Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State Mario Kart champion crowned by Shocker Gaming Club

When Red Yoshi crossed the finish line at N64 Rainbow Road, sophomore Noah Sanford was crowned the 2023 Shocker Gaming Club Mario Kart champion.

On Wednesday evening, 20 competitors packed into the Heskett Center Esports Hub to test their “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” skills. After four rounds and 40 races, Sanford took home the Mushroom Cup replica trophy.

Sanford remembers playing Mario Kart on the Wii as a kid and has fallen in love with the game series since. He said he’s tried to go to all of the Mario Kart events on campus that he’s seen so far.

“When I heard about this tournament, I played the game once a day,” Sanford said. “Just to get ready and practice for it.”

Sanford explained that while he is extremely competitive, he always gets nervous before competitions. He thanked his friends, Erik and Diego, for showing up and supporting him at the tournament.

“I probably would have not been able to do this without them,” Sanford said. “During the practice rounds, while they were still in classes, I had this knot in my stomach, and I was not doing my best. But when Erik and Diego showed up, it helped calm me down.”

Shocker Gaming Club President Branden Davis said these events offer a space where people interested in games can come together and have a good time in a relaxed environment.

“I think WSU needs a strong gaming community,” Davis said. “We have an esports club, but the esports club is for people who are competitive, and not everybody’s competitive. I wanted something casual that everybody can join to come together and just play video games, board games, card games, you name it.”

Davis became the president of the club at the end of last year. He said the club has gone from attracting around five people every meeting to at least 20 this year.

“That first club day was so scary because we’re like, ‘How many people are going to show up?’” Davis said. “We had 50 people show up. So to go from five people to 50 people for our first meeting of the semester was just something special. All of our hard work that we did to keep getting this club up to the level that we wanted to get it up to really paid off.”

The club hosts numerous events throughout the semester. The Mario Kart tournament was the second tournament the club put together this year, following a Mortal Kombat tournament in September. Davis said the club has Super Smash Brothers and Street Fighter tournaments planned for the spring.

“I’ve been playing games my whole life,” Davis said. “I like people having the same joy that I have playing video games … On campus, it can be hard to really make friends, and some people don’t know how to do that. So I want to be an outlet for people to come and make friends and play games.”

For more information on Shocker Gaming Club events, visit their page on Shocker Sync.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

Comments (0)

All The Sunflower Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *