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Lang goes undefeated on Garden State Pool Tour to claim her second gender-mixed event

Rachel Lang and Alfredo Altamirano

She won a ladies’ event on the Garden State Pool Tour last July, in which she rebounded from an opening-round loss and went on to claim the title. Rachel Lang, runner-up in the APA’s US Amateur tournament in 2022, won her first (recorded) mixed-gender event six years ago on the Tri-State Tour (now, the Predator Tri-State Tour), and last weekend (Jan. 28-29), she chalked up her second ‘playin’ with the boys, too’ title, going undefeated through a field of 67 entrants that signed on to the $300-added event, hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Split into separate, upper/lower Fargo Rate brackets, Rachel went at things from the upper bracket with her Fargo Rate of 560. She got by some of the ‘big boys,’ too, on her way to the title, downing Sean Emmitt (526), Jaydev Zaveri (607), Dinko Busanich (double hill; 637) and Julien Tierney (599) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Hunter Sullivan (600). In the meantime, Paul Madonia, Sr., having gotten by Donald Henriquez, Edwin Balcarcel, Kevin Serodio and Lysander Diaz, faced Aaron Wagner in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lang defeated Sullivan 5-3, as Madonia sent Wagner to the loss side, double hill. And then, something very strange happened. Having won their winners’ side semifinal, Lang and Wagner did not move into the hot seat match. Instead, in order to advance to the finals, they had to play someone from their individual bracket’s loss side. But this didn’t happen right away. They had to wait until the first loss-side matches played by Sullivan and Wagner were completed, at which point, Lang would face whoever won Sullivan’s match and Madonia would meet up with the winner of Wagner’s match.

Sullivan and Wagner moved to the loss side and were met by Sylvain Anichini and Alfredo Altamirano, respectively. Anichini had defeated Dinko Busanich, double hill and Jaydev Zaveri 5-1 to draw Sullivan, while Altamirano was busy eliminating Kevin Serodio 5-3 and Paul Murphy 5-2 to pick up Wagner.

Two double hill matches ensued in pursuit of advancement in what amounted to a separated bracket for the event’s final four. Altamirano downed Wagner 6-3 (Wagner racing to 4), as, in a straight up race to 5, Anichini eliminated Sullivan 5-4.

Back come Lang and Madonia, still on the winner’s side, and in essence, skipping a hot seat match. Lang faced Anichini, as Madonia took on Altamirano. And just when you thought it was heading into normal bracket-advancement territory, those two matches were double sets, requiring the loss-side competitors to win twice. Lang lost the opening set to Anichini 6-4, but came back in the second set to defeat him 5-1, in what proved to be the de facto hot seat match, leaving Lang in the undefeated hot seat. 

Altamirano had to and did defeat Madonia twice, double hill in the first set 6-5 and 5-1 in the second set, advancing to the single set final against Lang. So, the two finalists were set before the final loss-side match between Madonia and Manichini was played to determine 3rd and 4th place.

Madonia grabbed 3rd place with a 5-4 win over Manichini (Manichini racing to 6). Lang claimed the event title with an 8-6 win in the single set final.

Tour director David Fitzpatrick thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards for their hospitality, as well as Billiards Engineering, InTheBox, JFLowers Cues & Cases, John Bender Custom Cues, Off the Rail Apparel, Kamui and Jennifer Pedtum for her assistance in running the event. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 4-5), will be hosted by Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

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Emmitt goes undefeated to win his first regional tour title on the Predator Tri-State Tour

Sean Emmitt and KC Clayton

It was the second time, as far as we know, that Sean Emmitt had made it to the hot seat of a regional tour event. He did it the first time in September, 2018, at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ,  downing Ralph Ramos, Jr. The competitor he’d sent to the loss side in that event, Neil Walmsley, downed Ramos in the semifinals and came back to deny Emmitt his first title, chalking up his own second.

