and Moul placed fifth in the women’s division. In the men’s division, Quarantello placed fifth and Garcia and Givens tied for 13th place. “I am really proud of my students and I believe they will do well at nationals,” Coach Gary Roark said. “We have one of the strongest regions in North America and SamHouston has one of the strongest teams.”Because they placed so high, Cozier is the first alternate and Quarantello will move on to the ACUI 9-ball championship in July. “It was a great weekend,” Crozier said. “We all went out and played our best. I am happy with the outcome and I’m anxiously awaiting nationals.” “It was a great experience that prepared me mentally and physically for nationals and also gave me an idea of the challenges I will face in Arizona,” Quartanello said.After the competition, the team celebrated with dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse and a Sunday evening Rockets game. Championships will be at the University of Arizona on July 8-10. All 16 regions in North America will participate, with an estimated 32 guys and 24 girls going head-to-head. “When you go to tournaments like these you can only do your best and that’s by playing with your heart and not just your skills,” said Michelle Moul.