Gorst wins two 10-ball events to become All Around Midwest Open Billiards champion

Fedor Gorst

Orcollo, Al Shaheen, Gomez and DeMarco left in his wake for All Around award

Russia’s Fedor Gorst may not, at the moment, be his country’s leading export. He’d need to bring somewhere in the vicinity of $221 million into the Russian economy to get even close to what Crude Petroleum brings in, but he and his countrywoman and occasional travelling companion, Kristina Tkach are rapidly becoming their country’s most well-known export, at least in pool circles. Gorst’s reported pool income in 2020 earned him the #5 slot in our Money Leaderboard last year. This year, he’s well on his way to not only surpassing last year’s number, but making 2021 his best earnings year, ever, since he started showing up on our charts in 2015. And it’s only March.

The bulk of his reported 2021 earnings thus far (87%) have come from two events; a 10-Ball challenge match versus Jeffrey DeLuna that he won back in January and last weekend’s (March 16-21) $12,000-added Midwest Open Billiards Championship at Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH. He won two of its five events; the 128-entrant 10-ball tournament and the invitational, 16-entrant, single-elimination 10-ball event. 

In the $3,000-added Open 10-Ball tournament (aka The Main Event), which began three days after the Championships opened on Tuesday, March 16, Gorst advanced through the 128-entrant field to a winners’ side semifinal and defeated Dennis Orcollo (who finished second in the All Around scoring) 9-5. Gorst then lost to James Aranas in the hot seat match 9-6, downed Orcollo a second time in the semifinals (7-3), and came back to double dip Aranas 9-7, 7-2 in the finals. 

In the $1,000-added Invitational, 16-entrant, single elimination 10-ball tourney, which began two days before the Open 10-Ball, Gorst whipped through Josh Newman and Billy Thorpe by an aggregate score of 26-9 (winning, roughly, three out of every four racks). Then he ran into Aranas for the first time, though not, as noted above, the last, in the event semifinals. As Aranas and Gorst squared off, Jesus Atencio and Omar Al Shaheen (third in the All Around scoring) played in the other semifinal. Al Shaheen advanced to the finals over Atencio 13-8. Not surprisingly, Al Shaheen put up a fight. He and Gorst came within a game of double hill, but when the dust settled, Gorst had captured his first event title 15-9.

All of the competitors mentioned in the last two paragraphs, with the exception of Josh Newman, competed in one of the Championship’s first events, the $3,000-added 9-Ball Banks tournament that drew 99 entrants. And in races to 3, one of the aforementioned won it. After an opening round bye, Billy Thorpe worked his way through six opponents, including Omar Al Shaheen (3-0) and James Aranas, battling for the hot seat (3-1).

Of note in this event was the appearance of one Hunter White, whose name might not be familiar to anyone outside the competitive arena of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, which plies its trade in the southeast/mid-Atlantic corner of the country in venues that stretch from Virginia to Georgia, but primarily in South and North Carolina. Of the 31 recorded cash payouts in White’s AZBilliards resume since 2015, only two have been won outside of the Q City 9-Ball tour, both of them at this Midwest Open Billiards Championship. He competed in the 9-Ball banks and worked his way through five opponents, including Jesus Atencio 3-0 and John Morra 3-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Thorpe. Thorpe defeated him 3-1, which began a two-match, loss-side journey to the semifinals for White and this is where he and it got interesting. His first opponent on the loss side was Fedor Gorst. He brushed by him 3-0 and faced Jonathan “Hennessee from Tennessee” Pinegar in the quarterfinals. A 3-1 victory over Pinegar put him in the semifinals against Aranas, who defeated him 3-0 for a second shot against Thorpe in the hot seat. White would go on to finish 5th in the One Pocket event, where he defeated Thorpe on the winners’ side of the bracket, just before losing to Jeffrey DeLuna and then, on the loss side, defeated Gorst again before Dennis Orcollo eliminated him. It is likely to be the last time anyone underestimates this relative newcomer from the ranks of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour.

