Overwatch Beacon Finds Success, Overall Team Looks Towards Future
The room is dead silent, only the familiar clicking of keyboards fills the lab on a cold December night. Suddenly, the room comes alive and gold jerseys erupt into madness. Valpo’s Beacon Overwatch team just defeated Western Colorado University to secure their fall division title.
The victory marked a rapid ascent to success for the second year program and the Beacons aren’t looking to stop anytime soon. OW Beacon is now undefeated in the spring and starting to set their eyes ahead to nationals later next month.
“The team has grown a lot since our first semester,” sophomore Isaac Fabbro said. “Basically everyone that was here at the beginning is still here, so spending so much time with each other has led to a lot of growth.”
Being a close-knit group has been crucial to their success. The players’ friendship carries over in Overwatch and helps them anticipate how everyone will react during a game.
“A huge tribute to our success is our team chemistry and how good of friends we all are,” sophomore Abby Thompson said. “Hanging out outside of practice helps us be in the same mindset.”
The team meets three times a week to practice and many players put in extra hours throughout the week. Every Thursday the group competes against colleges across the country in the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC).
Head coach Bryce Jones also spends a lot of time reviewing gameplay and talking one on one with players. This year his job has gotten even harder because the program gained enough students to split into two teams: Beacon and Shield.
“There’s so much more crossover between the teams than I think we even realize,” Team Shield Captain sophomore Franco Raimondi said. “We know all the people and have those friendships, sometimes we even bring players from Beacon over as substitutes.”
Despite two squads competing separately, the group manages to foster a culture that promotes togetherness and shared growth among the teams.
“We are always hyping each other up,” Team Beacon’s Thompson said. “Everybody helps everybody. You can learn something from anyone, even if they are at a lower level than you.”
With most newcomers entering a team environment for the first time, learning from one another is a huge part of the process. Being able to rely on your teammates and maintain consistency is a stark comparison from solo online play.
“You learn to communicate and you have to pay attention a lot more, not only to the game, but also to what is being said around you,” Shield’s Nick Marchmon said.
Although Team Shield hasn’t had the wild success Beacon has achieved, they value the people around them more than simply winning.
“The relationships I’ve formed and the experience I’ve had meeting all these people from different backgrounds just makes me want to keep coming back,” Raimondi said.
Marchmon shared similar thoughts on why he loves the team.
“Honestly I’m just stoked that I get to play Overwatch on a team with my friends,” Marchmon said. “If we can win along the way, that’s great.”
Story by: Michael Trevithick