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2019 NYC 8-Ball Championship – Ilija Trajceski vs Tommy Schreiber

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first 2019-2020 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Ricardo Mejia

He returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Ricardo Mejia, looking to record his first Tri-State Tour victory in just over a year, returned to the site of his last win, Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. He’d chalked up the win last year, with an asterisk, when he and Rafael Alberto opted out of a final match and as the hot seat occupant, he was awarded the official event title. This year, on Sunday, September 15, he and Ilija Trajceski would play twice; once, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, in the finals, where Mejia would prevail and claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards.
 
Mejia advanced from his first victory over Trajceski (7-4) to face Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Bob Toomey, in the meantime, who’d just survived a double hill match against Jeff Martinez, squared off against Mike Strassberg.
 
Mejia downed Jimenez 7-5, as Toomey, seemingly a little annoyed at his last outing, took it out on Mike Strassberg and shut him out. Mejia sent Toomey off to the semifinals 8-4 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Trajceski.
 
Over on the loss side, Trajceski had opened up with a 7-5 victory over Chris Schmidt. He followed that with another 7-5 victory over Steve Kaminow, which set him up to face Jimenez, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Strassberg drew Teddy Lapadula, who’d defeated Marco Daniele, double hill, and Jeff Martinez 6-2.
 
Trajceski and LaPadula advanced to the quarterfinals; Trajceski 7-4 over Jimenez and LaPadula 6-2 over Strassberg. Trajceski took the quarterfinal match 7-5 over LaPadula and then, eliminated Toomey 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Mejia took an early, promising lead, before Trajceski responded and eventually got out in front 5-4. Trajceski went on to reach seven racks first, which extended the match to a race-to-9. Mejia caught up and when he reached seven racks, he broke and ran the next two to win it.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Slick, Billiards Digest, Liquid Shaft Cues, Joe Romer Trophies, and Phil Capelle Publications. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, September 22, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.

Gupta goes undefeated to win his first 2019 Tri-State event title, downing Trajceski twice

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Shivam Gupta

They’d been down this road before. Specifically, in January of this year, when they faced off in the finals of a Tri-State Tour stop at Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. It was noted at the time, that it was Ilija Trajceski’s third victory on the Tri-State Tour since 2017 and only the fourth time that he had cashed in a Tri-State event. He’d sent Shivam Gupta to the loss side in the winners’ side quarterfinals, but Gupta won five on the loss side to face him in the finals. Trajceski downed Gupta a second time, by the same 7-5 score, to claim that event title.
 
On Sunday, May 5, at the last 10-ball match of the Tri-State’s season, they squared off twice again; this time in the hot seat match and finals and although the score was the same in both matches (6-3), the end result was that Gupta claimed his first 2019 Tri-State title (his second of the 2018/2019 season). Gupta is the #2-ranked B+ player in the Tri-State’s current Player of the Year standings (9 appearances), behind Jaydev Zaveri (Gupta’s traveling partner), whose 21 appearances on the 2018/2019 tour give him a substantial lead among the B+ players. Trajceski, with 10 appearances is at #14 on the list of B players. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Gupta began his trek to the event title with a double hill win over his traveling partner and fellow B+ competitor for the division’s top slot, Jaydev Zaveri. He then downed Scott Bannon 6-4 and Pashk Gjini 6-1, to draw Tri Chau in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Trajceski, in the meantime, after defeating Rick Rodriguez 6-4, Paul Madonia 6-5 and Andrew Ciccoria 6 -3, would draw Marc Lamberti in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Gupta and Chau locked up in a double hill fight that eventually (6-5) sent Gupta to the hot seat match. He was joined by Trajceski, who’d defeated Lamberti 6-4. Gupta claimed the hot seat with his first of what proved to be two 6-3 wins over Trajceski.
 
On the loss side, Chau and Lamberti got back on track with double hill victories over their first loss-side opponents. Chau faced and defeated Eddie Medina, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 6-3 and Scott Bannon 6-4 to reach him. Lamberti defeated Andrew Ciccoria, who’d defeated Bob Toomey and Rick Brothers, both 5-3, before falling to Lamberti.
 
Lamberti gave up only a single rack to Chau in the quarterfinals (6-1) to earn his rematch against Trajceski in the semifinals. In his second of three straight 6-3 matches, and the only one in which he recorded a win, Trajceski defeated Lamberti a second time. Gupta completed his undefeated run with a second 6-3 win over Trajceski in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 11, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Jeziorski wins his second Tri-State title, this time without the asterisk

Bryan Jeziorski and Rick Rodriguez

According to our records, the last time Bryan Jeziorski won a stop on the Tri-State Tour, he and Ricardo Mejia split the top two prizes. The 2013 event (part of the tour’s 2012-2013 season) drew 73 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ on Saturday, Feb. 2. The field had been restricted to 64 entrants, but when tour representatives saw the number of competitors still lined up to register when they reached that number, they expanded the field to accommodate them. At 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 3, they were probably questioning the wisdom of that decision. In any case, Jeziorski had sent Mejia to the loss side in the third round and Mejia had won six on the loss side to face him a second time in the finals . . . that didn’t happen.
 
