The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NMSU Esports overcomes UNM in second annual tournament

Graphic courtesy of Patrick Jimenez.

The New Mexico State Esports program had a dominant run against UNM, winning in four straight titles to finish the series 4-2. This is the second year in a row that NMSU Esports have come out on top against UNM, solidifying the Aggies presence as the best esports organization in the state.  

The six titles that were played were (in order): Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Overwatch 2, League of Legends, Valorant, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and finally Rocket League. 

After two losses in a close series, the Aggie squads were facing down a 0-2 lead going into the League of Legends match. The League team was able to turn the tide by beating UNM to make it a 1-2 deficit and the first win in the overall series for NMSU.  

The first win set the stage for the Valorant team to even out the series 2-2. After some pregame smack talk on social media as to who the best New Mexican Valorant team was, the Aggies proved themselves the holder of that title with a clean and decisive win.  

The trend continued in the final two games, with a sweep apiece for the Rainbow Six and Rocket League teams.  

The esports lab, located on the second floor of Corbett Center, houses a mind-blowing 44 of 96 PC’s, all of which are ready to be used at any point in time to play nearly any game. It was completed in 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was unable to be used until 2021 after restrictions had been lifted.  

President and Valorant team manager Aidan Leon spoke about what it’s like to be a part of the rivalry. 

“We’ve always tried to make it…a bigger event to foster at least some communication between NMSU and UNM.” Leon said. Another reason is to “improve both programs and build comradery.”  

Alan Aguilar, vice president of the organization, discussed his experience in the UNM rivalry.  

“It wasn’t until last year we got to play them,” Aguilar said. “And it’s really exciting because freshman [and] sophomore year I didn’t really get what the rivalry meant…after like a lot of trash talk…things got pretty heated, and it means a lot to us.” 

A player in the opening match of the CGSO team, Michael Pacheco, commented on the team’s performance and how it will move past the loss. 

“We had a tough loss against UNM.” Pacheco said. “But I can promise you next time we face them off we will be a different team.”  

To coordinate the tournament between the two schools, Chief Media Officer Victor Sierra is in charge of reaching out to UNM’s media counterpart yearly. The schools always try to make sure the esports rivalry coincides with the Aggie Lobo football game.  

Sierra and his media team also maintain the streams, YouTube videos, and slew of social media content that is posted. 

“It really revolves around all the people that come in through esports that also do that sort of professional media work.” Sierra said. 

Amid the simultaneous hardships of changing leadership and COVID, Sierra commented on how resilient the organization has been and how esports prevails no matter what comes its way. 

Despite its inherent online nature, the organization still depends on the in-person community, which helps create a tight-knit community within the program.  

Ryan May, club alumnus and liaison, has been around since the team’s inception. May explained why the program has remained as a club instead of transitioning to an official competitive varsity team.  

“They lose that sense of community, because once you’re a varsity team, you completely ignore everything else that has to do with community,” he explained. 

Since then, the esports program has grown from eight players and staff to over 90. Their Discord server has more than doubled in size, from 800 members of various backgrounds to over 2000.  

“We had the first player meeting, trying to…let them know ‘Hey, these are the different communities that are here. And while you’re all separated by your game title, we are still an organization that wants thrive and succeed together,” Leon said. 

Chief Financial Officer, Amanda Rodriguez, who is the who manages and plays on the Overwatch team, spoke about the diversity that has come with the growth of the organization. 

“At first I was the only girl here.” Rodriguez said. “Now we have a lot more as shown [in] women’s night. Now they’re a part of the community, which is great.” 

Aguilar also expressed that he has made “lifelong friends” through esports and the sense of community it’s provided him with. 

Miguel Phetteplace, who founded the Rocket League team and serves as the recruitment manager, has assisted in the growth of the organization. He has worked to incorporate more game titles into the program to reach more people with the games they’d like to play. 

As NMSU eSports continues to grow both competitively and casually, May noted how it can expand out to bring the 96% of students who identify as gamers on campus together in a safe space where everyone can enjoy themselves playing some games and meeting new friends who share the same passion.   

May also explained how the program has kept its status as a club to foster community and how it has “maintained the grassroots gaming initiative.” Reflecting on just how much work the students and players have put into the organization to improve it and grow it from only offering three games, to where it is today. 

Readers can find more info about New Mexico State Esports @nmstateesports on Instagram, X, YouTube, and Twitch. 

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About the Contributor
Kaden Martinez
Kaden Martinez, Staff Writer
Kaden Martinez is entering his first year at The Round Up as both a staff and a sports writing intern. This is his first time writing for a local publication (or any publication for that matter!). He is also entering his first year as a freshman majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Engineering. Since his dad is in the military, he has moved all around New Mexico, having lived in Albuquerque, Springer, Maxwell, and finally Rio Rancho where he graduated. He is the oldest of three siblings. Kaden has always enjoyed writing, whether it was school related or as a hobby. He decided to become a member of The Round Up both to broaden his horizons and step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. Some of his interests include exercising, playing sports, video games, TV shows, and movies.

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