The GC esports team defeated Francis Marion University in its first preseason matchup Friday, Oct. 13, as they defeated the Patriots 2-0 in a best of three series.
“A lot of us are more skilled in the game than the Francis Marion players,” said team captain John Bills. “The GC players rank in the top five percent globally.”
GC’s roster ranking outweighed that of Francis Marion, whose players only averaged in the top 40 percent globally. The GC team did not face any hindering matchups in the game, and they worked as a synchronized unit, utilizing their team chemistry and understanding of strategy to emerge victorious.
“I have scouted all the teams we will face moving forward, and we have set high expectations,” said Bills. “Honestly, our roster is pretty stacked, and we have a chance to pile a lot of wins this season.”
The team was excited about their decisive victory, and they consider it a huge confidence booster for the upcoming matches they will encounter.
Even though the players saying that the competitiveness of the matches was unlike anything they had experienced before, the team expects to begin molding a winning tradition as the first esports team in GC history.
Despite the team’s affiliation with the school and competition against other Peach Belt Conference opponents, it does not receive any funding through the athletic department or student fees and is in essence treated as a club team.
Instead, the team is orchestrated through the Campus Life office and must orchestrate its own fundraisers to finance itself. Also, there are no scholarships affiliated with the GC esports team as of right now.
“We, as an athletic department at GC, see the value regarding esports,” said Assistant Athletic Director Al Weston. “It is something that aligns well with the GC student, and we cannot afford to not be a part of it.”
The athletic department understands the trending competition in esports, which is why they brought it to GC. The appraisal and acknowledgment of the game is increasing, and once it catches the right recognition, the game’s popularity will rise as well.
As esports gains popularity and knowledge of the team spreads throughout campus, the team also hopes to gain student support and form a fan base.