Kent State paintball team hopes to raise money, play in 2014 tournament


Participants charge against the opponents on Feb. 25, 2013, during Kent State’s regional championships in Laotto, Indiana. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Chase Bonhotel

The Kent State paintball team joined the sport of paintball three years ago, winning big and beating names like Ohio State University, Akron University and Ohio University. Low funding, though, has become a burden.

“Paintball is an expensive sport and can cost the team upwards of $2,000 a tournament,” Kiril Grozdanovski, team officer and junior economics major said. “You have to pay entry, costs for ammunition (paintballs), travel and hotel expenses.”

Joey Terry, junior visual communication design major and team captain, said winning isn’t something new to them, but the lack of funding keeps them from playing a full season. They’ve already missed their first tournament on Nov. 16 and there are typically five tournaments from November to March. Last season, the team was only able to play two events.

Grozdanovski said the team currently has $1,500 in the bank and it is working hard to raise money to play, but most teammates use their own money to participate.

“Although paintball is expensive, and we’ve missed our first tournament, we’re pretty use to using our own money to play,” said Grozdanovski. “Funding helps and unlike most teams, we have the five most solid starters in the league. We will play as many tournaments as we can and continue to represent Kent State regardless.”

Terry said, the team started fundraising through the athletic department in September. They raised a total of $300 volunteering as ball boys for the university soccer and field hockey teams. They are also looking to do fundraising with Five Guy’s.

The team has about 15 members and they compete in the National Collegiate Paintball Association’s Midwest Great Lakes tournament series. They’re part of the AA division where they play five-man paintball, which means only five players are active on the field at one time.

Terry said paintball is a game that consists of two, five-man teams on each side of an organized field— similar to the size of soccer field —trying to shoot each other with capsules filled with paint. The player who hangs the opposing team’s flag wins the game.

Imagine walking through Death Valley in middle of July — heat exhaustion, dehydration, or perhaps hospitalization would be right around the corner, Terry said. That’s the sensation the players of Kent State’s paintball team feel every year, as they practice in the torrid summer heat, covered head-to-toe in protective gear, preparing for the upcoming season.

“All of us have been practicing hard and preparing since summer, said Terry. “The fall and winter months keep practice to a minimum, so summer is our prime time to prepare, and we are looking forward to another winning season.”

The team is coming off its first place victory last season at the regional tournament in February 2013 in Laotto, Ind., beating 13 other schools, including universities within the MAC and Big Ten conferences. The team also placed second, at their first MWGL event in November 2012 in Alliance, Ohio.

The upcoming season looks promising, as the team seeks back-to-back victories at its next event in Laotto, Indiana in February 2014. The team also hopes to raise enough money to travel to Lakeland, Fla., to compete in the NCPA national championship series in April 2014.

Student support is providing an extra push.

“I’m in love with watching them play,” said Ammar Alghamdi, sophomore computer and information systems major and avid paintball fan. “I know they’ve had problems with funding, but they are great team and whether they play in one tournament or two, they are still an amazing group of guys to watch while representing a great school.”

Contact Chase Bonhotel at [email protected].