St. Thomas-Houston Wins 2022 SCAC Esports Showdown Title
At the league's third Esports Showdown and the first in-person gathering since the inaugural 2019 event, the University of St. Thomas-Houston edged Colorado College to win its first SCAC Esports team title. 2022 Esports Showdown Website
Justin Pelt, assistant director of Esports at UST, said. "I am super proud of all the players in each game. Every team had its own challenges going into the tournament, and the fact that each one was able to rise to the occasion is why we are the SCAC Esports Champions."
UST entered the esports competition in 2020 and began competing in 2021 "This is our first year of competition," Pelt said. “It's been a great feeling to see success early across multiple video game titles. We're also really excited about what we have coming up on the academic/internships side. We want to be known as an esports program that competes at the highest level and provides students opportunities to get hands-on experience in the esports industry.”
Just as it was in 2019, Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, hosted the two-day Showdown on their campus in Kerrville, Texas. More than 170 students and coaches were on hand for this year's event, where teams from eight schools competed in League of Legends, Overwatch, Valorant, Rocket League, Apex Legends and Super Smash Bros. Crew.
St. Thomas Wins Overwatch Champions Title
The team title came down to the wire Saturday evening as St. Thomas and Colorado College jockeyed for points, highlighted by a head-to-head matchup between the two for the Overwatch title. The Celts made quick work of the Tigers, who were the two-time defending Overwatch champions, rolling to a short 4-0 victory in the best-of-seven Showdown.
"Our Overwatch team had to introduce a substitute for the year because one of our starters could not compete," Pelt said. "Bringing in a new player had its challenges, but the team adopted a new play style quickly and became the most dominant team of any game in the conference."
St. Thomas Cinches League of Legends Title and Team Championship
With the completion of the Overwatch event, all eyes focused on the ongoing League of Legends final between St. Thomas and Trinity, where not only that game's championship hung in the balance, but the SCAC Esports Showdown team title. A St. Thomas victory in LoL would also clinch the team championship for the Celts. However, a win for Trinity would provide the margin needed for Colorado College to defend its team title.
After Trinity jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five competition, St. Thomas came roaring back to earn the eventual 3-2 victory, which solidified the league championship for the Celts. Both Colorado College and St. Thomas finished with 12 total points, but UST claimed the team title by the Showdown tiebreaker, which was most team championships. The Celts won three events, one for Colorado College.
"This year was our redemption arc for our LoL team," Pelt said. “Our conference team last year struggled. This year, the only games UST lost during the regular season were due to scheduling conflicts and having to forfeit a couple of games. Our roster was essentially the same as last year, except for the addition of one of our varsity players stepping in. The improvement this team showed in a calendar year was great to see. The championship series was very intense. It was a best of 5, and we went down 0-2 to start the series. However, our guys showed grit and reversed, sweeping Trinity University to win 3-2. These wins were pivotal because they were the last team that needed to win for us to take home the championship. Rising to the occasion, we handled the pressure well.”
St. Thomas Claims Valorant Championship Title
In the Valorant championship match, Southwestern's cinderella run ended as St. Thomas earned the 3-0 best-of-five victory over the Pirates to claim the team title. On the opposite stage, and at about the same time, Concordia (Texas) posted a similar 3-0 best-of-five win over Austin College in the Overwatch bronze medal match.
"This is UST's first season to compete in Valorant," Pelt said. “There were specific challenges, like the team not practicing until the week of its first match due to figuring out who our best lineup would be. Valorant was our only team that had one recruited student, and we found most of the team from students already on campus. We needed to build chemistry quickly if we wanted to be successful. This team is arguably the most impressive due to how quickly they synergized, and they won their title only dropping one game all year.”