MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Fourteen teams from the Marine Corps Installations West competed in the first 7-on-7 West Coast Regional Paintball Tournament Dec. 13, at the Paige Field House Parade Deck at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
To represent Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion created teams Broken and Super Troopers and entered them into the day-long competition.
All the teams were separated into two divisions where they played six preliminary matches for points that would determine their seats in the tournament’s elimination bracket.
Three points were awarded for eliminating an opposing player and one point was awarded for each player who remained in the game throughout the match. Teams were also awarded 22 points for pulling their opponent’s flag and 50 points for capturing it. A perfect game, which is known as a max, was worth 100 points, and was achieved by team Broken.
Despite both depot teams lacking experience, they won most of their games during the preliminary matches.
“It was some of our teammates’ first time playing the sport, but we seemed to do well and we had a good time,” said Cpl. Nathan Handville, team captain for Broken.
During an early match in the preliminaries, team Broken faced off against the Super Troopers. From the break, which is the beginning of a match, Broken’s captain made a move to the snake bunker, which is a key position at center of the field, and eliminated the opposing player at that position. He then flanked the remaining Super Troopers players while his teammates moved up the field increasing pressure until everyone was eliminated.
“We learned that gaining the most ground off the break and controlling the snake bunker were crucial for winning,” said Handville.
Broken, composed of nine wounded warriors with Marine Medical Rehabilitation Platoon at Naval Medical Center San Diego, lost only one game during the preliminaries, giving them the third seat for the elimination bracket.
Matches were 7-on-7 but teams were allowed a roster of 10 players. The Super Troopers, composed of armory and public affairs Marines, did not have enough players for a fair game.
Although they played the preliminary matches with only six players, they managed to defeat the Business Givers, the first place finishers of the practice tournament that was held the day before.
The Super Troopers only lost two games in the preliminaries. Yet because of the competition’s point system, they ended up in the fifth seat for the elimination bracket.
“We played a man down during the (preliminary matches) so we had to play harder,” said Cpl. Jason Craig, Super Troopers. “But we got lazy after our seventh player arrived for the elimination bracket. We did good with only six players so we thought the seventh player would help us even more.”
The Super Trooper entered the elimination bracket with a full team and were pitted against one of the tournament’s lowest ranking teams. They went into the match expecting an easy win, but lost.
The Super Troopers were sent to the losers’ bracket. Another loss would end the event for them.
Their fate would be decided in a match against another lower ranking team. At the sound of the referee’s whistle starting the match, the Super Troopers’ opponents sent two of their players into a key position at the center of the field.
Responding to the aggression, a Super Troopers’ player moved late into the same key position.
Several minutes later, the Super Troopers’ player sprung to his feet and ran toward the opposing players’ positions in a desperate attempt to change the outcome of the game.
He eliminated both opposing players, but he was eliminated during the close-quarters battle.
The move was effective, but not enough to stop the opposing team, which defeated the Super Troopers and eliminated them from the tournament.
While the Super Troopers went home early, team Broken stayed in the fight.
Broken won the first few matches of the winners’ bracket; but as the competition grew, they lost a match and were sent to the losers’ bracket. They struggled through most of the games as they moved closer to the finals.
In the match that would send them into the finals, Broken fell short, resulting in a fifth place finish overall.
So as the two depot teams went home early, an experienced Camp Pendleton team, Justice, swept the competition without losing a game.
The first through fourth place teams were awarded prize packages with trophies and paintball gear.
“The event was very competitive but it was also friendly,” said Handville. “It was a sweet opportunity to get out of the barracks and have a good time.”