They say that behind every overnight success there’s ten years of toiling behind the scenes. 187 cRew is not yet an overnight success; they’ve just got to The Show, but they have achieved some quick achievements in the past couple of seasons, blowing through the Divisional ranks. If you’re from New England, or pretty much anywhere on the eastern seaboard, then this better be your team, because they’re the best squad to come out of the Northeast in a long time. They’ve proven themselves, worked up the ranks, and are about to enter their first season as professionals. More importantly, if you’re a fan of taking local guys and seeing how far the paintball adventure can go, then you should be rooting for them to stomp people on general principle.
UpTon 187 cRew: Our Rise Though the Ranks
By Max Traylor
UpTon 187 cRew, PSP’s newest professional team began as two local rivalries, both playing out of separate paintball fields in Upton Massachusetts. The Kamo Killas were born in 2004. A talented group of kids, all under the age of 17, started playing local 3 man events at Fox 4 Paintball and quickly rose through the ranks to become a successful 7-Man team at the local level. Their success and momentum continued into the 2006 NPPL Super 7 season where the team went undefeated through the prelims in both Tampa and San Diego. This explosive and determined group of kids would merge with Friendly Fire Factory in early 2007. But lack of experience and teamwork kept the early 187 cRew off the podium in 2006, would be more than compensated for with the merger. The guys of Friendly Fire Factory, by this time, been playing together for 6 seasons, and were without question the most consistent team playing at the regional level (New England Paintball League). Their leadership and organization was exactly what the young, hungry 187 cRew needed to be successful at the national level.
Eddie Painter and Shaun Janson were products of the young Kamo Killas. Actually, they’re products of paintball in general. Their parents, Dave and Curt respectively, own and operate Fox 4 Paintball. The sport took hold early, and they were playing national events before their 10th birthday (back in the 10 man days). Nick Leival (Captain), Mike Carlin and myself, Max Traylor, had been playing together on Friendly Fire Factory during our rise in the local 7-man ranks. The core 5 has made some pickups over the years to complete todays pro-roster. Dan Zeleski met Eddie playing for UCONN. Brian “B-money” Fineberg and Brian “BJ” Jenkel were both picked up from another local team playing at Fox 4. In 2010, BJ decided it was a good idea to play with the New England Hurricanes. He has since returned to 187. Greg Lizotte and Doug Greim is a couple of younger snake players, also hand picked out of the hundreds of local Fox 4 players. 187 picks players based on their attitude, dedication, and drive to improve. We’re never looking for “superstars”, there’s no room for ego on a team that owes its success largely to organization and commitment. Believing and acting like we are a family off the field has proven key to playing like a team on the field.
It would take 2 more seasons of 7-Man and a crash course season of X-Ball in the AXBL before our team found its winning stride. We played our first PSP event in Chicago 2010 (D2) and immediately fell in love with the league, losing only one prelim match and winning our first national title ever.
Our march to Pro had begun.
187 would not lose another match in 2010, going undefeated in both the Mid Atlantic Open and the World Cup. Moving into D1 for the 2011 season made a pro spot within reach. Our first match in D1 didn’t go so well. One thing we all remember, besides losing of course, was the other team saying “welcome to D1”…pricks. But, we know that’s how it’s going to be; we’re going to have to continue to prove ourselves. Things ended up working out for us, as we made the top 4 in Texas and Chicago and winning both NJ and World Cup. That was enough to finish 1st overall and be invited to play in the Pro division.
At this point in our careers it would be easy to breathe a sigh of relief… we did it, we went pro. We’re living the dream of every competitive paintball player. The reality for us is that we only accomplished a goal we set for ourselves for 2011. The upcoming season brings a whole new set of goals we are just as determined to accomplish. A lot of people from the North East would like to see us hold our own in the Pro division and show the established powerhouses we belong. Some might consider a few wins a success, but our goal is not to “belong”, it’s to stand out. Our goal for every event this season is 1st place, and anything less will be a disappointment to us. The biggest challenge for us this season will be mental. We will be playing against legends, idolized names we have looked up to for years. I just hope we can forget that and play paintball.
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