Gameplay of UH Esports’ Overwatch team during the UCLA Summer Invitational.

The University of Hawaii at Mānoa’s Esports team is gaining national recognition for its performance at the UCLA Summer Invitational Overwatch tournament on August 22–23.

“[First-seeded] University of California Irvine was great as always,” said UCLA Esports director Cathy Ge and Dillon LeDuc, “but the University of Hawaiʻi was one of the new schools entering the competitive scene who took some unexpected wins in the Overwatch tournament last weekend.”

UH esports’ VALORANT players and coaching staff. From left, top: Chris Shimabukuro, Kason Padilla and Nicklaus Kakazu; middle: Carter Suen, Justin Wong and Manalu Nakanishi; bottom: Johnny Ho.

The Overwatch team from UH Esports consisted of juniors Alan Muneoka and Alexine Niro; sophomores Clark Acohido, Jonathan Valencia and Johnny Ho; and freshmen Bryan McAniff, Ethan Nguyen, Reuben Sablad and Justin Chow.

During the tournament, UH Esports lost to UCI, then defeated UC San Diego and Colorado State University before losing to Ohio Northern. Although UH Esports did not bring home a tournament title, it is still a major accolade to compete against and be recognized by some of the top esport colleges nationwide.

While other sports have had their in-person competitions on hold due to COVID-19, members of the UH Manoa Esports team were able to continue to compete safely from the comfort of their homes.

UH Esports had two teams participating in the 2020 UCLA Esports Summer Invitational where they will challenge 29 other schools across the country in online multiplayer games VALORANT and Overwatch.

The VALORANT team included Kason Padilla; juniors Cody Oshiro and Nicklaus Kakazu; sophomores Ho, Manalu Nakanishi and Justin Wong; and freshman Carter Suen.

“Seeing the excitement and passion of these students as they put in the hours of practice can only be described as joy for me, knowing that these students have a sense of companionship as they play alongside each other,” said Kevin Nguyen, UH Esports program assistant. “With these tournaments that are able to run through COVID-19, the students can make new friends and have fun during school.”

Get the team’s updates on Twitter and Instagram.

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