Nelson leads Morningside to nationals of esports event

Monday, July 11, 2022
(Photo Contributed) Seth Nelson, second from right, and his teammates in Rocket League made the NECC Nationals and reached the semifinals. Nelson, who is from Remsen, was the captain of the Morningside University team.

SIOUX CITY — Prospective students visiting Morningside University see many future opportunities open right before them.

Seth Nelson can attest to that. The sophomore from Remsen toured campus in 2020 during his senior year of high school. An admissions ambassador mentioned the esports program. It was a match made in heaven.

“We talked more and visited the nexus,” he reflected. “I liked Coach (Jared) Amundson and what the program offered, so it was an easy decision to get involved.”

It didn’t take long for him to find another great match in the chosen discipline he wanted to play.

“I’ve been playing Rocket League ever since it came out,” Nelson said. “I’ve always loved it.”

“My favorite part of it is the competitive aspect,” he added. “I like to win and do my best towards that goal.”

As Amundson saw Nelson in action, he developed him into a captaincy role for the Rocket League junior varsity group this fall.

“It’s been interesting, to say the least,” Nelson said. “You have to be focused and ready – you don’t just show up and play games. There is time to be put in to be a part of a team.”

“The captaincy honor was and is awesome,” he added. “Coach expects a lot from us – running practices and team meetings. He looks to our group to ensure we are getting the most out of what we are doing.”

Amundson didn’t need to worry about the Rocket League JV squad. They reeled off four successive sweeps to start the spring before winding up 5-2 in the regular season.

The needle continued to point up from there. The team won their divisional playoffs, reversing a previous loss to Great Plains Athletic Conference rival Hastings in the final with a 3-2 thriller. The road didn’t end there, as they moved on to the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) Nationals, in which they moved out of group play and reached the semifinals in bracket action.

“It was a one-of-a-kind experience,” Nelson admitted. “Being at nationals wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to go as far as we could.”

“You can compare this to any other sport on campus competing for a national championship,” he added. “It might not be on the level of a football, basketball, or so on national tournament, but it’s just as important. We’re still working hard to do the best we can.”

For Nelson, the chance opportunity doesn’t just end with what happened this spring.

“We have a lot of underclassmen playing,” he noted. “We had a great learning experience this year. There is no reason we can’t build and be even better in the future.”

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