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Penn College ‘fielding’ esports team

Pennsylvania College of Technology students have a new avenue to flex their competitive muscles in support of their school. The college has formed an esports team that will challenge other colleges and universities for video game supremacy beginning later this month.

“A large portion of our student body consists of active gamers. Establishing a team allows us to formalize that interest in the name of Penn College and facilitate participation for the students in recognized competitions against other schools,” said John D. Vandevere, director of athletics. “The team will be a tremendous outlet for the students, and will serve as a campus life enhancement.”

esports“The opportunity to play for and be supported by the school is really an amazing experience,” said team captain Jonathan W. Best, an electronics and computer engineering major from Downingtown. “Not only that, but the ability to build on the esports industry and show how exciting competitive gaming is, is incredible.”

Esports – defined as competitive multiplayer video games often viewed by nonparticipants – is a booming business. Newzoo, a leading games and esports analytics firm, projects total esports revenues to eclipse $1 billion for the first time in 2019 and an audience of 454 million people. Viewing outlets for esports range from ESPN to Twitch, a live streaming video service.

Colleges and universities are a major source of growth for esports, thanks to students’ inherent interest in gaming. The National Association of Collegiate Esports, which bills itself as the only association of varsity esports programs at U.S. colleges and universities, began in 2016 with six schools. It now boasts over 125 members. Penn College is in the process of becoming the 10th Pennsylvania school and the first Penn State affiliate to join NACE.

In its inaugural esports season, the Penn College team will consist of about 75 members, representing a variety of majors. Team members will compete with one another to secure the limited number of spots to represent the college in tournaments.

The college’s first tourney is the PA Cup, hosted by Harrisburg University from March 30-31. Penn College will be one of 16 esports teams competing in the games “League of Legends,” “Overwatch” and “Hearth.”  Seventeen Penn College students will play remotely from Penn’s Inn, located in the college’s Bush Campus Center. Seating will be available for spectators. The games will begin at 10 a.m. on both days.

“We are very excited to play and proudly represent Penn College by vying for the PA Cup,” said head coach Joshua D. Young, a learning systems administrator at the college and an avid gamer. “The interest in our team has been tremendous, and we have a big talent pool to draw from. It’s been fun getting this program off the ground.”

“Having the ability to wear a jersey that tells people ‘I support my school and my team’ really is something special,” Best said. “I can’t wait to show the esports world what Penn College has to offer!”

The squad’s formation culminates a yearlong planning process.

“A considerable amount of work has gone into developing the team,” Vandevere said. “It’s gratifying to be on the cusp of actual competition. I’m sure we are going to learn a lot this year that will enhance the team going forward.”

Penn College will compete throughout the academic year in both tournaments and individual matches with other schools.

For more about Penn College Athletics, visit the Wildcats’ home page.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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