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McCandless girl finishes second in national marbles tournament; Lawrenceville boy fourth

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:07 p.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Kelsey Baran, 14, of McCandless practices marbles in Bloomfield Park on Thursday, June 12, 2014. Baran was the runner-up in the girls’ division at the marbles tournament in Wildwood, N.J. Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Bobby Narr, 11, of Lawrenceville practices shooting marbles at Bloomfield Park, Friday, June 13, 2014. Narr finished fourth at the marbles tournament in Wildwood, N.J. Thursday, June 19, 2014.

Kelsey Baran learned an important lesson in her journey to try to become a national marbles tournament champion.

“You don't always need a team to accomplish goals. … Because if you think you can do it, then do it,” said Kelsey, 14, of McCandless.

Kelsey, the Allegheny County girls' division marbles champion, made it to the finals in the national tournament on Thursday in New Jersey, but she was defeated by a player from Maryland.

Kelsey finished as the runner-up in the girls' division at the 91st Annual National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, N.J., said Maureen Ricci, who co-coordinated the 39th annual Allegheny County Parks Department's 2014 County Marbles Tournament in May.

The county runner-up in the boys' division, Bobby Narr, 11, of Lawrenceville was eliminated in the semifinals on Thursday.

The national tournament began on Monday. In total, 27 girls and 21 boys from various states played in the national event, said Ed Ricci, co-coordinator of the county tournament.

Participants played more than 1,200 games during the national competition this week.

The top boy and girl, Dominic Rudakevych and Marilyn Fisher, both of Middletown Valley, Md., each earned a $2,000 scholarship and will be inducted into the National Marbles Hall of Fame.

Bobby finished eighth last year and fourth this year.

“This is my second year, but I get better every year,” he said.

He is from a family of “mibsters,” or marble shooters. His sister Bailey, now 14, won the national girls' title in 2011, and his sister Brooke, now 15, competed in the nationals in 2012 and 2013.

He represented his family well, said his mother, Dawn Narr, 38.

“For his second year down here, he made it to the finals again, so we were very proud of what he did,” she said.

Kelsey tied for runner-up in the semifinals on Thursday, so she played the best of seven games to get to the finals, in which she played 15 games, Ricci said.

“It was pretty intense … She really fought hard and didn't make it easy for the other girl, said Kelsey's mother, Jill Baran, 45.

Kelsey will not compete in the national tournament again because players must be between 7 and 14 years old, but she's not ready to put her marbles away.

“I might come back to practices and help other kids,” she said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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