SNHU’s two Fortnite teams are among the top 16 teams in the country that qualified for the National Collegiate Starleague Championship Tournament in Atlantic City during the weekend of April 27 and 28.

SNHU introduced four esports teams, including Fortnite, to its athletic programs last August. They are members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, a national esports league with over 130 colleges and universities.

SNHU proved to be one of the biggest competitors in the league in its first year as a program. Its two Fortnite teams went 4-1 over the course of the fall season and placed within the top two teams in their respective brackets during the spring season.

“We were doing really good in the fall,” said SNHU Fortnite player Matt McCarthy. “It was a pretty competitive bracket – there were a lot of good players and we came in second.”

The teams’ success during the fall season earned them spots in a playoff bracket with 128 other teams in the spring season. They finished among the top 16 teams, allowing them to qualify for the National Collegiate Starleague Championship Tournament.

SNHU’s two Fortnite teams hold two-person rosters under the names “Team Blue” and “Team Yellow.”

Team Blue consists of freshmen Kevin “SNHUGoHugh” McHugh and Jeremiah “SNHUJay” Le.

McHugh, a controller-based player, is known for his offensive attacking skills and ability to take a team out. He is a phenomenal builder with great overall accuracy with numerous kills. Le, a keyboard and mouse player, is known for his sniping precision.

Team Blue will face the Epic Gamers from the University of Georgia in the first round of the National Collegiate Starleague Championship at noon on April 27.

“[Jeremiah] and I have done a lot to get here,” said McHugh. “We have high expectations for the tournament.”

Team Yellow constitutes another duo of freshmen with Matt “SNHU FCTN” McCarthy and Jacob “SNHUTortugas” Pearl.

McCarthy, a controller-based player, has exceptional communication skills with a strong notion to execute proper calls and has team-leading kills for the season. Pearl, a keyboard and mouse player, is another great builder.

Team Yellow will face team HGN from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the first round of the tournament that will also occur at noon on April 27.

“[UBC] went undefeated in playoffs,” said Pearl. “They’re definitely a tough match, [but] the last thing I want is to go down there and lose first round. We’ve got to go down there and prove we belong there, [especially] for our first year as a team.”

Team Blue and Team Yellow are on opposite sides of the draw. So, if they both advance, they will face each other in the championship final on Sunday, April 28.

Director of SNHU Esports, Tim Fowler, is rigorously training his players to prepare them for the tournament. He is coordinating scrimmages and intense practices that will enhance the players’ strategies and communication skills.

“I try to work on having the players narrate what they’re doing because it’s so important that your partner knows what you’re doing at any given time,” said Fowler in terms of improving his players’ communication skills. “Sometimes, when we get eliminated early, it’s because somebody made a decision and didn’t communicate it.”

Fowler is also scheduling practice time for players to review their previous games in order to enhance their in-game battle skills.

The tournament will be held at Atlantic City’s Adrian Phillips Theater at Boardwalk Hall. It will contain five best-of-three single elimination rounds and feature attractions such as meet-and-greets, job fairs and arcade games.

It will also feature panels on topics such as building community on campus and hosting campus events. For Fowler, these panels will offer the Fortnite team the ability to learn more about the sport while on the road.

“When we are not scheduled to play, we will be going to panels to learn about the collegiate sports team in general [and] running esports programs,” said Fowler.

As freshmen in the program’s inaugural season, this championship allows players the chance to grow both athletically and professionally. They will be presented with experiences not seen in typical academic settings.

“This opportunity to go to Atlantic City pushes me as a person to overcome personal goals,” added McHugh. “I’m taking the next step in my career. We put in a lot of hard work and time and I am honored to represent SNHU as an esports organization.”

To watch the Penmen compete for their first-ever championship title, visit https://twitch.tv/cstarleague or https://twitch.tv/cstarleague2 to live stream the event, or check out @EsportsSnhu on Twitter for live updates. You can also purchase day or weekend tickets for the championship by visiting Ticketmaster at this link.

Catherine Lachance
Catherine is a junior at SNHU majoring in communications and minoring in psychology. She is in her first year as Lead Copy Editor for the Press. She previously served as Sports Editor for a year and a half. She has a passion for writing and sharing people's stories and loves interacting with the SNHU athletic community. In addition to the Press, Catherine has written professionally for Turley Publications in Palmer, Massachusetts. She is also a tennis coach at Longmeadow Country Club in Longmeadow, Massachusetts during the summer. Catherine is also working on her website, Cat's Writing Blog, where she shares all the stories she has written for press, as well as personal experiences she has gone through. She hopes to receive an internship next year at a journalism or marketing agency.