MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — When it comes to esports, the Bethany Lutheran College Vikings set the standard in the state of Minnesota.
“Bethany owns Minnesota. We’re the best in esports, that’s the way it is. Everyone who’s in gaming knows that, and they want to come here. We plan to keep on being that for a long time and going into the future,” Bethany Lutheran College esports Director Lucas Fricke stated.
Building a successful esports program is exactly what former Green Bay Packers running back turned esports head coach Ahman Green wants to establish at Lakeland University.
“People that know me, they’re like ‘Wait a minute, you’re coaching video games?’ They’re like ‘Dude, how’d you do that?’ Because I’m a gamer, I’ve been gaming since I was five, six years old. I had ColecoVision then, and my dad was an IT guy at an aviation company out in Los Angeles,” said Green.
Green took the Muskies head coaching gig nearly two years ago and invited Bethany Lutheran College’s esports Broadcasting Director Erik Lonnquist to sit in on his podcast to give him a behind-the-scenes look at the art of casting.
“We had a fantastic time, and I knew his background [of] being a caster for League of Legends and how he pushed to move the chains for higher pay for casters in some of the gaming events he’s done,” said Green.
Since Lonnquist is working with Bethany and Green with Lakeland, the two decided to arrange a match-up between the schools with League of Legends, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers being the three games to decide a winner.
“They started trash talking a bit about which program is better: Bethany or Lakeland. Here they are, money is on the line, and we’ll see who wins,” said Fricke.
A total of $2,000 was at stake on Friday, with $1,500 going to the winner and $500 to the runner-up, in what could be the next great rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin programs.
“We’re doing this in kind of the same path as college football, you know, Minnesota and Wisconsin battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. We discussed today, and whoever wins will be the person to decide what that item is going to be,” said Green.
Moving forward, the two teams will likely play one or two times each year for the traveling trophy. Win or lose, it’s a great opportunity for both squads to see where they’re at heading into the esports season.
“If Bethany is the best team in Minnesota, then we want to see where we stand with them in all the games. That’s one reason we’re doing this, we’ll find out if we have work to do,” Green added.
Lonnquist and Green are teaming up to call the action in the first of many meetings between the two programs.
Bethany Lutheran College won the contest 2-1 on Friday night. A full replay of the event is available on Lonnquist’s Twitch channel.
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