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Chico Spikeball wins national championship

Natasha Smith Skyler Boles (far left) and Shaun Boyer (second from left) pose after winning the Spike-A-Palooza national tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
Natasha Smith
Skyler Boles (far left) and Shaun Boyer (second from left) pose after winning the Spike-A-Palooza national tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

There’s new national champions in town, and they dominated the competition playing a game you may not have heard of.

Skyler Boles and Shaun Boyer, two Chico State students, became the first-ever national Spikeball champions at last month’s Spike-A-Palooza tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

In Spikeball, two teams of two spike a small tennis-like ball across a round miniature trampoline-like net. Players are allowed to move all the way around a central net to get the edge on their opponents.

Chico’s team defeated the Handsome Beavers from Southern California in the championship round on Sept. 28.  They have faced the Handsome Beavers in the final round of almost every other Spikeball tournament.

Boles and Boyer have been competing in tournaments across the United States for years. They’ve traveled from Southern California to New York to test their mettle against other teams.

The Spike-A-Palooza tournament consisted of 62 teams from eight different states, making it the largest Spikeball tournament to date.

“It was huge in our book to be the first-ever national champions,” Boyer said.

Spikeball’s popularity has grown in Chico tremendously since Boles started playing a year and a half ago.

“It has a giant following in Chico already,” Boles said.

Boles, who is student teaching at Marsh Junior High School, inserted Spikeball into his curriculum.  Many other people around Chico are helping grow the sport, Boles said.

The popularity of Spikeball in Chico could be attributed to the quality players the city produces. In a recent article, Chris Ruder, the co-founder of Spikeball, praised the city for its talented players.

“The best players in the world hail from Chico,” said Chris Ruder, the co-founder of Spikeball, in an article in dnainfo.com.

Thomas Witt, a member  of Chico’s Spikeball club, enjoys playing the game because it challenges players on multiple levels, he said.

“It involves speed, agility, deception, teamwork, communication and power,” Witt said.

Chico’s Spikeball club practices every Wednesday at 4 p.m. on Yolo Field. Club members hope to see the sport gain widespread popularity, similar to Ultimate Frisbee.

“My goal is to unite the teams from around Chico to grow the Spikeball community to as big as possible,” Boles said.

 

Greg Silvia can be reached at [email protected] or @gsilvia on Twitter.

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