Trinity Takes Stock: TU Gaming Places fourth at SA 8 Invitational

Tigers show they can match up with teams from bigger universities


Alejandra Gerlach

Chad Conway (Cheddar) as Palutena beating a UIW player as Cloud. Screen cap from Trinity University Gaming livestream.

Last Friday, Feb. 26, players from Trinity University Gaming Club faced off against players from eight Texas schools as a part of the San Antonio 8 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU) Collegiate Invitational. The tournament was hosted by the Esports in Education Foundation (EIEF), San Antonio’s Otaku Café and Texas A&M University San Antonio (TAMUSA).

The invitational was sponsored by Slackers, Otaku Café, Port San Antonio, GVTC and Red Bull. A total $1600 in scholarship money was up for grabs, which was to be divided between the winners of the Crew and Singles Events. Trinity went up against much bigger universities including the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), the University of Houston (UH) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), but according to junior Jackson Meyer, these big-time teams didn’t intimidate the Tigers.

“We should be competitive. We should be very up there in the top three-ish probably, hopefully the top three. Getting the first place will definitely be difficult,” Meyer said in an interview prior to competition.

Trinity had players competing in both the Singles and Crew Event. In both events, matches are structured similarly. In each round, both players start with three lives, or stock, and the battle ends when one opponent has lost all of their stock, which happens either by having a high enough damage percentage that they are knocked off the map, or by falling off the stage.

In the Singles Event, players match-up against a single opponent for the best of three rounds. The matches are organized tournament style with two brackets — a winners bracket and a losers bracket — and the winners of each bracket would then compete in the Grand Final.

The Crew Event follows the same format, but with a twist. Each crew has five players and starts with fifteen stock at the beginning of the match. A player from each crew is selected to fight the first round. The loser is eliminated and replaced with another member of their team for the next game until one team runs out of stock.

In the Crew Event, Trinity won their first match of the night against higher seeded UIW with nine stock left — a big win for TU, who had yet to beat UIW.

This win advanced TU into the Semi-Finals of the Winners bracket against UH. In the first round junior Chad Conway — whose handle is “Cheddar” — held his own in a tense game that could’ve gone either way before ultimately being knocked off the map despite having a lower damage percentage than his opponent. TU stayed neck in neck with UH for a few rounds before ultimately losing (UH left with 6 stock).

TU took a loss and moved on to the quarterfinals of the losers bracket; if the team won the losers bracket they would have the opportunity to compete in the Grand Final against the winning team in the winners bracket for a chance to win the prize for first place — $1000 dollars and a set of jerseys for the entire team.

TU defeated UTSA in a tense quarterfinal match. UTSA held the lead, but TU was able to come back and bring the match down to “the final stock,” according to Meyer, who hosted TU Gaming’s livestream of the event — meaning both crews had three stock left in the final round of the match.

After defeating UTSA, TU advanced to the semi-finals where they lost to the University of Texas, and the Tigers ultimately placed fourth overall.

All five players on the TU crew participated in the Singles Event. Conway placed within the top ten in a four-way tie for ninth place. Sophomore Austin Lee and junior Jared Zvara — who’s handles are “Zeph” and “Carrot,” respectively — placed in the top fifteen in a three-way tie for 13th place. Junior Nicholas Bowen — “Yoshi” —came in 17th and senior James Gammon — “Apriori” —came in 25th.

According to Zvara, the results of the Singles Event show that Trinity players are able to compete with bigger teams that feature highly ranked players. Zvara noted that going up against players from bigger schools put him in the underdog position.

“Considering that many of the schools competing at SA 8 Invitational Tournament are much larger than Trinity, I felt that I punched above my weight and I was happy when I got top 15.” Zvara said, “When I was looking at the bracket before the tournament started, I felt pretty worried. I was going to be playing a lot of tough players that gave the Trinity team trouble when we played against their school earlier in the day. I played really well and didn’t drop a game until I played against the top player in the tournament, who was ranked fourth in Texas, who knocked me into losers.”

Although TU didn’t place in the top three, their performance on Friday demonstrated that Trinity’s players are capable of keeping up with the big dogs. According to Conway, going toe to toe with bigger schools and putting Trinity on their radar was the main goal going into the tournament.

“[I]t’s really just a matter of, if you know if we can come out swinging and surprise people, that really is our goal,” Conway explained. “Not a lot of people exactly know who Trinity is, where we are, whatever, but when they see ‘Oh Trinity beat University of Dallas,’ it’s a pretty big statement for us.”