Thompson takes third

MINOT, N.D. – When Brek Thompson found out Minot State’s Esports Club was in its infancy, he knew he had found his fit.

“That was one of the biggest things when I decided to come here,” the freshman biology major said. “It was exciting for me to think that I could help build something from the ground up. We started our Esports Club at Minot High my junior year and then I played through high school. When I heard Minot State had an Esports Club in the making, I really wanted to join and help build it.”

Celebrating its first anniversary as a club this month, advisor Ethan Valentine has watched the interest in esports grow exponentially on campus.

“We had our first event last February and we had eight students show up,” Valentine, psychology assistant professor, said. “And now in Discord, we have 90 students. Our biggest event this last semester was right at the start of the term — we had 78 students come in person.

“We’ve gone from eight students, four of which were the starting officers, to having around 90, with getting 30-plus students at most of our events. A lot of that credit goes to the students, including folks like Brek and our student officers.”

As the Esports Club continues to grow, so does tournament play opportunities.

North Dakota State University’s Rocket League Club recently held its inaugural Dakota Collegiate Rocket League (DCRL) tournament. The DCRL season included 72 students representing 10 colleges across North Dakota and South Dakota. Three divisions played for the top spots Dec. 3-4, 2022.

“The league was set up where students drafted their teammates based off ranks. We didn’t know each other when we got drafted onto our team, and then I started playing with my two other teammates,” said Thompson. “The teammate that drafted me was from Moorhead (Minnesota State University Moorhead) and my other teammate was from NDSU (North Dakota State University).”

After regularly practicing together virtually, Thompson’s team, Team Name, finally met in person for the tournament.

“It was really cool and kind of surreal to show up,” he said. “We had seen each other on camera in some of the games we played. But hearing each other’s voices, that was the weirdest thing. As soon as I heard them talk, I knew those were my guys.”

Team Name placed right where they were ranked at DCRL — third place in Division A play.

While Thompson focuses his play on Rocket League, other Minot State Esports Club members play League of Legends with talk of additional games being offered, such as VALORANT.

“There is occasionally some crossover in students playing more than one game, but for the most part there is investment in one title, much as you would invest in one traditional sport,” explained Valentine.

While esports was something Valentine wasn’t initially interested in, he has found meaning in the student opportunities and connections.

“My background is in education psychology and simulation and game design, but competitive gaming is not something that was really ever on my radar,” he said. “Then at my previous institution, I had a couple students approach me about esports and if I would be a club advisor — it accidentally came about in that way. When I was interviewing at Minot State, I asked about esports because it was something that we had grown really quickly at Kirkwood (Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa).

“Esports is something that creates a new sort of community and a new space for people — a new way to represent the University. And it’s something I’ve become very passionate about because it provides all these important opportunities.”

For more information, the Minot State Esports Club can be reached at or via the club’s Discord server.


About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 01/04/23   

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