WSU Global Campus Esports Team Concludes First Season
By Jeff Willadsen, Global Campus Senior Writer
WSU Global Campus’ official esports team concluded its first season March 29th. The team, founded in 2022, is the first esports team in the State of Washington created to represent a fully online university campus.
“It’s been incredibly exciting to watch our team compete in this first season. Each team member worked very hard and improved throughout the season,” said James “Hops” Hoplin, Global Campus’ esports coordinator and coach of the team. “I’m very proud of our team and what we have accomplished. I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next season.”
The official team, consisting of four Global Campus students, competes in affiliation with the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF), one of the country’s largest collegiate esports organizations. During competitive matches, players from university teams compete in the vehicle-based sports video game “Rocket League.”
“My time with WSU Global Campus Esports has been great, I learned a lot about how competitive esports works,” said Molly “Windexus” McCracken, a Global Campus student and esports team member. “My teammates are great people and it was a great environment the whole year. I highly recommend trying out next year for anyone who is interested, regardless of skill level.”
In March 2022, Global Campus hosted “Global Gauntlet,” WSU’s first esports competition open to all WSU students. At that time, Global Campus also announced the formation of the official team and students were invited to try out for the opportunity to compete.
The four students who were selected for the new team received $2,500 scholarships for their participation. This marks the first time WSU has provided scholarships for esports.
“Getting to be a part of this team in its first season was a privilege that I am very thankful for. I very much enjoyed my time with the team and appreciate how they welcomed me with open arms,” said Carlos “bayLiGHTS” Flores, another member of the team. “It was a wonderful opportunity, and I am sincerely going to miss playing with my teammates every week. I can’t wait to see the team grow and improve moving forward.”
During their first season, the team played in 18 matches against 13 separate university esports teams, including University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, Northern Arizona University, University of Texas Arlington, Xavier University, and more.
“This was a great first season and we improved every game. We’re going to blast off next season,” said esports team member Talei “Tuto” Fatafehi.
Global Campus’ esports program also includes recreational esports events open to all WSU students.
According to Global Campus Chancellor Dave Cillay, the expansion of esports by WSU’s fully online campus is an intentional choice designed to open up more community-building activities for Cougs around the world.
“Esports is a perfect extracurricular activity for online students. Students can participate in esports activities and competitions from anywhere they have a high-speed internet connection, just like with our fully online degree programs,” he said. “In the end, our increased investment in esports just makes sense for Global Campus. It’s all about community-building and providing opportunities for our students to engage with their peers in our worldwide family of Cougs.”
You can learn more about WSU Global Campus’ esports and see scores and upcoming competitive and recreational esports events on the Global Campus Esports Program webpage.