Two USM Esports Teams Qualify for Post-Season Tournament
Thu, 04/15/2021 - 11:12am | By: Van Arnold
In just its first-year of league competition, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has seen two teams qualify for the National Esports Collegiate Conference’s post-season tournament.
USM’s Eagle Esports teams - Rocket League and Overwatch – will begin post-season play on Friday, April 16 and Sunday, April 18, in their respective games.
Dr. Denny Bubrig, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at USM, notes that having two teams reach the NECC Tournament in the University’s inaugural season illustrates the commitment players and coaches have made to the Esports program.
“For us to be such a young program and have these teams accomplishing this, we are absolutely thrilled and proud of their accomplishments,” said Bubrig. “At the same time though, we still have a great deal of work to do to get the entire program where we want to go.”
Esports describes the world of competitive, organized video gaming. Competitors from different leagues or teams face off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers: Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Overwatch and Madden NFL, to name a few.
USM Esports was founded a little more than a year ago and is currently composed of five teams, including Rainbow 6 Siege, Call of Duty; League of Legends; Rocket League; and Overwatch. More than 50 students from both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses are participating in the program.
Samuel Stackler, a computer science major from Clinton, Miss., serves as coach for the Overwatch team at USM. Overwatch includes eight players and Stackler notes that all of them will be participants – in some form – during the single-elimination NECC Tournament.
“You know, we are quite excited to perform so well in our first semester of official competition,” said Stackler, whose team compiled a 6-3 record. “We practice by playing scrimmages against other teams, working on the fundamentals of the game, and we also watch our tapes to improve our teamwork.”
The NECC features approximately 80 schools, including the University of Alabama, Boise State University, Sacramento University, Mount St. Mary’s University, University of Montana, Valparaiso, Randolph-Macon, Colorado College and Illinois Wesleyan, among others.
To learn more about Eagle Esports, visit: https://www.usm.edu/esports/index.php