Sooner Spring Clash
The University of Oklahoma hosted the first Sooner Spring Clash tournament in the Armory on Friday, April 22.
Sooner Spring Clash was a two-day Esports tournament for both K-12 and college students to compete for cash prizes. The total cash prize given on the first day was $3500, with Rocket League winner Noble High School taking home a $400 Visa card and $100 McDonald’s gift card. The second day had a total cash prize of $1700.
The event was hosted by the OU Esports and Co-curricular Innovation Department in collaboration with the K20 Center, OU Athletics, HXC Gaming and sponsored by McDonald’s.
The first day consisted of the K-12 tournament, which had 16 schools from all throughout Oklahoma compete in both “Mario Kart” and “Rocket League” tournaments. However, the tournament was not the only event for the day. The K20 Center hosted a teach-in about post-secondary careers in the Esports world and a lunch provided by McDonald’s.
“We designed the curriculum for today and we had each student go through at least one learning experience and then they were also able to play in the tournament,” Dr. Lindsay Williams, GEAR UP for the Future and K20 Director, said. “Our partnership brought both the curriculum and the gaming side together to give this opportunity to students.”
High School Community
Morale and spirits were high among both the players and onlookers as the matches intensified.
“Everyone here is having a good time and is really interested in the different matches going on. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves,” Kate Furney, OU Esports’ streaming entertainment director, said. “It’s really fun getting to actually see all of the teams, seeing it streamed. Having our casters here and getting to show them off on our twitch page is really a cool experience.”
One of the schools that competed was Heritage Hall. They started this past fall and where excited to compete in the Sooner Spring Clash.
“We’ve been able to connect with teams and schools that we would’ve never had the opportunity to meet face to face with,” Luke Steelman, Heritage Hall esports coach, said, “So it brought a lot of schools together that have diverse backgrounds and allowed coaches and players to get to know each other instead of just playing the games across the internet with each other.”
The event was run by OU Esports and Co-Curricular and OU Gaming club members.
“Everyone here really enjoys being able to interact with people and giving people opportunities that we didn’t have when we were in high school,” Uyen-Nhu Kristine Nguyen, OU Esports’ incoming marketing director, said, “I went to Oklahoma City public schools so it’s nice to see so many schools I’m familiar with be able to participate in things that I wasn’t able to in high school.”
The event was live-streamed on OU Gaming Club’s Twitch channel with updates to the roster being posted on its Twitter account.
“I want to make sure everyone gets to play and that everyone gets to be seen playing,“ Jacob Ross, OU Esports Rocket League ambassador, said.
Sooner Spring Clash has opened more opportunities for gamers and the OU Esports community alike, especially with this event being the first one to be sponsored by McDonald’s.
“As a whole, it opens a lot more of an avenue and makes it more realistic. I feel like a lot of gaming is ‘I’m sitting at my desk at home,’’ but this is where you go somewhere else to play games. It makes it feel more legitimate,” Nguyen said.
This event marks the start of new events that will focus more on community and fan engagement external to campus. While we have been programming on campus since 2017 as we have built new partnerships and relationships on campus we are able to leverage more and more events. Stay tuned!