By Christian Frazier
The Rochester University athletic department will add a competitive esports program that will start competitive play during fall 2022 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.
Christopher Ainhorn, a former assistant esports coach at Oakland University, is the Warrior’s inaugural head coach, and he is already in place at RU recruiting students for his first team.
“Since our program was announced, I have had an amazing pool of players lining up for tryouts. In terms of specifics, I have been promoting our program through various collegiate Discord channels and utilizing various esports databases,” Ainhorn said.
The Warriors will field teams in five titles: Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Valorant; each title supports teams of three-to-six players. During WHAC play, the Warriors will compete against seven member institutions in League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League.
Ainhorn said his goal with adding additional competitive opportunities is to mimic the professional competitive scene.
However, it’s not all fun and games for these athletes. Their training includes a mental and physical regimen with aspects that will improve their arm and hand muscles.
This will set RU apart from competitors, said Ainhorn, “In my mind, if it is good enough for the pros, why not implement it here at RU.”
Ainhorn said his five-year plans for the program include adding a roster with 72 participants and becoming a Top 10 team nationally. He feels these goals are achievable with the support of the university administration.
Details of Discord.
Discord is a free voice, video and text chat app that’s used by tens of millions of people ages 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends.
People use Discord daily to talk about many things, ranging from art projects and family trips to homework and mental health support. It’s a home for communities of any size, but it’s most widely used by small and active groups of people who talk regularly.
The vast majority of servers are private, invite-only spaces for groups of friends and communities to stay in touch and spend time together. There are also larger, more open communities, generally centered around specific topics such as popular games like Minecraft and Fortnite.
All conversations are opt-in, so people have total control over who they interact with and the nature of their experience on Discord.