By: Rilee Stapleton
The Mizzou Esports program is no stranger to success, and their actions show that they expect to be a top tier program no matter the circumstances or the title they are competing in. Their most recent example is the addition of Rocket League assistant coach Blake “Ulti” Griesbauer.
Griesbauer has been a coach for four years, previously working with AllMid, Omellete (now Ghost Gaming), and Jamal Jabary.
The opportunity to join Mizzou’s coaching staff actually came about through social media.
“[Mizzou Rocket League] found out I was in Missouri,” Griesbauer said. “Tristan [Bennett], Nitrovity, contacted me on Twitter and decided to give me a shot.”
Shortly after bringing on Griesbauer, Mizzou’s top Rocket League roster instantly found more success. The Tigers had finished 11-4 in League Play, putting them in third place behind North Texas and Oregon, who both finished 12-3. Griesbauer joined ahead of the Western conference playoffs, where Missouri was seen as an underdog.
They lost their first matchup to the No. 4 seed LSU Tigers, then ran the table to win the Western Conference that same evening. On their path, they defeated UT Dallas, Oregon, and North Texas, winning each best-of-7 series 4-2.
Mizzou was playing their best Rocket League of the season and they took that momentum into the Maui Esports Invitational. After going 4-0 in group play, the Tigers defeated Boise State and avenged their CRL Playoff loss to LSU before facing Northwood in the finals.
Northwood was 14-1 in the CRL League Play and came out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on top. The Timberwolves proved to be too much for Missouri, beating them in four close games.
“I’m very confident in my abilities with this roster,” Griesbauer said. “I’m excited to see where this team can go.”
During Mizzou’s hot stretch, their roster of Bennett (Nitrovity), Riley “Chox” Putnam, and Christian “Crimz” VanMeter played at the highest level they had all season. Bennett played especially well on both ends of the field during their run in the CRL playoffs, and Chox led the way as Mizzou’s top scorer.
This roster, with Griesbauer and head coach Ethan “Ethanol” Baxter, look to put together another miraculous run in the CRL Finals, which start in early January. Mizzou will enter as the No. 1 seed from the west, while Northwood is the top seed from the east.