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Proto XPSL Corona, 2005
 July 8-10, 2005
Photos by Matt Dawson of Team Shaglavin
Story by Bill Mills with Jeff Oliver

First Place Amateur - HK By
First Place Novice - Total Chaos
First Place Rookie - Team LIT
First Place, Young Guns - SCP Kids - Vegas

The Proto XPSL set down for the third event of its 2005 season at SC Village in Corona, California, doing so for the second time in the season.  The event drew 16 Amateur seven-player teams fighting for a share of a $10,000 cash prize purse. Thirty-One Novice seven-player teams, 34 Rookie seven-player teams and 17 Young Gun three-player teams competed for more than 
$30,000 in prizes.

As one of the longest running and largest fields in the Southern California paintball scene SC reigns as one of the world’s most famous paintball fields.  It’s proximity to Action Pursuit Games magazine publisher CFW Enterprises has meant that through the 80s and 90s, when there were few internationally published paintball magazines, SC’s regular appearance in photos illustrating various articles meant heavy exposure. 

The field has also been home to numerous innovations in the sport, including the first mandatory barrel plugs, and the first Speedball field.  In the late 1990s, Ironman team member Brahim Estephan teamed up with the SC’s Dennis and Giovani to design and build the SC Arenas, a concept field tournament complex with fully netted, paved walkways interlinking the game fields.  As with previous SC Village firsts, the arenas influenced the design of other paintball sites around the world.

With the 2005 Proto XPSL season restricting the series’ region to Southern California where the bulk of the series’ players are based, it was only fitting that SC Village would host one of the events. 

Games started on Friday.  As is usual to the XPSL format, the amateur and novice teams were first on the field, starting off with their preliminary round games.  This format puts the rookies and young guns beginning on the weekend, making travel easier for the teams that are just starting out.  XPSL promoter Dan Bonebrake has often stated that he sees the series as an incubator for young teams to grow and gain experience, and that philosophy is carried out through scheduling, ref training, and the use of affiliated tournaments where an XPSL team can host their own small local tournament.  This gives the teams an opportunity to raise funds for their budget and the teams that compete in the affiliated event have the chance to earn additional XPSL series points.  With the league’s connection to the NPPL as a feeder series, the idea of fostering team growth is only further emphasized.

After five games, eight Amateur teams separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Triple Tap helds the first day lead, with Street Hustlers holding the number eight spot.  A  sweep of three games by a team on Saturday and any faults by the teams at the top would mean a shake up of the standings. 

In the Novice division, 16 teams were scheduled to advance to the quarterfinals. Leading after one day and five games was Ambush, followed by Tombstone, and Break 50. Many teams were tied or separated by just a few points, so every point earned on the field Saturday would be crucial to make the quarterfinals.

On Saturday, the Rookies were set to play in the morning. In the afternoon the Amateurs and Novice teams would finish their preliminary round play. The Young Guns would also start and complete their competition on Saturday.

Temperatures hit triple digits but many of the teams cooled off in the team paddock area, a new feature starting at this event for the XPSL. The paddocks offer teams their own tented area to stage, as well as water and fruit to enjoy, much in the style of the NPPL.

Saturday’s games saw the completion of the amateur and novice prelims, as well as the whole ball of wax for the young guns.

By the end of the day’s play TKO was at the top of the amateur rankings.  While they had lost their fist game, the following seven were all wins.  Street Hustlers were the number eight team, the last to make the cut.  It didn’t match their third place post-prelim ranking achieved at the 2005 Los Angeles XPSL, but it was all they needed to have a chance at the finals.  A solid 83 point lead put them in over Naughty X Nature. 

For the novice teams, the cut to the semis seemed a bit more forgiving, as the top 16 teams advanced.  Ambush led the pack, completing their games undefeated, followed by Excessive Force with a single loss.  Team RIP from Fresno, CA was the last team to make the cut, and they did so by the skin of their teeth.  RIP had tied with Just Paintball, both teams finishing their games with a total of 427.  The tiebreaker decision handed the higher ranking to RIP and they were on their way to the semifinals.

Seventeen teams came out to compete in the young guns division.   The XPSL’s young guns division, building on its history with the GWS and Pan Am reigns as the longest running, and largest young guns tournament series in the world.  With entry restricted to first year tournament players aged under 16, it is designed to act as a springboard to bring new players into tournament paintball.  Proto Paintball, the XPSL’s presenting sponsor has sought to further promote the young guns concept by providing a free case of Proto Paintballs to each team competing, and offering them a discount on additional cases, so that the cost of competing is less of a roadblock.  In a release announcing the sponsorship, Gary Shows from Proto paintball said, “The players that play Young Guns are the future of the sport. Proto is proud to be a part of their tournament experience and will help as much as possible to encourage these players throughout their paintball career.”

Mixed Kids led the young guns at the completion of their eight prelim games, with an undefeated record.  SCP Kids Vegas ranked second 179 points behind them.  Karnage Factory Kids was the eighth and last team to make the cut. 

The top 8 teams then went into their semifinal rounds where they were broken into two divisions of four teams each.  Each team played three games, facing the other three teams in their division, the top two from each division ranked by total score went on to the finals.  This trimmed the pack in half, sending four finalists on to Sunday.

Sunday was the big day – finals for all divisions.  Amateur Finals ended with HK By in first place thanks to their win over second place TKO.  Street Hustlers finished third, and Bad Karma in fourth.

Total Chaos finished in first for the novice division, followed by Break 50, Team RIP and Tombstone.  For the rookies it was Team LIT on top, with Team Frenetic in second, Indecent in third and Recluse in fourth.

The young guns finished up with SCP Kids-Vegas taking home the first place trophy and prize package with Karnage Factory in second, Team Ballistic in third and Urban Quest Kids in fourth.

From Corona, the XPSL moves on to Redlands, California for the fourth event of the season, in September.  This will be followed by the season ender in Bellflower.

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