national paintball championships

NDSU Paintball Club Looks to Smash at National Tournament

national paintball championships

Though it’s been a while since we last checked in with North Dakota State’s Paintball Club, the group has been hard at work.

One of NDSU’s more undercover clubs, the paintball team is composed of members from all backgrounds who work hard throughout the entire year in preparation for one thing: the National Paintball Tournament.

While the group isn’t new to traveling — lack of competition in North Dakota forces them to travel in order to compete against teams at an even skill level — this year’s National Tournament is located in Kissimmee, Florida — a location completely new to team.

“St. Paul is probably the coolest location we have been this year,” joked senior captain Conner Poppke.

“Going to Florida is a first for the club,” added junior Cole Praus. “Usually as a club we wander down to Illinois once a season along with a Wisconsin trip and many trips to the Twin Cities as well.”

Spending its season competing in the Mid-West North conference of the National Collegiate Paintball Association, NDSU’s team will be surrounded by plenty of new talent in this year’s tournament.

Traveling with the team are six members who have been consistent all year long, offering the team the best shot at a successful finish in the tournament.

Making the trip down south are Poppke, Praus, sophomore Alex Volk, senior Aaron Schaefer, freshman Brandon Tatge and senior Brandon Huffman.

“These guys have put in the work for practices and scrimmages,” Poppke said. “Even when it means missing three weekends in a row to get ready.”

In addition to weekend trips to scrimmage at the practice facilities located near the Twin Cities, the team has been holding plenty of meetings and practices in order to prepare for anything the National Tournament has in store for them.

“We’ve had to make sure all of our gear is fixed and in top working shape,” Huffman said.

“There has been lots of focus on communication and fundamentals to prep for Nationals,” Praus added.

Since the NCPA allows players at all different levels, the team isn’t completely sure about the type of talent they could see.

“Most of the teams are around our skill level, so there will be a lot of hard fought matches,” Schaefer said.

The concept of hard work in this tournament is clear to the team.

“Our goal is to make it out of the preliminary round and into the playoffs,” Huffman said. “If we get into the playoffs, maybe with a little luck we can take home some hardware.”

With the schedule being released only a few days before the tournament, it’s hard to tell exactly who the team will be facing in each of their games.

The tournament takes place from Friday to Sunday, and the team patiently awaits the big reveal.

“There are so many variables that all impact how a match could go,” Poppke said. “We just need to bring our A-game and be ready for whatever is thrown at us. Hopefully we can podium and put NDSU on the map at this level.”

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