Esports squad starts 2023 with optimism


Aidan Gunn

AACC esports teams compete in League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch tournaments. Shown, League of Legends player Zac Pinales.

Aidan Gunn, Reporter

One of AACC’s three esports teams will move from intramural to varsity this semester.
Esports, which joined the Athletic Department in spring 2022, has three teams: League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch. Each player participates on one of the multiplayer teams, which compete against other colleges.
The League of Legends team moved to the varsity level in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports program after making it to a playoff tournament in December. In the fall, the esports programs won six tournaments and lost six.
“We’re getting to the point where more and more people know we’re around,” esports head coach Conway Johnson said. “We’re seeing more people show up. And we’ve had the open [practice] labs, which has been huge.”
Johnson said the Overwatch and Rocket League teams will play in intramural leagues this semester, but the players “would love to have them go varsity as soon as next semester.”
Johnson, who graduated from AACC in 2015, added: “As far as Rocket League goes, I think that’s realistic. We only need to find one more player to round out a full student lineup. Overwatch is a little bit more of a stretch because we still don’t have a lot of full-time students. I’m aiming to make it happen, but can’t make any promises on it just yet.”
First-year finance student Jeremy Chen said esports is “pretty damn competitive.” Chen will play his second semester with the League of Legends team in the spring. Chen said he has been involved in esports for “only a semester. But it’s been awesome.”
“My expectation is just [for] people to be there,” Chen said. “And to be able to teach each other for sure. I think one of our biggest strengths that separates us from other, like, esports, or maybe even other community college sports, [is that] we have a very good coaching staff.”
Johnson noted esports might offer scholarships “down the line.”
“I don’t know when it’ll happen because I’m not privy to the financial situation on that level,” Johnson said. “But as soon as I can make it happen, yeah, that’s something I absolutely want for the program.”
Chen said he is interested in esports scholarships. He also said he plans to apply for an esports scholarship when he transfers to the University of Maryland.