KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - One of Kilgore College’s Esports teams is celebrating its win over top-ranked four-year universities during the Fall Duos Tournament on Thursday.
The victory means the KC team qualifies as one of the top 24 collegiate video-gaming teams in the country. And the top 42 will compete at the 2020 Call of Duty Collegiate Series: Fall Duos Invitational Tournament Oct. 14-16.
“I’d like to say that I am surprised but knowing the skill level of these players and the amount of dedication that they put in and the work that they put in to getting better, I knew that we were going to be competitive,” said KC Esports Coach Clarence Taylor.
KC Esports’ team has 43 members divided into five teams competing in Call of Duty, Valorant, League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League. Students competing on varsity teams must meet academic requirements and be enrolled full time at KC.
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In the process of qualifying for the national tournament, KC this week defeated California State University-Long Beach, University of Arizona, New England College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of New Mexico, Lamar University, Carolina University and Bethany Lutheran.
“There is one more chance to qualify next Wednesday in the Fall Duos 3 Qualifier, so even if our other teams didn’t win a spot this week they can compete again next week,” said Andy Taylor, KC Esports coach. “We have four more duos teams competing in the tournament Wednesday. We hope to add at least one more team to the top 24.”
KC Esports students who competed last night were Santiago Tapia of Longview, David Rivera of Longview, Jacob Sootoo of New Caney, Blade Williams of Kilgore and Matthew “Graham” Asbury of Sunnyvale.
“It is a good step (making the top 24) but there is still a lot of room for improvement to not just make the top 24, but hopefully win first place,” Tapia said. “It means a lot to know I can play for the college and continue my education as well. We’re putting KC on the map for other D1 schools to recognize that we might be a small school (comparatively) but we have a lot of talent.”
The Fall Duos Invitational Tournament will have a $5,000 scholarship prize pool, with the top two finishers receiving $1,000 scholarships.