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GCC eSports team shows Success


December 27, 2018

Submitted photo

THE GOGEBIC Community College eSports team includes, from left, coach Jim Halverson and team members Aaron Hoff, Keegan Bolen, Dominic Tijan, Justin Combs, Chris Schjoth, Jack Strand, Ben Matazel, Cooper Koskinen, Ethan Pattison, Eli Schaefer, Scott LaRock, Noah Peterson and Bailey Silvula. Not shown are Trenton Laramore, Casey O'Hern, Anthony Mosconi and Tim Rowe.

IRONWOOD - More colleges and universities are embracing eSports, or online video gaming, across North America and Gogebic Community College is no exception.

This year, GCC has 17 players on its eSports team. The number also includes students attending the Copper Country Center in Houghton who can fully participate in the program, according to director of admission Kim Zechovich.

The Gogebic Samsons eSports team is competing at a high level, said Jim Halverson, IT faculty member and team coach.

The Samsons compete in several leagues, including the Collegiate Star League - one of the largest eSports leagues, according to Halverson. They also compete playing a variety of games, and a scholarship is on the line.

GCC joined leagues for Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, StarCraft 2, Rocket League, Madden 19 and Super Smash Brothers, bringing together tens of thousands of collegiate gamers from across North America to compete for $175,000 in scholarship prizes.

Gogebic also competes in the Collegiate Rainbow 6 Siege League, the American Video Game College League and Collegiate eSports Association.

"The Gogebic Samsons Counter Strike team has already qualified for the North American playoffs to be held this spring, making GCC the only two-year college to make the playoffs in the Midwest," said Halverson.

The Samsons Fortnite team finished in second place in its conference this fall and enters the spring season as a top-ranked team. 

The Rocket League team competed in several tournaments recently, making it to the Sweet 16 in North America. The Rainbow 6 Siege team finished this fall with an even record and will compete in two different leagues this spring.

The Samsons Counter Strike team was invited to join the Michigan Collegiate Counter Strike League, making GCC the only two-year college invited to join, along with Michigan State, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State, Ferris State, Michigan Tech, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan and Central Michigan universities. 

"The Gogebic Samsons eSports program hosted a high school Fortnite tournament in the fall and it was a huge hit," said Halverson. "Gogebic will host another Fortnite tournament for area high school students this winter that promises to be even bigger and more fun."

Registration for the tournament will begin in mid-January. More information is available at

"Collegiate eSports came into existence around 2009 with a few schools playing one game casually and has now exploded to hundreds of schools from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico competing in many different games," said Halverson.

Players must be in good academic standing to be eligible for the team. "You can't be a player at GCC if you aren't," said Halverson. Each team member must be enrolled as a full-time student, generally a minimum of 12 credit hours.

GCC hopes to expand its eSports team next year to include more players and more teams. For more information about the eSports program, contact Halverson at


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