MSU Varsity Esports Team to Compete in 2023 NACE Starleague Grand Finals

MSU’s varsity SSBU team at the 2023 Confluence Festival. Left to right: Director Christopher Bilski, Julian “Crash101” Alonso, Ryan “Rydra” Marcus, Adam “Suspect” Ismaili-Alaoui, Daniel “Hawk” Weatherspoon, Dyson “Dice” Mingo, Rodrigo “Arkdee” Arce, Coach Grayson Harding

No. 6 seed MSU defeats No. 2 seed Akron in NACE playoffs, advance to grand finals in Boise, ID.

MSU’s first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU) varsity team qualified for the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) championship round after securing playoff wins against St. John’s University, Full Sail University and Akron University.

The Fall 2023 NACE Starleague Grand Finals will be hosted at Boise State University, Dec. 2-3, 2023. The Spartans will take on No. 1 seed Stony Brook University, who are currently undefeated, on day one of the series.

“In our inaugural season, grounded by senior captain Daniel Weatherspoon, the varsity Smash roster made their mark with a nearly undefeated record,” said SSBU Head Coach Grayson Harding. “Defeating Akron University — a team that handed us a loss earlier in the season — to qualify for the national championship was extremely satisfying, and a testament to the squad’s hard work and daily dedication.”

Heading to the championship round are players Daniel “Hawk” Weatherspoon, Rodrigo “Arkdee” Arce, Julian “Crash 101” Alonso, Adam “Suspect” Ismaili-Alaoui, Ryan “Rydra” Marcus, and Dyson “Dice” Mingo.

NACE, the largest association of varsity esports programs in North America, is one of two conferences Michigan State University competes in at the varsity level.

“We’re ready to seize this moment and make our mark in Boise,” Harding said.

Spartan esports fans can catch the action on the NACE Starleague Twitch channel Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. Eastern.


—Jessica Mussell