By Johnny Jackson
A regional paintball team has made a name for itself on the national scene. The Atlanta Breakout recently won a national championship title from the international professional tournament paintball league, known as Paintball Sports Promotion (PSP).
The Atlanta-based paintball team placed first overall among more than 100 teams that competed in the 2010 Season, PSP Division 4, five-man tournaments, according to Darryl McCurry, team owner and head coach of the Atlanta Breakout Program.
McCurry said the team, in its first year as the Atlanta Breakout, achieved the 2010 National Championship Series Title with PSP.
The team owner noted that the Atlanta Breakout received its title by placing among the top five in four different PSP paintball tournaments throughout the season. The team placed second in the Phoenix Open, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., in March; second in the Chicago Open, at Badlandz Paintball Field, Crete, Ill., in June; first in the Mid-Atlantic Open, at PBC (Paintball Central) Paintball Park in Charlotte, N.C., in August; and fifth at the World Cup, at "Fantasy of Flight" in Lakeland, Fla., in October.
"We ended up winning the overall national title," said Leighton Shor, of Cumming.
Shor, the father of 17-year-old player, Joey Callahan, is one of the team's coaches, along with McCurry. He said the team has put in many hours of practice and travel over the past year to come out on top.
The seven-member team, whose average age is about 16 years old, competed against teams much older, and more experienced, added McCurry.
The World Cup team included players: Aaron Blanton, Adam Royal, Anthony Rincione, Brandon Blanton, Dylan Kersey, Joey Callahan and Ryan Kirkland.
Kersey, 14, of McDonough, and Callahan, of Cumming, Ga., make the 3.5-hour drive almost every weekend to the Atlanta Breakout Program's practice facilities at Atomic Paintball Field in North Augusta, S.C., to prepare for paintball tournaments happening around the country.
Shor said the Atlanta Breakout Program consists of 30 players from South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, all who have committed their time to becoming better-skilled paintball players.
"All the efforts and hard work that the team put in -- with the support of the parents -- it's all come together and become a reality for these kids," Shor said. "We want to be a premier program and have the best players out of the Southeast as we go forward. It doesn't come easy, but we've certainly put in the hard work to get it to this point. Our goal next year is to definitely go up a division ... and possibly look into going overseas."