It came down to a clash of epic proportions reminiscent of the classic underdog basketball film, Hoosiers. Last month, the smallest campus in the UH system battled for the championship against the juggernaut, UH Manoa, in the first annual system-wide Esports tournament held at the Hawaii Convention Center as part of the internationally renowned “Kawaii Con.” Led by Super Smash Brothers standout, Shanmel “The Joker” Sibolboro, the Kauai squad successfully staved off talented teams from UH Hilo and Leeward CC to win their bracket and face UH Manoa the following day. Tension ran high, as the buzz surrounding this Cinderella story made its way through the throngs of cosplayers, video gamers, and anime aficionados attending the 3-day event. Unfortunately, UH Manoa was too much to handle for our brave and scrappy crew, whose valiant efforts resulted in a surprising second place overall finish. The team celebrated their achievements by enjoying the convention and taking advantage of Honolulu’s fine dining and shopping opportunities. “It was fun. I bought a sword and we got Little Caesar’s,” noted team member, Chris Rosa. For others, participation in the tournament offered a chance to broaden horizons: “Oahu was an interesting experience because I had never been there,” said Kendal Oyama. With cinnabons from the Ala Moana Shopping Center in hand, the team triumphantly returned to Kauai inspired and proud. Thanks for all the support from the Chancellor’s office, LAH Division and staff, JB Araula, Sky Kauweloa and the Esports Program at UH Manoa, and Southwest Airlines for making this very special event possible. We look forward to competing next year.
For students interested in Esports and video gaming at Kauai CC, please contact Jayce Foster (President of the Kauai CC Gaming Club) at Jaycek6@hawaii.edu
Mark Ombrello (Kauai CC Esports Team & Gaming Club Faculty Advisor)
Captions for photos (courtesy of UH system)
Photo 1: Esports Tournament Group Photo of All Participants
Photo 2: Kauai Community College ESports Team (from back right to left: Chris Rosa & Asher Griffith; from front right to left: Kendal Oyama & Shanmel “The Joker” Sibolboro); Sky Kauweloa (back center); Kevin Nguyen and JB Araula (front right to left)