Once again, the UW-Milwaukee Club Paintball Team is headed to Florida for the National Championship Tournament. The event takes place next weekend.
Following their establishment and first club event in 2008, the team has made multiple trips to Nationals in recent years. The team has found success despite footing the bill for much of the costs, the main one being equipment. Many times they have to pay amounts up to $600.
The UWM team is situated in the Midwest North Conference, which houses several other Wisconsin schools: UW-Whitewater, UW-Stout and UW-Platteville.
Senior Christopher Cohen has been the club’s President for the last four years. In his time, the team has constantly been ranked inside the top twenty nationally. Along with a rise in competitiveness, higher interest in the sport has also been generated.
Cohen says he believes this team be different than in years past and inflict some damage in Nationals, as in prior years they have been unable to finish strong in the tournament.
“We’ve closed out the season on a high note,” said Cohen. “We took first place in a tournament two weekends ago after defeating Purdue and placed second last weekend in Mukwonago. We’re hoping that carries over into next weekend.”
The team’s hot finish to finish the regular season has been noticed by others as well. Headed into next weekend’s championships, UWM is ranked No. 7 out of the 48 teams contending in the tournament. Prior to the team’s final two tournaments, they were ranked No. 12 nationally.
The national tournament follows basic paintball rules. Teams will be competing in five-on-five matches, with different obstacles and structures set out in the playing field. Matches are timed up to five minutes, but have commonly ended in as soon as two minutes.
Leading the way for the Panthers as the highest ranked player on the team is sophomore Parker May. He is nationally ranked and plays professionally for a team.
Some other students that will be taking the field with May are super senior Ben Cruz, grad student Lenny Hoisington and juniors Jeremy Gunther and Jackson Brigham. Together, those five head the Black Line, which acts as the first wave of action for the team.
Winning out and claiming the championship on Sunday definitely sits as the top goal for the team. They begin the action Saturday morning at 9 am in Kissimmee. Teams do not find out their opponents until Thursday night, as the bracket will be unveiled then.
For Cohen, this is a special moment, as he is handing over the reigns of presidency following the conclusion of the tournament. Sophomore Jeremy Gunther will be taking over at the end of the season.
“It is a bit of a last hurrah for me,” said Cohen. “I’ve been playing paintball for ten years and have been on the UWM Club Team for four years. To go out on top as champs would be something real special for me and the team to remember for a long time.”
Twelve matches stand in their way, but with the right gameplan and execution, the Panthers believe they can finish as champs.
If anyone is interested in joining the paintball squad next season, contact Jeremy Gunther at firstname.lastname@example.org.