By Jeff Cooper

A paintball team comprised of five Tampa Bay Area players competed for and won the National Speedball title at the end of September. The Tiger Sharks, from South Tampa Paintball, traveled to Boise, Idaho to compete against the Idaho Timber Wolves.

The team included players from Brandon, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Valrico, and was leading the game 1-0 with 30 seconds remaining. Idaho then proved why they were leading contenders as they tied the score 1-1 causing the competition to go into overtime.

Overtime consists of a 1 on 1 shootout to capture the flag at the 50 yard line. This goes for three rounds and the team that gets the best of three takes home the cup. The teams split the first two rounds causing a third round to take place. The last Tiger Shark shooter, Robert Tuten of Brandon, faced Idaho in a 1 on 1 match to decide the winner. In a fight to the finish, Tuten came out on top and the Tiger Sharks won 2-1.

This is the first national title for the team whose season began late last spring. The Tiger Sharks home field is South Tampa Paintball, located on 50th St., just south of Causeway Blvd. The managers of the park, Casey Henry and Amy Abdnour could not be more thrilled. Opening the park, putting together a team, and bringing home the national title is quite an achievement in less than two years.

Abdnour, who was part of the pit crew for the Tiger Sharks, was extremely proud of the dedication and perseverance the team showed while training for the big event. Jonah Cooper, a 15-year-old student from Bloomingdale High School and player on the Tiger Shark team said, “The team really came together the past few weeks while training and traveling. Traveling 2,400 miles to compete over a weekend is a challenge, but to bring home the cup is truly an accomplishment.”

For more information on the Tiger Sharks, call Abdnour at 956-2038.

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