East Tennessee State University introduced its first varsity esports team Friday ahead of its first fall season.
The competitive video gaming team of 22 students now has a new arena in the newly-renovated D.P. Culp University Center, jerseys and state-of-the-art Alienware gaming PCs.
The team is divided into two groups to compete in Overwatch and League of Legends. ETSU’s Overwatch team will play its first match on Monday against Cornell White at 8 p.m.
Interim Coach Jeff Shell said the team is feeling confident going into its first match.
“We’ve been scouting them out a little bit. In terms of raw skill level, we outmatch them a considerable bit across positions,” he said. “They’ve been a team for about a year longer than us, though, so we’re going to see if that raw skill level will go toe-to-toe with that coordination.”
He said the team started practicing together in the summer and are looking for a top 16 run this season.
“We’re setting our goals even higher than that,” he added.
ETSU’s Overwatch competitors are team captain Ashe Greenberg, Zachary Branham, Liam Dahlberg, Dakota Garrett, Layne Mitchell, Ryan O’Conner, Connor Porch, Taylyn Powers, Josh Siffring, Austin Teagarden, Ryan Williams and Samuel Zorn.
ETSU’s League of Legends competitors are Garrett Childress, Aaron Hayes, Caleb Marks, Zachary Marks, Chris Moser, Brandon Reavis, A.J. Sedlak, Vishvajeet Singh, Shirui Tao and team captain Lucca Weber.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m excited — it’s something new,” Weber said. “I think we’ve got a good team together, so we can do some good things here.”
The teams will play in tournaments hosted by the National Association of Collegiate E-Sports.
The Overwatch competition schedule includes Indiana Tech University on Oct. 1, Kettering University Overwatch Academy on Oct. 5, Purdue Fort Wayne Esports on Oct. 8, St. Ambrose University on Oct. 12, Great Bay CC Herons on Oct. 19, Iowa Central Tritons on Oct. 22, LCU Overwatch on Oct. 26, Spoon River College Esports on Oct. 29, and Mizzou Club Esports on Oct. 30.
The Overwatch Fall Cup Playoffs begin in November, and games can be viewed at twitch.tv/etsuesports or in the new esports arena that now features a 32-foot video wall.
The schools ETSU will face-off against in League of Legends will be announced in the upcoming days. The team will compete on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. beginning Sept. 29, with two games scheduled for Saturdays, Oct. 3 and 31. League of Legends games will also be streamed.
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