June 26, 2005

The Chicago PSP, MN Style

The highly anticipated Chicago event of the PSP proved to be a hot one. With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s and the sun blazing down Minnesota players took to the field. The event layout consisted of seven Xball fields and one NXL field. The location of the event was adjacent to a water park in the suburbs of Chicago, which caught the eyes of many overheated onlookers. One of the downfalls of the event was parking. Players were told that parking would be free, yet the park district charged $5 per vehicle. While there may have been ample parking, water was a hot commodity. With such high temperatures everyone needed water, especially the participating athletes who should have been provided with a free supply.
With the Chicago event so close to home many local teams ventured off to try their luck at the PSP. In Division III 5man Team Magnum, God Squad, and Superior Firepower all went to see how they would fair against the other 5man teams. With so many teams competing, the cut was high. Superior Fire came out with 318 points winning 3 games and placing 63rd overall. Team Magnum lost their first 3 games but went on to win their last 5 receiving an overall score of 488 points and 31st place. God Squad faired the best out of the Minnesota teams winning 5 games, and receiving 488 points and taking 30th place overall.
In Division II 5man the regulars, Team Splatball, and new comers, St. Croix Paintball Supply. St. Croix Paintball Supply tried their best in the competition but came up short winning only one game and receiving 144 points and 29th place. One of the better teams around Minnesota, Team Splatball, won 5 games yet still fell short in advancing into semis. In the end, Splatball came out with 488 points and took 14th place, which is rather unusual for teams ranked 1st in the season’s standings.
This year the PSP introduced the Young Gunz category for players younger than 15 years of age. Led by Captain Jake “Hiphop” Engelen, the Love Crew took it to the rest of the teams dropping only one game during prelims. After prelims were over, Love Crew was sitting in first with 590 points going into finals. During finals Love Crew won their first two games but dropped one to Explicit Content Kidz and were edged out of 1st and were forced took home the 2nd place prize.
Division III Xball was packed with new-coming teams testing themselves to see at the National level. Included was Zero, formerly FSL factory who brought along veteran Minnesota players Tim Schroepfer, Mike Randall, and Matt Davidson to help them along the way. Zero was taking it to the competition all event winning their first game over Team Never, 7 - 5. They hit a road block against Ultimate Kidz loosing 6 – 8, but bounced right back, tromping No Excuses 13-1. Friday showed Zero up against an experienced Pinnacle Woods team, but this would not stop them as they won decisively 8 – 5. Later that day Zero again took it to Team Mutiny winning 8 – 2. It looked as if Zero was going to win the event; however the heat and constant playing everyday took its toll as they were outplayed by the Naughty Leprechauns, 12 – 5.
Division II Xball proved to be a tough one for our Minnesota teams. On Thursday, Northside lost over a great division II team Rock-It-Kids 6 – 9. This was a hard fought battle, but the Rock-It-Kids had their stuff together and pulled the win in the end. The ICU Rattlesnakes were also in full effect at Chicago with several Minnesota locals including Nate Boyer, Ian Selleck, Jason Calef, and Damian Ryan. They consequently won their first two games on Thursday by good margins. Team Disaster also showed signs on Minnesota pride as Aaron “Wuzzum” Bruss and Lance Lynard guest starred for the team. However Thursday took a turn as the team fell to Team Panic, 4 – 10. As Friday rolled around, Northside got nasty, taking out their loss from Rock-It-Kids on team Aftermath winning 13 – 5. Disaster got their things together and edged out the Cincinnati AllStars 8 -4. Northside’s third game was a face-off against New Jersey Jesters. The game was a battle that went back and forth and finally to the Jesters. The final score: Northside 5, New Jersey Jesters 6. “Wuzzum” and the Lynard boys couldn’t help Team Disaster enough and they lost in a close game to the Spent Allstars 8 – 9. Both Northside and Disaster were out in three.
The only Divisional team to still be playing by Saturday was Division II team ICU Rattlesnakes. ICU beat the favored PunishersPB.com team in a close match after PunishersPB.com got a 5 minute penalty. ICU walked away with the win 10 - 6. Later ICU faced Team Panic and edged them out 7- 6.
Sunday is the day every team hopes to make it to and ICU Rattlesnake delivered. Early Sunday they matched up against the favored team to win the event; Team LTZ. LTZ is a well-coached and funded team that has been on a hot steak winning most of their divisional games and events. Minnesota baller, Kaarin Schroepfer, made the team even more exciting to watch. This was a hard fought battle, but it gave ICU their first loss of the event 6 – 9 and put LTZ in the driver’s seat to see who they would play for the final match. Meanwhile Team Xtreme faced off against ICU to see who would play LTZ for the final match. This looked to be no contest as ICU established their presence and beat Team Xtreme 10 – 4. The final game came down to LTZ vs. ICU, from the get go it looked as if ICU was worn out, rightfully so as this was their third game of the day. They also lost Nate Boyer early on in the event due to a knee injury. After the dusk settled ICU was given a lesson in how to ball on Sunday loosing 9 – 1.
At the same time as divisional and 5man play 3 Minnesota players were competing in the NXL league. Pat Roberts and Todd Hugo of the Philly Americans and Aaron Tholey of Miami Effect were battling other elite members of the NXL throughout the weekend. Thursday Philly lost to Boston 3 – 16 and Miami lost to New York 5 – 13. Friday saw Philly face off against Chicago in a close clash, but Shock came away with the victory winning 8 – 7. Miami had lots of trouble with the Ironmen loosing 16 – 4. Saturday saw Philly lose to Oakland 4 – 13 while Miami went head-to-head with Boston. This was a royal beat down with Legion winning 16 – 3. Finally, just before Sunday’s match up, Miami Effect underwent a roster change as Aaron Tholey and Ryan Moorehead were traded to the Philly Americans. Miami added previous Philly players J.T. Bouchard, Caleb Adcock, Jason Green, B.J. Jolley and Tim Jenkins. A huge trade, the Gardner brothers were obviously up to something. Immediately following the trade Miami faced off against Oakland, but lost 4 – 9. On the other side of the trade, Philly went on and beat on Legacy 8 – 6.
With this trade taking place, all of a sudden all of the Minnesota Professional NXL players play for the same team (Philadelphia Americans). This should give everyone back here in Lumberjack land a team to love (or hate) in the NXL.

Overall the PSP Chicago Open was held on a great venue, had over 200 teams competing from all over the world & was a true test of athleticism with the heat index nearly reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have not attended a national event I would highly recommend it not just to see the best of the best competing but to also visit all the vendors from every major paintball company.

Here is a link to the PSP website if you are looking for more information on the PSP. www.pspevents.com 

This is Aaron “ LumberJack” Tholey reporting on the PSP Chicago Open 2005 with nothing but hATe.

For more information on our contributing writer Aaron Tholey please visit www.aarontholey.com 

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