Defeated At Nationals

Missouri’s Overwatch Champions suffered losses against other nationally ranked teams

The+variants+of+Overwatch+characters+stand+at+attention.+For+the+first+time+ever%2C+FHC+Esports+was+able+to+compete+with+other+Overwatch+teams+on+a+national+level.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

The variants of Overwatch characters stand at attention. For the first time ever, FHC Esports was able to compete with other Overwatch teams on a national level.

A month before Francis Howell Central’s Overwatch team was to compete in the North American Scholastic Esports Federation’s (NASEF) double-elimination tournament the weekend of Feb. 20, news came that only three out of six of FHC’s usual Overwatch players were eligible to compete at Nationals. Immediately, three Overwatch players were moved from off the bench to begin their preparations for the competition. Having already been ranked sixth out of the seven nationally competing teams, they knew they were in for a challenge.

Senior Tyler Belina, usually a commentator for the FHC Overwatch’s Twitch broadcasts, was one of the players selected to fill the empty spots.

“[Our team] went in knowing we were the underdogs and [that] it was going to be tough,” Belina said. “It was going to be an uphill battle to be able to win.”

FHC lost their first match of the weekend to Diamond Bar High School from California. The score was 3-0. This immediately knocked the team into the losing brackets. However, teammate Caelen Hellman, a sophomore, had an optimistic approach to their first loss.

“I felt pretty good after that game, as we did, in my eyes, fairly well against their team,” Hellman said. “It gave me more practice and something to work…towards [with] upcoming games.”

 Their next match was against Meridian Technical Charter High School, from Idaho, where FHC won 3-0. This moved them into the second round of the losing brackets where they battled Xavier High School and lost 3-0, rendering them eliminated from the tournament. Diamond Bar went on to win Nationals.

Although changes to the composition of the team posed an added challenge to their performance in the tournament, they were still happy with how far they carried themselves.

“We did very well for the amount of time we had to get ready. We weren’t expecting to take a set [in the tournament], so when we did, it was something to be proud of,” Belina said.

Esports sponsor Kris Miller witnessed the team make last-minute preparations after losing half of their regular players.

“Our team had developed a lot of chemistry that was lost, and we had to rebuild for Nationals in a month. That was hard for our team on so many levels,” Mr. Miller explained. “To all their credit, though, they worked so hard [in] those weeks leading up to the tournament.”

At the end of the day, the difference between winning or losing a match came down to their strategy and teamwork. A rushed month of reconstructing a collaborative environment gave way to imperfections in both of these aspects.

“There were times we made mistakes that we couldn’t afford to make and we paid for them,” Mr. Miller said.

Despite their loss, Mr. Miller and the team were satisfied with their accomplishments regarding the tournament and their season as a whole.

I am nothing but proud of what the team achieved this year. We hit some bumps along the way that we had to handle, and I think we handled them well.”

— Mr. Kris Miller

“I am nothing but proud of what the team achieved this year. We hit some bumps along the way that we had to handle, and I think we handled them well,” Mr. Miller said.

To the relief of many teammates, the Overwatch season is finally over for Esports. However, after a few weeks of much-needed rest, the team plans to develop a prospective team of players in the off-season in preparation for next year. 

As well as staying posted with Esports events on their Twitter (@FHCesports), you can tune in to their live streams for other Esports games on their Twitch channel (twitch.tv/fhc_esports).