I first noticed Audrey Eckroth at the Northern California AFPL events playing on a team called Grrl On Grrl. She was fearless and had no problem playing heads up with the opposing guys in the center of the field. When I got a chance to talk to her, I noticed how little attention I had been paying to the tournament scene. Audrey’s story goes deep.
How did you hear about paintball and when did you get started?
I started back in 2006. There was a new paintball field in Lodi called Enemy Paintball and we had three airball fields on super nice grass. Played once and was hooked on it ever since. I would ref on Friday and Saturday then play on Sunday. I started playing six months after my mom died to help bring myself back to life and find something else to love so she wouldn’t be on my mind 24/7.
What are some of the teams you have played for in the past?
I have been on a lot of teams but my main ones were Grrl On Grrl, DMG, Norcal Infamous and Norcal Disruption. I have played from divisions D5-D1. Played on Femmes Fatales for one event and Destiny for a few also.
How often do you play?
I play every weekend sometimes three times a week, but I like doing double weekends. I play has much as possible. I love stepping onto the field and getting stronger and better. It’s my way to escape on the weekends without worrying about anything.
There have been a couple events where I would play in two different divisions in the same day, and a few times I even played on three teams in one day. It’s fun like I said— I love playing as much as I can but it’s tough. I’m always moving and don’t have much time to enjoy it with my team and friends. But it’s doable and I don’t mind doing it sometimes.
On a typical weekend, which field are you at?
I’m usually always at Davis and Fairfield the most with my team Norcal Disruption, but I love going to Capital Edge in Sac and Extreme in Modesto. Love trying out new fields and meeting new people and the way different teams play.
Do you have a role model?
Don’t have just one role model, I have a few, but my favorite I would have to say Scott Kemp and for a girl I would say I looked up to Bea Young when I was new to this sport.
How would you describe your style of play?
My style of play is usually up the gut. Usually when a team needs a 50 player they would contact me and see if I’m free to guest with them. I used to be a D-side player or someone who stays back and lanes but the 50 is so much more fun and I can do so much.
Did the “W” have any influence?
When we had the W on the field that would be my first time doing the 50 moves ‘cause it was super easy to get to but it was always a 50/50 chance one of you would get out. Always caution the 50 when the W was in the game. Kind of happy we had it or I would still be on the D-side and home. Now I’m a killer up the gut.
Do you feel additional pressure competing in a male-majority sport?
First when I was new it was hard to get guys to respect you. After playing for 15 years I think I play like one of the guys and I can keep up with them. most guys are afraid of me now if they see me on the other side of the field and it’s a good feeling. Usually they’ll be like “ball one,” joking around but not anymore.
The league knows you as a player who is effective up the center. How does it feel knowing the other team braces themselves when you line up?
A lot of teams know me for going up the gut but that won’t stop me. I keep doing what I’m doing until they stop me and usually they cant. I usually never get shot off break unless its super open.