NU junior owns share of paintball crown
Minutes after hitting the door of the local pizza shop where he works after school, John Roth puts on an apron and gets to work.
The 16-year-old Nevada Union High School junior’s hands knead dough, sprinkle mozzarella cheese and the like, but his mind almost always drifts to his happy place – the paintball arena.
He got his first taste of the sport at a school field trip four years ago and has been hooked ever since.
“I’m always thinking about it. I love the adrenaline rush you get when you play,” he said. “People are shooting at you, you’re shooting at them and sometimes you’re only three or four feet away from each other.”
Roth began playing with a local 18-and-under club, the Dye Kids.
“We had a lot of talent, but we didn’t work very well together,” he said.
The Dye Boys succumbed to all of the drama, then disbanded six months ago.
That news traveled fast as Ryan Podesta, the captain of the Dye Kids’ biggest rivals – the Momma’s Boys – rang Roth’s phone.
“We knew them from a bunch of tournaments we’d played in. I really didn’t like any of them (then), but I wanted to keep on playing,” Roth said.
Just six months later, the Momma’s Boys steamrolled through the competition at the Paintball World Cup in Kissimmee, Fla., to take the rookie division crown.
“The best teams in the world were there. We couldn’t believe it at first, we were just so happy,” Roth said. “Winning the World Cup makes me want to work even harder. I want to train as much as I can and as hard as I can.”
All of the team’s success doesn’t come free.
When the team isn’t competing, Roth has to hit the road every Saturday and Sunday by 6 a.m. to make it to the team’s practice field in Woodland.
“There are some mornings when I’m tempted to stay in bed, but I can’t because I’ll let the team down if I don’t show up. If you have to take a day off of work that week to make practice, you do it. It’s your responsibility to make it to practice,” he said.
“We’ve got a guy on the team from L.A. who drives 400 miles up and 400 miles back every weekend to make practice” he added. “That’s dedication.”
Keith Jiron is a sports reporter for The Union. Write to him at
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Following a one-year hiatus, the STIHL National Championship Air Races and Show is now underway at Reno-Stead Airport.