Brandon Mojica remembers playing as an undergraduate for Central Florida against Temple at the 2014 National Collegiate Paintball Association National Championships, he said.
“They played very aggressively,” said Mojica, now a podiatric medicine graduate student at Temple. “Those Temple teams were very, very good and challenged us.”
UCF won the championship in 2014, with Mojica being one of their best players.
Now, Mojica, a member of Temple’s paintball club, is committed to taking down his old school.
“It would mean a lot to me to be able to beat [UCF] at their own game,” he said. “They always talk crap to me. Like, ‘We’re going to get you, we’re targeting you, you’re not going to make it off the break Brandon.’”
Mojica, a 2015 pre-clinical health alumnus, started playing paintball when he was 15 while living in Brandon, Florida. He began playing at a competitive level when he turned 16.
He and his friends created a high school league consisting of six schools, playing every weekend, he said.
“A bunch of my friends that I played locally with started going to UCF,” Mojica said. “We really liked playing together so we kept it going in college. We had a kind of cohesion and chemistry because we had already been playing together for years.”
With the Knights, Mojica and the team saw tremendous success, winning the Collegiate World Cup in 2013 and 2014 and winning the NCPA Championship in 2014.
After graduating, Mojica took a break from school before enrolling in Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine for the 2018-19 academic year.
Mojica wanted to play on Temple’s paintball team when he arrived.
The Owls knew they had to recruit him when they found out he enrolled, said James Fraley, a junior kinesiology major.
“He’s a really good player,” said Fraley, the club’s secretary. “I haven’t faced him in a tournament, but just from going up against him in practice he’s really good and has a big impact on our team.”
While the Owls haven’t been able to win a national championship, they’ve been a perennial championship contender and are one of the top teams in the country. The Owls is ranked No. 25 in the AA Division of the NCPA.
The Knights have eliminated Temple in the semifinals twice and the quarterfinals once in the last three seasons.
In 2017, the Knights and Owls played a tight semifinal, with the Knights winning 8-7. In 2018, the Knights won their quarterfinal matchup 6-3, and shut out the Owls in the semifinals 4-0.
“He probably frustrated a lot of alumni with how good he is,” said Jason Spencer, a junior English major and the club’s vice president. “He’s a big personality and he’s really competitive. He likes to get chants going to mess with the other team. Plus he’s hard to miss since he’s 6’5” or something like that.”
Now on the other side of the rivalry, Mojica is helping the Owls plan a matchup with the Knights, he said.
“We definitely have game planned because I know a lot of the UCF guys,” Mojica said. “So now that all those younger guys are finally at UCF, I know their play style. So we have somewhat of an advantage if we go up against them, but this time around we just have to beat them.”
Other than beating his former school, Mojica has one goal for this season: to help bring the Owls their first national championship.
“To bring a national title to Temple would also be an amazing feeling,” Mojica said. “Temple has always been there for as long as I’ve been playing collegiately. The Temple ‘T’ has a lot of meaning behind it, and I want to help make our team the best.”