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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 Call of Duty esports looks to dominate once again 

Courtesy+of+NM+State+Esports.
Courtesy of NM State Esports.

The New Mexico State varsity esports team is trying for a repeat performance of last season, in which they finished as one of the top 10 programs in the entire country. The team was founded in 2021, and has since gone on to achieve great success.  

The Aggies have joined the Collegiate Call of Duty League (CCL) now under the National Esports Collegiate Conferences and will also be competing as a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports.  

Last year, the team finished top eight in the CCL finals, hosted in Columbus, Ohio with all expenses covered by club funds. This year, the team recruited a new breakout player, Alex Santarriaga, on the varsity squad, in hopes of matching last year’s performance.   

The rest of the varsity squad consists of team captain Isaiah Marquez, Isaac Grill, and Phil Contini. They are managed by Alejandro Baca, who founded the team and played in the program before transitioning to a managerial position.   

Courtesy of NM State Esports.

The CCL qualifiers were held on Feb. 4 and the Aggies swept both Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University, securing a Division One qualification and the tenth overall rank in the country. The team then proceeded to beat Northwestern Oklahoma State University 3-0 and Ottawa University 3-1 in the season opener on Feb. 6.

Grill discussed what he thought of the team’s performance in their first game of the regular season.  

“It was pretty quick, just what’s expected,” Grill said. “We all hold each other to a standard.” 

Baca spoke about his experience from a unique perspective as the founder of the team, along with the growth he has witnessed within the program and how he is preparing the team to move forward, not only this season but for seasons to come.  

Courtesy of NM State Esports.

“I founded it…and now we’re here,” Baca said. “I think building the foundation for future is the biggest part for me. Next year all of us will be headed out, so we need people to keep the tradition going.” 

This year, the program’s Call of Duty portfolio includes three different teams, all playing the newest title, which is the most the program has ever had, and will hopefully foster a new wave of players to take over next season. 

Marquez reflected on what being a part of the program has meant to him, as he has also been a varsity member of the squad since its inception. 

“There’s been a lot of growth in our program,” Marquez said. “Playing esports has gave me the opportunity to meet a bunch of new people… and make a bunch of new friendships.”

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About the Contributor
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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