NXL Classic Paintball
ICPL OLD BAY CLASSIC EVENT PREVIEW : MARYLAND HOSTS PRO PAINTBALL EVENT
Article written in partnership with Iconic Paintball
Photo of KAPP Factory by MMPhotography | NXL Media
One of the first ICPL events ever played when the league was founded just three seasons ago, the Old Bay Classic continues to carry the legacy for historically significant East Coast events for paintball. With a rich regional history, some of the first ever organized paintball events took place on the East Coast in a small New Hampshire town. Now nearly 50 years later, the tradition of rallying friends, grabbing a paintball marker, and heading out into the woods is carried on in the ICPL Professional Classic Paintball League.
The ICPL focuses on a more traditional style of tournament paintball. With many tournaments in the modern day offering inflatable fields, electronic markers, fast game play, and 5-man teams, the ICPLs slower paced, mechanical based format is rapidly catching on as the fastest growing tournament series in the country. The age-friendly style of play has brought together new players, current pros, retired legends, and amateurs alike into an intense 10-man battle for paintball supremacy. With nearly 60 pro and amateur teams and over 650 of the game's best players in attendance, it is one of the largest classic events in the World.
Photo of Team Adrenaline by Pb Scout Photography | NXL Media
Outdoor Xtreme Chesapeake City has been a staple of the East Coast paintball community dating back all the way to 1997, then known as ECX Paintball owned by Mike Lashbrook. In the time since, the park had been acquired by long-time player Brian Barno who has grown the venue into an internationally known, premiere paintball park. Brian’s 10-man roots in the sport are evident in the park's design, with some of the best woodsball and classic format fields in the region.
Set on nearly 65 acres of land, OXCC offers the most challenging and unique field layouts on the ICPL circuit. The hyperball field at OXCC is smaller than traditionally sized fields, and it creates intense situations where paintball IQ and field awareness reigns supreme. The trench field is a challenging multi-height field layout; with 3 foot deep trenches winding throughout the field, high mounds, and elevated bunkers, it provides a game style that pushes even the most iron-clad players into intense battles. The woodsball fields are massive by most paintball standards, and typically the players who take the biggest risks early in the game are the ones who are rewarded. However, with some players on the circuit carrying more than 25 years of experience gameplanning on big fields, players who overcommit can quickly become trapped deep in the opposition's territory.
PROFESSIONAL TEAMS TO WATCH FOR:
Photo of Chicago Aftershock by MMPhotography | NXL Media
Player to Watch: Paul Everett
Plain and simple, this team has pedigree in the 10-man format. With dozens of wins in the 10-man format during their time as a professional team over the last 30 years, Aftershock has always been a team built to win. This year is no different, and the roster is loaded with some of the franchises all-time great players. Led by Todd and Tami Adamson, legendary players like Mike Paxson, Renick Miller, Danny Tiljak, Paul Everett, and Mikko Huttunen round out an impressive roster filled with current and former pro players. Demetri Ninios is one of the NXL’s most versatile professional athletes, and his ability to attack will be critical with such a stoic and iron-clad backline. Paul Everett is a much-watch player, as his experience, and gunfighting ability will be on full display this weekend. This team is a consistent leader of the pack in ICPL and they should excel on field layouts at OXCC that tend to favor methodical play.
Player to Watch: Roy Richard
Over the last six ICPL events, KAPP has managed to finish in the top three during five of those events, with two event wins. After winning the ICPL Golden State Classic just over a month ago, KAPP looks to continue their momentum in Maryland. This is arguably the most talent-heavy team in the pro division; there isn’t a name on the roster that hasn’t had the word “legend” become synonymous with their careers as pro paintball players. Led by two of the best strategizers in 10-man paintball, Rodney Squires and Glenn Forster command a stable of top former pros like Zyzek Barro, Tyler Michaud, Roy Richard, and Timmy Propst. Add in current Damage pros Jason and Jacob Edwards, and Mike Waring, and you have the most complete team on paper in the division. They are deep at all levels of the field and the perfectly-timed, aggressive style of Roy “Cowboy” Richard should provide fans with can’t miss moments all weekend long.
