Ozarks Technical Community College to debut esports team in 2022

KOLR10 Daybreak

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The first sport coming to Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) doesn’t involve running or a ball. It’s esports, or competitive video gaming.

OTC is looking for 16 students to recruit to its team, and some have already shown interest.

OzarksFirst spoke with first-year student Dalton Hess.

“I’m going to be entirely honest,” Hess said. “I didn’t think OTC would get this far. It seems just having this program pop up is insane for what we can do here,” Hess said.

Hess says he’s been trying to get into esports for years.

“As competitive as I can be I’m not like super crazy insane about fighting other teams and stuff,” Hess said. “I know that’s part of the thing. And It’s really fun. But I see it as more of an opportunity to just hang out with people who are interested in what I’m interested in. I mean it’s just nice to be able to meet all those new people while still playing good games against them.”

Luckily for him, OTC will have tryouts for its new, competitive varsity team in the Spring 2022 semester.

“It’s amazing,” Hess said. “Just the way that it will really help students get around each other and get to talk more. It’ll really help me because I have a lot of free hours in the day when I’m in Springfield. It’s nice to just have that place to go and play games if other people are there. It’s great to just meet new people at OTC and make new friends. It’ll really help the community here.”

In order to make the team, students must be enrolled in college full-time and have a 2.5 grade point average. OTC says it will have weekly practice sessions, and compete virtually next fall.

OTC esports coach Dr. Tiffany Ford says the team will play League of Legends and Rocket League.

“It’s super exciting,” Dr. Ford said. “So, just this whole process of putting together an esports team doesn’t really feel real. This is an opportunity for students that we don’t already have. We really try to find ways to bring students together and help them find people that are like them.”

In September, OTC’s board approved costs of $439,000 for construction, networking, cabling, gaming equipment and furniture.

“The benefits of playing on an esports team is really what I’m looking for,” Dr. Ford said. “So things like learning how to work as a team, building those communication skills, leadership skills, all of those things that maybe you would get playing football, you’re gonna get playing on an esports team.”

Once plans are finalized this Spring, OTC says other students will be able to stop by the facility to play video games during certain hours.

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