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2019 WIHSEA OVERWATCH STATE FINALS
6:15 A.M. Dec. 14 in the J.I. Case High School Parking Lot
Scholar athletes, coaches, GM’s, James O’Hagan of RUSD and I board the bus to Madison where all of the teams in the RUSD Esports program will participate in the finals. Each team had fought diligently to get this opportunity, but they also have respect for one another. The teams met as friends. They helped one other get settled and played games together on the bus. The general managers and I sat and chatted about common trends among the students and professional streamers. I thought that everyone on this bus would be asleep. But, to the latter, it was electrifyingly alive.
Arriving at the Madison Area Technical College, we unloaded and got settled in the atrium which we would be playing in. The students treated me like family and greeted other RUSD students just the same. Before long, Mike Dahle of WIHSEA was on the P.A. system welcoming everyone.
In a surprise twist, the Horlick Rebels were presented with the sportsmanship trophy for the year. Each player also got a HyperX Extended keyboard/mouse pad. GM Greg Smith was given a Gravity Gaming backpack with HyperX headphones, a HyperX mouse and another HyperX keyboard/mousepad. As stated by Mike Dahle himself, they set the standard for how teams should behave and have been a model for it. Greg Smith humbly accepted and reinforced the code we keep here in RUSD. We are competitive, but we are supportive friends who want everyone to succeed.
Team Liquid, a professional esports team, sponsored a blood drive during the championship. For those who don’t know, Team Liquid plays every Esports game. They travel globally to compete for millions of dollars in front of millions of fans. They gave out t-shirts to everyone who signed up for a blood drive.
Let the games begin.
Walden III Walnuts came to battle in the State Finals. Their hard work and training of Wautoma certainly showed up this year and allowed them to show exactly why they are here at the finals. Walden took the loss with grace and stride and warmly congratulated Wautoma on their victory.
Two members of the team then went and met with R.E.A.L. School to give them an idea of what to expect in their coming battle, setting a gold standard in what it means to support each other. From there, the Walnuts were a mainstay in RUSD Pride and support. This is the model that RUSD, James O’Hagan, and Mike Dahle have been pushing forward. That even in defeat, they still help one another. Friends first, rivals second. We hope that next year, they have a bit more freedom to come down to NYPB more often!
R.E.A.L. had an incredibly fast pace in their early matches against Bigfoot. Team Captain Connor Singh, “Singer2104,” led with some dominating picks. The team captured points off of the initial push for each map. They worked cohesively, saving their ultimates to set up amazing combos from every angle, as shown in the clip below, with a massive and blindsiding Junkrat Rip-Tire triple kill. Bigfoot did make appropriate changes to challenge R.E.A.L.’s consistent and cohesive offense, but as they were kept on the backfoot, R.E.A.L. controlled the game and moved comfortably at their own pace.
R.E.A.L. v Wautoma
An incredibly close match. REAL brought some amazing plays, including Zachary Tinker’s “Soulcrusher,” McCree handing out Deadshot quadra kills. The team was loud and proud, communicating seamlessly and powerfully with one another. However, Wautoma did their homework, with Pengo’s McCree aggressively dictating the pace of the game. During their Division 3 ceremony, they admitted that their common picks wouldn’t have been effective against REAL’s dominating presence. Changing their strategy was successful, and they took the victory from REAL in Overtime, 3-2. REAL still brought home a trophy to RUSD, and we’re excited to see what they offer next year.
The Panthers came prowling. Opening their presence at State with a strong and coordinated approach, they conquered Union Grove in their debut match here in the State Finals. They held to their game plan and communicated seamlessly under the watchful eye of sit-in GM Joseph Schurian and GM Travis Whitt. Due to technical difficulties, we weren’t able to get footage of the game. We did get to speak with GM Schurian and Park’s team MVP as well as National MVP Devin Cortese. See the clips below.
Washington Park v Bayport
The Panthers fell short in their final game against the Bayport Pirates. The team showed expert mechanics in their roles as the game continued, making them a whispering threat to the Bayport Pirates among the crowd. But the Pirates once again prevailed to go on to face Horlick in the championship finals. We can’t wait to see what develops for the next year. Go Panthers!
The Case Legends were nothing short of their namesake in their opening battle against Appleton. Luke and Hunter’s commanding presence in-game kept the match at their pace, the way that they wanted it to be. However, Appleton did push them to make pop-fly changes that seemed uncomfortable to someone who’s watched them grow. Yet, they showed their grit and perseverance into a long-awaited match against Horlick to see who would face Bayport in the Finals. Due to technical difficulties, we weren’t able to get footage of the game. However, we did get to speak with the MVP’s, GM Dan Velasquez and Captain Hunter Cochran. The video is a touch long, but it’s worth a look to see the hard work the Legends have put in this year to not only make it to State but help WIHSEA and RUSD flourish.
Horlick v Case: Battle for the Championship
One of the most anticipated games among the RUSD family, Case faced off against Horlick for the seat in the Championship against the Bayport Pirates. This was a nail biter until the very end. While Horlick might’ve been dominant on paper, in play they were testing their limits to beat Case. In the end, they came out victorious, but only after forcing an adjustment to their team to combat Case’s new approach. With grace, Case accepted their loss.
They became the dominant supporters for RUSD and leading the crowd in hard cheers for Horlick in the Championship matches. While some of them will not be returning next year due to graduation, these Legends have left a defining impression on Racine, RUSD and every team who saw them give their unyielding support. Until next year, Legends!