New lab opens for esports track and field team at CALT – Current Campus
AACC Athletics has opened a lab in the CALT building on the West Campus where players from a new esports team can train and compete in tournaments once the team is formed.
Track and Field hired AACC alumnus Conway Johnson, who helped start a student sports club in 2014, to lead the track team as head coach. Johnson said the competition will tentatively begin in the spring semester.
“Ideally, the sooner the better,” said Johnson, a 2015 graduate.
“Ultimately my goal is to involve as many people as possible,” Johnson said. “It’s not just ‘the more the merrier’, but ‘the more the more effective it is.'”
Johnson said the varsity team, which will be part of AACC Athletics and separate from the student club, will compete in National Junior College Athletic Association Esports, with access to Rocket League, Overwatch and League of Legends video games.
“Personally, I am good at coaching which is more psychological as well as physical, which is how to manage your mentality, both in the game and when you are training for the long haul,” Johnson said. “I want to be able to reach out and share this with as many people as possible that we can have involved.”
Athletics director Duane Herr said he was “excited” by the “huge” esports lab and the new team, which is being formed.
“I am more than satisfied with the way the [esports lab] turned out, ”Herr said. “I think the project managers” and the “campus IT gurus who were involved” helped a lot.
John Kenny, a freshman computer science student, attended an open house for the esports lab before Thanksgiving and said he hopes to join the team.
“Even though I don’t play competitively, just being here in the spirit is fun because it’s a fun environment,” Kenny said.
Kenny played as a forward for the AACC men’s soccer team and said he enjoyed playing video games with friends, “making memories” in the process.
“Single player games just play with random people, but when you play with people you get to know it’s a lot more fun,” Kenny said.
Kenny said he hopes to “play a big role” in the sports esports team because of his computer skills. He said he built his own PC.
Daniel Mason, president of the student ESports Club, said the sports team “would never have happened” if Johnson had not created the club seven years ago.
Herr agreed that Johnson’s “ties to ESports Club, and their ability to have a successful and growing club over time, definitely made this decision an easy decision to make. “
According to Herr, students who belong to the club have expressed an interest in joining the team.
Mason, a sophomore game development student, said he and Johnson “mostly worked together by coordinating directly with the ESports Club to [recruit and] raise awareness in the esports athletics division.
Johnson said that an interest meeting in December would help disseminate information on how players can join the sports team. Potential players can complete the program’s questionnaire to register.
“I think we’ve really created something that’s going to exist and be successful, and it’s really exciting to watch,” Herr said.