Iowa State VALORANT team headed to national stage of major tournament

Team photo of Iowa State Gaming and Esports Club team advancing to national stage.

Andrew Harrington

As esports increase in popularity worldwide, one team of five players from Iowa State have found extreme success in a tournament called Redbull Campus Clutch. This event consists of regional, national and global stages of a widely popular video game called VALORANT. 

VALORANT is a first-person shooter game that incorporates abilities specific to different characters. The game was officially released in June 2020 and has taken off in popularity since.

On April 18, the varsity VALORANT team from the Iowa State Gaming and Esports Club defeated teams from Saint Louis University, University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota during the regional stage of the tournament. This granted the team and university a chance to represent themselves at the national stage. The national finals begin Saturday, and these players will make sure to come in prepared. 

The players from the Iowa State team and their respective gamertags are as follows:

Elmin Didic (Sk1mmy), Umair Sarwar (Chickabob), Ethan Hosch (Hasselhosch), Connor Quinn (Fearozen) and Brayden Lamb (Lamb0).

Whichever team wins the national event will receive the opportunity to play at the world final in Madrid, Spain. Winning the world final would result in a cash prize of $24,000 and a new gaming facility in their university, and they will be able to go to a VALORANT Masters event as a team.

One of the most important things these players would like to come out of this event is the growth of esports, especially at Iowa State. The Iowa State Gaming and Esports Club has had massive success, performing in major tournaments in many different games; however, continued growth is extremely important to them. Hosch, a member of the varsity team, discussed what this expansion would mean to him and many others just like him.

“I’ve wanted to be able to work in the esports industry for a number of years now, and the rapid growth of esports globally means that that dream is becoming much more feasible than it was even just a few years ago,” Hosch said.

With the growth of esports comes a chance for young people to get scholarships at their universities through esports programs. As scholarships are coming in for esports students, a window will be opened for people to see esports as an industry and an occupation.

Esports at Iowa State specifically has seen major growth, and with the gaming room that was built in February, there are many good things ahead for Iowa State gamers. Sarwar stressed how impactful the esports room being constructed at Iowa State is on the student gamers.

“College has slowly started incorporating esports into their program and could slowly come to the point where scholarships are given,” Sarwar said. “Also, it allows new gamers to get into gaming without them having to spend money and have them be a part of the club.”

Not only does this new gaming room allow students that do not have access to computers and consoles play, but it also shows the recognition from Iowa State and the recreational services department in the success of esports.

As these five players are in pursuit of a major career accolade, they know they are doing a lot more than just chasing a championship. This team has the ability to speed up the integration of esports as a scholarship sport in Ames. Follow @GamingISU on Twitter for information to watch this event and other major Iowa State esports events.