Level Up! UW-Stout Blue Devil Esports Teams Head to Nationals

Level Up! UW-Stout Blue Devil Esports Teams Head to Nationals
Members of the UW-Stout Esports team competed in Overwatch in a NACE match against UMN Twin Cities on March 21, 2022.

ABOVE PHOTO: UW-Stout esports teams compete from their arena in Heritage Hall.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports Varsity Premier playoffs kick off this week, and two University of Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devil teams — Valorant and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — are headed to nationals after winning their conferences.

“Stout’s esports teams continue to compete at the highest level in NACE. Our Valorant team has proven it can compete with the best teams in the nation, and our Smash Ultimate team is young but already seeing success. I am extremely excited to see how they grow over the coming years,” said Coach Aaron Froelich, who has led UW-Stout’s esports program since summer 2023.

UW-Stout’s #17 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team will face #16 Shawnee State University at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2. The winner will play #1 Michigan State University at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4.

UW-Stout’s #14 Valorant team will face off against #3 Maryville University at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.

Matches will be broadcast live at www.twitch.tv/StoutEsports.

UW-Stout has been a Wisconsin leader in esports since 2020, when it became the first university in the Universities of Wisconsin to launch a varsity program.

But the university’s gaming roots go deeper. It’s the only university in the state to offer both art- and computer science-focused degree programs in game design. And in 2023, it expanded its academic strengths in game design and development when it became the first UW school to launch an esports coaching minor.

UW-Stout also hosts the biannual Stout Game Expo, which features games designed by UW-Stout students. SGX, western Wisconsin’s largest game developers’ event, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, in the Memorial Student Center Great Hall.

According to sophomore game design student Ethan Hershberger, the confluence of athletic and competition opportunities distinguish UW-Stout.

Playing on an esports team has enhanced my passion for games and has offered a lot of insight into certain aspects of their creation, which has impacted my study of game design here at Stout,” said Hershberger of Edwardsville, Ill., who captains Stout’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team.

UW-Stout’s esports teams compete from their home arena in Heritage Hall.


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