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XPSL - San Jose
Story by Bill Mills and Jeff Oliver
Photos by Jeff Oliver
For 13 years paintball players on the west coast have had a series they could call their own. In the 1990s, the Great Western Series pitted teams against one another in its major tournaments, and gave teams a chance to earn money for their team fund by running their own affiliated events. Promoter Russ Maynard was joined by Dan Bonebrake, putting on tournaments in locations like Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Hawaii.
The series allowed players the choice of bringing their own paint or buying it on site from series sponsors. Playing 5 and 10 man paintball with a limited amount of paint per player on the field, the series stood as a place for many west coast teams to get a foothold in amateur level paintball, without facing as high of costs in travel and paint (either from the amount fired, or from high price event only paint) as those playing in national tournaments. Teams like the Naughty Dogs and Dynasty (then known as Lofty and Iron Kids) launched into the tournament scene through the GWS. In 2000 the series underwent a face-lift with the addition of new promotion partners.
Along with the change in name, the Pan-Am went nation wide. However resistance to the limited paint format, and strength of competing unlimited paint BYOP leagues led to very low attendance of the Pan-Am’s events outside of the west coast, so the series returned to its western venues. In 2002 more behind the scenes changes went underway as promoters retired from the Pan Am Group and by the end of 2003 Dan Bonebrake was the series promoter. In the 2003 season the 10 man competition was changed to a 7 man, mimicking the new NPPL Super 7 Series format. In past years the Pan Am 5 man competition had always eclipsed the 10 man in size. This was not to be the case for 2003, as 12 man teams pared down to 7, and 5 man teams were able to grab a couple of extra players without problem.
For 2004, the Pan Am was once again reborn, this time into the Xtreme Paintball Sports League. The new series format is 7 man, two flag paintball, using the NPPL, Inc., rule set, with no limitation on the amount of paint fired. The series remains a bring your own paint tournament series. The Pan Am Circuit had featured more than 5 and 10 man competitions in previous years, additional three player tournaments were held at Pam Am major events. While the longest running stock class series saw its demise in 2003, the Pan Am 3 player young gun series lives on in the XPSL.
While relying on most of the NPPL rules, the XPSL differs slightly in its tournament structure from the Super 7, in that during the preliminary rounds teams only play against teams from the same skill level, unlike the NPPL’s intermixed prelims format. This format allows divisions to be scheduled in blocks, with rookie teams having the chance to observe the amateur and novice games on Friday before taking to the field Saturday. A change for the Pan Am teams is getting used to the newer NPPL quarterfinals format, something nor previously done in the Pan Am.
The second XPSL tournament of the 2004 season was held at Santa Clara Paintball Park (santaclarapaintballpark.com) on the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose, at the south end of the San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern California. The park’s netted concept fields proved tournament ready. On the fields, acting as referees were the members of the Bonebrake Factory Team.
Fair weather held through Friday and Saturday, despite some light showers Saturday afternoon.
One of the highlights of Saturday's action was play in the 3-man Young Gun division. In the preliminary round, 17 teams played seven games each for the right to advance to the semi-finals. Advancing with the top seed was Mayhem Kids, who battled Chaotic in a best of three series for a spot in the finals. Mayhem Kids won the series two games to won to advance. The other semi-final pitted Urban Quest I against Exodus Kids, with Exodus Kids winning in two games. In the final, Exodus Kids defeated Mayhem Kids to bring home the title.
The 35 rookie teams played in three preliminary brackets, with the top five teams from each bracket advancing to the quarterfinals, in addition to one wild card team. Leading their respective brackets after five games are Mad Dogz, Epic and Team LTZ. The Rookie teams will finish their preliminary round games Sunday morning.
Advancing to the quarterfinals of the 7-man Novice division were Kamikaze Kids, Nurv, LV N Phat, Black Magic, MPI, Team RIP Novice, Street Hustlers, Urban Quest II, LA Exodus, Organized Crime Black, Thug-Life, Total Chaos, Absurd Addition, Full Force Factory and Expo Army. These teams finished in the top five in their preliminary round bracket. Cent Cal Paranoid will join the quarterfinals as the wild-card team.
In the 7-man Amateur division, ACI Splat Factory earned the top seed in the quarterfinals, followed by Reign, The Snakes / TKO, Urban Quest I, Bad Karma, Outbreak and X Players. LA Extreme Red beat out GP Factory by a single point to grab the eight and final spot for the quarterfinals.
The last day of the San Jose event in the 2004 XPSL saw the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals in the 7-player Amateur, 7-player Novice and 7-player Rookie divisions. A few afternoon rain showers failed to dampen the sprit of participants, and the competition on the field produced a terrific day of paintball.
The Semi-Finals were a best of three game series, and top-seeded ACI Splat Factory defeated Urban Quest I to reach their second consecutive XPSL final. The Snakes/TKO upset the second seeded X Players for the right to take on the defending champions. Favored from the start of the tournament, ACI Splat Factory didn't disappoint by downing The Snakes/TKO for the tournament win.
Urban Quest II was the top seed entering the Novice semi-finals, but was taken out by Cent Cal Paranoid. In another upset, Full Force Factory beat Kamikaze Kids. In the final Full Force Factory took the three-game series over Kamikaze Kids to bring home the first place trophy.
the finals, Ballistic and Ballerz Inc 2 were the top two seeds