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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s esports levels up

Co-Captain Ally Grenier ’21 led the team in their first Overwatch matchup against Bethel University. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s esports team began its first official season as a club sport, winning two of its first three matchups this semester. 

The team participated in competitions in three different video games: Overwatch, Super Smash Brothers and League of Legends.

The Overwatch team lost to Bethel University, the Super Smash Brothers team prevailed over Thomas College and the League of Legends team secured a victory over Mississippi State University.

Following the completion and official opening of the esports lab in August 2020, located on the first floor of Merion Hall, the status of the esports team was elevated from a club to a club sport in the fall. Esports is now one of the only club sport teams that is able to have a more or less normal season under pandemic conditions. 

Super Smash Brothers team captain Bryce Becker ’21 said the club is grateful for the opportunity to keep competing.

“Not only are we a club sport now, but we are one of the only club sports running, given the circumstances. It’s pretty cool,” Becker said. “And, I think we are doing a good job so far representing, and putting our best foot forward.” 

All of the players on Becker’s Super Smash Brothers team are taking virtual classes for the fall 2020 semester.  Becker said the team is allowed to use the new esports lab, as long as everyone is still abiding by social distancing and sanitizing procedures.

“I’m really grateful that St. Joe’s is allowing us to go in and out,” Becker said. 

League of Legends team captain Patrick Troise ’21 said that his team has continued to utilize the lab for about two hours on Wednesday nights for in-person practices.

“I’ve been writing a small agenda on the Viewsonic TV, it’s interactive like a SmartBoard to put what I wanted to cover during practice,” Troise said. “It also allows us to put gameplay on the screen and review it as a team. That’s really what practices are right now.”

Club member Mitch Kelley ’21 said that the uncertainty of the fall 2020 semester has not deterred the team from seeking opportunities outside of the St. Joe’s bubble. 

“We’re absolutely trying to get each official team we have to participate in as many different tournaments and leagues as we can to bring more legitimacy to the program,” Kelley said. “Because we want our members to be able to have that experience.”

One of these opportunities is a collaboration on a fundraising event with the American Cancer Society called Gamers vs. Cancer in which college esports teams live-stream their competitions on a number of different platforms.  

“My vision for our teams is that we could showcase all of our different teams,” Kelley said. “We’d set up all the equipment, we let each team come in and play for a couple hours and show what they’re made of, and really try and raise some money for a great cause.” 

Co-captain of the Overwatch team and social media officer Ally Grenier ’21 said that along with their larger events, the esports club team is organizing virtual community game nights to further engage with the St. Joe’s community. The program would include games that allow for a large group of players in a less competitive setting.

“It would be a few hours long, and it would be over Zoom so that multiple people could play,” Grenier said. “It would all be games that anyone could play, not only Overwatch or only League of Legends.” 

Kelley said that club esports hopes to become more enganged on campus once the university’s COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

“In the future, our vision is that the lab will have open free hours,” Kelley said. “We want to utilize those to do a lot more small scale tournaments.”

Becker said that the team is proud of its progress, and is optimistic for the future of St. Joe’s club esports. 

“I definitely have very high hopes for the St. Joe’s esports organization.” Becker said. I think they’ve given us a fantastic opportunity. A month into the semester, [and] we have been making some good mileage getting ourselves involved in a league. It’s going to keep growing as an organization.”


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