14th MP Bde. wins paintball title Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
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From left, 14th MP Bde. team members Matthew Sterling, Matthew Ford, Charles Boykin, Ryan Mauk, Ken Witzman, Peter Stewart and Rick Wetherbee run onto the OAC paintball course during the second match of the 2017 Commanderís Cup Paintball Tournament Friday. Not pictured: Carlos Green.
 

Tourney brings 2017 Commander’s Cup series to an end

Story and photos by Matt Decker
Assistant editor
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The 2017 Commander’s Cup series ended Friday with the two teams that had battled for first place all season long competing head-to-head once again, this time at the Outdoor Adventure Center’s paintball course.

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Paint drips down the side of 14th MP Bde. player Peter Stewartís head as he talks with a teammate following the trophy presentation Friday.
In the end, the 14th Military Police Battalion brought home the 2017 Commander’s Cup Paintball Trophy, defeating the tournament’s defending-champions, the 554th Engineer Battalion, in consecutive best-of-three matches.

“It was a fun day,” team captain Ryan Mauk said after he and teammates Peter Stewart, Ken Witzman, Rick Wetherbee, Matthew Ford, Charles Boykin, Matthew Sterling and Carlos Green accepted the trophy from Coleman Swinton, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of sports.

“The principles of shoot, move and communicate worked well for us today,” Mauk said. “It was a good event for esprit de corps and morale.  It helped us build teamwork as a  section.”

To win a match, teams had to win the best-of-three rounds either by capturing an opponent’s flag or eliminating all opposing players from the course.

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Ryan Mauk, 14th MP Bde. team captain, accepts the 2017 Commanderís Cup Paintball Tournament trophy from Coleman Swinton, FMWR chief of sports, Friday at the OAC. The 14th MP Bde. swept the tournament, winning two consecutive, best-of-three matches with the 554th Engr. Bn.
The 14th MP Bn. repeatedly outflanked their 554th Engr. Bn. opponents to secure wins in four consecutive rounds. In the second round of the first match, Witzman nearly secured a win by claiming the 554th’s flag, but Mauk took out the last 554th team member before Witzman could get the flag back to his team’s home base.

Sacrifice plays were also a factor. In both rounds of the second match, Ford ran out from behind cover and charged his opponents’ positions, taking out several opposing players before being hit himself.

“It’s all in the name of fun,” Ford said afterward. “You’ve got to win somehow.”

For Ford, the tournament was a chance to play paintball after a long hiatus.

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Ken Witzman, 14th MP Bde., runs back to his teamís flag after capturing the 554th Engr. Bn. flag during the second round of the first match of the Commanderís Cup Paintball Tournament Friday.
“I did (paintball) about 10 years ago, but this was the first time since then that I’ve had a chance to come out and play,” Ford said. “I knew I had to come out as soon as I saw it on the email distro. We all had a lot of fun.”
 
Although they placed second in the paintball tournament, the 554th Engr. Bn. players took some solace in the knowledge that simply by participating, they helped their unit secure the overall Commander’s Cup award for the 2017 fiscal year.

The 554th Engr. Bn. ended the year in first place with 1,678 points in the series, which included 18 tournaments and events. The 14th MP Bde. finished second in the points race, with 1,550 overall, while the Medical Department Activity took third with 1,296 points.

“It makes my unit look good,” said 554th Engr. Bn. paintball team member Wade Tollison, who participated in several of those events, including flag football, swimming and bowling. “It shows we can be instructors and still get our job done and bring it back to our organization.”

In all, 29 units participated in at least one Commander’s Cup event during the 2017 fiscal year, although the 554th Engr. Bn. was the only unit to participate in all 18 events.

The Commander’s Cup series is already underway for the 2018 fiscal year, with the Commander’s Cup 5k tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12. Military units that wish to form teams and participate should contact the FMWR Sports Department.