Cal Poly Pomona’s esports Heroes of the Storm team will compete in the national finals of the ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC) held May 10-12 at Comicpalooza, the largest entertainment and pop culture event in Texas.
Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle strategy, arena style game featuring heroes from Blizzard Entertainment’s multiverse of games.
The Heroes of the Storm championship round pits the undefeated Pomona Ponies against the undefeated Rutgers University team “Reinstalled for This” on Sunday, May 12 at 10:20 a.m. in the area at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The match will be live streamed on https://espnevents.com/collegiate-esports-championship/.
The Pomona Ponies bested teams from Texas A&M; Arizona State University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Colorado School of Mines to reach the finals.
This year’s team includes two members from last year’s team that advanced to the national semi-finals but was edged out of the competition by the University of Buffalo, two games to three, in what ESPN called a “thriller” of that day’s action.
Representing Cal Poly Pomona in Houston will be:
- Hunter “ElCazador” Gaukel (’18 computer science), graduate student;
- Andrew “MuttMcGee” Koscal, a senior studying structural engineering;
- Sam “Shammmmmmy” Lee, a senior studying computer information systems;
- Le “ViNamCoffee” Quoc, a junior studying electrical engineering;
- Brett “Hebi” Sanders, a junior studying computer information systems, and
- Alexander “Sweetwater” Huang, a senior studying in business, who is the team’s substitute player.
- Henry “MiniMuffinz” Richardson is the team manager and handles logistics.
The team has competed in the Heroes of the Dorm competition every year since it began in 2015, and consistently made the round of 32. Gaukel and Koscal have played on the team since their freshman year, when they lived the same dorm and were looking to compete in esports tournaments.
The best thing about the game, the players agree, is the team play. “Out of all of the MOBA [mobile online battle arena] games, this one is very team oriented and action-packed,” said Koscal. “You learn about people’s strengths, how to support those strengths and how to fit into a role.”
They laugh when asked if it is a hands-on learning experience. “It really is,” said Huang. “You need to learn to work together as a team. It’s also a lot of planning since you need to know about the other teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is working together.”
For Koscal, “The tournament really makes it more exciting. Something is on the line, and you get to play at a higher level. That keeps it fresh,” he said. “I’m super excited. I’ve never been to Houston…and I get to travel with a bunch of friends to play a game on a big stage.”
The ESPN event will also include the national finals for Overwatch, Hearthstone, Starcraft II and Street Fighter V. Scholarships will be awarded to the winning teams.