UW-Whitewater Esports hosts gaming expo

Ethan Maurice, Staff Reporter

When Joker knocked Inkling off the stage for the final victory, a massive cheer went up in the center of the University Center. The crowd of about 75 people put their hands up and made some noise for the culmination of the eight-hour tournament.

The Warhawk Esports Club hosted its first ever Tespa-sponsored event on Saturday, Feb. 15, and the Joker v Inkling battle in Smash Ultimate was the last event of the Grand Final, the pinnacle of the action for the evening. It meant that Cole “Matador” Nemec defeated his rival “Miles” after a bracket reset, and won the grand prize, which included a $180 gaming headset from Steelseries.

After running through the field of over 40 smash players, Matador, who is a student here at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, had to face Miles in the final event. Since Miles came over from the loser’s side, it meant he would have to win two matches to be crowned king. He reached half that goal, putting down Matador’s Capt. Falcon and Banjo Kazooie characters in the first match, forcing a bracket reset. After the reset, Matador went with Falcon again, and finished off the match getting a KO as Joker which would eventually win him the match.    

He finished at an astonishing 201 percent which left him just on the brink of elimination.

The event was significant because of all the sponsorships that the Whitewater Esports club received. They promoted the event well, and got sponsorships from Red Bull, Omen, Tespa and other companies in the gaming world. Tespa even sent a brand representative up from Irvine, California to help administer the event.

“As far as I know, this is the first Elite event or big LAN tournament for [Whitewater],” said Brandi Moy, Tespa’s representative. She talked about how the club is a member of their Chapter program, which means that Tespa can provide support and help facilitate these sort of events.

“When [a team] qualifies to be a Chapter for our program, they can furthermore apply for campaigns. These campaigns are a way for us to supply them with event goodies. The banners, a lot of the Prizing, even social media shoutouts we help them with,” said Moy.

The event was well executed, and featured branding from top gaming companies, including Omen, HP’s gaming division and Steelseries.

Even Chancellor Watson got in on the fun. He got a chance to go through a VR gaming demonstration, and to see the Grand Finals. He looked proud to cheer on Matador and the other competitors as they faced off against the best competition the local area has to offer.

The event was received as a success, especially considering the turnout.

“The turnout today was really really great. You can see how passionate everyone is just being here,” said Moy, who flew up from Irvine, California just to attend.

As the event ended, Nemec was in the mood to distribute his championship knowledge.

“If you keep practicing, you’re bound to get really good,” he said.

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