Gabrielle Turner

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – More than 200 people attended Winthrop University’s first video game tournament that was open to the public last month, making it one of the largest in South Carolina history.

The “Rock the Hill” event, held at the Winthrop Coliseum, was a collaboration between the Winthrop esports team and the Winthrop Competitive Gaming Club and it featured multiple popular fighting games, including as DNF (Dungeon Fighters) Duel, Guilty Gear Strive, Rivals of Aether and Super Smash Bros.

The biggest draw, however, was the $1,000 prize that was distributed amongst the winners.

“(We’re) excited to put on an event like this and continue to build,” Josh Sides, head esports coach, said.

Sides works with Winthrop’s esports division players to assure they have spaces to practice.

The games were set up all around the inside of the coliseum, filling the floor with monitors and the sound of clicking buttons.

“We’re super proud of this event,” said Chuck Rey, Winthrop Athletic Director. “What was supposed to be a small little fighting game event, all of a sudden blew up.”

The top eight winners in each game received monetary prizes.

The winner of the largest bracket was Winthrop student Matthew Scott, who goes by screen name “NoTag,” who won with the classic favorite of Mario.

“It was my first ever regional win so it’s one of my milestones of my career,” Scott said.

Even though the event was heavily competitive, it appeared to be a lot of fun for participants and spectators, and organizers say the Winthrop esports team plans to hold more public events in the future.

Since its founding in 2019, the Winthrop esports team has captured two national titles, including the 2021 League of Legends College Championship and the Collegiate Esports National Championship’s 2021 Rocket League Championship.

The team was also a finalist for the Esports Awards’ Collegiate Program of the Year.