illustration by Genevieve Humphreys
From Friday, April 5, to Sunday, April 7, the Trinity University Gaming Club (TUG) competed in the first ever Southern Collegiate Athletic Association (SCAC) Esports Showdown. This esports tournament is part of a larger event called Pop Con, a pop culture event that is put on every year by Schreiner University in Kerrville.
Pop Con originally started in May 2017 as a one-day pop culture convention for the Schreiner University campus community. As of 2019, the event has grown into something much larger and now is a highly anticipated three-day event where people of all ages can come and experience everything pop culture. This includes watching screenings of films, reading and distributing comic books, learning how to swing a lightsaber or even participating in an Avenger’s-themed escape room.
One of the new attractions at Pop Con this year was the SCAC Showdown. The SCAC Showdown is a new esports tournament where schools in the SCAC compete against one another in a variety of different games.
For this tournament, the TUG Club divided members into separate teams depending on what game they were strongest at.
“Our strongest games by far were Smash and League of Legends. For the Smash Bros. tournament of 10 competitors, me and Jonathan ‘False Sense’ Motes ended up playing in the Winners Finals match and then again in the Grand Finals match, so I think we definitely proved we were the best college in that area,” said Chad Conway, first-year and captain. of the Super Smash Bros.
While TUG was divided into different teams depending on the individual games that were being played at this esports tournament, every representative from each team contributed to how Trinity was ranked in the tournament as a whole.
“This esports competition is unique in the sense that although there are different games and different representatives from each school for each game, you are still competing as a school team, meaning your placements in the Smash section of the competition will net a certain amount of points. The same goes for other games, until a grand point total determines which school wins overall. You will still have your individual winners in each game, but that also goes towards your school’s ranking as a whole compared to the others we are competing against,” Conway said.
At the tournament, Trinity competed against Austin College, Colorado College, Johnson and Wales University, Schreiner University and Southwestern University. Ultimately, Trinity finished fifth in Overwatch, fifth in Fortnight, third in League of Legends and first in Super Smash Bros. As a team overall, Trinity finished in fourth place.
“I think our team did pretty well against Southwestern, but we did a lot worse against Austin College due to communication issues. This was the first tournament for us this year. In fact, this is the first time the SCAC has ever done something like this, so it’s a new thing for all the teams,” said Henry Lin, first-year and Super Smash Bros. captain.
In the past, Trinity has only hosted video game tournaments on campus where members of TUG competed against one another. This has allowed the members of TUG to vastly improve at the games that are played at the professional level.
While Trinity has hosted some esports tournaments here on campus, this was the first time that Trinity has competed against other schools.
“The event was a little crazy in terms of last minute decisions on rules and format, but the experience itself of sending our teams to compete against other schools with some stakes was pretty cool,” said William Ballengee, junior and TUG president.
While Trinity faced some tough competition at this tournament, members of TUG felt like they were up to the task.
“I think that our teams strongest quality is the passion we all share for the game and our drive to get better. When the tournaments first started here on campus, we were all fairly separate and focused mostly on ourselves. Now, a lot of us are friends and we train together in each other’s dorms, helping each other get better,” Conway said.
After this tournament, Trinity plans on competing in another Super Smash Bros. tournament that will be hosted by the University of Incarnate Word (UIW) later in April.
“I intend to plan a 5v5 Smash Crew Battle against the University of Incarnate Word in the near future, as well as compete again as a team at a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Texas Invitational later in April, which will be put on by UIW and will be for colleges to enter and potentially win big prizes,” Conway said.