You might be surprised if we told you that the largest student organization at CSU was centered around gaming. Few on campus know about this thriving, award-winning group — but there’s no doubt that’s changing, and for good reason.
The CSU Esports Association is home to around 300 active members, an impressive series of well-attended events, a welcoming atmosphere, and a growing list of nationally-ranked competitive teams. Members compete in a variety of different games including Overwatch, CS:GO, Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros., which recently hosted a tournament that was attended by more than 220 gamers.
CSUEA has been churning out top-ranked players for years and big names are taking notice. Recent on-campus tournaments have been sponsored by companies like Coca-Cola and more are in talks to get behind the group.
Rising to the top
Kyle Pallman put together what would quickly become a nationally-ranked Hearthstone team on pretty short notice. Before the fall semester started, he reached out to his would-be teammates via the CSU esports Facebook group. Thanks to a high number of active group members, he quickly created a strong, dedicated team.
“It’s definitely easy to connect to people playing similar games with you through Facebook. We have a spreadsheet that shows which members of the club are playing which games — it’s a centralized hub,” he said.
They began training regularly, and it didn’t take long before they set their sights on a competitive level. The Tespa Collegiate Series Hearthstone Tournament kicked off in January. With a total of $160,000 in scholarships up for grabs, the team decided to go for it.
“I’d been looking into Tespa because it had been advertising the tournament in different areas,” Kyle recalled. “I thought, ‘We’re a big school, I don’t know why we can’t participate.’”
Nothing short of national
The CSU Ram Wranglers made it to the quarterfinals and were the only Colorado team to qualify for prize-level rankings. Each player came home with a $1,600 scholarship.
Although it took a lot of dedication, Kyle is sure others like him can compete at this level. Thanks to the CSUEA, Colorado State has one of the best campus environments for opportunities like these to fall within reach.
“I feel like it’s important for people to know that they can get into competitions by finding a group, focusing on the same ideas, practicing a lot, and playing matches each week,” he said.
Moving on up
The future is bright for Kyle and CSUEA. His team is dedicating time over the summer to practice further, and they plan to compete in another national tournament.
CSUEA is setting its sights on large-scale competitions, such as DreamHack Denver and the development of a Colorado collegiate tournament right here on CSU’s campus.
Whether you’re looking to join a competitive team, want to meet like-minded esports enthusiasts, or just want to keep up with CSUEA, there’s a place for you. Join the CSUEA Facebook group or check our their Facebook page, and follow their weekly streams during the school year on Twitch.