Newly Formed Esports Team Finds Early Success

David Danon and Julian Bond

Otto Kaufman

The Landmark esports team entered two competitions in their first season. First,  they competed in a league in The National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). They also entered into a cup competition called NIRSA Esports Championships. The season started on February 6 and ended on April 17.

The esports team had previously been a club on campus. As team captain Zachary Hahn said to Voices TV, “We had four games: Fortnite, Apex legends, League of Legends, and Rocket League.”  Over time the club’s interest landed on Rocket League. As the team grew and Rocket League became their preferred game, the desire to enter the competitive scene grew. In December, they found a coach and joined the National Association of Collegiate eSports. The coach Eric Gobel-Lynch said in an interview with Voices TV, “When I got started there had been a club.” The members of this club approached him to make them more competitive”. One thing that coach Gobel-Lynch brought to the team was a more structured and focused practice system.

The transition from intraclub scrimmages to college-level competition began with some hiccups. The Landmark esports team started off slow, going 1-1 in their first two league games and losing all three games in the NIRSA Esports Championships. We asked about the slow start and Zachary Hahn’s said, “When we started out with our first loss. I never thought we would make the finals.”

The Team would rebound from their slow start, going 2-2 in their last four games and qualifying for the playoffs. In the playoffs they would make it to the finals but ultimately lost. Coach Gobel-Lynch said, “We were able to get the team thinking about things differently and get them in a growth mindset.”

On the same topic while speaking with Voices TV, Zachary Hahn had these words to say about coach Gobel-Lynch: “He has been amazing. He has been to coach us in communications. He has been able to coach us in video review”.

Landmark’s playoffs would start with a matchup against West Texas A&M University. Landmark would win 4-2, advancing to play Lebanon Valley College, who they also beat 4-2. County College of Morris would face off against Landmark in the finals. The Sharks would be looking to avenge their loss in the first game of the season to County College of Morris. However, County College of Morris would sweep the sharks 4-0.

Landmark getting an esports team is in line with what we are see nationally: esports are growing. According to Cappex, the esports market is set to grow to $5.48 billion by 2029. As esports grows the number of teams and competitions will grow as well. There are only 170 members of NACE compared to 358 Division 1 basketball teams, which shows that Landmark can compete in esports with bigger colleges.

Although landmark did not win a title, the fact they were able to turn around their first season and make it to the league finals should give them hope. This also show that neurodivergent kids can compete in esports.