John Trobiano Captures the
13th Annual “Tri-State Tour” Invitational
By John Leyman
The thirteenth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place July 10, 11 & 17, 2010, at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, 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. With the closing of Comet Billiards last year (the host room for the past several years for the event) this year’s event was moved to Castle Billiards and the format was changed slightly so the event ran over 3 days during 2 weekends as opposed to 2 days. Castle Billiards owners John & Minnie Trobiano along with the staff were gracious hosts and provided a professional and engaging atmosphere for the event. Their generosity and support to the sport and the event is tremendous. The room donated their room and all the table time. Not enough positive and complimentary things can be said about John, Minnie, their staff including Joe Celentano or their establishment. The 2 weekends were a huge success with 10 A & A+ Players, 32 B & B+ Players, 32 C & C+ Players and 12 D & D+ Players showing up to play as invited players in their respective classes and play for their chance to be crowned the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman & 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 $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors Ozone Billiards, Viking Cues, Fury Cues, Jim Murnak Custom Cue Cases, Ron Tarr Custom Cues, Sterling Gaming, Dr. Dave Billiards, Pool Tees.com, Spot Clothing, Capelle’s Pool Books, Shot Pad, Billiards Digest, Pool & Billiards, Inside Pool, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Human Kinetic, Castle Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, NYCGrind and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with some great equipment and prizes. As always 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 and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen.
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class and to the Most Improved Player of the Year. This year the tour also presented one player with a special award. Scott Simonetti who has played on the Tri-State tour for more than a decade was recently stricken with a life threatening illness which forced doctors to amputate Scott’s left hand and foot was awarded an award for “Outstanding Player of the Year” for his heart and soul that he brings to the game and for his amazing achievement over the last year. Scott was lowered in ranking so he could play events and just out of a wheelchair played in last year’s Invitational and although making a good showing at the event his game was just not there for competition yet. Scott ever positive and gracious strived to get his game back. As the year progressed Scott’s game made miraculous strides aided by a bridge device for his bridge hand designed by cue maker Paul Fanelli. Scott not only got his old game back, he started to dominate at events and won 3 back to back events at his home room of Castle billiards and won the B+ Player of the Year. To show how far he had come Scott then won the B+ Class invitational tournament at this year’s event. The other top players of the year in the their respective classes were Daniel Cintron winning the A+/A class for the second year in a row, Tony Eglesias, Duane Toney, Antonio Navarro and Dave Fitzpatrick. The top female player of the year and the Most Improved player of the year was Sandie Patarino. The Pro/Open class was won by Mhet Vergara. (for a full list of winners for all the classes please see the web site HYPERLINK “http://www.thetristatetour.com” www.thetristatetour.com). The tour each year 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 Daniel Cintron.
The action in the tournament got going around eleven on Saturday morning, July 10 with the B+ Class & B class players kicking off the event. In the B+ class, Scott Simonetti played strong and consistent all day and dominated all opponents. In the finals against Scott Bannon who after coming up from the one loss side put the pressure on Scott by going ahead in the set and forcing a race to 9. Scott battled back and won the set 9-7. Geoffrey Bauer played very strong all day and made it to the B class finals undefeated. John Trobiano who had lost his first match of the event to Jacob Schwartz went on to beat 5 players to get to the final match on the one loss side where he exacted his revenge on Jacob Schwartz beating him by the same score he had lost with in the first round 7-5. In the finals John with a tremendous break ran out the first 2 games to take the lead. The match proved to be a real battle as both players fought for the win but in the end John won the set 9-6. John still feeling great from his win in the B Class played his friend Scott Simonetti in the B+/B playoff. John could not be stopped and won the match easily 7-2.
On Sunday, play started again at 11 AM with the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. In the C+ Class Mike Harrington played strong all day and arrived in the finals undefeated. Ryan McCarthy lost to Jason Egeln and moved over to the one loss side, Ryan then beat 2 players to get another chance at Jason and the finals of the event. Ryan played very well and beat Jason 6-1. In the finals the rolls just seemed to be escaping Mike Harrington and Ryan took advantage and won 8-5. The C Class was simply dominated by Ramilo Tanglao who at times looked so good that all watching thought he was the player to beat to win the whole event. Ramilo played Scott Abramowitz in the finals of the C-Class and won 6-4. Ryan having watched some of the Ramilo matches took no chances and played Ramilo tight and cautious and won a smartly played set 6-4.
On Saturday July 17th the A+/A class and D+/D class players arrived early to do battle while John Trobiano and Ryan McCarthy the winners from the previous weekends play waited in the wings to do battle later in the day. Daniel Cintron last year’s winner of the A+/A class lost his first match of the day to Michael Wong. But not to be stopped Daniel went on to beat 4 very strong players to get to the finals and a rematch with the undefeated Michael Wong. In the finals of the A+/A class the match was a tough back and forth battle with both players playing great and making some tremendous shots to bring the match to hill/hill where Daniel Cintron pocketed the last 9 ball of the match to win 7-6. The D+/D class had 3 players all playing their best and trying to get to the finals. Rick Shellhouse and William Zarzour met in the hot seat match where William’s game came together and he won the match. Moving to the one loss side proved disastrous for Rick as everything in the set went Nick Verducci’s way and Nick won 7-1. This set up the final’s match between William Zarzour and Nick Verducci. The final match came with a shift in play and William’s game seem to deteriorate while Nick’s game solidified and Nick won 7-3.
This left Daniel Cintron battling John Trobaino and Ryan McCarthy battling Nick Verducci for the honor of playing in the event finals. John and Daniel’s match was a hard fought battle with Daniel doing everything he could to try to shut down John Trobiano but John triumphed and won the match 8-6. In the other match Ryan did not fare as well. Nick who by this point in time had been playing back to back sets for hours was very well warmed up and Ryan could not get anything started. Nick played very well and won the set 7-4. In the event finals room owner John Trobiano would not be stopped no matter how well Nick was playing. At every turn John shut Nick down and kept him in his seat. Playing extremely well and motivated to win the event in his own room John Trobiano won the finals with a score of 9-5 and was crowned 2009-2010 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion winning a Ron Tarr Custom Cue and a Jim Murnak Custom Cue case along with multiple other prizes.