Player to Watch: William Rhodes
The ICPL 10-man format requires one element over all when looking at a team, synergy. The All-Americans are loaded with it, as the majority of the roster has roots playing together that stretch back nearly 20 years. The core of the team is essentially a who’s who of Smart Parts All American team legends like Chad George, Ryan Moorhead, Adam Gardner, Spesh Robinson, and Hans Semelsberger. This is a roster built to be aggressive, and many teams will struggle to contain an attack with such a high level of experience. William Rhodes is an OG sleeper on this roster from the early Strange days and will be critical on the more methodical woodsball field. This team may potentially struggle to close games if they over-extend early, but should be a tough team to slow down on the trench and hyperball fields.
Player to Watch: Drew Templeton
Rarely is a team so talented and dominant that a rulebook needs to be changed; less than 6 months ago the ICPL did just that because of the dominance of Los Angeles Infamous. After completing classic paintball’s double crown by winning every single ICPL event in 2021, as well as the Iron City Classic, roster rules were adapted to limit how many current NXL pros can play on rosters as an answer of parity. This is a franchise of historical greatness and Travis Lemanski's ability to build a roster is elite. Travis and Ryan Brand are two of paintball’s best coaching minds and they take the field with current and past Infamous pro players from the last two decades. Billy Bernacchia and Harrison Frye will cause chaos attacking down the field, and with the best closer in paintball history, Chris Lasoya behind them, they are one of the leading favorites to win. They played these same fields masterfully last season, and their incredible athleticism simply helps them endure through the grueling weekend of play to remain fresh by Sunday’s finals games. Drew Templeton is the player to watch on Infamous, and his counterpunch, controlled style of play fits perfectly in the 10-man format.
DARK HORSE TEAM THAT MAY SURPRISE:
Player to Watch: Cody Szmik
Smoke is a team coming off a dominant year in amateur in which they were the top ranked team in the division. After winning the season title with a dominant win at ICPL Chicago and with it, a pro spot, Smoke is ready to take over the pro division. After placing second at the season opener in Florida, narrowly losing to Aftershock, Smoke is on every team's radar. Anthony Call leads a roster of veteran players highlighted by LVL Pro’s Marr Askren and Tyler Dowiak, however arguably the best player on the team is Cody Szmik. The former-pro is one of paintball's biggest “what-ifs” in the history of the sport. After making a name for himself as a teenager and being lauded as the games next big star, he was offered a spot on the best team in the world, San Diego Dynasty. But, at just the young age of 20, he walked away from the sport, leaving many fans wondering what could have been. Now returning to the classic style of paintball, he is the definitive player to watch in the pro division for fans. This team’s core has been playing together a long-time and should continue to stand out as they look to score a win in their first season in pro ICPL.
AMATEUR TEAMS TO WATCH OUR FOR:
Photo of Saberwolves by All In Media
Player to Watch: Colt Luckau
One of the youngest rosters in the classic paintball circuit, Hydra.Fit is a team built around some of the best young players in Texas. Led by one of the best players in the semi-pro NXL division, Colt Luckau, much of the team closely resembles the PB Fit NXL roster. They play a methodical and patient style on the field and can grind away even the most reserved teams with their disciplined laning and top notch communication. Colt Luckau is the player to watch, its no secret that he is one of the best non-pro paintball players in the World and his closing ability often leads to exciting finishes to games.
Player to watch: Aaron Rios
The Saberwolves are one of classic paintball’s most aggressive teams and are always in the mix to win an event. Although they lost their pro spot last season, this is an incredibly talented roster and the overwhelming, always move forward mentality led by Caleb and Jacob Adcock is a style that takes serious poise to withstand. In the amateur division, few teams have the experience to actively combat the Saberwolves relentless style. Aaron Rios is often at the head of the charge down field, and his wildly aggressive moves often create must-see chaos on the smaller fields.
A Weekend Filled with Action is ahead!
Photo of Team IMAGE by MMPhotography | NXL Media
Fans of the game will not want to miss out on yet another exciting ICPL event this weekend on May 19th-22nd at Outdoor Xtreme Chesapeake City in Maryland. Top professional players and the industry’s biggest stars will all be out vying for the title as the best team in classic paintball. With so much parity in this year's field, it should be a slugfest until the final horn sounds on Sunday afternoon and the champion is crowned. Follow the ICPL on Facebook and Instagram @icplpaintball for updates all weekend long!