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XPSL Las Vegas
Story Submitted by Jeff Oliver
Pictures by Vince Grey
The 2004 Season of the XPSL has made a round trip of the Western US. In past seasons, when known as the Pan Am, the tournament series held it's last major event of the year in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year Las Vegas, which has proven to have popular night life for the competitors, plenty of hotels, and inexpensive flights, served as both the starting and ending venues. The XPSL's first major event was held in Vegas, followed by San Jose, Los Angeles, Portland, and a return to Las Vegas.
Competitions for the 7-player divisions started on Friday at the Las Vegas Sports Park.
For the first time, the XPSL held not just a weekend event, but a nearly week long paintball festival. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, a 3-player competition was held for three different skill classifications. SmokeBrake won the Amateur crown, SCP captured the Novice title and Justice League took home the first place trophy for the Rookies.
On Wednesday and Thursday the 5-player teams took to the fields, which are located at the south end of the famed "Strip" and offer amazing views of the city's high rise hotels and surrounding mountains. Again, the 5-player competition offered play for all three classifications.
After the two-day mini tournament, Urban Quest found itself a top the Amateur teams. BareBonz finished a s the best Novice team, and Chaos Theory beat out its fellow Rookie teams.
Among the teams in the 3-Player and 5-Player was a team who traveled all the way to the "Sin City" from Chinese Taipei. Their 3-Player team finished second in the Novice division and their 5-Player team finished fifth, just missing the cut to semi-finals.
The team fielded a 7-Player squad as well. Bright and early on Friday morning, the 7-Player teams for the Amateur and Novice divisions arrived and games started at 8:00 a.m.
Entering this season ending event, ACI
Splat Factory held a strong lead over TKO Snakes for the series championship
in the Amateur division. While the 72 point difference between the teams
wasn't insurmountable, it would take a total collapse by ACI Splat Factory
for the team to not be putting on their championship rings come Sunday
The 22 teams in the 7-Player Novice division were split into two brackets. Six teams from each bracket, for a total of 12 would advance to the quarterfinals. Savage and Street Hustlers took the early lead in their brackets by the end of Friday's games, but there was still plenty of paintball to be played before all the spots in the quarterfinals were claimed.
If the preliminary round had ended that night, Cent Cal Paranoid (series leader) and Team Rip (fourth in series points) would be on the outside looking in.
While the Amateurs and Novices continued their preliminary round games on Saturday, the morning saw the start of the 7-Player Rookie and 3-Player Young Guns competitions. Of the 36 7-Player Rookie Teams, 16 would advance to the quarterfinals - five from each of the three 12-team brackets and one wild card.
The top five teams in points for the series championship were separated by just 50 points, so the winner of the event could certainly be the champions of the series as well.
By advancing to the quarterfinals in the 7-Player Amateur division, ACI Splat Factory captured the 2004 XPSL Series Championships. Entering the season ending Las Vegas event, ACI Splat Factory held a 72 point lead over TKO Snakes. While the Snakes also advanced to the quarterfinals, the most points they could gain was 41 Ė the difference in event points between first and eighth place.
Joining ACI and the Snakes in one quarterfinal bracket were SDR and Punishment. In the other quarterfinal bracket, Wicked held the top seed followed by Mantis Vegas Style, Colorado Shooters and GP Factory. The top two teams from each bracket would advance to the semi-finals.
Saturdayís action also set the quarterfinals for the 7-Player Novice division. Absent from the 12 teams advancing was series points leader Cent Cal Paranoid. Nurv and Street Hustlers were just 20 points behind in the standings, and both teams made it to the quarterfinals. Vengeance and One Up Kids joined them to make up one of the three quarterfinal brackets.
Team Rip, entering as fourth in the series, headed to the next quarterfinal and would face off against Solid Reign, Savage and Dark Matter. The last quarterfinal featured action among Ground Control, Total Chaos, Phat Performance and Black Magic.
While the 7-Player teams were battling it out on three of the outdoor fields at the Las Vegas Sports Park, the 3-Player Young Guns took over the remaining field. Coming into the event, there was a tight bunch of teams in the top of the series standings. In fact, every event this season has produced a different winner. Dysfunction held a 16 point lead in series points, but they failed to make it out of the quarterfinals in Las Vegas. Urban Quest Ė second in series points - also failed to make it to the semi-finals, so the door was open for Thunderkids and Breakout Kids to make their move. The two teams won their semi-finals games, and met each other in the final. The winner would have a shot at overtaking Dysfunction for the series title. In the best-of-three match, Thunderkids came out on top to win the tournament, but it wasnít enough for the series points race. Dysfunction held on for the series championship by just 2 points.
Teams in the 7-Player Rookie Division completed their preliminary round games Sunday morning. Here are the 16 teams moving on into the quarterfinals. The top team from each bracket would advance to the semi-finals.
Wicked held the top seed in the 7-Player
Amateur Semi-Finals, but was upset by the fourth seed, the Colorado sharpshooters.
In the other semi-final, the top two teams in series points faced off against
each other, TKO Snakes as the second seed and ACI Splat Factory as the
third. ACI Splat Factory had already secured the series championship entering
the match, but they still had the motivation to win and advance to the
finals. There, the Colorado Sharpshooters lived up the their name and knocked
off ACI Splat Factory.