Theo ‘Blood Shark’ Mihellis is a 14-year-old world-record holder
WEIRTON, W.Va. — As the new year begins, and with it a time of reflection, Theo “Blood Shark” Mihellis smiles sweetly when he considers how to describe 2018.
“It was one of the best years of my life,” said the exuberant, polite 14-year-old, an eighth-grader at St. Joseph the Worker School in Weirton where he is a straight-A student.
In July, the son of Jonathan and Amy Mihellis pulled off a complicated pool table trick shot on his very first try, breaking the World Guinness Record for the highest jump pot of a billiard ball. He cleared a bar set to 16.125 inches, besting the previous record set by famed pool trick shot master Florian Kohler by more than 2 inches.
In November, Theo went to Rome, and on the set of “La Notte Dei Record” (Italian Guinness World Record Show), with only three attempts to pot the ball — and his nervous, breath-holding parents in the audience — beat his current record for a new height of 20 inches.
Such astonishing achievements are those of a Follansbee teenager who picked up a pool cue for the first time about a year ago yet nabbed a record three months into playing.
Theo and his father, still reeling from the unexpected events the year has brought, shared how this all happened during a recent interview.
A casual father-son outing in November 2017 at the Colliers Sportsman’s Club is where Theo first attempted pool. His interest piqued by how hard and challenging a game of pool could be, Theo ultimately found himself in the weeks to follow more drawn to trick shots than the game itself.
A trick shot is a shot played on a billiards table which seems unlikely or impossible or requires significant skill. As an organized cue sports discipline, trick shot competition is known as artistic pool.
Theo offers his own definition: “It’s something that really shouldn’t happen — you explain it to a person, and they think how are you going to do that? I was more attracted to some of the trick shot videos I saw online, so I asked for a pool table last Christmas.”
“Which I said no to,” his father interjected. “I told my wife ‘no — it’s going to be a waste of space down there, and he’s not going to use it,’ and she talked me into it,” Jonathan said with a chuckle. “I coughed the money up, and I bought him a used table, but I wanted to get him a slate one so I bought him a slate table.”
Theo was pumped.
“I was excited,” he said of his 2017 Christmas present that he began to use to challenge himself, making trick shots more difficult and more complicated.
“I did not have any mentors. I am self-taught and watch a lot of online videos,” he explained.
He practices on average two hours a day and often creates his own shots.
“I probably started on the jump shot because for a normal player, the jump shot is probably, in trick shots, the easiest one to learn first.”
A jump shot is “where the ball hops over a blocking ball or something to get in a particular pocket. The degree of difficulty depends on what kind of jump you do,” he added.
“The original person who I saw do trick shots was the person I took the record from — Florian Kohler,” Theo said.
“He is world-renowned,” added Jonathan.
“I saw the (Guinness) records he did and one specifically he did — the highest jump pot of a billiard ball — I thought I could try to do this, then because I had just got a jump cue, I attempted it and made it,” Theo said, explaining that a jump cue helps the ball do just that.
“When I first broke a record in my basement after only three months of playing, I realized I can do good at this,” said Theo, who adopted a nickname. “My original table had red felt, and I used red chalk. Over time, all my cues became the color red. The red cues looked bloody, so I called myself the ‘Blood Shark,’” he explained.
“The record at the time was 13 and three-quarters inches, and Theo beat it in my basement in three months of playing,” Jonathan said. “I didn’t believe it when he said, ‘Dad, I can beat that world record,’ and I said, ’You can’t beat Florian. This guy is like the god of pool,” Jonathan said of the multiple Guinness World Record-holder.
Then Jonathan watched Theo’s video, amazed yet convinced that contacting Guinness World Records was in order.
The paperwork and verification process is involved and takes about three to four months, he said. The paperwork was submitted in April.
The shot occurred on the first attempt in July at Breaker’s Pool Hall in Pittsburgh.
“You submit it for review to be official,” Jonathan said. That word came in September.
Theo attributes “a lot of practice” to having accomplished so much so soon.
Plus, he enjoys it. “It’s out of the ordinary, and I have fun doing it,” said Theo, who has about 800 recorded trick shots and tries to come up with new ones every day.
Theo is an inspiration, according to his father, to have found his passion at a young age.
Plus, he already has his sights set on becoming a pharmacist.
“He is beyond his time,” Jonathan said. “He knows what he wants. He has always been like a leader-type kid. He has a good head on his shoulder. We’re real proud of him.”
“I did not have any mentors. I am selftaught and watch a lot of online videos. The original person who I saw do trick shots was the person I took the record from — Florian Kohler.”
student at St. Joseph the Worker School