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The Fall 2022 semester is shaping up to be an exciting semester for the OU Esports Competitive teams.

With new teams, high stakes competitions and exciting events, there is no shortage of OU Esports hype.

VALORANT

The OU Valorant teams will be joining in the inaugural College Valorant Season (CVAL), hosted directly through Riot Scholastic Association of America. This season will consist of three tournaments during the fall, winter, and spring, followed by a Championship. Riot will be awarding scholarships to the winners of the tournaments and Championship.

We put in a lot of effort whether that's scrimming, VOD review, or server work.

Andrew "ShiivR" Bell

Andrew “ShiivR” Bell, the captain of the OU Valorant Crimson team, is excited to see what comes of the first season of CVAL.

“I am very excited about just how organized (RSAA) is and the idea that collegiate is being backed by Riot,” Bell said. “It will be interesting to see how we progress along with other teams throughout the three tournament structure that Riot is running.”

The OU Valorant teams will also be competing in the Red Bull Campus Clutch and National Association of Collegiate Esports Starleague tournaments this year. Bell says the program’s mindset is to have fun and strive to improve in all aspects of play.

“We put in a lot of effort whether that’s scrimming, VOD review, or server work each week to make sure when the time comes we are prepared to succeed in any situation,” Bell said. ‘We are a very competitive program with the best school in the nation backing us and we want to show that by winning multiple leagues and tournaments this year.”

OVERWATCH 2

The OU Overwatch teams have a lot on their plate this semester with the release of Overwatch 2 on October 4. Overwatch 2 will be hosting 5 versus 5 competitive play compared to the original’s 6 versus 6 competitive play, which will be a large adjustment for teams across the country.

Coach Joshua “Thumper” Riesenberg explained that he is making sure that his teams are ready for tournaments in either competitive style.

“If it doesn't come out very strongly, I fear that Overwatch will not recover the way it needs to.”

Joshua “Thumper” Riesenberg

“We are still (hosting scrimmages for) Overwatch three times a week and are going over pro 5 versus 5 play individually,” Riesenberg said. “We will transition tanks into sub and main roles and pick which plays based on hero pools and what heroes are better on individual maps.”

Despite their best efforts, though, Riesenberg admits that he is a bit nervous about Overwatch 2 and what its effects could be on the competitive community.

“I am scared because of how poorly it was handled leading up to the release,” Rosenberg said. “If it doesn’t come out very strongly, I fear that Overwatch will not recover the way it needs to.”

IRACING

OU Esports has a new title on their competitive roster this semester with iRacing. iRacing is a subscription-based online racing simulation video game which simulates real world cars and tracks, and models its races off of real racing events.

Mario “Super Mario” Merenda is a freshman that has spearheaded the effort to bring this game to OU Esports and is the current OU Crimson driver.

“I want iRacing and sim racing to become bigger in the eSports world.”

Mario "Super Mario" Merenda

“I’ve been on iRacing for two years as of writing this and at every moment I want to advance my driving,” Merenda said. “College was the next step as soon as I saw iRacing and NASCAR announced a collegiate series.”

One thing that iRacing does differently than other Esports titles is that the main team consists of a single driver. While there are opportunities for spotter and crew roles, Merenda explained that the concept brings a level of pressure to the game.

iRacing is a very single oriented game compared to others and so is the world of racing, in some way,” Merenda said. “The driver is responsible for the car on track and is the reason if the team finishes clean or is wrecked out.”

“The pressure is always there to perform as even though you technically don’t have teammates, you don’t want to disappoint your team.”

“I want iRacing and sim racing to become bigger in the Esports world,” Merenda said. “Whether that’s NASCAR, International Motor Sports Association, World Endurance Championship, Formula 1 or any kind of racing. I want in OU at one point in the future to have three drivers and all three drivers have a crew chief and spotter with them.”

This fall, eNASCAR and iRacing are hosting 4 different races. All races have time trials a week before, with up to 400 schools participating, and the top 40 finishers advance to the final race.

RED RIVER AND BEDLAM

This fall, OU will once again be participating in rivalry tournaments against both the University of Texas and Oklahoma State University.

Jody “BosnWifey” Farmer, the assistant intercollegiate Esports director, is thrilled to be able to participate in these two events this year.

“I am excited to see all our new players have fun versus both schools,” Farmer said. “These two rivalry matches are important to growing Esports amongst all three colleges and I am super excited to keep that going.”

“The best part of these events is seeing the work students put in paying off in both the competition but also in production and casting.  We are working on setting up Extra Life again this year, and are waiting on specifics from both Texas and OSU.”

Dates are still to be determined for these events, but are tentatively scheduled for sometime in October or November.

Stay tuned to OU Esports socials for more completive updates and stick to Sooner Esports News for more coverage this year.

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