Frost Penguins: Bringing esports to YSU

By Tanner Mondok

With esports becoming increasingly popular in the sports world, it’s no surprise that the Frost Penguins esports club has found some early success at Youngstown State University.

The club hosts “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” tournaments in Kilcawley’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Wednesdays, which is drawing attention to the fast-growing team.

During the most recent Smash Bros. tournament on April 10, several participants from outside of Youngstown, such as Pennsylvania and Geneva and Kent, Ohio, took part in the tournament.

Adam Learn, tournament organizer for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate division of Frost Penguins, explained Smash is the only game the team plays primarily in person as opposed to online.

“We decided to do a Smash event on Wednesdays because it doesn’t conflict with any of the other events in the college area,” Learn said.

Alexander Stroud, Frost Penguins Smash coordinator and coach, said the team runs a double elimination bracket for Smash because they’ve found it gives them the most interesting matchups.

Stroud said participants pay an entrance fee, which is eventually paid out to the top three players.

Depending on how many people participate, as many as the top eight participants can receive a payout.

“To make it better for viewership, we have a device that we use so we can send the game to the projector. So, what the players are seeing on screen we can see on the projector,” Stroud said. “It also goes to our stream through that we use to broadcast it online to other colleges.”

With 105 current members, Joe Conroy, Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center intramurals and special events coordinator, said Frost Penguins is the second largest team at YSU.

“The only other team currently on campus that has more than 105 is YSU football, and I think esports will surpass that soon as far as an organized sport,” Conroy said.

According to Conroy, Frost Penguins could be competing against universities with similar esports teams in the near future such as Ashland University, the University of Akron and Kent State University

“I think it is the new wave of young men and women that are participating and moving into this, because the fascination and the excitement of esports just seems to be growing. Everybody’s talking about it,” Conroy said.

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