Gunnison boy wins marbles title; GJ trio finishes in top 8

Caleb Isaacson, a 13-year-old from Gunnison, won two close games to close out the final match Friday and claim the boys division championship at the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, N.J.

His victory was the crown jewel in a strong showing by the Colorado contingent that competed in the four-day event. Three competitors from Mesa County also finished in the top eight: Sam Lee, 12, of Glade Park finished sixth overall, and Grand Junction 13-year-old Jonathan Blair placed eighth in the boys division. In the girls division, Grand Junction’s Katie Carozza, 12, placed sixth.

For Leah Lee, coach of the Grand Valley’s competitors, Isaacson’s win was almost as sweet as if one of her charges had won the championship. Isaacson is coached by Lee’s father, Jerry Piquette, who taught Leah the game when she was growing up.

Isaacson’s title came one day after Piquette celebrated his 76th birthday, Leah Lee said.

With her competitors out of the running for national titles, Lee’s state pride then kicked in as she rooted for Isaacson to win. His national marbles championship, she said, is the sixth in Colorado’s history.

Isaacson was tied at six games apiece in the best-of-15-game final, then won the 13th game 7-6 — “He had to hit the last marble out,” Lee said — and win the 14th game 7-5 to win the match 8-6.

Reaching the finals was a breakthrough for Isaacson, who placed third at nationals in the previous two years, Lee said.

Piquette now has coached two champions. The other was Melissa Ashwood of Gunnison in the girls division in 2006.


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