In only the second semester of competition, two of the Glen Oaks esports teams won their first national championships.
The Glen Oaks team of Jarrett Miller, of White Pigeon, and Tyler Parker, of Centerville, won the NJCAA open Series Tier 3 Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 4v4 Fall 2023 National Final, defeating Dutchess Community College (New Jersey), in the final match 3-0 in early December. The GOCC team defeated Walters State Community College, and Brookdale College to reach the finals. There were eight teams in the quarter finals.
In addition, the Glen Oaks Miller/Parker team also won the NJCAAE Fall 2023 Fall Open Series Tier 3 Call of Duty Gunfight National Championship.
“These are great victories for our new esports program,” said Kevin Conner, advisor. “I’m proud of our teams who played extremely well. The whole competitive aspect of gaming is still relatively new to all of us, and we have been navigating through the ropes to learn together. Although a number of Glen Oaks teams have played at the national level, I believe actually achieving first place national win is a first for Glen Oaks.”
Miller, esports team captain, is studying business at and plans to minor in esports at a four-year college. (Through an esports minor, students become oriented in the business side of esports and are introduced to concepts and culture in the esports industry.)
“I’ve been gaming for 15 years,” said Miller, who previously competed in 17 competitions at a college in Indiana. “I treat it like any other sport which means practicing three to four days a week with the team, plus more time on my own — It probably averages out to about 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week.” This is in addition to Miller’s full-time job at an RV factory in Indiana.
“If you are not on your game playing and practicing,” said Miller, “someone is working hard to get better than you.”
Parker dual enrolled with Glen Oaks while in high school and he recently finished his requirements for his Associate of Arts. He plans to attend Grand Canyon University to study history and he would like to teach in secondary education someday.
Like Miller, this was his first semester playing esports for GOCC. “I started out as a substitute,” said Parker, “but I was soon added as part of the team. I’ve been playing Call of Duty since it came out when we got our first Xbox 360. I was probably in elementary school at the time,” said Parker.
“Call of Duty is fun, and the skills from the game are consistent with skills needed on other games,” said Parker. “Because competitive esports is so new to us, there were oftentimes during competitions that we were pulling up the rules on a second monitor to be sure we were doing everything right.”
Coach Conner hopes more colleges in the area get on board with e-sports.
“There is interest in forming a more regional division, rather than just national teams,” said Conner. “It’s catching on more and more. Esports offers a nice option to physical sports. There are scholarships and out there for these students who play at any level.”