Sports

Mount Vernon pair shine at Fortnite tournament

HS journalism: Duo places second among 128 teams in Des Moines

Cael Crawford (front) is ready to compete with teammate Jalen McNeal at the Iowa Chill Fortnite Tournament finals held at Grand View University on Feb. 9. The Mount Vernon duo placed 10th in the tournament out of 128 teams. (Submitted photo)
Cael Crawford (front) is ready to compete with teammate Jalen McNeal at the Iowa Chill Fortnite Tournament finals held at Grand View University on Feb. 9. The Mount Vernon duo placed 10th in the tournament out of 128 teams. (Submitted photo)

Two players, far better than the rest of the field, roam the virtual island looking for their next targets to destroy.

The enemies have been spotted.

“You go around the trees, I’ll flank them from behind” Mist_Karios says.

“Ok, in good position here, head in I’m ready,” responds craw_boyz23.

Then it’s all over, on the screen pops up a “Victory Royale” and they know they have won.

These two unstoppable competitors are Jalen McNeal and Cael Crawford, better know on screen as Mist_Karios and craw_boyz23. The duo placed 10th out of 128 teams in Iowa’s largest Fortnite tournament last month. The tournament was organized by Iowa Chill and Grand View University. The teams played on Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 6, 13, and 20, with the final 16 teams in the bracket competing on site at Grand View University on Feb. 9.

McNeal and Crawford, both juniors, have been playing together for almost two years, and keep working to improve their skills.

“Cael and I practiced all week leading up to the games, and we were very prepared,” McNeal said.

They compete on their PlayStation 4’s.

To play in the tournament, the Mount Vernon natives had to prove they were worthy of the competition. They submitted their lifetime Fortnite stats to the Iowa Chill event managers and were selected to compete in the tournament along with another 127 other duos. Their team name was MV’s Best because they wanted to make sure people knew where they came from.

“It was an amazing opportunity, we got to play against the other best players in the state, and proved we could compete with them,” McNeal said.

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Each Sunday the field was cut in half as teams competed. Each weekend two teams competed against each other to try and see which partnership could get the most kills in five games. The kills from each game were added up and the winner moved on to the next round.

“I had a great time,” Crawford said. “We pretty much destroyed every team leading up to the final 16, and it was a fun experience.”

The top 16 teams duked it out on the Grand View University campus in Des Moines. Grand View is one of the seven colleges in the state with an esports program. MV’s Best lost in the first round of the final 16 teams to the eventual second-place finishers.

But they had a great run.

“We were nervous, but will definitely be back next year and ready to compete to be state champions,” Crawford said.

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