Some days you're the Pokémaster, other days you're the pokéball.

Hesperian Paul Hornack made it to the national Pokémon Video Game and Trading Card Game National Championships in St. Louis on June 27, after winning first place in the Senior Division at a regional tournament in Phoenix on May 23.

(Pokémon is a multimedia franchise goliath, spanning videogames, cartoons, comic books, toys, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats and other forms of entertainment since the electric yellow cartoon mouse Pikachu was first introduced to the world in 1995.)

Unfortunately, the 2006 Sultana High School graduate won't be advancing to the world championships in San Diego later this year.

"I was in the division of 32 people, and only the top four people in each division advanced," Hornack said Friday. "I was in a five-way tie for second, but I guess my tie-breaker wasn't as good as other people's."

Despite the loss, Hornack says the trip was worth it.

"It was loads of fun. St. Louis is a great city. I really enjoyed visiting the arch. The city has some great restaurants to eat at," he said. "I really enjoyed it."

And although Nintendo hasn't held the championships on a regular schedule, Hornack would definitely give it another try next time.

"Oh, yeah, absolutely. It's my Super Bowl."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.