Kishwaukee College is adding men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s bowling and co-ed electronic sports (eSports) to its intercollegiate athletics beginning Fall 2020. The sports were approved at the November 12 Board of Trustees meeting.
“The general feeling of the Board of Trustees is that athletics are a very important part of the college experience at Kishwaukee College. For many years, trustees have encouraged increased opportunity for in-district student athletes to continue participation in their chosen sports post high school,” remarked Bob Johnson, board chair. “Under the leadership of Athletic Director Scott Kawall, Kish will now offer nine sports.” By Fall 2020, Kish will offer men's baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's bowling, women's bowling, men's cross country, women's cross country, coed eSports, men's golf, women's golf, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's softball and women's volleyball for a total of 14 teams playing nine different sports.
“Over the last three years, Kish has increased its in-district student athlete population from 21 percent to nearly 60 percent. There is a real value to participating in intercollegiate sports that offers a new dimension to the college experience. We are proud to continue to expand athletics and recruit local talent,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, president of Kish. In 2016, the College had three athletic teams with 48 student athletes participating. With the addition of golf, bowling and eSports for Fall 2020, the College will have 14 teams with a projected 160-170 student athletes.
“The recommendation to expand our athletic offerings was based on current student interest,” explains Michelle Rothmeyer, vice president of student services. “We have an active eSports and gaming club already on campus, and the area has a vibrant gaming community. There is also high involvement with golf and bowling in the local communities, and we believe our local students would be eager to participate in these sports at the collegiate level.”
Ben Holda, president of Kish’s eSports and gaming club, is “ecstatic” about eSports becoming an official sport at the College. “I am happy eSports is being taken seriously and is being legitimized as a sport. I hope this brings greater cultural awareness to the gaming community,” commented Holda.
Growing in popularity, eSports are competition involving video games. Similar to participation in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), Kish’s eSports team will also participate in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) along with NJCAA.
Critical thinking, split-second decision making, strategizing, cooperation and team building are a few of the skills developed through eSports reports Holda and two other members of the eSports and gaming club, Jonathan Kurtzman, current vice president and Tyler Hill, former president.
To participate in the new sports, student athletes will need to meet the same requirements as the current intercollegiate sports. Students will need to be enrolled full time at Kish and meet certain GPA requirements to compete.
Photo: Kishwaukee College’s Board of Trustees vote to add bowling, golf and eSports to the athletic offerings next fall. Pictured: Students in Kish’s eSports & gaming club compete against one another during a club meeting.