Tri-State Invitational a Success

Tri-State Invitational a Success
Tri-State Tour / Parsippany, NJ
by John Leyman
The eleventh annual Tri-State Tour Invitational took place July 12-13 at Comet Billiards in Parsippany, NJ, bringing together highly skilled amateurs hoping to sharpen their game en route to the pro circuit and ambitious upstarts looking to advance in class. The weekend was a huge success with 8 A and A+ players, 32 B and B+ players, 32 C and C+ players, and 16 D and D+ players. Comet Billiards owner Bill Haley and his staff were gracious hosts and provided a professional and engaging atmosphere for the event.
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman, and Bill Focaccia congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4,000 in cash prizes, and sponsors Viking Cues, Fury Cues, Stealth Cues, Sterling Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Phil Capelle, Wild Eyes Creations, Pool Tees.com, Jim Murnak Custom Cue Cases, InsidePOOL Magazine, Billiards Digest, Pool Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with some great equipment and prizes. All of the sponsors are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players—their efforts and generosity are what made the event so special and such a great success.
The awards went to the top three players in each class and to the most improved player of the Year. The top players of the year in their respective classes were Adam Kosmin, Stewart Warnock, Eddie Medina, Dave Shlemperis, George Osipovitch, Mike Davie, and Borana Andoni. The top female player of the year was awarded to Naomi Fingerhut. Starting out the season as a C player, Christopher Luethi moved up three classes to the B+ class and claimed the coveted Most Improved Player of the Year. This year the Pro/Open class was won by Shin Park. Additionally, each year the tour gives out an award to a player we think exemplifies what is good about the sport, and this year’s Sportsman of the Year award went to Sal Lanuto.
The action in the tournament got going around ten on Saturday morning, with B+, B, C+ and C players kicking off the event. The B+, B, and C classes were all won by players who went undefeated for the day. In the C+ class, Ben Sadowski played strong and consistent all day, with his only real challenge coming in the finals against Michael Seas. Seas had lost his third match of the day to Sadowski and defeated everyone else to get back to the finals. This time, though, the match turned in the other direction and Seas won 7-3.
The C class was won by Gail Glazebrook, who bested Ed Miller in the finals 6-4 and all her other opponents handily to win. In the B+ class Christian Smith played very well, with his two toughest matches being his first and last of the day. Smith won both of those matches on the hill with the finals match against Tom McCloud being his toughest win of the day. The B class was another story. Wazeer Abassi cruised to easy victories all day with the exception of one hill-hill match against Jim Murnak in the second round. In the finals Wazeer bested Jason Blanchard 7-4.
On Sunday, the A+/A class was dominated by two players—Wilson Cruz and John Alicea. As they came to the hot seat match, both were playing well, but Aliciea moved ahead by defeating Wilson 7-3. Wilson then won his one-loss-side match against Noel Bensurto on the hill, and then in the rematch Alicea continued to play well and won 7-5.
The D+/D class was also dominated by two players—Mike Poisler and Jeff Dworzanski. As in the the A class, Dworzanski defeated Poisler in the hot seat match 5-1 and then again in the finals 5-2.
This left the top players in each class to meet in the playoffs. Christian Smith continued his dominance and crushed his next two opponents, Wazeer Abassi 7-4 and John Alicea 7-3, giving him the honor of competing for the overall champion. Gail Glazebrook continued to play with heart and conviction and went on to win, besting Michael Seas on the hill to advance and then defeat Dworzanski 6-4 to guarantee her spot in the finals against Smith.
Smith, who had won this event back in 2005, started off slow and Glazebrook took immediate advantage and pulled out to lead and got on the hill first. Smith fought back, playing well and not really affording any opportunities for Glazebrook to take advantage of. He made a 9 on the break and got some good rolls and brought the match to hill-hill. In the hill game Smith broke and made a ball but did not have a run-out. He tried to make something positive happen but relinquished the table. Smith came to the table but also had a tough time and gave it back to Smith, who was running out when he made a slight mistake, which allowed Glazebrook back to the table. Glazebrook made the 7 ball but missed the 8 ball and left a two-ball out for Smith, who won the event to be crowned the Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion for the second time in four years.

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