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Esports champion: UW-Stout Valorant team goes undefeated to win state collegiate title

Blue Devils defeat UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison to claim crown

By Jerry Poling, UW Stout

An esports team from University of Wisconsin-Stout is a state collegiate champion.

The Blue Devils’ Valorant squad defeated UW-Madison Red 3-0 in the best-of-five Grand Final to take the Wisconsin Valorant Summit LAN championship. UW-Stout won 13-5, 13-5 and 13-1.

The finals win capped off a perfect run in the championship. The Blue Devils defeated UW-Milwaukee 2-0 in the semifinals, 16-14 and 13-7. Read more here.

The championship caps off a highly successful season for the university’s esports competitive video game teams, with the Valorant and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate winning their conferences and qualifying for the national tournaments.

“This Valorant team has put in a ton of work during the school year,” said Coach Aaron Froelich, who has led UW-Stout’s esports program since summer 2023.

Competing in both semesters can be extremely time-consuming and challenging for our student athletes to stay on top of their academic work while also succeeding in their game.”

The team improved on its third-place finish in the state event last fall.

“They knew they could perform at a higher level. For most of our players, last season was the first time they have traveled to compete in Valorant so we brought that experience to this season’s state championship. Our players were composed and focused on one thing, winning,” Froehlich said.

“I am very proud of the team for setting high goals and holding themselves to a high standard when it comes to preparation and execution during our matches. I look forward to seeing how this team continues to succeed into the future.”

Six state teams qualified for the Valorant state finals April 26-27 at Waukesha County Technical College, including three from UW-Madison. In online qualifying, UW-Stout won its two matches to advance directly to the LAN — local area network — in-person semifinals.

Valorant, by Riot Games, is for two teams of five players each who attack and defend their positions using various strategies on different maps for each round.

The Blue Devils’ Noah Filtz, of Oregon, Wis., was named the tournament co-most valuable player.

Other team members were Em Humphrey, of Waunakee; JJ Hanson, of Lindstrom, Minn.; Nathan Lenz, of St. Paul; and Hoang Dang, of Altoona.

Valorant Coach Tobey Riedmann, of Menomonie, also is a student and is in the university’s new esports coaching minor.

UW-Stout has been a Wisconsin leader in esports since 2020, when it became the first university in the Universities of Wisconsin to launch a varsity program.

The university’s gaming roots are connected to its nationally ranked game design and development-art program and computer science program.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan.


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