Intramural paintball and wakeboarding win nation gold

Students compete in an intramural volleyball game outside the SAC building on Saturday, July 9, 2005. Two of UT's intramural teams, the Paintball Club and the Wakeboarding Club, brought home two national championships from competition earlier this year.

After only half a year as the UT sports club coordinator, Cary Trexler has already seen impressive results.

The UT Paintball Club — in only its fifth year of competition — brought home its first national championship at the 2011 College Paintball National Championships in Lakeland, Fla., in April.

UT Paintball alum Matt Jenkins is still surprised at the paintball team's rapid progress in such little time.

"It was certainly a surreal story and we still can't believe that we made it all the way after only having recently been founded late in 2005," Jenkins said. "For many of our players, this was a dream come true (not many people get a change to bring home a national title), and you could literally feel the joy and relief when the team hoisted the trophy after our final match."

UT's Paintball Club wasn't the only squad to bring home the gold.

In May, the UT Wakeboarding Club — at the sixth annual Collegiate Wakeboard National Championships in San Diego, Calif. — fended off defending national champion Chico State, conference rival Florida, Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Wisconsin to secure its first national championship.

While the aforementioned clubs have achieved national success, the University of Tennessee sports clubs have seen rising success out of recently developed clubs.

The UT Roller Hockey Club, in only its third year of existence, hosted its first tournaments in March and April, and looks to compete nationally this fall in the Southeastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Conference, a region of the NCRHA, an organization in which defending national champion Miami competes.

That's not to say, for Trexler, that the other active clubs haven't been exciting to watch, especially clubs that have been around longer than 10 years.

Men's Ultimate Frisbee, formed in 1982, has finished fifth in regional in its past two seasons heading into the Fall Semester.

While Trexler has enjoyed seeing success, both consistently and up-and-coming, from sports clubs in their respective fields, the head of the sports clubs has been proud of the "cohesive" conduct off the field among the community.

"It takes leadership and time," Trexler said.

According to the head overseer, 950 club members at the University of Tennessee have accumulated over 1,500 community service hours, a feat that leaves club leaders like Jenkins looking forward to RecFest in mid-August and the interest meeting two weeks later.

The paintball ambassador was pleased to find word had spread about the team's success, which could help UT Paintball in having successful recruiting at RecFest in raising awareness and fundraising.

"As always, we are striving to get more funding and more airtime for our club," Jenkins said. "Paintball is very expensive to say the least — we pay over $15,000 each year to make the club work — and right now it's hard for students to afford playing. Our main focus is to regroup efforts and fund-raise/promote awareness and flaunt our national title."

RecFest will take place on Aug. 16 at the TRECS beginning at 5 p.m.

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