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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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PennWest Cal ESports Team Wraps Up 2023-24 Season

All Three Teams Struggle, But Members Seeing the Bigger Picture
PennWest PR

Sebastian Delong doesn’t shy away from his ESports team not getting any wins this season, but as the captain of the competitive Overwatch team, he asserts that the eight person squad is “looking for more synergy”.

Delong, a sophomore Computer Science major, and company are going against some heavy hitters in the Mid-Atlantic ESports Conference, or MAEC. American University, George Mason University, Radford University, and the University of Delaware litter the rankings in all four ESports offered, those being Overwatch, Rocket League, Valorant, and League of Legends, the last of which is currently not offered at PennWest Cal.

As the proverbial new kids on the block, Delong kept his expectations realistic, and focused on the larger mission of PennWest Cal ESports- to have fun.

“We weren’t able to get any wins, sadly,” Delong said, “but we were able to at least get some good games in…Their best team is practically ranked fourth in the world, so we weren’t going to be doing too much”.

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Delong is not above admitting that going 0-7 in ranked matches, and 0-17 overall, is not fun to go through, but he also never wavered- According to him, this is just the beginning.

“It did [sting] a bit, but I’d like to put it towards the fact that we’re still early on in ESports. It’s our second semester doing it, so we haven’t recruited the best players we can”.

PennWest Cal ESports doesn’t employ any professional coaches for any three of their teams, but Delong stated that the team is planning on recruiting local coaches from other universities, which he hopes will add some legitimacy to the team and assist with team synergy.

One thing you will never hear from a member of PennWest Cal ESports is sentiments of a failed first try at competitive gaming. Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Thomas Hasbrouck, calls this inaugural season a “learning opportunity” for all members.

“The teams used this year to hone their individual and team skill sets,” he said. “While we fell short of playoffs this year, we saw a drastic increase in the team’s performance from the first practice to the present day. We hope to build off this success”.

Hasbrouck also did not forget to hype up his club, as PennWest Cal Esports looks to be a unified group through a tough first season.

“Coming from a strong sports background, I have always believed that opportunities arise when the odds are stacked against you,” he said. “It’s not the size of the dog, but the fight in the dog. We have a great bunch of students, who took on these challenges of playing larger schools as an opportunity to showcase what we can do as a team”.

Camden Harvey, a sophomore Mechatronics Engineering Technology Major and member of the Rocket League ESports team, sees major room to grow for a squad that finished 1-6 in competitive play.

“It’s helpful to remember that some of the other schools in MAEC have had Esports programs for several years,” he said, “they offer recruitment scholarships for their players, and a couple of new and very skilled schools joined [the MAEC] this season, which certainly didn’t help our record”.

Harvey is seeing past the record, and instead focusing on the major growth of the team itself. Rocket League, like the other games offered, requires intense cooperation and teamwork, something Harvey is seeing more of.

“Just this semester, there was a noticeable difference in our team’s chemistry,” he said. “We’ve started to connect really well and we’re finding a more organic playstyle that fits our team”.

The ESports team is looking to further its reach within PennWest, starting this summer. Hasbrouck stated that the administration behind the club will review comments left in an anonymous survey, and use those comments to improve the organization, such as getting a coach for each squad.

As for the teams themselves, as they head into their second year on the map, there is nowhere to go but up.

Those interested in the Vulcan ESports team can reach out to Thomas Hasbrouck at [email protected].




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Andrew Havens
Andrew Havens, News/Reviews Editor
Andrew Havens is a staff writer for the CalTimes and a Junior Communications Studies major with a minor in Marketing. Being from right across the river in Brownsville, PA, Andrew knows and loves the local community, trying his hardest to show off the amazing people in his hometown as well as his university. Andrew is just starting to pick up real-world writing and marketing experience, interning for both and Heartland Fabrication over the summer, as a staff writer and marketing intern respectively. The research gathering process is his favorite part of the job, because: "if you've researched correctly, the story just falls together!" You can find Andrew all over campus: attending meetings with the Graphic Design Club, writing away furiously on his laptop, working up a sweat at the gym, or simply getting his favorite sushi from Umami. He is entering his second year writing for the CalTimes.

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