Top-ranked paintball team scopes nationals
Published: Friday, April 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Fifteen students will look to paint competitors with Aggie colors when the nationally ranked Texas A&M paintball team travels to Lakeland, Fla., this weekend to compete in the collegiate paintball national championships.
The team has already won two conference tournaments, including the North Texas Open and the Texas A&M Open. The Aggies enter the competition as favorites, ranked No. 1 in the country.
“We have had an excellent season this year, not only in our competitions but in team expansion, as well,” said Michael Forgione, team secretary and sophomore kinesiology major. “We took home two first-place finishes, a third and a fourth-place finish during our conference events this year.”
The team practiced in Reed and has been preparing for the upcoming championship. Team member JD Woody said the team practices strategies, shooting and gun-handling weekly.
“We practice on Wednesday nights in Reed to go over fundamentals such as running, sprinting, gun-handling, snap-shooting and communication. Sundays, we go to 5J Paintball in Houston to do live scrimmages,” Woody said.
With the championship approaching, the team has taken every opportunity to practice.
David Verret, team president and senior engineering technology major, said his teammates have benefited from scrimmages against a Houston team called Force.
“Force competes in the Paintball Sports Promotions League, the premier tournament paintball league in the country. I believe the opportunity to play a PSP-caliber team has greatly helped the team prepare for the competition at the [National Collegiate Paintball Association] National Championships,” Verret said.
Even with stiff competition at the tournament this weekend, team members expressed confidence that they are prepared and will take home the win. Three teams, made up of five players each, will travel with the Texas A&M squad to compete.
“All [the teams] have been playing very well,” Forgione said. “The competition at nationals will be tough. Looking at some of the rosterred players from the 50 other schools registered to compete this weekend, they definitely have some experience. But we are fully confident in our ability to win. With our talent base and team chemistry this year, I feel this is our year to take home that championship trophy.”
Several seniors on the team will travel to Florida for the last time as collegiate competitors this weekend.
“Four seniors will play their last tournament ever for Texas A&M, and we intend to go out with a bang. This year’s team may be the deepest, most talented ever fielded by Texas A&M,” Verret said. “We fully expect to go to Florida, crush everyone, and bring home Texas A&M’s first national championship.”