NSU launches competitive esports team
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) - The world of gaming and esports is quickly growing, and Northwestern State University has decided to join other universities in Louisiana in launching an esports team.
The team at NSU will allow students of all skill levels a chance to compete in playing some of the most popular video games in the country.
Esports involved players from around the world competing in leagues or teams (or individually) against one another playing games like Fortnite, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Madden. Games are played in front of fans at live events, and online via streaming platforms like Twitch.
NSU has launched a state-of-the-art facility for its esports team. It’s located inside the Friedman Student Union in the former bookstore. The arena is home to one of the largest gaming experiences in Louisiana, university officials say. The 3,500 square foot facility has 24 computers, multiple consoles, and lots of space for students to play. The space is conducive to both recreational and competitive gaming.
Chance Creppel coordinates the competitive element of the program and will organize tournaments to be held on the campus in the future.
“We’re giving these players a platform to play these games at a competitive level and earn scholarships in the process,” Creppel said. “To say you are playing a game you love for a varsity club team and earning a scholarship is something that the students will always remember.”
NSU has become one of the newest members of the National Association of College Esports, which is a non-profit organization that has given away about $15 million in scholarships and financial aid since it launched in July of 2016.
“Competitive esports is what the students make of it, and that’s the most exciting part,” Creppel said. “We have top of the line equipment for them, and the space to practice. The top players dedicate a lot of their free time to practicing their respective games. Some come in and play with their teammates, while some practice on their own. It all depends on what they are trying to improve on.”
Nathaniel Rachal, known as Hollow, is a music education major from Lafayette. He’s one of the first members to join NSU’s esports team. He plays Rocket League, one of 11 games currently available for students to play competitively.
“I’ve been playing Rocket League for three years,” Rachal said. “Nothing feels better than working well with a team, so I am really looking forward to working with the team, working on plays and just developing relationships in general. It’s definitely exciting to take the skills that I’ve developed over the last couple of years and have an opportunity to showcase them with NSU esports.”
Rachal and his teammates, Jackson “Mathews175″ Mathews and Todd “Weebie” Landry, will make NSU history as the first players to compete for the university’s esports team. The 3v3 Rocket League Southland Soccer Qualifier awards the top team a $1,000 cash prize, as well as a new gaming headset for each player. The top two teams earn spots in the Collegiate Esports Invitational: Rocket League Championship.
“I’m always looking forward to the competition,” Mathews said. “The nerves before a game or in big times during games when you have to clutch up or comeback. Whether it’s real life sports or esports, the competitiveness is what I love about it.”
“While many consider gaming to be super casual, for a lot of younger people, that’s far from the truth,” Landry said. “Esports are among the most accessible and exciting form of competition nowadays. Being able to compete for and represent NSU while playing a game that I love is an incredible and fulfilling opportunity.”
NSU currently has 27 gamers, with more joining daily. The esports venue is free to use and open to all students on weekdays from 1 to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m. Students interested in joining the competitive team should click here, or email Creppel here.
“It’s awesome that NSU is putting actions behind their words for the students,” Creppel said. “They told the students they were going to build an esports venue and program, and they did not disappoint. NSU is truly interested and invested it just makes you excited to give students this avenue to pursue.”
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