On Saturday, April 20, Jeziorski signed on for a Tri-State Tour stop with 29 other entrants, and though, like his previous win, the event finished up early the next day (Easter Sunday morning), this time, Jeziorski played a final; against Rick Rodriguez, as it turned out, and won it to claim his second Tri-State title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Jeziorski and Rodriguez almost met in the hot seat match. Jeziorski had gotten by Frank Sieczka 7-5, Yomaylin Feliz-Foreman (AKA Smiley) 7-5 and Ilija Trajceski 7-4 to draw Luis Jimenez in a winners’ side semifinal. Rodriguez, in the meantime, after victories over Jowen Pichardo 6-2, Clint Pires 6-2 and Mac Jankov 6-4, drew Mark Joseph in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jeziorski advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-5 win over Jimenez. Joseph, however, sent Rodriguez to the loss side 6-3 to join Jeziorski battling for the hot seat. Jeziorski downed Joseph 7-5 and waited in the hot seat for Rodriguez to complete a three-match trip on the loss side.
 
Jimenez opened his loss-side campaign against Clint Pires, who’d defeated Sabrina Sherman 6-4 and Feliz-Forman 7-3 to reach him. Rodriguez picked up one of the tour’s top female competitors, Michelle Brotons, who’d eliminated Jeffrey Rosen 7-5 and Mac Jankov 6-2.
 
Rodriguez and Jimenez advanced to the quarterfinals; Rodriguez, surviving a double hill fight against Brotons and Jimenez, downing Spires 7-2. Rodriguez then defeated Jimenez 7-5 in those quarterfinals.
 
Rodriguez earned his spot in the finals with a strong 6-1 victory over Joseph in the semifinals. Jeziorski earned his first non-asterisk Tri-State title with a 7-4 win over Rodriguez in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 28, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Trajceski wins his third Tri-State Tour stop, going undefeated at Shooter’s in Wayne, NJ

Shivam Gupta and Ilija Trajceski

Maybe it’s the weather. Two out of three of Ilija Trajceski’s victories on the Tri-State Tour have been won in cold weather. The third, his first, in October, 2017 at Clifton Billiards was not; it was rainy and mild (70˚). It should be noted that Mr. Trajceski has cashed in only four Tri-State events since October, 2017 and he’s won three of them. He was runner-up in the fourth. He chalked up his third Tri-State win on Saturday, January 12, going undefeated through a field of 33 entrants at a $1,000-added event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
 
Trajceski opened his bid for the title with a double hill win over the man with whom he’d split the top two cash prizes in his ‘official’ second win a year ago (and placed 4th in his first win), Matt Klein. Trajceski moved on past Brian Jeziorski and in a winners’ side quarterfinal, 7-5 over Shivam Gupta (whom he’d encounter later, in the finals), to draw good friend Jaydev Zaveri in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Corey Avallone, in the meantime, squared off against Bob Toomey in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Trajceski sent Zaveri to the loss side 7-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Avallone, who’d sent Toomey to the left bracket 7-2. Trajceski claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Avallone, and probably took a walk outside for a breath of cold air.
 
On the loss side, Gupta opened his loss-side campaign with victories over Victor Silva 7-5 and Max Watanabe 6-5 to draw Zaveri. Toomey picked up Mac Jankov, who’d chalked up two straight double hill, 6-5 wins over Dominic Novello and Shweta Zaveri to reach him.
 
Gupta sent Zaveri home 7-5, while Toomey was doing likewise to Jankov 6-3. Gupta took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Toomey 7-5 and then locked up in a double hill fight against Avallone in the semifinals, which he won 9-8.
 
The second verse of the Trajceski/Gupta song (otherwise known as the finals) was the same as the first. Gupta, in the space between the two matches, had played 65 loss-side games over five matches; all, with the exception of the 9-8 semifinal, won 7-5 by Trajceski. Trajceski won a fifth 7-5 match and his second 7-5 match over Gupta to claim the event title.
 
While an unconfirmed report indicates that Trajceski thanked the local weatherman, tour representatives thanked Shooter’s Family Billiards owners Kris and Chris Consalvo-Kemp for their ongoing hospitality, which, at this event, included the addition of two of the venue’s TAP league players as entrants. They also thanked sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 27, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 

Markopoulos and Rosario split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Abel Rosario and Dimos Markopoulos

For the second week in a row, the two finalists scheduled to face each other in a last match on the Tri-State Tour opted out of what would have been a very late-night match and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Dimos Markopoulos claimed the official event title of the $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, February 3, which drew 47 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. As had happened the week before, the loss-side opponent in what would have been the final match (in this case, Abel Rosario) had come from relatively deep on the loss side for the right to challenge Markopoulos in the finals; last week, Matt Klein won seven on the loss side for the right to face Llija Trajceski in finals that never happened.
 
