Washington State University’s first-ever systemwide esports tournament, Global Gauntlet, concluded on Sunday, April 10 with a team of three Cougs taking home the grand prize.
Team “Candy Shop,” composed of students from WSU’s Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses, came back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat a Pullman-based team 3-2 in the tournament’s final round, an achievement referred to in esports as a “reverse sweep.”
“This tournament was everything I’d hoped for,” said James Hoplin, WSU’s esports coordinator. “We had some amazing matchups, and the skill level across the board was incredible. It was also amazing to see the student support and passion from every campus that participated.”
The Global Gauntlet tournament, sponsored by WSU Global Campus, began on March 21 with dozens of Cougs from all over the WSU system competing in the video game Rocket League. The fully virtual event was produced by WSU’s collegiate esports partner, Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF).
A total of 53 students from WSU’s Pullman, Global, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses competed in the tournament. The tournament’s finals and semifinals were streamed live on Twitch, allowing fans to cheer on their Cougs in real time.
“We wanted to provide a way for all Cougs to come together around something they are passionate about,” said Dave Cillay, WSU Global Campus chancellor. “We saw seasoned gamers, alongside those who are new to esports, come together from all WSU campuses to compete—and have a lot of fun doing it. I’d call that a huge success.”
The winning teammates included Anthony Cox, a digital technology and culture student from WSU Vancouver; Anthony Cromwell, a mechanical engineering student from WSU Tri-Cities; and Steven Hancock, a mechanical engineering student from WSU Vancouver.
Each member of the team will receive the tournament’s grand prize: an Xbox S Series game console. The second and third place teams will also receive prizes.
“This tournament was an amazing opportunity for us to come together as players and show off our skills and determination,” said Cromwell. “Everyone on our team understood what their role was and performed that role as needed, resulting in a victory as a team, not as individuals.”
According to Cillay, Global Gauntlet is just the beginning of WSU Global Campus’ foray into the world of collegiate esports.
“I’m proud to say that Global Campus is launching WSU’s first official esports team and awarding esports scholarships,” said Cillay. “This fall, we’ll be competing against collegiate esports teams from across the nation. And we’re the first fully online university in the State of Washington to do it.”
Students who competed in the Global Gauntlet may receive invitations to join the brand-new Global Campus esports team. Students selected for the team will receive a $2,500 annual esports scholarship and compete in collegiate EGF competitions at the national level.
“The tournament has energized us all,” said Hoplin. “I cannot wait to field a Global Campus team to compete in intercollegiate games in the fall!”