Just over three and half years later, this past weekend (Saturday, April 16), at the same location, Emmitt made it to the hot seat again, having only cashed in two other events in between; 4th at another stop on the Tri-State back in 2018 and 4th again at a National Billiard League qualifying event, a little over a year ago. This time, though, Emmitt took the final step. After claiming the hot seat, he downed the same opponent, KC Clayton, in the finals to claim his first regional tour title. The $300-added 10-ball event drew 16 entrants to Clifton Billiards.

Emmitt faced Mike Strassberg in the winners’ side semifinal of this one, as Clayton squared off against Ty Classan. Emmitt got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Strassberg and was joined by Clayton, who’d sent Classan to the loss side 7-4. Emmitt downed Clayton 7-5 and sat, once again in the hot seat of a Clifton Billiards event, awaiting his second chance to grab a regional tour title.

On the loss side, Strassberg picked up Rick Rodriguez, who’d defeated John Velez 8-5 and Frank Rodriguez 7-5 to reach him. Classan picked up Julie Madlener, who’d recently eliminated Jay Chiu and Marc Lamberti, both 6-4.

Strassberg and Classan advanced to the quarterfinals; Strassberg 6-4 over Rodriguez and Classan 6-1 over Madlener. Strassberg took the quarterfinal match 6-3 over Classan, but Clayton shut him down by the same score in the semifinals.

As might have been predicted between two opponents who had both finished as runner-up at a stop on the Tri-State Tour (Clayton was runner-up at last month’s stop at Cue Bar in Queens, NY) and were in search of their first regional tour title, the finals went double hill. Emmitt dropped the last 10-ball to claim the title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the Saturday, May 7, will be another 10-Ball event, $500-added, hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

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Klein and Shweta Zaveri split top prizes on Tri-State Tour stop

Matt Klein & Shweta Zaveri

Both were looking for their first 2019 win on the Tri-State Tour. For Shweta Zaveri, it would have been her first victory on the tour, ever. For Matt Klein, it proved to be his first since last June, near the end of the Tri-State’s 2017-2018 season. They played a single match, a winners’ side semifinal. They would have played a second, in the finals, but they opted out and split the top two prizes. Zaveri came into the event as the tour’s 2018/2019 points leader among its female competitors and among its D+ players. Klein, at present, is the tour’s fifth-ranked points leader in the B division. The $1,000-added event that led to their division of the top two prizes drew 46 entrants on Saturday, February 2 to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Klein’s tournament trail went through Bob Toomey, Ilija Tracjeski, Terry Mohabir, and Jowen Pichardo to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Zaveri. Shivam Gupta, in the meantime, faced Ryan Dayrit. Klein sent Zaveri on her three-match, loss-side trip with an 8-4 victory. He was joined in the hot seat match Gupta, who’d sent Dayrit over 8-6. In what proved to be his final match, Klein claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Gupta.
On the loss side, Zaveri picked up Andrew Cicoria, who’d recently survived a double hill win battle against Sean Emmitt and shut out Pichardo. Dayrit drew Ricky Motilal, who’d defeated Brian Jeziorski 7-4 and Suzzie Wong 8-4 to reach him.
Dayrit downed Motilal 8-6 and in the quarterfinals, faced Zaveri, who’d eliminated Cicoria 6-2. Zaveri chalked up two straight double hill wins that provided her with an opportunity to face Klein a second time. She downed Dayrit 6-5 in the quarterfinals and Gupta 9-8 in the semifinals.
It was late Sunday night at this stage of the game(s), or early Monday morning, depending on your perspective. While Zaveri may have been motivated to chalk up her first Tri-State win with a re-match against Klein, they both agreed to the split.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff 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, DIGICUE OB, and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 10, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Medina wins eight on the loss side, downs Sung in Tri-State finals

