Wasted Talent versus the world

The Wabash Plain Dealer Online  

By AARON TURNER, aturner@wabashplaindealer Wednesday, September 6, 2006 12:05 AM EDT

Seven local men will begin a journey with one goal in mind - to be the best.

But not just at any sport, though, the highly-competitive world of dodgeball.

Fueled by local success at the Wabash County Sportsfest, presented by Oldies 106 and First Federal Bank & Trust, Wasted Talent, the two-time defending champ, will, after a generous donation from G&S Metals, travel to Las Vegas for the World Dodgeball Championship Sept. 15-16.

“We went before the G&S board of charitable work, and they agreed to it,” Matt Bever, team member, said.

The idea came from another team member.

“I was looking online, and I saw that there was a world championship,” Bobby Galley said. “I thought we might have a shot after the way we played in the Sportsfest.”

Bever, along with Napanee's Eric Highley, are original members of the team, who played in the coed division last year.

Highley, the team captain, said that training already has begun, but since the squad hails from different area codes around the state, it's all on an honesty bases.

“I've been working out after school,” Highley, who teaches at Northwood High School, said. “Everybody has.

“It's getting to the point where we're getting noticed for it, too.”

Known as the “Dodgeball guys” at Ball State's Irving Gym, Galley and Bever have been working on sprints as well as long toss and burnout.

Highley has also been working on quickness, while Jason Stanley, as well as Lee and Tory Shafer, both of whom work at G&S, have been jogging.

Those six, along with Coley Schenkel, will leave Sept. 14 with a flight from Indianapolis International Airport.

Schenkel, the Shafers and Stanley all competed on different teams during the Sportsfest, but jumped at the chance to compete for the world title.

“I'd like to thank Hoffman Nursery for allowing me to go,” Schenkel said. “I hope we represent them well.

“I think it will be a good time.”

The pedigree is pretty good.

Stanley at Highley both have state championship rings for the Northfield Norsemen, while the Shafer name has been synonymous with baseball for quite a while.

“We're looking to bring back the trophy,” Bever said. “I like our chances because we're all pretty athletic, can throw relatively hard and we're all pretty quick.”

Highley, who has become known as Mr. Dodgeball at Northwood, said that the championship won't come easily, but it is attainable.

“We're going to have to play well, there's no doubt about that,” Highley said. “There's no doubt in my mind we're good enough, we just have to go out and show it.”

The squad will stay at the Excaliber.

The event will take place at the Las Vegas Sports Center.

“We couldn't have done it without the generous donation from G&S,” Bever said. “That was huge.”