AUTHOR: CHRIS "BEARLIGHT" LEE / @BEARLIGHTCASTS
Stay Plugged In continues to see growth every week in it's Road to Radiant weekly Valorant tournaments, and Week 34 was no exception. Riding the vibes of two incredible live recruiting showcases over the past couple of weeks, our student athletes shook up the virtual competition this past Wednesday. Hopewell Esports and Charlotte Engineering of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Esports League made their first appearances this week, and the two finalists from last week were both taken out in a round earlier. See how the new teams performed, and who took over the Finals spots in this week's breakdown.
INVOLVEMENT FROM LOCAL SCHOOLS
Making a positive impact in local high school esports is key in the continued growth of the overarching scholastic esports ecosystem. Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Stay Plugged In has extended a helping hand in their local esports community, connecting students with esports scholarships and numerous other collegiate opportunities. The many connections made with regional federations, including their recent partnership with the Illinois High School Esports Association (IHSEA), is one of the many ways the SPIN platform empowers local areas to grow together. Helping students from all over the world find these opportunities has been, and always will be the goal of Stay Plugged In. It is exciting to see the local involvement this week in Road to Radiant from Hopewell and CLT Engineering, and we are looking forward to seeing more and more schools utilize the platform in the near future.
BREAKDOWN & RESULTS
Former finalists Jitterbugs and LegsUp saw their runs end in the Semifinals this week, both falling victim to experienced teams coming off of great Quarterfinals matches. Team "Go Next" were forced into overtime by 3rd-4th place finishers from last week, "Yay's Apostles". Their (14-12) win, courtesy of a 29 kill performance from SYNAPSE (Raze) and the 15 assists from DWAN (Omen), was electric, but perhaps not even as impressive as their Semifinals bid. Jitterbugs came into the night as four-week defending champions. Synapse top fragged yet again against the former champions, going 26/13/4 in KDA and collecting 5 first bloods leading Go Next to a huge upset (13-6) over Jitterbugs.
Reyhand Gaming made their first Road to Radiant appearance since Week 31, and having finished in the 5th-6th place range seems a bit discouraging considering the effort they put forth that week. This time around however, a big (13-4) win in the Quarterfinals sent the team into overdrive, and they followed it up with a (13-9) victory in the Semis against last week's runner up. They would meet Go Next in the Finals, not exactly a team to sleep on after they took out the recent Road to Radiant top dogs one round prior.
This week's Finals match was the first recorded match at Valorant's newest map Pearl in a competitive Stay Plugged In bracket, and it was a blast to watch. BIGGIECHEESE (Sage) of Go Next went full battle-Sage mode with a 21/14/11 KDA. Even still, KEVIN (Fade) of Reyhand Gaming completely took over in this one. The sophmore smokes specialist from New Jersey displayed immense flexibility and natural talent, moving out of the comfort zone to an intel gathering initiator and earning 9 assists, while also going 24/12 in KD. Meanwhile, former Bald Babies players FEEDZ and SINBAD were so incredibly consistent throughout the bracket. For that reason, Reyhand Gaming were able to walk away with the title this week with a (13-7) victory in the Finals.
WINNERS & FINAL THOUGHTS
Congratulations to Reyhand Gaming for their first Road to Radiant championship as a team! Despite never appearing at the top of the frag list, SINBAD had the second highest KDA Ratio (2.278) just behind SMRTY (3.000) and is our Week 34 MVP. To sign up for our future Road to Radiant tournaments, as well as the upcoming Carry 2 College event this November, you can visit our events page.