by Jonathan Sargent
It’s been nearly a year since the University of Washington had a shot at the CSL championship title. They came excruciatingly close last year, only to lose bitterly 3-4 to the University of North Texas. This year, Washington is more determined than ever to claim the title as theirs, but only time will tell if they have evolved from a team almost entirely dependent on two pro-gamers to a team with a strong all-around roster capable of claiming the championship title.
What Could Have Been
Their performance last year was admittedly a bit of fluke, according to the team’s coordinator Zane Allinger. “I think almost all of last year’s success can be attributed to luck and our two pros KawaiiRice and Caliber,” he said. This was most noticeable when both KawaiiRice and Caliber predicted that they would carry their team with ease in last year’s finals. Unfortunately, both pro players lost their games in a decidedly miserable fashion. When asked to comment on this turn of events, KawaiiRice was still speechless, but this last year’s loss is far in the past for Washington. Like UC Berkeley, they started prepping for the finals with weeklong boot camps, in which the majority of the players gather and try to emulate the training conditions of a pro-team house.
Licking the Wounds
KawaiiRice, no doubt eager to avenge his loss from last year, is by far Washington’s most prominent player and is playing an instrumental role in helping the team prepare for the finals. “I spend a lot of time helping everyone decide on builds for their games and coaching them in general,” he said. “Everyone that attends is getting a lot better each boot camp.”
“Other schools noticed our boot camp,” Allinger added. “I’m pretty sure it worried our opponents.” He also explained the improvements being made by both the team and individual players. “It’s much more of a team effort. All players have gotten very solid.”
Very confident in his team’s new-found capabilities, Allinger stressed the seriousness of this year’s competition. “The competition is much stronger, in large part due to the greatly increased prize pool. Instead of just depending on our two best players, we now have eight strong dependable players.”
The Outcome is Yet Unclear
It remains to be seen whether or not Washington can redeem themselves from last year’s two person performance and unite to take the title, or if they will come close only to stumble again.
But Washington thinks they are more than ready to take on UC Berkeley and others in the finals on February 16th in Los Angeles. They have a much more dependable roster, and though they might not have the star power of EG.Suppy, KawaiiRice and Caliber are more than capable of carrying their team in the right situation. Will last year’s second-place team overcome their close defeat? Or will UC Berkeley become the first two-time CSL Champions? Tune in to find out!
KawaiiRice’s predictions this year.