By Rilee Stapleton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mizzou Esports recently announced a change to their varsity Rocket League roster for Collegiate Rocket League’s upcoming Spring. The addition promoted Noah “Blanks” De Aces from Mizzou Black to the Mizzou Gold roster that finished third overall at the Winter CRL Finals.
De Aces first started playing Rocket League shortly after the game came out on PlayStation in 2015. De Aces grew to love the game and ended up teaming up with current Mizzou Black member Chris “Homelessbaby” Johnston.
The duo played together in high school and then at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. Together they were able to capture a CRL spot with that team. Shortly after playing for MCC, the duo was offered the opportunity to play for Missouri Valley College. Once again, they managed to qualify for CRL despite moving schools.
“We both started playing in high school and we kind of got into competitive together,” De Aces said. “We proved we could make it into the scene no matter where we were.”
That was when they were presented with the opportunity to play for the University of Missouri. De Aces and Johnston continued their journey together and found themselves on Mizzou’s first ever Rocket League team in 2019.
Their success continued as Mizzou won the NACE Rocket League Championship and once again qualified for the prestigious CRL.
“We had a pretty successful year. We took fifth in the West in CRL,” De Aces said. “Which isn’t a bad placing for your first year as a program.”
Despite all of the success De Aces had early on in his career, it was at this point where he hit a bump in the road. Mizzou added Chistian “Crimz” Van Meter and Tristan “Nitrovity” Bennett. These two joined current Mizzou Gold player Riley “Chox” Putnam for their most recent CRL run.
De Aces was put on the Mizzou Black roster along with Johnston, and the two watched and supported the Mizzou Gold roster throughout their extremely successful season.
“When I got moved to Mizzou Black originally, I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of upset,” De Aces said. “I just started putting in a bunch of hours individually to put myself in the best spot possible.”
Shortly after Mizzou’s third place finish, Bennett announced that he would not be participating in the Spring season of CRL, and more recently he announced his retirement from competitive Rocket League.
This meant that a spot was now open on the top roster, so De Aces began grinding to improve his skills.
“I’ve been working a lot with our coach Ulti [Blake Griesbauer] to just try to get me better individually,” De Aces said. “I’m playing about 70 hours per week.”
Once he earned his spot on the roster, the Mizzou Gold roster began to work to gain team chemistry, but not everything was perfect at first. De Aces mentioned that some of their earlier scrimmages with other schools didn’t go too well, but that the team is beginning to find their footing.
With the Spring season of CRL just a couple of weeks away, the team will continue to work as much as they can to return to CRL and attempt to defend their title as Western Champions.
“I just want to win. I want to get first in the west or I want to win it all,” De Aces said. “This may be my last season and I want to place as well as I can.”
Mizzou will be competing in the Western qualifiers to earn a spot in CRL this season. There are two chances for the Tigers to earn their spot, with the first qualifier on March 14, and the second on March 21. If the Tigers do qualify for CRL, they will begin to defend their title when League play begins on March 31.