KSU paintball team looks to expand

Abby Bradford

Kent State joined the competitive world of paintball last year competing in various regional tournaments, beating big names like Ohio University, Central Michigan and Miami of Ohio.

“I remember watching on YouTube the National teams of paintball and I was just thinking how cool that would be to play for a college team,” said Matt Carlson, junior political science major. Carlson joined the paintball team in April last year.

Paintball is played on a large field with inflatable bunkers. The game begins with two teams starting on opposite ends. Paintball is similar to capture the flag. When the referee yells “go,” the goal is for players to make their way to the other team’s side, collect their flag and run it back to their side.

“It’s not like other games, it is kind of like extreme tag,” Carlson said. “It forces you to think while working together as a team.”

While retrieving the flag, the players’ mission is to shoot all the players on the other team, getting them out of the match. The quicker players shoot the other team’s players and retrieve the flag, the more points their team receives. The team with the most points at the end of the day wins.

“Your adrenaline is pumping and the game is happening so quickly it sometimes feels like you have no time to think,” said Joey Terry, captain of the team and sophomore visual communication design major. “The players need to be completely aware of everything that is going on or else you will come out of the game as the loser.”

Terry has been playing paintball for more than nine years and played competitively for four. He founded a competitive, divisional paintball team called Eminence. He has been the captain of that team for four years, so when he had the chance to become captain of Kent State’s team, he was ready to take the spot.

“I wanted to become the captain because I love to take the leadership role whenever I can,” Terry said, “especially if it is for something I love.”

The team is part of the AAA division where they play five-man paintball, which means only five players participate at a time during competitions. The Kent State club team has 10 to 15 loyal teammates who compete in the tournaments. They practice year-round at places like TPA Paintball in Alliance, Ohio.

Greg Bailey, assistant director of all club sports on campus, said the team was a well-established student organization before coming to him last academic year to become a club sport recognized by Recreational Services. They are currently an interest group and are not fully recognized as a sport club yet.

Paintball is an expensive sport, making it hard to become a recognized club team on campus. The team is trying to get as many new members as possible and become more known around campus and the community.

“We are still developing our team, but these big school schools have clubs that have 50 to 100 people that just go out and play for fun,” Carlson said. “That is the community we want to see here.”

The team recently sent out donation letters to local businesses, family and friends to try to get sponsored. This would allow them to compete on a national level.

Later this February, the paintball team will be competing in a NCPA Mid-West Great Lakes tournament in Laotto, Indiana.

Terry said paintball cannot be compared to sports like football or basketball.

“I play paintball because it is the most competitive and intense sport I have ever played, and I love it,” Terry said.

Abby Bradford is a general assignment reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Abby Bradford at [email protected].