(l to r): Lee Sung & Eddie Medina

By the time Lee Sung, a D+ player on the Tri-State Tour, reached the hot seat match during the Nov. 3 stop on the tour, he’d already reached as close to an event victory as he ever had before. When he got into the hot seat, the sense of accomplishment had to be riding high in his sense of what was to come. What came was Tri-State veteran Eddie Medina, who lost his opening match and came back through eight matches on the loss side to meet Sung in the finals. Sung reached the hill first in the match which would have ended with his seven game wins.  But Medina persevered (more on this later), reached seven games first and eventually, defeated Sung to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 27 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
So, Sung first. He downed Andre Shramenko, Shweta Zaveri, and Mark Joseph to pick up Teddy Lapadula in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jaydev Zaveri, in the meantime, following victories over Paul Madonia, Sean Emmitt and Marc Lamberti, drew Paul Wilkens in the other winners’ side semifinals.
Sung and Zaveri both fought double hill battles, 6-5, to get into the hot seat match. Sung’s confidence notched up another step with the 8-5 win over Zaveri that left him in the hot seat.
On the loss side, it was Wilkens who picked up eventual winner Eddie Medina, in the midst of his eight-match march back to the finals. Medina had chalked up wins #4 and #5 against Marc Lamberti 6-3 and Mike Mele 6-1. LaPadula drew Sean Emmitt, who’d eliminated Suzzie Wong and Mark Joseph, both 6-4.
Medina ended Wilkens’ day 6-1 and, in the quarterfinals, faced Emmitt, who’d defeated LaPadula 6-3. Medina moved on to down Emmitt 6-3 in those quarterfinals and completed his loss-side run with a double hill win over Jaydev Zaveri in the semifinals.
As noted at the outset, Sung took the lead in the extended-race-to-9 finals and was staring down his cue at the 10-ball that would end the match with his seven wins. The 10-ball dropped, but so did the cue ball, turning the table over to Medina. Medina went on to win the match, eventually reach seven game-wins first and finish his long and tiring day by winning two more to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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, Nov. 11, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Sieczka and Trzeciak split top prizes on Tri-State

Frank Sieczka and Artur Trzeciak


Frank Sieczka came to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ on Sunday, September 23, looking to chalk up his second victory of the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour season. His good friend and travel partner, Artur Trzeciak, came in search of his first recorded event victory ever. Sieczka made it to the hot seat. Trzeciak won five on the loss side to meet him in the finals. They opted out of the final match, leaving the undefeated Sieczka as the official winner, and Trzeciak with his first runner-up finish. The $1,000-added, 8-ball event drew 40 entrants.
Trzeciak won his first two matches before running into Joshua Joseph in a winners’ side quarterfinal. A 4-2 victory by Joseph sent Trzeciak to the loss side and advanced Joseph to a winners’ side semifinal against Bernie Vogelsang. Sieczka, in the meantime, worked his way through four opponents (Joe Mazzeo, Sean Emmitt, Paul Madonia and Victor Silva) to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Joshua Joseph’s father, Mark Joseph.
Sieczka sent the elder Joseph to the loss side 5-2, as Vogelsang sent the son west 6-4. Sieczka played what proved to be his last match, downing Vogelsang 6-4 to claim the hot seat, and essentially, win the event title.
On the loss side, the elder Joseph (Mark) ran into Greg Partlow, who’d benefited from a forfeit by Allison LaFleur and eliminated Victor Silva, double hill. The son, Joshua, got a re-match against the ‘finals bound’ Trzeciak, who, following his defeat by Joshua, had eliminated Chris Rudy, double hill, and Joe Romeo 5-1. Father and son got to leave at the same time; Dad downed by Partlow, double hill, while son was shutout in his re-match versus Trzeciak.
Trzeciak battled to double hill in the quarterfinals against Partlow before dropping the final 8-ball and advancing to his last match of the night, against Vogelsang in the semifinals. He won that match 6-4, agreed to the split with Sieczka, and presumably, with cash in both their pockets, they left together.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, along with 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, Sept. 30, will be a Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.