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Big Midwest 5-Man 2002 
November 24, 2002
Toledo, Ohio

First Place - HyperActive Blue - Detroit, MI
Second Place - Underground Sports - Hudson, OH
Third Place - Team Dread - Ontario, Canada

This year's Big Midwest 5-Man marked the third annual competition for the Midwest title at Toledo Indoor Paintball.  Teams from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Canada, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio all gathered in Northwest Ohio for the tournament.  TIP (Toledo Indoor Paintball) puts on a plethora of tournaments every year, this being their biggest 5-Man of the season.  The spacious indoor facility is located in the backside of a shopping plaza and is an ideal place for teams to travel to, with hotels and entertainment in the same area.  TIP's 25,000 sq. ft. indoor field allows them to put on an intimate tournament packed with competition.

Only one half of the field was needed to run the Midwest competition.  The field had a freshly tilled dirt floor, was netted all around, and consisted of Ultimate Airball bunkers and a dead box, which stretched from floor to ceiling.  Huge 1,000 watt metal halide lights illuminated the playing area, causing some glare.  Players staged in an a newly renovated staging area, complete with a stage, PA announcer and well lit scoreboard.  Nothing was cramped, which is unusual for an indoor event.

Toledo Indoor Paintball's professional marshals and Tippmann Effect players made up the refereeing staff.  At all times, no less than eight experienced referees were on-field.  The chrono judge was Toledo Indoor Paintball's own gun tech and Bad Company pro player, Colby Gallagher.  Players were frustrated by Colby's strict equipment guidelines, which wouldn't allow them to enter the field until they passed his inspection.  Colby's vast knowledge of equipment and playing experience made him an excellent choice for chrono judge.   Strict enforcement at the chono rounded off the staff line-up which made for straight-up games throughout the day.  The field setup was brand new and no one was allowed to play the field before the tournament.  Teams were allowed to walk it the night before.

Games began at 9:00am.  Corey Rogge was one of the attendees at the event.  His take on the tournament:  "The field was excellent for run-thrus and lots of bunkering was going on.  Tons of paint was flying through the air.  It was just mayhem on the field," explained Corey Rogge who wished he could have played but was only be a spectator.  A lot of tough teams turned out and the competition was stiff.  Former Farside members made up the the team Evil Factory, who competed.  They were the team favored to win before the games began.  Other teams were intimidated by their experience but, surprisingly, they did not take the Midwest title.  Underground Sports, an unknown team made up of young men, did not look like they would be a threat but ended up surprising everyone.  These players, all under 18, showed that they had real game that was completely underestimated.   The smallest player, bantered loud, high pitched calls to his fellow teammates to help execute smooth wins throughout the day.   These boys were amazing to watch and hear on the field.  The Underground Sports kids took a close second, beating out every team with the exception of HyperActive Blue.  It was impressive.  They were a team to be weary of if you had to play them.

Throughout the tournament, players names were drawn for prize giveaways.  Toledo Indoor Paintball frequently does drawings at their tournaments.   TIP drawing prize sponsors included JT, National Paintball, Diablo, Smart Parts, Paintball Sports, FaceFull and many others.  The prizes added some extra fun off field.  So too did the player interviews that were conducted by the TIP announcer, Corey Walter.  You heard players telling about where they were from and what their opinions about the field were over the PA system while you were staging.  All of the player reviews were positive.

Scores were close and the cutoff was tight at the end of the preliminary round.  Quite a few teams narrowly missed making it to the final round.  At the end of the the prelim's though, both HyperActive Blue and Yellow, Underground Sports and Team Dread advanced to the finals.  The competition was  formidable.  Under pressure to win in the the finals, one team tried to plant one of their alternate players as a spectator to throw the games off.  Their player threw on a different shirt and tried to accuse a referee of wiping a hit off a player right after his team lost a game.  All of the other spectators foiled this attempt by stating that they saw nothing of the sort happen.  It was a desperate attempt of a team trying to win at any cost and in the most unsportmanlike way possible.  Luckily, it did not effect the games at all.  Almost all of the teams at this event were friendly and sportsmanlike and the ones who were not were immediately foiled by the experienced referees.

During the finals, Underground Sports and HyperActive Blue ended up being the ones to beat.  Teams would not know this until all of the games were completed.  No team won all of their preliminary or final round games.  This indicates that the competition was so equal that no one team could dominate the tournament.  In the finals, both HyperActive Blue and Underground Sports maxed two out of the three final's games they played.  Each team lost one final's game.  It came down to the measly difference of 9 points, earned from eliminations, that separated the 1st Place team from the 2nd Place team.  In the end, HyperActive Blue, from Detroit, won the Midwest title.  

In 2001, Detroit Rush won the Midwest title.  The title has changed hands in 2002, going to HyperActive, but one player has held on to it.  Nick Gersky, formerly of Brimstone Smoke, has been on the winning team both years running.  Nick has played a big part in planning both teams' strategies at these events.  He has been able to take good players and make them into a winning team.  Nick Gersky, Jason Bare, Jason Nelson, Mark Sanders and Rich Baughman can officially claim that they are "The Best in the Midwest" until the next Big Midwest 5-Man in 2003.

The award ceremony was quite a production.  The winners stood on the large TIP stage, gave credit to their sponsors, and thanks to their supporters and the event producers, Kimberly Heretick and Erich Garbers.  The 1st Place team took home Smart Parts Impulses, Crossfire 71 c.i. 4500 tanks, as well as some smaller items, and prizes were given down to 8th Place.  Players thought the prizes were excellent.  After the awards ceremony, Toledo Indoor Paintball threw yet more prizes out into the audience.  This is customary at all of TIP's tournaments, no matter how small they are.  JT t-shirts, posters, Empire gear bags, Diablo Jerseys, Straight Shot squeegies, Smart Parts barrel bags and many other paintball products were thrown.  Nearly all players walked away from this tournament with something in their hand and a smile on their face.

Toledo Indoor Paintball's winter tournament schedule has a Top Gun, 3, 5, 7 and 10-Man tournaments planned to go off between November and April.  Information can be found online on their website,, or stay tuned to for updates. 

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