The oldest franchise in the league, the Los Angeles Ironmen are in the middle of a rebuild, using young talent mostly unproven at the highest levels of the game prior to this season.
With a string of semi-final appearances the youth has mostly played well in 2012, but lack the ability to get into the deeper rounds of the tournaments. They’ve been edged out of every event, with their best showing a 3rd place in Phoenix.
18 year old Toke Hamil (ranked 56th) has emerged as the Ironmen’s best snake player, and they are getting massive amounts of production out of a few of the other young upcoming stars like Alex Rodriguez (15th) and Eric Humphries (28th), who are playing stellar ball for their experience level.
The word coming back from the practice grind though, is that Kyle Spicka (42nd) has finally started to break out of his shell and dominate in the snake as well, playing the best paintball of his career leading up to the World Cup. If the Ironmen want to win this event, they are going to need production out of more than one player in the snake, so this news is huge for fans of the team. Spicka is very talented but has been overthinking moves all year long and letting windows of opportunity close.
Veteran Mike Paxson (13th) is having one of the best years of his long career, ranking near the top of the stat leaders boards for most of the season, and continues to be the Ironmen’s highest ranked player. His gunfighting ability, charismatic presence, and ability to fight when down bodies makes him one of the team’s biggest assets, and an inspiration to the sport’s bigger players.
The true depth of the team comes from the Ironmen’s Dorito side, with Ryan Martin (22nd) and Justin “LJ” Schwarz (29th) who are both aggressive machines. Raney Stanczak (31st), who was picked up mid-year, is playing strong and really helping the team with his experience and consistency in the backfield. Raney is a bit beat up though, with a strained right elbow and right knee, but he’s been playing through the pain during pre-Cup practices.
They have to get through Upton 187 Crew, Seattle Thunder, Tampa Bay Damage, and Edmonton Impact first before they can make it to the quarterfinals again. The big test for the Ironmen will come if they can make it into Sunday, where the youth on the team is going to have to step up and actually come through in big games if they want to be considered one of the best teams in the world.
Make sure to watch the world’s best teams as they battle against each other at the 2012 PSP World Cup, brought to you free and live THIS WEEK Thursday Oct 25th to Sunday Oct 28th, only on PaintballAccess.com.
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