HPU’s paintball team enjoys successful first semester
By Megan Haverlah, HPU sophomore
BROWNWOOD – November 2, 2011 - Howard Payne University is now represented as part of the NCPA, National Collegiate Paintball Association. This is the first semester HPU has had a competing paintball team.
Team members include Alex Adcock, a junior from Bulverde; Jake Chastain, a senior from Brownwood; Kara Cheney, a senior from Temple; Juan Hernandez, a sophomore from Brownwood; Ethan Hopkins, a junior from Buda; and Kristopher Kloc, a senior from Leander.
The tournaments are played as “speedball,” a type of competitive paintball. The paintballs travel up to 200 mph.
“The object is to get the flag from the middle of the field to the other side of the field without getting shot by a paintball,” Hopkins said.
Each player has different responsibilities on the team, and members are chosen based on position openings, their abilities and what the team needs.
They each bring their own equipment, and their coach, James Darby, an adjunct paintball instructor, allows the students to use some of his personal equipment as well. The team practices at a field in Brownwood set up to match the specifications of the NCPA.
“Watching the team grow and seeing their accomplishments is the greatest part for me,” Darby said. “Coaching them and seeing them perform so well is an amazing feeling.”
Cheney, the only female on the team, serves as captain.
“One of my favorite things about paintball is something I call ‘the moment in the movement’,” Cheney said. “It's that moment when the adrenaline rush has taken over, and you're not thinking about anything else. Your mind is completely void of anything but the tactics of the game, your opponent and staying in the game to protect your teammates.”
The team practices Fridays, Saturdays and some Wednesdays and hopes to compete in about three tournaments a semester.
“I am really glad to be representing HPU and competing at this level,” Hopkins said.
The HPU paintball team recently played at a tournament hosted by Baylor University in Troy. Cheney led the team and was the only female to play in the tournament.
“Sometimes, it's a little intimidating being a female in such a male-dominated sport,” she said. “I definitely think more women should play.”
Despite being short a teammate, playing with four players instead of five, HPU managed to provide a tough competition for the other schools.
“We played against all Division I teams who had a lot more equipment than us, but we held our own,” said Adcock. “We didn’t win overall, but we beat teams from Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University in a few rounds. It was a challenge but it just goes to show that the HPU team can stand up against bigger schools.”
The next tournament will be November 5 in Allen, hosted by the University of North Texas.
Captions: Members of HPU’s first paintball team include (from left): Ethan Hopkins, Kara Cheney, Kristopher Kloc, Coach James Darby, Alex Adcock and Juan Hernandez. Not pictured is Jake Chastain.
Paintball team members shoot targets at a recent practice.