What started out as a dream has become a reality for the Temple paintball team.
The two-year old club, which was officially recognized by the university’s campus recreation department last fall, finished 23rd out of 40 teams with a score of 101 at the National Collegiate Paintball Championship in Lakeland, Fla. last weekend. The Cal State University-Long Beach 49ers won the event with a score of 200.
The No. 12-seeded Owls, , who compete in Class AA of the National Collegiate Paintball Association, sent six members to the tournament: President and founder Mike Abramowitz, Vice President Matt Jacob, Ken Barnes, Jason Gaboury and Kevin Talley. The sextet faced off against top-ranked paintball clubs from Illinois State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Minnesota.
The team finished 17th overall in the championship last year, exiting in the first round of the tournament.
“Last year we proved we could compete at this level,” Abramowitz, a junior in the College of Science and Technology, said. “This year, we are excited to go back with a more solid team on and off the field.”
Leading up to the national tournament, Temple started off slow in two regional tournaments but as the spring semester rolled around, the Owls picked up momentum finishing first and third at the Northeast Intercollegiate Conference Frost Bowl and the Northeast College and JT Sports Championship in Chesapeake City, Md.
“[It is just a matter] of hard work and time,” Jacob, a sophomore history major, said. “We plan on winning and have nowhere to go but up.”
Unlike the championships, in regular paintball each tournament starts with an eight-game round robin with the winners advancing to the semi-finals and, eventually, to the finals. Gas compressed guns are used to shoot small paint-filled balls at the opponent while teams try to lose the least amount of members possible.
Guns in tournament paintball, however, can shoot between 15 to 25 balls per second and unlike regular paintball, coaches are on the sidelines managing the five-on-five play with interchangeable lines
“Tournament paintball is played a little bit differently than people perceive it to be,” Abramowitz said. “It is not in the woods anymore as it’s played on half a football field at 125 by 100 feet.”
Eight preliminary games are played as a team gets its points for its victories, for the number of people alive at the end of the game and whether there is a flag in the center of the field. To win, a team must grab the flag and take it to the opponent’s base.
The top eight teams move onto the semi-finals, then the top four teams square off in a best-of-three matches with the top seed versus the fourth seed and the second seed facing off against.the third seed. The championship game pits the winners of the semi-final matches.
With this season over, the Owls outlook for next year appears promising. The squad qualified to be in Class A, a more rigorous level with more size and funding. Not only will they play 45 minutes with a two-minute break, but the Owls will be in a conference structure, where the teams are decided based on bids at the start of the season.
The bids are determined based on teams’ completion of the previous Class A season, teams who pay a non-refundable entry fee and teams who field at least two Class AA teams at the National Championships.
“Funding has really helped us get to where we are,” Abramowitz said. Temple Student Government sponsors the club’s entry fees to tournaments, uniforms, practice sessions, and equipment.
“We moved to student recreation like ice hockey and rugby where we fundraise on our own by selling T-shirts, by paying dues, and by doing different events on campus,” he said.
“We have big goals and hope that after people hear about our events, the number of our members will increase.”
Joe Polinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information regarding the Temple paintball club, contact email@example.com