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By William Wright
UK will be hosting the 2013 National Collegiate Dodgeball Association Nationals tournament April 13.
UK dodgeball is ranked No. 1 in the nation, so morale for the tournament is high.
“Face shots are encouraged,” accounting senior Hunter Harp said.“You basically try and hit someone in the head so people are scared of you, and they leave you alone.”
Games will be played at the Seaton Center, the Johnson Center and the Alumni Gym. Twenty-four teams will be playing in the tournament, including Michigan State, Ohio State, University of Maryland and Western Kentucky University.
“I’d put UK’s 10 best guys against anybody,” said graduate student Errol Strauss, who helped start the club in 2006.
Twenty players per team will enter into the tournament. “We need more players right now, even though we’re No. 1 in the country,” said Zac Brown, a community and leadership development senior and the dodgeball team leader.
Players emphasized no matter how bad of an athlete you think you are, you can always play and get better at dodgeball. There is a lot of talent on UK’s team, but Strauss said players always are having a good time and taking it easy.Dodgeball is supposed to be fun, Strauss said.
“A lot of guys from my hometown got me into it,” said Tyler Kirby, a civil engineering freshman. “It’s awesome.” There’s no better way to relieve stress than hitting someone with a dodgeball, Brown said.
If you have a test coming up and you’re stressing about it, dodgeball is the best way to let it all out. Normally there are 25 to 40 people at practice, which takes place in the Alumni Gym on Mondays at 8 p.m.
There are 15 people per team in a normal game. Dodgeballs, which look like partially deflated rubber kickballs, can be thrown at amazing speeds.
UK’s Wes Hopkins holds the record for the fastest arm in the NCDA. He can throw a dodgeball 81 mph, according to the NCDA website.
Players are expected to be able to catch throws from the opposing team. Catching the ball doesn’t just eliminate the player who threw it. It also allows an eliminated player from that player’s own team to re-enter the game.
Building catching skills has been encouraged by Brown. “We have a few freshmen who have phenomenal hands,” he said.
The team travels about once a month to play other schools, Brown said.