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WVU Esports hosts first Bridge Battle Royale


Members of the WVU Esports program and The Bridge pose with Bridge Battle Royale winner Rayden Rutherford

More than 100 players turned out for the WVU Esports Bridge Battle Royale in Bridgeport, West Virginia, on Saturday, June 22.

It was the first in-person youth tournament hosted by WVU Esports, as the program worked in collaboration with The Bridge Sports Complex to bring the event to students. The players competed in solos and duos competition in Fortnite. The solos round consisted of three heats with the top 12 in each preliminary round moving on to the Grand Finals, while duos competition was a bracket-style tournament with two duos facing off head-to-head to see which ended their match with the most combined eliminations.

"The event didn't quite go exactly as planned. We faced some facility issues that delayed our start time and changed our schedule, so we do want to apologize to everyone for the little-to-big impact it may have had on their experience," WVU Esports Director and Varsity Head Coach Josh Steger said. "Other than that though, the event itself was a success between the size of participants and the skill level we saw. We've learned from this experience and the next time it will be even better."

Rayden Rutherford was the first-place finisher in solos competition just beating out Sapphira Vincent. Rutherford took home a brand new PS5 for winning the tournament while Vincent was the winner of a customized WVU Esports baseball jersey.

The duo of Rylan Bennett and Aiden Ledsome took home first place and also won a WVU Esports baseball jersey. For winning second place, the team of Caiden Alford and Owen Adkins won WVU Esports merchandise.

"We were really happy to see the amount of kids who love esports and came out to play. We definitely saw some people who we're taking a special interest in and will be keeping an eye on them as they develop in the future," Steger said. "We saw a lot of bonds and friendships created and smiles on faces when they were playing a game they love, making a new friend or interacting with our staff.

"I also really want to give a special shoutout to the parents and guardians. There was a level of engagement from them with their kids that is uncommon in this space. The families that came out truly care about the things that bring their children joy, and that's why we want to make sure we are always putting our best foot forward for these events."

Close to 10 players and student workers from around the WVU Esports program helped with running the event, getting hands-on experience in what it's like working an esports tournament the size of this.

"It was great for people to actually see some of the faces of WVU Esports," Steger said. "Our workers were able to get experience and understand what it really takes to run an event of this magnitude and how so many things can change in an instance. 

"This was a great experience that you can't learn in a book or classroom. We want to keep giving them these opportunities in the future while aligned it with our community."