WPU’s Esports Teams Kick Off Spring Semester
Expectations are as high as spirits on William Peace University’s three esports teams, which kicked off practices last week.
This semester, there will be two teams competing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE): Overwatch 2 and Rocket League. A third team, the Super Smash Bros., will compete in local weekly tournaments at and around NC State’s campus.
Students this season are striving to reach higher ranks and form cohesive team chemistry, said Coleman Arehart, the head Esports coach at WPU.
Coleman has implemented a team therapy program as well as encouraging teams to go on outings outside of scheduled practices and tournaments to further develop team bonds.
“A major thing I’m doing to improve the program for students this semester is using the team therapy that we had with the Rocket League team last semester,” Coleman said. “We kind of tested things out, and we’re trying to bring that to more teams this semester.”
This is the university’s third season with NACE, the largest member association of collegiate varsity esports programs in the U.S. By joining NACE, WPU can compete against other schools across the nation.
WPU launched Esports teams in the fall of 2021. That same fall, the university added the Esports and Gaming Administration major and an Esports Lab on campus.
The first teams were Rocket League, Valorant, and Super Smash Bros: Ultimate. During that first semester of NACE, every team made it to the playoffs, with both the Valorant and SSBU teams finishing second in their divisions. Interest in WPU esports has grown from around 10 students that first season to more than 100 students today participating either as players or fans.
Still, there is room to grow, Coleman said.
One of the biggest steps is streaming matches on the WPU Esports Twitch channel.
“My biggest goal for Esports this semester is to have all of our NACE matches streamed, so we can have them documented and also kind of build up a routine so that students and faculty and everyone else can watch and keep up with what we’ve got going on,” Coleman said.
The first match was on Feb. 5, with the WPU Rocket League team playing Ashland University. The following day, Feb. 6, the WPU Overwatch team played University of Missouri – Kansas City.
You can watch all of the Esports matches on https://www.twitch.tv/WPUEsports.