The Battle for Texas: Overwatch Team Wins $3,500 in Scholarships!

Posted by Ariana Figueredo October 1, 2019 in Team News

Comets verse rival Texas colleges in UTA Battle4TX Esports Tournament!

During the weekend of September 21st, UT Dallas competed against 15 other collegiate teams from the state of Texas (and MSU) over a $10,000 prize pool. Hosted by the UT Arlington, Battle4Tx was a two-day Overwatch competition held at the Esports Stadium in Arlington where teams played on stage in front of a crowd of spectators. Their matches were streamed on UT Arlington’s Twitch and casted by Alex Gill and Jen Myers.

Day One: Pools Phase & Quarterfinals

In preparation for the first day, the Comets stopped by a local McDonald’s where Ryan “Tppc” Kennedy, an Overwatch analyst for the team, reports a small child approached the jersey-clad players, in awe as they dined.

Kennedy wrote on Twitter:

“[He] was really excited to see us all in our jerseys. [The team’s manager, Ariana Figueredo] offered a high-five, but the kid declined and demanded a hug.”

Bellies full and hearts whole, the team was prepared to face the first of their opponents in the day ahead: Texas Tech, Southern Methodist, and Southwestern.

At the event, they were allotted a team room to warm-up and practice in. The games began around 1:00 PM with a 2-0 win over SMU, followed by another 2-0 over Southwestern. Only the Red Raiders were able to take a victory over the Comets in their initial group pool, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from moving forward into quarterfinals.

Having secured the lead in the initial group stage, there was one more opponent blocking their path that Saturday: Texas State University. The outcome of this match would determine who made the final four.

Unlike the rest of the games, the Comets played that day, this one would be featured on the main stage for all to see.

While seniors Alan “Toxic” Arce and Anthony “DoritoPurge” Reyes were veterans in the spotlight, it had been the rest of the players’ first time on stage that day. Sophomore Kyler “Blank” Mercantel, however, knew his nerves were not going to keep him from playing to the fullest:

“Once the game starts you don’t have time to be nervous and, honestly, if we start off calmer than the enemy team, we win.”

Cool-headed, the team packed up their peripherals and headed toward the stage to settle in.

The supporting staff of the team sat in the first couple of rows, along with cheering fans, friends, and families of the players. With every play, the crowd cheered and awed in response to the tides of the game.

After a long, hard-fought battle for all to see, the Comets secured a 2-0 victory over Texas State and gained entry into the second day of the tournament: semifinals.

Freshman Kaedmon “Kinetic” Penney, afterward, reported having felt the stage shake in the heat of engagement from both his own team and the enemy, just a few 10-feet beside him.

Although spirits were high, the battle was not over. There were still semi & grand finals to look forward to the next day.
Director and Coach Greg Adler left the players with a final thought as they exited the stadium: that, if they truly wanted to win, they would look over the VODs (recorded gameplay of past matches) of that day. Although groggy from napping the way home, the majority of the team (analysts included) lingered in the Esports Arena at UTD to review what could be done better the next day; it was up to them to secure their own victory.

Day Two: Semifinals & Grand Finals

Though it was 7:30 AM and a few heads were nodding off on the ride to the stadium, the players had met that day determined to take home gold. In an attempt to shake off the sleep, Senior Rahil “RadilPickle” Lalani was found in the practice room, but not at his PC. Instead, he was warming up with a quick set of pushups:

The Battle for the North

The time the Comets had to warm-up before the first of their match was limited. They would only have time for a quick warm-up game against Texas Tech in preparation for their game versus the University of North Texas.
Like the day before, this match would be on the main stage. This time, however, the assistant coach of the Dallas Fuel (an Overwatch League team), Justin “Jayne” Conroy, was going to be casting it, so the pressure to impress was on.

What made this match special was the preexisting rivalry between the esports programs at UTD and UNT. The victor of this match determined who would represent North Texas in the Battle4TX grand finals; a battle for the north.

Avid fans from both universities filled the seats, equipped with their school’s colors and unique cheers. Although the individual games were rather close and there were moments spectators were on the edges of their seats, the Comets ultimately took another 3-0 victory against UNT, earning their place in grand finals.

The game between Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin was now underway, leaving the players a couple of hours to kill in preparation for their final match. Since this next match determined who they would be facing, coach Adler instructed the players to stay in the practice room and study the game as it unfolded to get an idea of what they’d be up against.
As they watched, it was becoming more evident who they’d be versing. The outcome of the match was 3-1 in favor of UT Austin.

The walk to the main stage was now familiar to the Comets, although it’d be their last for this tournament. Either they’d come back with a grand champions title or they wouldn’t. Either way, they’d dine at a local Whataburger. With this mantra in their hearts, they settled into the stage and prepared themselves for the battle ahead.

Grand Finals: Dallas v. Austin

Although this was the Comets’ third time appearing on stage, the tension in the atmosphere was heavier than usual as spectators looked toward the big screen for the match to come. The crowd was a sea of Burnt and Flame Orange and each university’s respective chants rang clear over the game and casters.

Whereas previous matches had been rather one-sided, it was evident that this wasn’t the case for this final match: they had met their match. After an intense hour, the Comets were extinguished in a 0-3 match in favor of UT Austin.

Still, they were rewarded for their efforts of having made it so far into the tournament. While UT Austin took home the first-place prize of $5,000, UT Dallas was awarded the second-place prize of $3,500. Since this was in the form of scholarships, the prize money will not be distributed through the athletics department, but instead, go directly to the athletes that competed.

Recent News

Junior, Michelle Huff joins the UT Dallas esports program as Community Manager. With this edition, expect more on-campus events coming from UTD Esports! For more details, visit the program’s Discord here: https://discord.gg/utdesports