An Overview of Misericordia’s Newest Athletics Team: ESports

Sean Benkert, Reporter

In 2018, Dave Johndrow wanted to expand Misericordia University athletics in a way no one had seen before by bringing a new sport to campus.

Thus, the Misericordia ESports team was born. The ESports team plays all its games on PCs and the group has a gaming setup where players are in close proximity to each other, allowing for easy communication.

The program started with three separate sports: Rocket League, League of Legends and Hearthstone.

Johndrow, director of PC services and Esports team coordinator, talked about how the three teams were chosen.

“They were the three decided by a campus task force,” he said. “From there, we started in 2019 and have been competing in those ever since, whether it was on campus or off campus with Covid.”

Covid was certainly a deterrent for the team, but it did not stop it from competing. Matthew Churchill, League of Legends and Hearthstone head coach, spoke about Shane Spencer, who has competed through the NECC in the Hearthstone game.

“He’s competed in four tournaments overall and has come in second in three of them,” Churchill said of Spencer. “Because of those, he is almost 100% eligible to be competing at nationals.”

Johndrow also mentioned expanding to other games.

“FIFA was one of the other ones that we were looking at but there were not enough people competing to make it a choice,” he said. “We can always look at a game like Madden or FIFA again.”

One of the experiences of participating in ESports is the opportunity to play against larger market schools. Churchill, who played on the ESports team, reminisced about a time he played against a power 5 school in UCLA.

“We thought it was pretty cool because we were some small school in Dallas, PA that no one had ever heard of and everyone knows who UCLA is, one of the biggest schools in the whole nation,” he said. “We came out just in an average game that not many people have ever heard of and got to show that hey we can compete with you guys, we actually beat them, and it wasn’t really close.”

That is something the current ESports players want to dive into, according to Peter Sayre, a junior medical science major competing on the League of Legends team.

“I love showing that it doesn’t matter how big your student population is or how big your budget is towards the program,” he said. “It comes down to how bad the players want to win and it’s irrelevant when you consider the size of the school.”

The ESports team is starting to grow and players are always looking for more students to join and share the same passion they do. This was highlighted by Jacob Prest, a junior business major also on the League of Legends team.

“That’s the big thing right now is we are starting to grow and we have two or three subs that we want to work in every week,” he said. “So the least amount of games you can play in a week is two as you have to win a best out of three. So, it’s nice that sometimes we have the flexibility to throw in other guys, but it would be nice to get a couple more people and have two distinct teams.”

To tune into ESports matches, check them out on twitch at m1m1c3.