Augustana’s Esports team makes history
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Esports is the 29th varsity sport offered at Augustana.
“It’s exciting to see Augustana invest into creating a program that is not just another program, but really putting the resources behind it so that we can be a diamond,” said Joe Loomis, Augustana’s director of Esports.
The team is already making history.
“We are the first all-gender team in Augustana’s history. Currently, we have three women on our team. Two are on our Valorant team, and one on our Overwatch team,” Loomis said.
When Esports was just a club team, they huddled into a campus home with six computers. Now, they practice inside of the state of the art Augustana Esports Center in the Brunner Theater Center.
“Back then we would struggle, juggling around each other, like, for playing time, but now we all can play on the same time,” said sophomore Eulle Casaquite.
“A brand new facility with 20 gaming PCs, dedicated stations for our sport game players, as well as our Smash Ultimate players, as well as new production studio, is huge,” Loomis said. “It is really allowing students to see what opportunities they should be looking at at the next level if they want to play collegiate Esports.”
The interest in Esports is growing rapidly across the country.
“I feel like people have a more open mind to Esports,” said Steve Nguyen. “They consider it more of a traditional sport now, not just a bunch of guys that sit there and play video games.”
“It’s been amazing watching the growth of Esports,” Loomis said. “I got into collegiate Esports in 2017, and from the time I set up my first program there was about 120 schools. Now there is 400 varsity programs across the United States and Canada.”
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