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CVTC, UWEC prepare for first esports matchup

Thursday, March 21, 2024

CVTC, UWEC prepare for first esports matchup

In-person competition set at university

man with glasses at computer with two monitors playing esports

Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Valorant esports team will take on UW-Eau Claire for their first-ever matchup. The two teams will be in-person with controllers in hand at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at UWEC’s Hilltop Recreation Center, 105 Garfield Ave.

The teams are inviting the public to attend this competition to cheer on the esports athletes.

In its first year, CVTC’s Valorant and Rocket League teams are working through their esports schedules which include matchups with several UW schools as well as the Milwaukee School of Engineering. 

Esports are a form of competitive gaming. For colleges, that typically means multiplayer video game competitions individually or in teams.

The trend of esports accelerated during the pandemic, according to this New York Times article. “Between at-home learning and the shutdown of youth sports, a high-tech generation found even more escape and engagement on its smartphones and consoles,” the article reads. 

Erin Hazen, CVTC student involvement specialist and esports coordinator, said for the two-year College, it’s an opportunity for students to hone communication skills, connect with peers, and participate in healthy competition.

“In past matchups, our team struggled, but I was impressed with their ability to communicate to figure things out,” she said. “They’ve learned to regroup between matches, ask what’s going wrong and list areas for improvement. It’s impressive to watch the team rally.”

UW-Eau Claire has about 500 people in its Esports Club, with about 25 members competing in leagues. Club advisor Nate Garvey hopes the in-person match will spread the word about esports programs and help develop friendly rivalries with CVTC and other schools in the Chippewa Valley. 

“We hope that every time we play each other it will be in person, switching off between our lab and theirs,” Garvey said. “This a great opportunity to bring teams together like traditional sports do. In-person esports adds to the fun and excitement of the matches.”

At the matchup on March 28, one of the only in-person matchups for CVTC, the teams plan to offer snacks for purchase and an entertaining night of competitive gaming.

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