eSPORTS Victory: UHD Overwatch Varsity Team Wins UGC League
By Edward Saenz, The Dateline
UHD’s Overwatch Varsity team won the United Gaming Clans (UGC) Overwatch 2 Division 4 Season 19 league.
“Seconds before the win, my heart was thumping so loud I could hear it in my ears,” said Sibel Deniz Emekli, OW2 Varsity Team Captain, about the victory. “I knew in that moment, this would be a core memory I will never forget and hope to relive with yet another trophy this year.”
Overwatch 2 is a team game, played with a total of five players, and Emekli was sure to give her team all the praise they deserved. “My world paused for a second as I heard my team screaming in their microphones and celebrating,” Emekli said. “UHD would not have had another award without the Overwatch Varsity team working so hard for their win. I am certain that no one deserved that celebration as much as those dedicated players who had put in hundreds of hours into practice and just pushed through,” she added.
Richard Rodriguez, the UHD eSPORTS Coordinator, was sure to share the same sentiment. “These students are the ones who earned the win, and I make sure that they soak up all the glory when they earn it,” Rodriguez said.
The event was hosted by UGC League, an independent tournament organizer who puts on events for amateur and collegiate colleges in Overwatch 2 and Team Fortress 2. The UHD Gators beat teams from The University of North Texas, University of Jerusalem, and University of Kentucky, among other colleges and amateur programs en route to winning the tournament, when they beat the Storybook Heroes 4-0.
The Gators competed in OW2 Season 18 where they qualified for the Consolation Playoffs after finishing 22nd in the 32-team league. The team lost 3-2 in the first round of playoffs to Element: Inspire.
Emekli praised UHD for its continuous support of the OW2 team. “We would not have had so many opportunities without the amazing eSPORTS staff being here for us when we needed them the most,” she said. “Every single person who works in the eSPORTS Center has made an impact on where the Overwatch team is today.”
Emekli is an international business major. When she first started at UHD, she had no interest in school activities. She just wanted to earn a degree and move on. All that changed with the creation of UHD’s Varsity Overwatch team. “I told one of my players the other day that when I started at this University, I literally wanted to go to school and back. I didn’t want to make friends, nothing.” Emekli added. “Now here I am talking about what it’s like to be a part of something I started a year and a half ago.”
The team is currently fielding offers for new players and looks to compete in Season 20 of UGC. “There are always plans in place for teams to expand their rosters,” Rodriguez said. “If you have the skills or just want to be a part of the eSPORTS community, we are always eager to grow.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.