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Esports player wins Afterburner 2024

March 12, 2024

A Northwood Esports player defeated over 300 others to win Afterburner 2024, a tournament that included professional players on Saturday, March 9.

“Afterburner is a major Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana,” explained Aden Frosch, Northwood Esports assistant coach. “Out of the 300-plus individuals in the tournament, many who finished within the Top 30 were players who have signed professional esports contracts. So we are incredibly proud of Jessie for winning this tournament!”

Jessie ‘JeJaJeJa’ Valdez-Vallejo hails from Klamath Falls, Oregon. He explained the circumstances leading up to his big win.

“I felt like I could make the Top 8 or even Top 3 if I played well,” Valdez-Vallejo stated. “One of the best professional players in the Midwest stood in my path, but that player was upset, which allowed me to get to the grand finals. Grands competition was close, but I’d seen enough to adapt at the end and win it all for myself and Northwood.”

Esports is an umbrella for multiple games, just as a university’s athletics department is an umbrella for numerous traditional sports teams. So Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is to Northwood Esports what Northwood Football is to Northwood Athletics.

“Ever since we signed Jessie, he’s done a lot to help elevate our Smash Bros. team to new heights,” stated Northwood Esports Coach Jacob R. Jacob. “It has been great seeing him progress as a player and take advantage of the opportunities he has at Northwood to develop his skills.”

Since starting last fall, Valdez-Vallejo has won a handful of tournaments in the Midwest. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end of the year, he’s consistently placing well in other major 300-plus player tournaments,” Jacob added.

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