Sac State esports team competes in California State Fair tournament

Hornets face off against funded esports teams


Alex Daniels

The Stinger Esports team faces Rocklin High School in Overwatch during the Bear Cup Collegiate Tournament July 28 at Cal Expo Fairgrounds. The club received a cease and desist letter Oct. 17 for violation of SO&L guidelines for membership, including representing Sac State at tournaments.

Alex Daniels, Sports editor

The Stinger eSports team was eliminated first in the Overwatch Collegiate eSports Tournament during the California State Fair at Cal Expo after a 2-0 loss to Rocklin High School Saturday.

Overwatch, which involves two teams of six players, has each player selecting their own “hero” from a list of 30 heroes available in an effort to defeat the opposing team. These heroes are under three separate categories: damage, tank and support.

“I think we did pretty (well) considering our opponent was a full program, so they have coaching and play in national tournaments,” said damage player Harish “OMI” Kandaswamy. “They are a fully-funded program while we are just starting out.”

Kandaswamy said he hopes the organization can continue to build connections going forward in an effort to get more sponsorships. 

The Stinger eSports team, which was formed less than two years ago, also took second place in the Open Division Overwatch Tournament against 13 other teams, which included different gaming organizations beyond collegiate programs at the fair on Monday. 

The collegiate tournament on Saturday, which was won by San Jose State University, also included UC Davis, UC Berkeley and University of San Francisco.

Rocklin High School swept the Hornets on Saturday’s tournament after victories on control and assault maps, eliminating the Hornets in the single-loss elimination tournament.

“(Rocklin High School) is really good and we didn’t play up to our standards,” said damage player Tyler “Notabot” Casazza. “Anytime we get to play against other teams and show what we’re about is always a really good thing.”

Tank player Reid “Baow” Rodriguez said he hopes the experience will bring more funding for the organization.

“Some of the teams we play against give money to coaching and dedicate their time to do it,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like if we could get the same thing, we could compete at an extremely high level.”

The Hornets, unlike most of the programs they competed against in the collegiate tournament, don’t have an esports building on campus and don’t have funding from Sc State like other teams have from their respective schools.

Vice President of Stinger eSports Donna “BasicTaq” Walters said The State Fair had a huge impact for the organization. 

“It’s bringing more awareness to esports and gaming to the Sacramento area,” Walters said. “It’s showing people that this is not just a fad. This is something that will last a very long time.”

President of Stinger eSports Nick “Draagslap” Palsgaard said the goal of participating in the tournaments was to bring awareness to the organization.

“It was really cool to see families who were excited to get their kids involved with potential college programs,” Palsgaard said. “It was cool to see all the positive support from the general audience.

“The next step is to get a dedicated space for an esports program similar to an athletic training center to have a dedicated place where students can come together and practice.”