WKU hosts dodgeball tournament

Trey Crumbie

College students from across the nation traveled to WKU this weekend to engage a sport played in thousands of elementary schools: dodgeball.

 The Preston Center hosted the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association Championship on Saturday and Sunday.

The building was filled with the passionate screams and shouts of men and women as rubber balls bounced off bodies and chairs.

Louisville sophomore Dominique Warfield, a member of WKU’s dodgeball team, has been playing since last year. Warfield said he loves multiple aspects of the sport. 

“The atmosphere, how competitive it is,” he said. “These games, they’re close and they come down to the wire and everybody is getting hyped. I love that.”

On Sunday, a crowd clung to the rails of the upstairs walking track to watch the action as students adorned in colored sports jerseys tried their best to clobber the opposing side with the spherical weapons. The crowd uttered a collective shout of surprise each time a player was struck fairly hard. 

Sixteen dodgeball teams participated in the tourney, including WKU, University of Kentucky, Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University.

The players ducked, spun and ran in order to secure victory for their team or to avoid getting eliminated from the game themselves.

Joe Lucen, a sophomore from the University of Kentucky, said the sport has introduced him to a variety of people due to the amount of traveling involved. 

“I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life, and I only get to see them a couple of times a year when we all happen to be at the same tournament,” he said.

After each game, team members retreated from the dodgeball courts to the front of Preston to either wish each other good luck during the next game or for a safe trip home.

WKU lost to James Madison University 3-0 on Sunday, during the Sweet 16.

Warfield said it was fun playing in the tournament and was happy with how the team played overall.

“We didn’t end it the way we would have wanted to, but we’re growing, still doing a lot of rebuilding,” he said. 

The final match played Sunday afternoon involved Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. GVSU won the final match, 2-0. This was the team’s third consecutive championship and seventh overall.

Kevin Bailey, a senior from Grand Valley State University, said it was a goal from the very beginning to win the championship. Bailey said it was such a relief when the final buzzer sounded. 

 “It was just the best feeling because we all got to celebrate together,” he said.