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USPL Huntington Beach
First Place Pro - San Diego Dynasty
Arguably one of the most prestigious and talked about tournaments in paintball, Huntington Beach has an undeniable appeal - playing on the beach in "Surf City, USA" in front of thousands of fans, many of whom are getting a look at paintball, or at least tournament paintball for the first time as they head out to the beach for a day of fun.
The Huntington Beach tournament tradition started after the NPPL, Inc., founded by Chuck Hendsch, parted ways with Paintball Sports Promotions, and needed a grand-slam first tournament to prove that it's new partnership with Pure Promotions could deliver top quality events. Heralded as a major success, Huntington Beach put the new Super 7 World Series of paintball on the map, and has been an attractor, even after the league was sold, declined and went bankrupt. Even without the NPPL name, Huntington Beach drew teams in 2009 to Hendsch's newly formed US Paintball League, which later obtained the rights to the NPPL name, because there is a special mystique to the mix of paintball, sand and waves.
Even with the economic driven decline in paintball tournament activity in the US, the 2010 NPPL Huntington Beach tournament managed to bring out 58 amateur 7 man teams to play on the same field as the pros, and another 20 5 man teams to fill out the tournament's 3 fields. As has become the standard since shortly after the NPPL stopped using mixed-division preliminary rounds, the tournament's opening day, Friday was filled with amateur games, leaving the pros to play only on the weekend, in order to increase spectator draw.
Each division played their preliminary round games, then were ranked by total points earned. Depending on the size of the division, top teams played intermediate rounds as needed to narrow the field down to the top four, which went on to the semifinal round where best two out of three games were played between the first and fourth ranked teams and between the second and third ranked teams. The winners of the semifinal pairings moved on to play each other for first and second place in the finals, while the losing teams faced each other in a consolation round and played for third and fourth place.
The pump class division saw Third Eye beating Blitz for third place, and LA Hitmen.com defeating LA Hitment.com Secret Service for first place.
In the 5-man competition, it was RIT Tigers Orange taking third place Division IV from Tropix Hawaii Tradition with back to back wins, and Blackout defeating Str8 Shooters with a win, loss and win for the title.
SCP Edge fell to Heartless in the Division III 5-man consolation round, and eNVy REIGN narrowly defeated Good For Nothing for first place. In this well-matched finish, the teams came to a draw their first game (neither hung a flag, the game was stopped due to time). eNVy REIGN managed a win the second game, and the third game also went to the clock.
In the Super 7, D3 was big enough to merit both sweet 16 and elite 8 knock-out rounds. TLORDS finished third with back to back wins over Minions, while Notorious posted a win, loss and win against Team RIP for first place.
Division II, with its sweet 16 and elite 8 rounds produced a final four that ended up with Impact Echo finishing third over Part Time Ninjas. Vanguard won their first game against Infamy, and the pair's remaining two games both ran down the clock, giving the first place trophy to Vanguard.
The teams of Division 1 rolled straight to their semis and then their finals. There, Naughty Dogs Silver fell to Hollywood HK in two games running, for a fourth place finish. Warped Army won their first game against Arsenal Predators, but lost the next. They turned it around for the third, and finished the tournament in first place.
After a full 8 game set, the pros moved to their semifinals and finals. There, Oakland BLAST lost their first game against Los Angeles Infamous, but won the next two for third place, and the same happened to San Diego Dynasty, giving them a first place win over Edmonton Impact. Dynasty, the first team ever to have won the Huntington Beach tournament, and the team to win it several years following found themselves back on top.
From Huntington Beach, the next stop for the NPPL Super 7 World Series of Paintball will be at CPX, outside of Chicago Illinois.
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