Return of the gaming era

Two years after COVID-19 put an end to the Hamline eSports team, two students have decided to build it back from the ground up.

Michael Kurtz, Sports Reporter

Vinny Torres

At Hamline University, students are made to feel like they can do it all through small school advantages and big school opportunities. Every year, new teams and clubs form to give students a more inclusive community. This year, senior Korai Kayim-Yanko and junior Colby Wong are doing exactly that by continuing the legacy of the Hamline eSports team.

The origins of the team date back years ago when the founding president, alumni Evan Nelson, formed the team from the ground up. 

“Evan was a huge reason it got off the ground.” Wong said. “When we first started, he didn’t have any sort of devices. We had to play on our own that we provided for ourselves. But before COVID happened, we were able to get the PCs we needed.”

“We knew we had something special with the framework that was left behind,” Kayim-Yanko said.

Now, the eSports team is back up and running with Wong at the helm as President and Kayim-Yanko taking on the responsibilities as the Communications Coordinator.

With a limited team, goals have started small, based around spreading awareness of the team to the student body and forming a community. They want people to know there is a place for students to go to share their interest and love of playing games. 

“We’re going to try and get tournaments as soon as we can with as many people as we can.” Kayim-Yanko said. “But our main goal right now is to just get people into the room to build a community around playing games.” 

Patrick Haught, the Director of Student Activities and Leadership at Hamline, now oversees the team from an administrative perspective, giving full support. Haught explained that the Campus Recreation office has put in money towards resources, gaming labs and high end technology. 

“We want to try to engage all of our students,” Haught said. “If this world is the reality of where students are at today, we want to show an investment and commitment to it. We know there’s a lot of potential for what eSports can be and it’d be a shame to not capitalize on that.”

Vinny Torres

Early in the year, leadership is focusing on games like Valorant and Super Smash Bros, but are open to any games students are interested in. Wong emphasized the team’s support if players want to compete at tournaments on their own. The end goal is to compete at land tournaments, which are tournaments that teams travel to as opposed to playing from the school. 

Going forward, Wong and Kayim-Yanko share the same idea to treat the lab like a gym. 

“We want that mindset. We’ll have time slots for teams to practice, but also if you just want to come in and have fun playing some games, any person part of the student body can do that,” Wong said. 

The current game lab is located in Walker Field House room 036, and practices are held every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Currently, the team is looking for more team officers to supervise time slots outside of practice hours. Officers are required to be in the room when the lab is in use, and more officers will add to the schedule for students to come in whenever they would like.


Going forward, Kayim-Yanko stated the leaderships’ commitment to the team and optimism of its growth. 

“It takes a lot of work.” Kayim-Yanko said. “We’re going to try and do big things by accumulating more and more people. Any possible ideas that any person can think of … we will try to do it to our utmost ability.”