Making The Most Of A Day: WKHS Esports

Making The Most Of A Day: WKHS Esports

For the past three years, the WKHS Esports program has had a Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate (SSBU) team. During those three years, the team’s makeup has remained relatively the same, with the varsity squad consisting of Landon Wilson, Cameron Cost, Lukas Rider, Jack Leary, and Simon Shaskus. The team has shown success every year they’ve played, making it to the regional tournament every time. However, the team was never able to get past the first round without being eliminated. This year, being senior Cost’s last year of play, was their final chance to win in the tournament.

Computers waiting to be used at the Esports Ohio regional tournament. (Micah Fenner)

Esports Ohio (ESO) is the organization that sponsors and creates the rules for the statewide SSBU tournament. SSBU, which is a competitive fighting game, is very difficult to create a ruleset that encourages teamplay. According to the ESO site, the two previous years seasons had ESO run a “one-on-one” set of rules, where the best players on both teams would face each other in a best two out of three structure. If one team’s player wins two of the fights, they take the point, after which the next best players go against each other, continuing until all five players on each team have played. Whoever had the most points by the end of the final game, wins.


This season, ESO decided to change up the ruleset. Instead of a one-on-one format, the games now are called crew battles. Crew battles as explained in on ESO’s official rule document for the SSBU season, “Players from opposing teams take turns fighting in one v. one matches, with the winner of a match carrying their remaining [lives] to face the next member of the opposing team.” Each player starts with three lives, and a team loses once all five of their players lose their lives. This was done in an effort to both encourage more teamplay, and to be more similar to other high level team tournaments.

The WKHS smash team from left to right: Jack Leary, Landon Wilson, Brodie Schneider, Simon Shaskus, Micah Fenner, Lukas Rider, and Cameron Cost (Micah Fenner)

While the new ruleset makes logically more sense, many teams during the season said that it made the competition worse. Without the structure of the previous ruleset, it left the door open for a few highly skilled players on one team to completely dominate the other, even if the rest of the team isn’t as capable.  “All you need is two really good players and that’s it,” Wilson said, “You can have two really good players and no one else has to play.”


In spite of the controversial new rules, Wilson’s crew decided to put all they could into this season. During their main season of play, the team went undefeated in their season, ending with a 7-0 record. Playing against teams all across the state, the WKHS SSBU team showed their dominance and secured their spot in the regional tournament at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Everything seemed on the up and up for the team, but Wilson was concerned about how the newly changed rules would affect the competition.


The ESO regional tournament was held on March 16th, and the team could not have been more prepared. They’d practiced for weeks, studied their opponents and were ready to perform. Their first match of the competition was against Groveport Madison High School, a team which they had had narrowly beaten during the main season.  After which, they would face their biggest competition of the tournament, the reigning champions Dublin Coffman High School. “Once we get past Coffman,” team coach Gavin Meeks had said, “we’ll be home free for the finals.”

A street in Athens, Ohio, where the regional tournament was held (Micah Fenner)

Unfortunately, they were never able to face Coffman, as they lost to Groveport by 15-14. It had come down to one final match between the last players on each team, and Groveport managed to pull out a victory. The team was heartbroken, to say the least. Not only was this the third year in a row where they had made it to regionals and lost, but this was also the last year where this team would play together, as Cost would be gone next year. The sorrow in the room was palpable.


While this was the end of their tournament run, they still had a whole day ahead of them. The tournament had started early, with the first rounds beginning at 8:00 AM and ending around 12:00. The team ended their games at 11:30, so their only plan after was to get lunch. They split up into two groups, with Wilson, Cost, Rider, and their substitute Brodie Schneider all going to get pizza down the road, while Leary and Shaskus went to get sushi. Still down trodden from their fresh loss, the first group tried to figure out what went wrong; Wilson blamed himself as he was the last player, Rider and Schneider spoke with each other on what the other team had done, and Cost remained silent. 

Teams preparing to play at the Esports Ohio Regional Tournament. (Micah Fenner)

When they arrived at the pizza place, they spoke with each other about the season and how they performed. As they spoke the sadness in their air seemed to fade. They began to make small jokes about the season, and plans for what’s next for the team. Once they had ordered their food, the tone became much more lively. They all shared stories of the season, talked about some of their favorite games to play, and laughed at how easily the cheese fell off the pizza. 


Once they had finished eating, Wilson’s group decided to get some ice cream before they left Athens. On their way to the ice cream shop, they noticed a small hole in the wall book store, and decided to head inside. After exploring the main area for a brief amount of time, they found the kids section. This section was filled with books from their youths, and they laughed and joked seeing the old books they used to read. After spending 30 minutes reading and reliving the past, they left, with Rider calling the whole time, “a fun pitstop.”


After the book store, they all went to get ice cream. They laughed and joked some more, forgetting about the stress of the morning’s competition. 


By that point it was around 3:00 PM, and the team decided to call it a day. They all got a ride home and spent the next hour going back to Columbus. On their way back, Wilson asked the team if they’d be interested in going back to his house and hanging out there for a bit after. Rider and Cost agreed to go over with him.

The map select screen for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. (Micah Fenner)

The next six hours were spent with the trio laughing and joking around. They played games together and told the most bizarre of jokes. They had completely forgotten about the grief of that morning, not letting it define their day and nights.



At 10:00, when everyone was getting ready to go home, Wilson stopped everyone, saying that that day “was the most fun [he’s] had with smash in a long time.” After thanking everyone, they all went their separate ways.

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Micah Fenner
Micah Fenner, Writer
Hi! I'm Micah, and I'm a writer for the Ravine. Outside of school, I spend most of my time working at my local movie theater, playing games with friends, and spending time with my parents. This year's my first on the Ravine, and I hope you all enjoy the stories we share with you!

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