Rise of the U18 competitive players

Obviously, we have all seen the trend of under 18 players showing strong an circuit events over the last year. I am curious how the local scenes are going.

At the Ontario provincial Championships, 2nd and 3rd place were under 18. The 3rd place finisher was 12 years old and took Becker to 7 games. It was a well deserved win for Adam, but the youth are coming.

How was the general representation and success of youth at NACS?

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2nd Alex Marino
3rd Nick Mueller

Two wickedly talented young men.

We had two under 21 players in OR and one of them won. Youngsters also won PA and ID and came in second in CO.

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TX had three U18, and one 18-year-old. The youngest, at 14, qualified as #6 seed.
One eliminated in the opening round, and the other three out knocked out in the round of 16. But they keep getting better and improving!

Also have incredibly talented young women:

  • A 19-year-old who only started competing regularly during the second half of 2019, finished 56th in TX while qualifying for both the Space City Open A Division, the past two Texas Pinball League finals, and she finished only a handful of spots from making INDISC Women’s finals.
  • A 14-year-old who’s been crushing ever since she was a young kid. Finished 58th in TX. And she’s ranked 21st in the WORLD in Women’s-Only tournament ranking.

In Maryland, zero participants were U18. I think the youngest was early 20s.

Looking at the top 100 standings for MD for 2019, I only count one U18, with another at exactly 18 years old.

I don’t know why we don’t have more.

We don’t need to over index on U18, I choose it arbitrarily. Maybe I should modify to match IFPA youth definition, (but I would need to look up what that is)

In Alabama our winner was Tim Street, who I believe is 20. Another THREE of our top 16 are under 18 yrs. Braden Gentry finished 3rd, Ellis Mount finished 6th, and Addison Mount finished 8th. Braden and Addison are both former state champs.

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NJ state champion is Jason Zahler, who is 15 years old. He’s been the NJ state champ for 3 out of the last 4 years…! :-o

The Youth rankings were somewhat recently changed to U18 (in part so they could be highlighted in the college application process, I believe). So you’re operating under the correct definition. Actual youth/juniors division tournaments don’t count for WPPRs because they have age restrictions, but those restrictions aren’t standardized and are based on TD discretion and what the event is trying to accomplish, to my knowledge.

You inadvertently did. It was changed to U18 in October 2018.


lol @MCS I saw you were also typing a comment and I thought to myself, “Are we going to ‘well actually’ on the same post at the same time?” and we 100% did.


I’ve noticed the improvement of the younger players in the comps I run, not yet up to the level of winning, but definitely closing in on it.

I used to have an U16 comp run as soon as those players had been knocked out of the main comp to give them something to do and not get bored. I’ve had to withdraw it the last 2 years as the kids were still playing right up until the semi-finals.

I assume that the improvement is down to more people having games at home, so the kids can get practice in, rather than having to wait for comps to come up, as they can’t really go to bars to play.