Unlike the previous week, the two finalists in this one (Markopoulos and Rosario) had met before; in a winners’ side quarterfinal, won 7-4 by Markopoulos, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Carlos Serrano. Max Jankov (responsible for sending last week’s runner-up, Klein, to the loss side) faced Max Watanabe in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Markopoulos and Serrano battled to double hill before Markopoulos finished it to advance to the hot seat match. Watanabe downed Janko 9-7 to join him. Markopoulos defeated Watanabe 7-3 in the hot seat match that proved to be his last.
 
On the loss side, Rosario opened his five-match trip back to the finals with two straight double hill wins, over Vinny Crescimanno and Shweta Zaveri, and drew Serrano. Jankov picked up Alex Osipov, who’d defeated Victor Dabu, double hill and Daniel Feliciano 11-7 to reach him.
 
Osipov and Rosario advanced to the quarterfinals; Osipov with a double hill win over Jankov and Rosario 8-3 over Serrano. In the seventh double hill match of eight among the event’s final 12 competitors, Rosario defeated Osipov in those quarterfinals.
 
In the final double hill match among the event’s final 12, Rosario downed Watanabe in the semifinals. Rosario and Markopoulos opted out of the final match, with Markopoulos entering the record books as the event’s official winner.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 18, will be a double-points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Trajceski and Klein split top prizes on Tri-State Tour stop in Clifton, NJ

(l to r): Matthew Klein and Llija Trajceski

Llija Trajceski, in his payout debut on the Tri-State Tour on the weekend of January 20-21, finished second. A week later, on Sunday, January 28, he moved a half-step closer to winning his first Tri-State Tour title. The ‘half-step’ was defined by his position in the hot seat when he and Matthew Klein opted out of a final match, allowing Trajceski to claim the official event title of a $1,000-added event that drew 29 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Klein was awarded an opening round bye in this event and was sent to the loss side in a double hill battle against Mac Jankov in the event’s second round. Jankov joined him at the conclusion of the following round when he was defeated 6-1 by Vijay Patel, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Teddy Lapadula. Trajceski, in the meantime, faced Irene Kim in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Trajceski, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side semifinal the week before, advanced to the hot seat match 7-2 over Kim in this one. He was met by Patel, who sent LaPadula to the loss side 6-1. Trajceski got into his first Tri-State hot seat with a 6-1 victory over Patel.

Meanwhile, on the loss side, Klein was at work on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the finals, though no further. With two notches on his loss-side belt, Klein drew a re-match against Jankov, winning it 6-1. He went on to defeat Frank Sieczka 6-2 and drew LaPadula, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Kim matched up with Allison LaFleur, who’d defeated Shweta Zaveri 6-2 and Qian Chen 7-4 to reach her.

Klein advanced to the quarterfinals 6-3 over LaPadula. The ladies Kim and LaFleur locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Kim to join Klein. Klein took the quarterfinal match over Kim 7-4, and then chalked up what proved to be his last win with a 6-3 defeat of Patel in the semifinals.

Trajceski and Klein opted out of the final match. Trajceski went home with his first, albeit with an asterisk, Tri-State title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Digicue, Billiards Digest, Human Kinetics, Blue Book Publishing, Phil Capelle Publications, and Joe Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 18, will be a double-points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Schreiber picks up his second 2017-2018 Tri-State title with undefeated run at Steinway

Llija Trajceski & Thomas Schreiber

Having chalked up a Tri-State victory in September at Cue Bar, Thomas Schreiber added another to his 2017-2108 title list with an undefeated run on the January 20-21 stop on the tour. His September victory involved three matches on the loss side, including a semifinal win over Lidio Ramirez (who’d sent him to the loss side) and Pashk Gjini in the finals. On this most recent stop, Gjini was his first opponent, and Ramirez would end up facing him in the hot seat match. The $1,500-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
After downing Gjini in the opening round, Schreiber went on to defeat Feng Zhao, Abel Barriento, and Amy Yu, which set him up to face Debra Pritchett in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Ramirez, in the meantime, met up with Llija Trajceski in the other winners’ side semifinal. Schreiber got into the hot seat match with an 8-5 win over Pritchett, and was met by Ramirez, who’d sent Trajceski to the loss side 9-7. Schreiber and Ramirez locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Ramirez to the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Pritchett picked up Yu, who, following her defeat by Schreiber, downed Philip Pearce 7-4 and Irene Kim 7-2. Trajceski drew Feng Zhao, who’d gotten by Erick Carrasco 6-3 and Duc Lam 9-4.
 
Trajceski and Zhao fought to double hill before Trajceski advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Yu, who’d eliminated Pritchett 7-3. Trajceski chalked up his second straight double hill win, eliminating Yu in those quarterfinals.
 
Trajceski’s rematch against Ramirez went his way. He downed him 9-5 in the semifinals to earn a shot against Schreiber. Schreiber locked Trajceski up in his third double hill match and won it to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 28, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.