Quartet of local mibsters having fun at National Marbles Tournament

The Mesa County Mibsters are learning what it means to have tunnel vision.

Local marble players Jake O’Banion, 13, Kyle Krabbe, 13, Katie Carozza, 10, and Anna Lee, 8, are spending this week in Wildwood, N.J., competing in the National Marbles Tournament.

“It’s right off the boardwalk with amusement parks on both sides,” Mesa County coach Leah Lee said. “All the kids took some time to practice while they had seagulls flying over their head, the ocean waves crashing in the background, and all the people on the boardwalk. It was different at first, but now they are all focused.”

The National Marbles Tournament is in its 87th year and features competitors from across the country playing the marble game Ringer.

Ringer is played by placing 13 marbles in the form of an ‘X’ in a 10-foot circle, with players taking alternating shots. The first to shoot seven marbles out of the ring wins.

Competitors range from ages 8-14, in boys and girls divisions. The competition began Sunday with the mibsters playing roughly 18 games a day in a round-robin tournament.

The top eight players compete Thursday for the championship.

O’Banion and Krabbe are both in the top eight after the first three days, Lee said.

“It’s an individual sport, but we are all cheering each other on,” Lee said. “Jake and Kyle are both hanging in there.”

Carozza is in the top eight on the girls side.

“With Katie, it’s a confidence thing,” Lee said. “She’s as good as anyone here, it’s just a matter of her believing.”

Anna Lee is the youngest competitor in the tournament, and the 8-year-old is playing alongside girls who are as much as six years older.

“Anna is having a great time either way,” Leah Lee said. “She’s doing her best.”

The coach said it’s been a great atmosphere so far for the Mesa County players, who arrived Sunday on the Jersey shore.

“This is one of the big attractions for the city of Wildwood, so the kids have been treated like royalty,” Lee said. “They’ve had a great time, they’ve gone swimming in the ocean, the city gave them free passes to the amusement parks, so it’s been great.”


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