Wesleyan Esports Welcomes Incoming Class

869
West Virginia Wesleyan’s collegiate esports team from left: Abraham Blouir, Thomas Flannery, Gage Poling, William Butcher, Jacob Williamson. (Not pictured: Stanley Ciciora and Brandon Cochran.

BUCKHANNON — The West Virginia Wesleyan College esports team welcomes seven freshmen joining Wesleyan for the upcoming school year, Head Coach Kevin Wu announced today. Wesleyan joins the growing number of universities adding esports to their varsity athletics program as competitive video gaming continues to explode in popularity.

The team will launch in fall 2019 and will have coaches and regular practices, just like Wesleyan’s other 22 intercollegiate teams. Wesleyan is the first college in West Virginia and is among 130 schools comprising over 3,000 student-athletes nationwide to create a varsity-level esports program.

The college is developing a dedicated esports facility on campus, featuring cutting-edge gaming computers, and state-of-the-art esports training technologies, including eye trackers and video analysis software. Fans will be able to watch online competitive gaming between colleges and universities.

The inaugural team includes Abraham Blouir of Pennsboro, W.Va.; William Butcher of Ellenboro, W.Va.; Brandon Cochran of Given, W.Va.; Stanley Ciciora of Lewisburg, W.Va.; Thomas Flannery of Charleston, W.Va.; Gage Poling of Moatsville, W.Va.; and Jacob Williamson of Renick, W.Va.

All are computer science majors with the players receiving partial athletic and academic scholarships. As a varsity sport, the team will follow NCAA guidelines on training and practice sessions.

“We have young players with high-growth potential and experienced competitors that have performed across various esports titles, and dedicated specialists that will lead the team to future success. There’s a strong mix of recruits here, and there’s plenty of talent to draw from,” said Wu.

New team member, William Butcher said “It has been a dream of mine to be a college athlete, and I am glad this dream can be fulfilled at West Virginia Wesleyan. I am extremely excited to be a Bobcat.”

“I’m excited about the depth and breadth of knowledge this roster brings,” said Wu. “They cover many of the baseline roles our team requires as we continue to grow this team. I think this is an excellent group for year one and I’m certain they’ll make a lasting impact during their time here.”

Wesleyan’s esports team will begin competing this fall in National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE)-sanctioned leagues and in online collegiate circuits. Current students interested in walk-on positions for competing titles are encouraged to reach out to Coach Kevin Wu at wu.k@wvwc.edu.