By Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Coming off a stunning upset of top-seeded University of California, Irvine in last year’s ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship, the Grand Canyon University Esports Overwatch team had its sights set on a big 2019-20 season.
On cue, the Lopes jumped out to a terrific start, going 26-7 across its three Tespa Varsity Series Invitational tournaments in the fall and winter.
GCU was also 4-1 in its spring Tespa events before the coronavirus halted everything. As of now, the season is set to resume online at some point.
“Given this was the first year that GCU offered scholarships and coaching staff to their players, we were more successful and have better team synergy than we have ever had before,” said first year Overwatch Head Coach Justen Johns. “We are looking forward to finishing up the season online despite the brief interruptions.”
The coronavirus forced a number of changes to the team, including the departure of the team’s captain and highest-ranked player David Cho, who flew back to Korea after GCU announced it would finish spring classes online.
“Luckily, we had Justin Foss,” Johns said. “He stepped it up and went outside of his comfort zone to fill a big gap on the team.”
Among this year’s key newcomers was Aiden Yoshioka, a transfer junior who made a big impact immediately.
“Aiden is one of the most dedicated and consistent players that we have had on the team,” Johns said. “He constantly brings new ideas, constructive criticism and a positive outlook in each one of our practices and games.”
Although GCU was piling up wins in the virtual world, he was most impressed with how his team connected with other members of the Esports club in the real world.
“The team set a great example and provided additional coaching to lower ranked players in the club who requested it,” Johns explained. “Aiden (Yoshioka) specifically provided numerous hours of his free time to assist with coaching the GCU Esports’ JV team when they came to him for help.”
Want to learn more about GCU Esports? Visit the team page to learn more!