The best on-campus CS:GO players at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) and Robert Morris University (RMU) will bring the passion of collegiate competition to the main stage of IEM Chicago 2018 on November 11 right before the event’s Grand Final between the best pro teams on the planet.
Both schools earned their right to play on the biggest stage in world esports by defeating some of the American Midwest’s best collegiate CS:GO teams. Making it all the way across a bracket that included the likes of Michigan State University and Ohio State University for UIUC and RMU in their respective decider matches means the experience of playing on the same conditions as the pros will be that much sweeter.
These are the teams that will clash for esports glory at IEM Chicago 2018:
UIUC Illinois Esports
Eric Lee - pie-
Danny Yoo - Bokuumbop
Yunhyuk Kang - Freinzy
Daniel Fuentes - YoungJefe
Tai Scocos - Occam
Vincent Tai - Laterz
Esports at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign:
Located about 150 miles South of Chicago, Illinois’ PhD programs are amongst the world elite and their “Fighting Illini” varsity teams mix it up with the top schools in the nation across multiple disciplines. Although their esports teams are not university affiliated, passionate students have built up a community that welcomes casual and competitive gamers alike that fostered a strong CS:GO A-Team.
“The team itself is relatively new, having started a year before I came in as a Freshman in 2015”, explains Illini player Eric Lee. “Since the start, though, Illinois has been one of the better teams in the scene, consistently landing itself Top 16 within the collegiate leagues”.
Meet the team:
“CS:GO has always been my go-to game to relieve stress outside of school”, says Daniel Fuentes about the role esports play in his college experience. “Whether it's playing it competitively or casually with friends, the game never gets old since there is always room for improvement”.
When speaking about their favourite pros in the CS:GO scene, the Illini roster shows big symptoms of MiBR fever, with players like Fallen, Tarik, stewie2k and especially Coldzera all named as personal references. Vincent Tai, part of the Illini roster, achieved Legendary Eagle rank in online play “without a graphics card and a stock wireless mouse”.
John (Riley) Fusch
Bryan Hunter Allen
Esports at Robert Morris University:
With their main campus located in the heart of the Windy City, the RMU Eagles will likely feel more of a home field advantage than their intrastate rivals. This traditional urban college, founded in 1913, is also a pioneer in the college esports scene after awarding scholarships to League of Legends players in 2014, making them the first school in the United States to fold esports into their official athletics offering.
“Our varsity program began in 2014 and CS:GO's introduction happened in 2015”, explains RMU Director of Esports Michael Wisnios. “Esports and our esports teams are a part of the athletic community. Our students want to know/ travel with the team to experience their successes and failures similar to any other sport. As the team prepares to compete on stage at IEM the hype of our students continues to grow.”
Meet the team:
RMU player Andy Collins acknowledges Astralis’ utter domination over the current CS:GO scene and names their Danish super star dev1ce as an example to follow. “He is one of the few players that plays absolute textbook CS“, explains Collins. “After viewing his Valve player profile and hearing about his story over two years ago, it inspired me to continue my journey and gave me another perspective to always give my all no matter what, towards any aspect or dream in life”.
“The most exciting moment was realizing after we won just how big this was going to be”, continues Collins. “Knowing that we would be playing on the stage of IEM Chicago in an arena has been a dream of many CS:GO players since they started. That realization that this opportunity was passed onto us is an immense blessing. Not only do we get a taste of what it’s like to be the big dogs, but we get to do it in our home town and for that I have to say thank you”.