Youngster Rice goes undefeated to capture 1st Annual Gotham City Classic

Arturo Reyes, Dave Ascolese, Scott Simonetti, Owner Kevin Buckley and Thomas Rice
Thomas Rice, 15, must have been wondering whether by granting an interview to a reporter from Billiards Digest last October, whether he'd put a curse on his own fledgling pool career. He'd gone into the interview with wins on both the Tri-State Tour (May) and Predator Tour (September), and though he continued to be 'in the money,' regularly, on both tours, once his Tour Spotting profile appeared in the pages of Billiards Digest last November, the event victories stopped.
Until the weekend of November 15-16, when he went undefeated to win the 1st Annual Gotham City Classic in his home room, Gotham City Billiards. Held under the auspices of the Tri-State Tour, the Open/B Class event, which drew 64 entrants, was organized by room owners Kevin and Isabel Buckley, who added $6,000 to the purse, contributed green fees, and purchased four, 35" solid trophies for the event's top four finishers. 
Tour representatives described the Buckley's efforts as "one of the most generous contributions to a tournament" that they had ever witnessed.
"It exemplifies their support for the tour's amateurs," they said. "This is not like league organizations that make money off of players. It cost them to do all this. They contributed the entire room to the event and went first class for everybody."
Following victories over Stewart Warnock, Omar Alli, Miguel Laboy and Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rice met up with Keith Diaz in a winners' side semifinal. Dave Ascolese faced Arturo Reyes in the other. Rice's eventual finals opponent, Scott Simonetti, had been sent to the loss side by Ascolese, and was already at work on the five-match, loss-side streak that would put him up against Rice.
Rice got into the hot seat match when Diaz forfeited. Ascolese sent Reyes to the loss side 7-3. Rice downed Ascolese 7-5 and waited in the hot seat for Simonetti to complete his loss-side run.
Simonetti, in the meantime, got by LaBoy 7-4 and Shivam Gupta in a double hill match, to draw Diaz. Reyes picked up Omar Alli, who'd defeated Greg Ackerman 7-5 and Delimelkonoglu 7-2. Simonetti and Reyes advanced; Simonetti by Diaz forfeit and Reyes with a 7-3 win over Alli. Simonetti then defeated Reyes 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and moved right into the finals against Rice, when illness caused Ascolese to forfeit the semifinals.
Rice took a quick 4-0 lead in the finals. Simonetti got on the board with a game, and they traded racks to 5-3. Rice completed his undefeated run 8-3, and chalked up his first Tri-State victory in over a year.
Tour representatives were effusive in their praise and thanks to Isabel and Kevin Buckley for their continuing hospitality and support of the tour and its players. They also thanked Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel for their sponsorship. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 22, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY.