Cornell College Esports team has successful first season

Cornell College’s new Esports program recently concluded its regular season run playing Overwatch in the Tespa Varsity Series, placing in the top 25 schools participating in the Swiss Bracket of the premier league. 

During their competitive debut, the team competed against over 100 other colleges and universities and finished with a record of 5 wins and 3 losses.

Overwatch, among other things, is a game about strategy. The team spends a majority of their practice time strategizing the best approach for each game. In a live match, however, things don’t always go according to plan. That’s where team captain Ben Soderberg comes in.

Ben Soderberg, team captain
Ben Soderberg, team captain

“I am responsible for adapting new strategies when things don’t go as expected. Along with that, I am in charge of making sure that everyone stays focused on the same target and we have a plan going in to each team fight.”

So far, it’s worked. Cornell Esports coach Mayson Sheehan was sure to point out that the team’s performance during the regular season has set them up for a good postseason run. The first postseason match took place Nov. 2. Cornell won 3-0 against Henderson State University in the first round, and lost to Delaware University in the second.

The team has high hopes for the future. 

“As the team gets more time to develop, I can only see us doing better than we already are,” Soderberg says. “All of our players have learned so much about the game in such a short period of time.”

This rapid growth can largely be attributed to Sheehan. Coach Sheehan spent the spring and summer of 2019 spearheading the development of the Esports program in preparation for the official competitive launch in the fall. He was tasked with recruiting students for the team, holding tryouts, and creating the college’s first Esports arena, located in the Thomas Commons.

At the start of this year I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Coach Sheehan has a lot on his shoulders and considering the individual skill rank of our players, we are doing quite well,” Soderberg says. “I think if you told me at the beginning of the program what we would be able to accomplish I would be surprised, but looking back on it, I think we were capable of this from the start.”