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October 7-9 2005
Photos by Matt Dawson
- Young Guns 2005 Series Champs
TKO - 1st Place
For the fifth and final major event of its 2005 tournament season, the Proto XPSL paintball league landed at Hollywood Sports Park. Located in Bellflower, California Hollywood Sports was the brainchild of SC Village owners Dennis Bukowski and Giovanni D’Egidio. The pair took west coast paintball to a new level by building a multisport complex that included cast-off movie sets from the motion picture industry to theme its staging areas and fields. Players literally are given the chance to play the movies, taking cover behind props actually used in films including Starship Troopers and Waterworld.
For the teams of the XPSL, Hollywood Sports was more than just a major tournament in the league – it was the major tournament – the last chance to earn points towards the series championships.
The Young Guns in the XPSL have an impressive history as the longest running major youth-only tournament circuit in the US. With the XPSL moving all of its events to Southern California for 2005, it became easier for young gun teams from the area to compete in each of the league’s tournaments, rather than just the one or two near them. Eight out of 32 teams played all four of the first majors in 2005, and seven of those teams comprised the top seven in the rankings. Team Ballistic was on the top of the heap heading into Hollywood, followed by SCP Kids Vegas and Urban Quest. With a 32-point lead Ballistic didn’t need to finish in first place to secure that series trophy, they just needed to finish well. In fact they had not placed first earlier in the season, but their consistent finishes put them at the top.
For the rookie 7 man teams the competition was closer. A mere two point separated top seated Mixed Company from Team Lit. Only ten points further behind were Epic SCP and Indecent. Any of these four could easily leave Bellflower as the 2005 Rookie Champs.
Total Chaos was more solidly positioned as the Novice leader. At 418 points they were ahead of Team RIP Novice’s 399 and BringItOnPaintball.com’s 397.
The big game in the XPSL is the Amateur 7-man. The series rules allow amateur teams to carry a pro on their roster, and it is not unusual to see some of the biggest names in the Southern California paintball scene leading a group of ams to the trophy table. Street Hustlers were at the top of the amateur division coming in to Hollywood Sports with 403 points, a solid lead over TKO’s 358 points or Bad Karma’s 326. For certain, the Hustlers would be the favorite to be Amateur Champions. Like all but three of the top 13 amateur teams the Street Hustlers had augmented finishes with points earned from competing in XPSL affiliated tournaments which were run by teams competing in the league. Interestingly Street Hustlers didn’t get a single first place win at any of the majors, their high ranking simply came from consistently finishing high enough in the rankings. In comparison HK by Paintballerz.com had a perfect record of wins, but having only competed in two of the major events, didn’t build the track record needed for the top series rank.
Games started on Friday for the amateur and novice divisions, each of which would start off by playing eight preliminary rounds. Island Paintball was the first day amateur leader, playing their first five games undefeated. TKO was ahead of them in points, but had played six games, losing one of them. All of the novice teams made their way through six games of play by the end of the day, with Bring It On Paintball taking their place at the top of the rankings. Second ranked Team Vengance was only a point behind, and like Bring It On, had not lost a game.
Saturday saw the completion of the amateur and novice preliminary games as well as all of the prelims for the tournament’s largest division, the rookies. With 9 amateur teams competing, the division was run without quarterfinals. The top four ams instead would advance straight to Sunday’s semifinals. Island Paintball was the definitive amateur leader at 480 points, having lost only on of their eight games. TKO came in at 605, after a pair dropped games. These two were followed by Bad Karma and Wicked. Naughty X Nature, was edged out of the semis by an eighteen point gap.
For the novice teams, in a division large enough to support quarterfinals, the cut was more generous, with 12 out of the 21 team moving on to Sunday’s quarters. Bring It On Paintball made it through their eight games undefeated, followed by a closely stacked Vengeance and Epic, each with a loss. Turbulence was the last team to make the grade, with a 56 point lead putting them ahead of Point Blank.
The rookie division fielded twenty-six teams. Of this group, the top sixteen would advanced to Sunday’s quarterfinals, based on their performance in the prelims. Unlike the higher ranked divisions, the rookie team’s prelims were split over Saturday and Sunday morning. By scheduling the teams newer to tournaments on the weekend only rather than Friday, the XPSL is structured to make it easier for teams to get into and play tournament paintball. At the end of five games on Saturday Team LIT was the rookie leader with Island Breed Black and West Coast hot on their tail.
The XPSL Young Guns division – the world’s longest running age restricted tournament series began as Young Guns in the Great Western Series and stayed with the league through its growth into the Pan Am and finally the XPSL. Limited to players aged 15 and under at the start of the year, and to a players that haven’t competed as rookie or above in a national tournament, the Young Guns series is truly designed to introduce young people to tournament paintball. Out of thirteen competing young guns teams, eight were advanced to their quarterfinals, which were also held on Saturday. Karnage Factory Kids ripped through the seven game prelims with only a single loss, taking the top seat in the quarters. Misled Youth edged out Velocity Wrecking Crew by 80 points to grab the last available slot.
In their quarterfinals, the young guns competed in two divisions of four. Each team played the other three teams in their division, and they were then ranked based on total score. Mixed Kids, Team Ballistic, EYG Fusion, and Contraband advanced to the semifinals. Contraband had tied with SCP Kids Vegas at 118 points. Contraband was advanced because when the two teams had played each other, Contraband was the winner.
In the semifinals, Mixed Kids beat Contraband and EYG Fusion beat Team Ballistic. The semifinals did not eliminate any of these four teams from the running, instead it simply ranked them for their positions in the finals. Contraband and Team Ballistic played against each other. Contraband as the winner came in third place, and Team Ballistic in Fourth. Mixed Kids placed first in the tournament by defeating EYG Fusion which placed second.
Even though they didn’t come in first, Team Ballistic’s fourth place finish earned them 77 series points, giving them a total of 401, and making them the 2005 Proto XPSL Young Guns champions.
On Sunday the rookies played their remaining preliminary round games and headed into the quarterfinals. Due to the number of teams, they played quarters in three divisions of four teams each, with the top team in each division moving on to the semifinals, as well as the next team ranked by score overall. These four teams went to the semis where Mixed Company defeated Island Breed Black and Epic SCP beat West Coast. Re-sorted by the semis, the same four teams played in their new pairings for the finals. West Coast bested Island Breed Black for third place, and Mixed Company took home second place after falling to first placed Epic SCP.
The novices, like the rookies played twelve team quarterfinals, with the top team from each of the three divisions, plus one wildcard moving up to the semifinals. In the semis LA Wildcards fell to Excessive Force and Team Vengeance defeated Epic. Epic took down LA Wildcards in the finals to place third, and Vengeance brought home the first place trophy by beating second placed Excessive Force.
The big show – the amateur division – had skipped quarterfinals due to its size. In the amateur semifinals, lowest ranked Wicked beat top ranked Island Paintball, while TKO defeated Bad Karma. Re-ordered for the finals with the winners from the semis facing each other, as well as the losers, Island Paintball beat Bad Karma to grab the third place trophy. It all came down to the game between Wicked and TKO. TKO came out the victor, placing first and putting Wicked in second place.