Wednesday, April 26, 2006

UMass Paintball Takes Fourth

On Saturday the 18th, while many students were traveling to Florida or other warm locations, the UMass Minutemen Paintball Team headed south for its first tournament of the semester. The team’s destination was Cobra Command Paintball in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, for the Temple University Open Tournament. Playing for the Minutemen were Richard Boyes, Thomas Buckley, Patrick Clark, Andrew Franco, Cole Hubacz, and Dan Scholten.
College paintball games have a limit of 5 minutes, with 5 players per team on the field at one time, although the team can rotate out players for each game. The field consists of many inflated vinyl shapes which grant players cover to stand, kneel, and even crawl behind; these structures are termed air bunkers, with different shapes informally named doritos, rollies, cans, and even the snake. A flag is placed in the center of the field, with the objective to hang the flag on the opposing team’s start point. A win almost always occurs only after all of the team has been eliminated. A player is eliminated when he or she has a paintball break and leave a mark on themselves or their equipment. The games are fast and furious, with thousands of paintballs shot in just one game, and lots of maneuvering for superior angles on the opposition. Keys to winning games include communication between teammates, such as where the opposing team is located, and technique, such as only leaning out several inches from your bunker.
Eleven teams were present for the tournament. The preliminary round consisted of 8 games, during which the Minutemen went 3-5. The first several games were a bit on the messy side, since the Minutemen do not have much experience playing with each other. But as the preliminary round progressed, the Minutemen began to gel and played some great paintball, capped by a great win over Drexel’s A team (this game can be seen at my website- http://www.people.umass.edu/rboyes/ UMass is the team at the bottom of the screen), who have placed as high as 5th in the nation in the National Collegiate Paintball Association (http://www.college-paintball.com) over the past several years. The Minutemen were therefore able to sneak in the semi-finals as the 8th seed.
The semi-final round took the 8 remaining teams and broke them into two groups, with each group doing a round robin. The Minutemen really caught fire during the semi’s, with wins over Stevens Institute of Technology’s A team and Rutgers. The lone loss the Minutemen suffered was to last year’s national champion, UConn’s A team. The Minutemen played UConn very hard and were able to eliminate 4 out of the 5 UConn players.
Four teams advanced to the finals; these were UMass, UConn’s A and B teams, and Drexel’s A team. This round was also a round robin, during which the Minutemen were unable to win a game against some of the absolute best teams in the country. The finals results were as follows: 1st- UConn A, 2nd- UConn B, 3rd- Drexel A, 4th- UMass.
The Minutemen would like to thank Vice Chancellor Michael Gargano for his generous support of the team, which would have been unable to compete without it.


By Richard Boyes