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Esports players, coaches, take top prizes at national convention

Esports team members
From left: Michael “Fish” Fisher and Madisyn Benge.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports hosted its annual convention online July 22-24. The event included awards to top players across the country. Several members of the Boise State team, not to mention their coaches, earned those ranks.

Here are the top finishers along with comments from their coach, Chris “Doc” Haskell, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Educational Technology.

Four players on Boise State’s Esports team were named to the association’s All-Star Teams:

Madisyn Benge (Overwatch): “Madisyn ‘N3rdyBird’ Benge has been a force of strength since she first walked into our lab. Madisyn is the type of leader who will say what needs to be said. Madisyn is always looking for ways to help the program. This past semester she created a plan and implemented it to help grow our Instagram account. Not because anyone asked her to, but because she wanted to. She wants to see this program grow with all her heart.”

Jared Frank (Rocket League)“From having outstanding grades to being an incredible player, Jared can do it all. Jared is incredibly humble and supportive of others. From teammates to brand new players, he is willing to offer encouragement and advice. His lighthearted nature allows him to help his teammates from getting disheartened. With a quick joke, Jared is always able to raise his team’s spirits and let them focus on the game at hand.”

Dean Wood (League of Legends): “Dean Wood elevates his teammates. Despite his quiet, introspective demeanor, Dean’s play style is aggressive. He looks for opportunities to take advantage of the smallest errors. He continually lifts his team with clear strategy guidelines and is genuinely interested in their learning. In two years as team captain, his team has an impressive 34 -8 with more wins in Mountain West Conference play than any other team.”

Robert Faircy (League of Legends): “Rob has been a part of Boise State esports since its formation. That first day he presented himself with the confidence and dedication of a champion; and that has only grown over the years. He is a player that is willing to do anything to help his team. He has faced adversity head-on and come out ahead. He is an incredible teammate and an even better friend.”

Nick “Shifty” Travis was named Overwatch coach of the year: “As a college coach, Nick helped to transform two unrecruited programs, Boise State and Becker University, into perennial contenders. His impact is best stated by his students like freshman Michael Jenks who said, ‘Shifty has a really good macro when it comes to Overwatch. He’s very good at looking at the big picture and knowing what pieces need to come together to make that happen.’ Coach Travis builds confidence in his players as well, helping them to become good, supportive team-players.” 

Esports team member
Team member Daniel Klock in the control room.

Boise State’s broadcast team was named broadcast team of the year: “Esports production is an exhilarating and critical element to any esports program. At Boise State, it’s the lifeblood. In the 2020-21 school year, students produced 345 events, totaling 1,054 hours of LIVE esports content, with 6,975,000 minutes watched in 1.3 million unique households.

In the COVID break, Boise State production produced an additional 337 hours topping 683,000 unique viewers and 3,870,000 minutes watch. Also during the COVID break, Boise State production delivered the Mountain West Social Distancing Series for the athletic conference, becoming the only MWC activity. Of special note, Rae Barnes, Remy Krey-Rebentisch, Joseph Troyer, Daniel Klock, Brady Grewe, David Vogel, Lexi Wright, Kolby Alloway, Payton Wilkin and Jacob Palmer truly distinguished themselves.”

Haskell took home an honor of his own, director of the year. Earlier this year, the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors named Haskell Esports coach of the year.

Haskell also recognized Alex Moore, program assistant, who contributed greatly, he said, to the team’s success this year.