About the Speaker:  Dylan Gentilcore is fresh to collegiate esports as the inaugural head coach of University of Wisconsin-River Falls Esports after founding and operating Carmel Esports out of Carmel High School in Indiana. While at Carmel, his program secured a sponsorship from HyperX and racked up over 40 national and state championships in competitions such as NASEF, HSEL, UGC, PlayVS, and the Indiana Esports Network, a non-profit organization providing esports leagues for over 100 Indiana middle & high schools that he helped start in 2019 and currently still serves as a member of the board.
About the Presentation:    Dylan Gentilcore talked about UWRF’s e-sports, the newest addition to the Athletic Department. He described who plays, and how this new kind of intercollegiate competition works.  Gentilcore was announced as the UWRF Esports inaugural head coach in July of 2022. He came to River Falls as the founder, coach, and director of the esports program at Carmel (Indiana) High School, developed in 2018. He said that high schools and  colleges have e-sports teams but they might not know it because they exist informally.
E-sports are co-ed, with 1/3 of UWRF’s e-sports team being women. E-sports is unusual in that it is available to people with disabilities; people can compete in computer games by working the controls with your feet or even with your eyes.  Dylan noted that high-level gamers can win prizes and win large monetary prizes.  The biggest e-sports colleges are schools such as Maryville College in St. Louis, Fisher College in Boston and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
UWRF will host 100 e-sports matches next year. They will have a dedicated Esports Arena in the Chalmer Davee Library. It is open for 30 hours a week to all students who can reserve game time. They have monthly intramural tournaments as well as the varsity-level competitions. UWRF has 50 players who are the top 1% or better for their age brackets, with two from Prescott, WI.
For some games and tournaments, travel is necessary because computer reaction time is vital to play of certain games. Competitions are recorded and can be viewed on Youtube. Because they are recorded, students can gain experience recording and producing the events, thereby building their resumes in video production. Members also negotiate with businesses, even international businesses, for sponsorships.  An MBA student, for example, can have a resume that includes experience negotiating a contract with a major company.
Although the image of a gamer is that of a lonely individual living in his parent’s basement, the opposite is true. Players play in teams for many games, interact with competitors as well as team members,  and they build trust while learning tearmwork, sacrifice and service. Since the rules of many computer games change every 3 to 4 weeks, players must learn flexibility. The team members have already won many championships and trophies.
UWRF is set to compete at the varsity level in 2023-24 and is now a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) which currently has over 180 member schools.