Future of the esports program

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The esports program has been successful in its short lifespan at Maryville.

The League of Legends team brought home the national championship last year and is currently competing to reclaim the title once again this year, with the upcoming tournament June 6.

Photo courtesy of Damien Demongey

The Hearthstone team has narrowly missed nationals the past two years, fielding several players who have had the potential to go the entire way.

The CS:GO team just finished its first year of contention, missing playoffs by a single game.

However, these few teams are only the beginning for the young expansion. With the plethora of esports growing every year, more of those games begin to have collegiate tournaments. Director, Dan Clerke, has looked into these new tournaments and looks to expand into them as they mature.

The first on his short list of games is Overwatch. Blizzard has a rich history in collegiate esports, with its Heroes of the Dorm tournament being one of the first mainstream collegiate tournaments that was hosted. Since then, other Blizzard titles such as Hearthstone have also begun growing their collegiate presence.

Overwatch has slowly been acclimating to the professional scene with the Overwatch League currently in the middle of its first season. With the assistance of Tespa, Overwatch has now been introduced as a collegiate esport as well, which Clerke has been looking forward to expanding into.

The program is also looking to revamp its current programs that haven’t been as successful as the League of Legends team. Clerke stated that he was planning on “bolstering the Counter-Strike and Hearthstone teams” for next year.

Clerke also spoke about how difficult it was to expand in collegiate “after Overwatch, that’s basically it, we have most… There’s really not many esports supported by collegiate right now which is an issue.”

Clerke was recently hired officially by Maryville University earlier this semester, which gave him full control of the program.

“My job really hasn’t changed, I’m just officially part of the school now. the cool thing about Maryville is that they treated me like a staff member before I was a staff member,” said Clerke.

The program is also constantly expanding. This past year, the program expanded to take up two rooms in Mouton Hall. Clerke believes the chances are “pretty high” that the program continues to expand at its current rate.

“Our biggest problem as a program is that we’re growing too fast, which is a good problem,” said Clerke.

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