UAFS Valorant Blue Team Takes Victory at Red Bull Campus Clutch Online Qualifiers
Starting as a small dream just under a year ago the UAFS eSports team has joined the fight to compete on the national stage this fall. Saturday September 16th marked the successful beginning of this long fight for the UAFS Valorant Team Blue as they competed and took first place in the Red Bull Campus Clutch Online Regional Delta Qualifiers.
Valorant is a free-to-play PC based game released in 2020 and combines all the best aspects of an FPS (first person shooter) game and power based games like Overwatch. Riot Games, the creators of Valorant, already held a strong reputation as the developers for the popular game League of Legends. Valorant’s rise to stardom, though, can be attributed to its unique and fast-paced gameplay that has garnered a cult-like following.
Red Bull Campus Clutch is a global student centered Valorant tournament returning for its third consecutive season. Beginning as an open tournament for university students across the globe, the playing field narrows over many months coming to a head in an international final hosted this year at the Volkswagen Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. This also happens to be the place of the incredibly popular Valorant Champions 2022 tournament.
In recent years there has been a surge of popularity in esports, transforming a niche hobby into a globally recognized profession that enthralls experienced spectators and casual viewers alike. This sentiment is no different on the UAFS campus with one of Valorant Blue’s captains Rylynd Bullington saying “This [esports] should be treated as a collegiate sport as we put so much time and effort into competing and practicing. We are trying our hardest to create a large competitive program that UAFS can be proud of and support wholeheartedly.”
And support it we do, watching the UAFS Valorant Blue team take first place in the first of hopefully many tournaments was a pleasure and entertaining to say the least. When asked about their success Co-Coach Cody Holt says “First I want to say how proud we are of the team. They've worked really hard, and they've earned this opportunity. Getting to this point has really just been the team doing what they do best. Their communication with each other is unparalleled and matched only by their abilities and skills…I trust our team and their abilities. I am expecting a win in October and letting us move forward to the national level event in November.”
Moving forward the team will be competing at the Offline LAN Regional Qualifiers this upcoming Saturday October 7th in Birmingham Alabama. The pressure will be on as they compete against some of the best esports teams the delta region has to offer, the teams span Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Despite this the team remains unshakable saying “Out of the four teams at the offline regional qualifier we have already faced two of them…overall, I am not feeling much pressure” and “no matter what, after this offline qualifier we are confident that we will either be noted as a Top 12 or Top 24 school in the USA for Collegiate Valorant and that is something that many other colleges cannot say” (Michael Radke and Rylynd Bullington)
The success of this team starts with a bond. The core of their success is noted as “how motivated the guys are to be the best and perform well” (Rylynd Bullington) and “the trust we have between each other and the amount of time we have invested to be good at the game” (Michael Radke). As the competition progresses there is a chance for students to be scouted for professional esports teams, and showcase their skills on the national and international stage. With two team members already having been ranked as notable players in the US there is a fire lit under this team to be the best and play with the best and as a newer team this competition offers them the chance to showcase what they bring to the collegiate esports scene.
This tight knit team is hoping to take another first place win home this weekend, and I know that the UAFS student body will be cheering them on from the sidelines. If you want to be a part of this be sure to tune into their twitch channel (twitch.tv/uafsdlesports) this Saturday October 7th at 11 am Central Standard Time.