Central Penn College turns esports program into co-ed varsity team

Central Penn College in Summerdale, Cumberland County, announced Tuesday that it is making esports a co-ed varsity athletic team.

The Knights will compete as a varsity team in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the school said in a release. As part of NACE, Central Penn College esports athletes will face off against the association’s more than 170 member schools, which include some of the country’s most talented esports programs.

Previously, Central Penn fielded an esports club that competed against multiple NCAA Division I and Division II schools.

“We are thrilled to see esports transition to a varsity sport under Central Penn College Athletics,” Athletic Director Kasey Hicks said in the release. “The popularity of esports is ever-growing, and our students are passionate about the opportunities it offers. That’s something we can get behind and support.”

The school named Mikeal Pecot the program’s first head coach, and Donald Lewis will serve as an assistant coach. Their first official season as an athletic team will begin in September, the school said. The Knights esports team will operate as a co-ed team, opening the opportunity for active students regardless of gender to compete.

“NACE provides the opportunity for us to compete in Rocket League, Overwatch, Call of Duty: Vanguard and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. We have some really competitive players on the team, so I’m excited to see them take on the challenge of facing big universities,” Pecot said. “Our goal as an esports program is to boost these athletes’ critical thinking, teamwork, communication, leadership and confidence through competitive gaming.”

To help launch its esports team, Central Penn College is kicking off a month-long fundraising effort to raise the funds needed to outfit the new team in time for their first competition. To learn more about the campaign called “Opportunities: Press Start” visit CentralPenn.edu/PressStart.

The CPC Gaming Club will continue to operate along with the esports team. Both will practice and compete in the college’s Steve Shoemaker Esports Gaming Lab.

In the area, Harrisburg University’s esports program has achieved national prominence, winning three national titles since it was created a couple of years ago.

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