Nationally acclaimed dodgeball team recruits at K Week event



By Kayla Pickrell

[email protected]

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Dodge.

For many freshmen who attended the midnight dodgeball event Friday (technically Saturday at 12 a.m.) at the Johnson Center, the rules set by the 2004 movie “Dodgeball” were all they could play by when faced against Wes Hopkins.

Hopkins, a mechanical engineering junior, has the national record for throwing a two-pound rubber ball at 81 mph. By the end of the games Friday, his teammates clocked him at 82 mph.

“He’s the deadliest man in the world with a dodgeball,” said Jacob Hughes, a teammate and kinesiology senior.

Hopkins joined the team with his roommate, Thomas Kidd, his freshman year after attending the midnight dodgeball game during K Week.

After the event, he was approached by the team because its members saw potential in him.

Four games were played at once: three used foam balls and one used a rubber ball, said Zac Brown, captain of the UK dodgeball team that won second place nationally last year.

Along the side of each court, a teammate clocked the times of each throw, recording them for future recruits.

“This is a big recruiting event for us, that’s why we’re clocking everyone’s speed,” Brown said.

“This is the big event that kicks off K Week and we are trying to make it fun.”

The event brought approximately 1,500 students.

Hopkins placed two rubber dodgeballs in his hands and pelted them one at a time at his opponents.

“He has quite an arm,” said Adam Brown, a finance freshman. “That shouldn’t even be legal.”

Any team playing against Hopkins’ Friday tried to form together and take him out first, knowing who he was.

Hopkins said he saw a lot of potential recruits who could throw hard naturally and play aggressively.

“Those are two traits vital to playing dodgeball,” he said.

Hopkins said if students are reluctant to join without their friends, they will still fit in.

“It’s all about the numbers,” Hopkins said. “We don’t want just good people, we just want people.

“They’ll get better the more they play.”

Even though most attendees came to play dodgeball, the tracks above the courts were cluttered with students watching the games unfold beneath them.

“It’s very entertaining,” said Jessica Ruhrup, an undeclared freshman. “I wanted to come out and meet people.”

Like Ruhrup, Andrea Haughey, an interior design freshman, found solace in meeting others.

“None of us know each other, but we are going to have to talk to each other sometime. Why not now?” she said.

Next game:

Who: UK vs. Western Kentucky

What: Dodgeball

When: Sept. 15, 2 p.m.

Where: Alumni Gym

Admission: Free and open to students.