Photo courtesy of MSU-WP

Grizzly eSports player reaches championship of NJCAAE Mario Kart 8

Dustin Johnson, Ava, a member of the Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) Grizzly eSports team, placed second in the nation in the NJCAAE's Mario Kart 8 playoffs.
Johnson, who was seeded 22nd in the tournament, overcame his underdog status to climb up through the competition to the championship contest where he played against Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. In the best-of-seven series, Johnson led in the first three matches only to be overtaken in the final few seconds. Ultimately, he lost the championship 0-4. 
"Dustin is an admirable student player," Grizzly eSports Head Coach Alex Pinnon said. "He has faced many obstacles this season, but he continually demonstrated grit, grace and gratitude. I am incredibly proud of Dustin, and we are registering him into the Invitational NJCAAE next season."
Pinnon explained the NJCAAE offers two different seasons, the "Open" and the "Invitational."  The two seasons compete at the same time; however, the Invitational season is reserved for programs that have demonstrated high levels of skill and integrity. It also offers more prestigious awards for the competitors, Pinnon added.
"For our first season, we could only compete in the Open, and right now, we are only putting teams who make the playoffs into the Invitational," he explained.
Overall, the first season of Grizzly eSports proved to be quite successful, Pinnon said. "We were able to put four different teams into the playoffs, and we reached the championship game in one of them. Every player throughout the program demonstrated growth and development, so I am proud of everyone in the program. I am excited to see what we are able to accomplish in the spring season."
Pinnon said the Grizzlies will have six new players for the upcoming spring season, and they are looking for more players for Rocket League and one more player for Overwatch 2.
Students who would like to try out for these positions are encouraged to email or call 417-255-7965.
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