A Q&A With Trevor “The Mop” Funseth
Trevor “The Mop” Funseth and his Montana State teammates recently won the First Ever Barstool Sports College Gaming Championship Presented By XP Sports. Along the way, Funseth, who is the captain of the unaffiliated Montana State University team, entertained the audience, while dominating the competition. He became an instant fan favorite and earned the nickname “The Mop” for his hairstyle and larger than life personality. Now, The Mop is partnering with XP Sports to stream “Mondays With Mop” and “Thirsty Thursdays” on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. MT/8 p.m. ET.
XPSports.com had the opportunity to speak with The Mop about what his experience was like going from underdogs to champions of the First Ever Barstool Sports College Gaming Championship Presented By XP Sports, how he has been handling his rise to fame, and what his goals are with XP Sports.
Q: Congrats to you and your Montana State teammates on winning the First Ever Barstool Sports College Gaming Championship Presented By XP Sports. Your team wasn’t even supposed to be one of the 64 schools competing originally, and then you and your teammates Brayden Ginnaty and Kyler Lawhon blew away the competition and went on to win the whole thing. How did you and your teammates go from unknowns to the toast of the town?
A: “Barstool contacted me shortly before the tournament telling me that we were in if I had a team ready – apparently one of the schools couldn’t field a team. Our goal going in was to just advance to the round of 32 so we don’t look like complete losers. Then our goal became to just advance to the round of 16, and so on. All of a sudden, we were in the national championship as a 14 seed.”
Q: You were competing against teams that have official esports programs at their colleges and universities. Some of the players in the tournament even have scholarships to play video games at their schools. Yet, you and your teammates never backed down. Where did that confidence come from?
A: “None of us had ever even played in a tournament before. Some of the guys we played against spend all of their time playing tournaments. We knew we couldn’t match them in raw talent. But the confidence comes from outworking every other team. We simulated tournament matches and practiced every single night for over two months. We watched film on professionals and on the teams we were competing against. I kept a spreadsheet of all of our stats and analyzed them to see what strategies work best for us. I wanted to make sure that if we ended up losing, it was not going to be because we didn’t work hard enough.”
Q: You also weren’t shy when it came to trash talking your opponents. Was psyching out the other team always part of your plan? And do you have a favorite line that you said during the tournament?
A: “It wasn’t the plan going in, but the trash talk just came out of me in the moment. I think it comes from watching old pro wrestling with guys like Ric Flair. There is something to be said about The Mop getting in teams’ heads. Every team we faced played worse against us than they had the weeks before. They cracked under the bright lights and we shined.
My favorite line came in Week 2. During Week 1, the host of the tournament called us an ‘irrelevant’ team and we took it to heart. When we scored a huge victory in Week 2, in the heat of the moment I ripped my glasses off and looked at the camera and yelled, ‘Are we relevant now Smitty?!’ That was the start of my rise in popularity. The people loved that I had the audacity to stand toe to toe with the famous host.”
Q: The day of the Grand Final, what did you do to prepare? And were you nervous before your matchup with Grand Canyon?
A: “I was so nervous I was sick. Literally, I puked 15 minutes before we went live on Twitch. Everyone knew Grand Canyon was the more skilled team and a heavy favorite. Friends and family kept telling me that even if we lost, we had a lot to be proud of with our Cinderella story making it all the way to the finals. But that wasn’t good enough for me. That day, I wanted to win more than I had ever wanted anything in my life. We put in all the work, I was not ready to come that close and fail. Nobody remembers second place.
In terms of preparation, I did the same thing every week. I went to the gym in the morning and then in the afternoon we would play some practice games. Then 30 minutes before showtime I would get up from my desk and get in the zone. I jumped around my house, shadowboxed, listened to my pump-up playlist, drank some Boost, and tried to get the jitters out.”
Q: Looking back on the tournament, what does it mean to you to have won that championship belt?
A: “As I mentioned, I am an old pro wrestling fan so I love the championship belt. It means that people can trash talk me all they want, or say they are better than me at the game, but I am a national champion. In fact, we are the first, and so far the only, national champions. And you can’t take that away.”
Q: As a national champion and a viral sensation, how have you been handling your rise to fame?
A: “Life on the Internet is wild. I have had to mute notifications. Getting supportive messages or follows from famous people is always exciting, but outside of the internet, life in Montana still goes on as normal. I go to school and run my errands like I always have. ‘Fame’ may be a stretch, but I do get a free drink at a bar every now and then.”
Q: Barstool blogger and tournament host Smitty posted a video shortly after your victory saying that there was a cheating scandal. What is your response to Smitty and anyone else who says that your championship should have an asterisk next to it because you and your teammates were reverse boosting?
A: “He can throw 20 asterisks next to it if they want, we are national champions. We broke no rules and won fair and square. Smitty had been against us since the beginning since he called us ‘irrelevant’ and we kept proving him wrong. My response to the cheating allegations went viral and almost everyone online has supported us. Our final vindication came when Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports and Smitty’s boss, took our side and said Smitty was wrong.”
Q: You made an epic response video directed at Smitty in which you mentioned that XP Sports Boost fueled you and your teammates to victory. How did XP Sports Boost give you and your teammates an edge?
A: “Four straight hours of Warzone is tough on the mind and body. Put it in a competitive setting with high stakes and it becomes even tougher. Boost became our beverage of choice because it gave us energy to maintain our focus and got us in the zone without making us jittery.”
Q: You’re going to be streaming “Mondays With Mop” and “Thirsty Thursdays” in partnership with XP Sports at 6 p.m. MT/8 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights. What are your goals with XP Sports?
A: “When I commit to something, I give it all I’ve got. In Montana you learn to never half-ass anything. People saw the result of our hard work in the College Gaming Championship. Now that I am working with XP Sports, I will give this all I’ve got. I imagine a community centered around video games that values good times and hard work. In the tournament we always said we were playing for the common man. On Twitch, I want to provide a place for the common man to relax and have some fun after a hard day at work or school.”
Q: As a champion with newfound fame, what should the gaming community expect next from you?
A: “I am new to all of this. I was not a competitor, a streamer, or an entertainer before October. To the gaming community, I am coming. And I’m bringing my mop, because it’s a mess.”