Aranas and Thorpe battled in the finals of the 9-Ball Banks. Thorpe completed his undefeated run with a 3-1 victory in those finals. 

Roberto Gomez and Louis DeMarco

Gomez, with single loss, takes One Pocket title as Fox-Raymond goes undefeated in Ladies event

On Thursday, March 18, the $3,000-added One Pocket event that drew 111 entrants began. The result in the races-to-three event is how and why the Philippines’ Roberto Gomez became the #4 competitor on the All Around Champion scoring. He won it, getting by five opponents before running into Orcollo in a winners’ side semifinal. It was a Filipino-heavy pair of winners’ side semifinals, with Jeffrey DeLuna (just after defeating Hunter White) and Omar Al Shaheen squaring off in the other one. 

Al Shaheen and DeLuna locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Al Shaheen into the hot seat match. Gomez joined him after shutting Orcollo out and sending him to the loss side for the match that would eliminate Hunter White.  Another double hill fight, battling for the hot seat, eventually sent Al Shaheen to the semifinals, where he encountered Louis Demarco (#5 on the All Round Champion list), making his first appearance in this report. Demarco had lost his second match to one of the overall tournament directors, Robert Frost, double hill, and then embarked on a 10-match winning streak that included victories over “Hennessee from Tennessee,” Danny Olson, Justin Hall, Jesus Atencio, Jeffrey DeLuna in the quarterfinals and Al Shaheen in the semifinals. He went on to take the opening set of the true double elimination final against Gomez 3-1. Gomez came back in the second set to win it and the title by the same score.

To our knowledge (in other words, encompassing only those events which have been reported to us over the years), Lonnie Fox-Raymond, who went undefeated through a 64-entrant field to capture the $1,500-added Midwest Open Billiard Championship’s Ladies division had never won an event before. In fact, she hadn’t cashed in one since she’d finished 5th in the Music City Classic’s Ladies event, nine years ago.  The year before that (2011), she’d finished 4th in the MCC Ladies event and 5th in the Super Billiards Expo’s Amateur Ladies event. Before that, she hadn’t cashed in an event for eight years, when she showed up on our pages for the first time, finishing 5th in the season opener of the Great Lakes Tour. Fox-Raymond made more in this one event than in all of her previously-recorded cash finishes combined. Like Hunter White, she’s someone who from this event forward, is likely not to be underestimated.

League Room Owner Christopher Wilson with Lonnie Fox-Raymond

In fact, the woman that Fox-Raymond defeated twice, in the hot seat and finals, came to the event without a lot of history, as well. Tracy Cantrell first appeared in our Money Leaderboard 21 years ago, when she won a stop on the old Viking Tour. Three years later, she cashed in a single event on the Midwest Women’s Tour and three times on the Great Lakes Tour. Two years after that (2006), she finished 5th on the Great Lakes Tour. Then, in 2021, she finishes as the runner-up in this Midwest Open Billiards Championships.

In the races to 5 (both sides of the bracket), Fox-Raymond didn’t give up more than two racks in her first four matches, at which point, she squared off against Angela Janic in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Cantrell, in the meantime, got through her first three matches, having given up a total of only three racks. She had to battle through a double hill match against Chelsea Hoyt to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal matchup against Amy Theriault. Two 5-3 victories sent Janic and Theriault to the loss side and Fox-Raymond and Cantrell to the hot seat match, where they locked up into a double hill fight, eventually won by Fox-Raymond.

Cantrell moved west to the semifinals, where she ran into Maria Juana, who’d lost her opening round match and then won eight in a row. Cantrell put a stop to that impressive loss-side run 5-1 in those semifinals. Fox-Raymond completed her undefeated run with a 5-3 victory in the finals.

Tour directors and promoters Robert Frost, Cody Myers and Jason Hill thanked the ownership and staff at Michael’s Billiards, as well as Ray Hansen and his PoolActionTV staff for their stream of the event throughout the weekend. They also noted sponsors The League Room, Nees Cue Repair, Outsville, Mariani Custom Cues, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, Meyer Custom Cues, Action 24/7 and Absolute Billiard Service.