A national tournament is coming to Ohio State. The sport involves throwing a round ball. If you guessed baseball, you’re wrong.
The Ohio State club dodgeball team is set to host the sport’s national tournament at the RPAC Saturday and Sunday.
Ohio State (6-5) is a founding member of the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association, which started in 2002. OSU has attended every national tournament and has two championships, 2005 and 2006.
The Buckeyes have played in three tournaments so far this season including the Round Robin tournament at OSU, the Redhawk invitational at the University of Miami University (Ohio), and the Ohio Dodgeball Cup at Kent State University.
Jeff Starr, a second-year engineering student and club dodgeball member said OSU should have won more games this year and that the team is better than its record reflects. He is expecting a good result this weekend at nationals.
“I think that we will actually do amazing,” Starr said. “We’ve been really close with a lot of the top teams and a lot of those tournaments, we didn’t have all of our guys. We weren’t all 100 percent. I think everyone is going to be ready to go, 100 percent.”
Currently there are between 25 and 30 active members, coach, and OSU alumnus, Jude DuPart said.
DuPart said not all members travel to tournaments because of midterms or scheduling conflicts, which is the reason some teams play more matches than other teams.
“It really varies on how much traveling you can do. So the teams up in Michigan that are a stone’s throw away … there’s four teams up there that are all about two hours to 30 minutes away from each other,” DuPart said.
DuPart said the biggest benefit of having the tournament at home is getting more players involved.
“We’ll definitely be able to see a lot more kids get out there and play,” DuPart said. “A lot of kids have other obligations and can’t make the travel commitments to be able to play and see a large competitive style game.”
Aside from not having to travel, Starr said another advantage of hosting the national tournament in Columbus comes with team members having the comfort of sleeping in their own beds.
“Last year, we were sleeping on a motel floor, so having our own beds will be nice,” Starr said.
OSU team captain Josh Connor, a second-year in logistics management, agreed with Starr that home court advantage is a big deal, especially in a big tournament.
“With any sport you’re playing in, having the crowd behind you will win you the momentum. Having your friends and family behind you goes a long way,” Connor said.
Starr added it’ll be nice to hear cheers for the home team.
“We definitely get a lot more home fans cheering for us and not for the other teams, that’ll help,” Starr said.
DuPart said OSU finished fourth in the national tournament last year. This year he is hopeful for a good result despite the more experienced teams.
“Despite being a younger squad I think we’ve picked up (play) well. We’re looking pretty good,” DuPart said. “I do think there are a lot more mature teams and a lot of other teams that play pretty well, especially Grand Valley and Kent (State) is looking good this year.”
Connor expects to do better at nationals than last year with a young but confident squad.
“We had a pretty good season last year, I think we’re going to do better than that,” Connor said. “We’ve grown a lot, I can speak for myself I’ve become a lot more aggressive and that carries across the board. I think we have a lot more guys who feel comfortable. I think the camaraderie is even strong than it was.”
The tournament is set to begin Saturday with group play from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the lower RPAC courts. It continues Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with single elimination tournament style play.