Drexel Paintball Racks Up National Championship Win
The Drexel University Paintball Club is now the number one team in the country, having won the 2019 National Collegiate Paintball Association (NCPA) College National Championships that were held from April 12-14 in Kissimmee, Florida.
The last time that the University’s most colorful club sport had won — or even made it to the finals — was in 2010. Almost a decade later, the team won all three of the regular season regional conference tournaments that it competed in, went undefeated in the three matches in the championship’s preliminary rounds, knocked out last year’s champions (Liberty University) in the semi-finals match and defeated the 2017 champions (University of Central Florida) in the finals match to become national champions.
“Things that contributed to this year’s success would be the abysmal showing we had last year at nationals, the amount of time players spent improving their own ability, the team chemistry that developed and the support of our coaches and alumni,” said Kevin Leong, a leader of the club and a fourth-year environmental engineering major in the College of Engineering.
This year’s team is composed of 10 students — and, Leong said, they’re “always looking for more!” There are also three alumni assisting with coaching and staffing duties throughout the season.
The team plays the fast-paced speedball style of paintball, with the games played on a netted 50-yard field with five players on each team ducking and shooting behind inflatable air bunkers while eliminating the other team’s players by hitting them with the water- or oil-based paint-filled capsules that are paintballs. The end goal is to grab the flag located at the center of the field and hang it on the opposing team’s side — all without being hit. Basically, it’s an extremely intense — and colorful — mashup of dodgeball and capture the flag, but with a paintball marker (or gun) setup, paintballs, uniforms, masks and goggles.
Drexel Paintball was founded about 25 years ago as one of the earliest college paintball clubs in the country, and was a founding member of the NCPA. But after its 2010 run, administrative issues and a loss of graduated members led to the team losing its recognition status. In 2014, the team started back up again and now, five years later, it’s the best team in the country.
All of the team’s games from the tournament were broadcasted online. Here’s footage from the championship game: