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Beer pong world series champs hail from Illinois

January 05, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, RedEye

Illinois is becoming known for its beer pong prowess.

A team from downstate Edwardsville, about 30 miles northeast of St. Louis, has claimed victory at the 7th annual World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas.

After sinking a pingpong ball into the last cup Wednesday during the final game, Southern Illinois University graduates Matthew White, 24, and Ross Hampton, 23, were crowned champs. They will split the $50,000 grand prize. The two beat out 449 teams in the game of eliminating 10 water- or beer-filled glasses by landing a ball in each from across a pingpong table.

With his winnings, White said he's "going to live the best life in the world," according to a news release issued by the National Beer Pong League, which orchestrates the tourney. As for Hampton, he said in the release, "all that beer pong play finally amounted to something."

Both made it through 22 games and won money, diamond-studded dog tags, a custom beer pong table and a year's supply of condoms from NuVo, an event sponsor.

Andy DeCaluwe, a student at Kendall College, went into the tournament as the top ranked player in the world out of 2,400, but the 25-year-old's team finished 32nd out of 450. Meanwhile, Illinois ranked eighth in the U.S. in having the most players battle in the World Series.

lvivanco@tribune.com | @lvivanco

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