Boise State Esports culminates historic fall season with Overwatch national championship

Posted at 11:11 AM, Dec 11, 2022

Boise State's Esports program has come along way since its inception in 2017, the Broncos have innovated, they have a growing space in downtown Boise and they have emerged as one of the elite program's in the country.

Boise State has a stockpile of trophies in a bunch of different video games including Halo, Rocket League, Madden Overwatch and many more.

The Overwatch team beat their rivals Northwood in the semi-finals 3-0 when they were the underdog advancing to the NACE finals for the first time ever, then they traveled to Philadelphia and beat the UT Dallas Comets to win the national championship on December 3.

"The championship win in Overwatch was amazing," said Jacob Palmer the Esports information director. "Boise State has been after that championship for years now and to finally win it was a great milestone for them."

It's one of several milestones for Boise State this fall season, back in September the Broncos became the first Esports team to reach 1,000 victories they celebrated by lifting "Gil" on their shoulders in a really cool moment.

"I mean just amazing," said Gabriel "Gil" Reynolds who Boise State recruited from Minnesota. "I went through a high school program and I got recruited to a couple of different places, but I chose here because of the community and all the amazing people that work here, they continue to motivate me everyday to work harder."

Jacob Palmer has been with the Esports program since the beginning, he is on the Broncos hall of fame wall as a broadcaster, he's seen the growth of the sport and the innovation developed by Boise State, he was part of the team that started broadcasting BSU matches out of Doc Haskell's office.

"I’ll never forget the day I had a broadcast desk to sit at instead of just being perched in front of a camera," laughed Palmer. "But the moment that hit home for me is when we had people cheering on the Broncos, I remember one of the family members brought a cow bell into the arena and started ringing it."

Boise State broadcasts their matches on Twitch TV and YouTube, they have a studio with broadcasters, they have a control where students work on the technical aspect of producing shows and that's where we found Joanie Paraiso who works as the technical director punching the right right buttons.

"I am from the northern Mariana Islands, it is a U.S. territory and I’m from the island of Saipan," said Paraiso. "Esports and gaming definitely has an interesting direction into broadcasting because it is a lot of storytelling in the game or about the players and what I think is very unique about Boise State we showcase the players and that is something Doc definitely highlights."

You can't talk about Boise State Esports without talking about Doc Haskell, the 2022 Collegiate Director of the Year has fostered an environment that gives students opportunities in playing for national championships, broadcasting and they just finished their charity tournament to raise money for the Idaho Food Bank.

"It’s hard to imagine Boise State Esports without Doc and the guidance he has brought," said Palmer. "Especially the amount of sacrifice he has given he has given so much of his schedule and he travels when the Broncos play in a national championship."

If the program continues on its current trajectory the university will need to invest in really large trophy case as Boise State has won numerous awards for playing games, they have an award winning broadcast team and the leadership at Boise State has also won numerous awards.

"It’s an amazing program and I love being a part of it every single day," said Gil.

Boise State recruits players from all over the country offering scholarships, but they also hold tryouts for walk-ons at the end of August before the fall season kicks off.