A team of students have propelled Coventry College into one of the top four Esports colleges in England – just six months after forming.
Six of the College’s interactive media and games design students – called Coventry Crosshairs – are celebrating after making it to the semi-finals of the British Esports Association’s Overwatch Tournament, which sees around 70 colleges competing against each other in a group and knock-out format.
Overwatch is an online first-person game played by more than 40 million people where players work as a team to defend and control locations on a map.
After topping their seven-team group earlier this year, the Crosshairs then defeated Gower College Owls 3-0 in the quarter finals after a strong start, before facing three-time British Esports champions Seers Sunderland College.
The Crosshairs eventually tasted defeat for the first time in the semi-finals, losing 3-0 to the defending champions.
Reflecting on the team’s journey into the latter stages of the tournament, Crosshairs team manager Shoubna Naika-Taylor said their achievement has given the College further encouragement to expand their team in future years.
Shoubna, who is also the curriculum lead for creative and digital at Coventry College, said: “We have come so far as a team since October, and the longer we are together, and if we can expand our roster, then who knows how far we can go next year?
“We had to play our semi-final remotely from our own homes because of Coronavirus, but we put up a battling display against the reigning champions and I’m really proud of the performance that we put in.
“Esports is a fast-growing industry, and to reflect this, we as a College have introduced Esports as an extra-curricular activity for all of our students who want to broaden their horizons beyond their existing course.
“It is of course about enjoyment, but it also enables our students to develop transferable skills such as team work, communication, problem solving and operating under pressure, which will stand them in good stead for their future careers.
“We have tried to recreate how a professional Esports team would operate which has included bringing in an external Esports coach on a weekly basis to develop team tactics – and this has paid off for us this year.
“I’d like to say a big well done to all of our players – Jacob Tonge, Jack Masterson, Gaurav Rachen, John Cuffley, Keaton Branion and Martin Jonas – all of whom will be great mentors for future players as we look to expand our roster next year.
“We have elected Jack as next year’s team captain, and he will replace final year student John, and Jacob will become our student coach to take a more hands-on approach to the decisions being made in competitive matches.”