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LTU recruiting up to 50 varsity esports athletes

Release Date: May 6, 2021

A high school esports team competes at a pre-pandemic tournament at Lawrence Technological University.
LTU file photo

SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University’s growing esports program is in the process of recruiting as many as 50 gamers for varsity intercollegiate competition.

Esports is a form of competitive video gaming with players battling each other, usually in teams, in tournaments that are streamed to fans, or—pre-pandemic—held in sports arenas. Multiplayer battle games are most commonly used, such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Valorant and Counter-Strike, although sports games are sometimes used as well.

Coaching the gamers is Danielle Sirekis, an Oakland University graduate who previously was a swim coach—and who is also a lifelong, passionate gamer.

“I had a friend here (at LTU) who mentioned they were adding esports,” Sirekis said. “I’m a gamer, I love coaching, and I’m huge into health and fitness. So I applied, and here we are.”

Sirekis said she’s already recruited 13 students to the LTU esports varsity team. Athletic scholarships are available. For more information, visit https://www.ltuathletics.com/sports/esports/index.

“We’re looking for people of various skill levels,” Sirekis said. “I want people with some experience, but you don’t have to be the world’s greatest gamer.”

Sirekis will coach the gamers using software designed to analyze and improve their performance.

LTU has built an esports arena, a former meeting room that now boasts custom-built gaming computers with high-end monitors, a coach’s station, and a 4K big-screen TV for players to go over game film after a competition. The equipment also includes special video gaming chairs and headsets.

The arena was co-developed by LTU and Yellow Flag Productions, a Southfield-based media company that produces TV shows on high school sports, robotics, and esports.

Sirekis said the LTU esports program would emphasize fitness as well as gaming expertise.

“We get a bad rap,” she said of gamers. “It’s not sitting in Mom’s basement pounding Mountain Dew. I want a happy balance of health and fitness and esports, because it’s important to still have physical activity in your life for clarity of mind and better thought processes.”

And, she added: “I would also love to bring more women into the esports program. We are the minority.”

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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