As esports, competitive multiplayer online gaming, remain popular, club and variety programmes, including the University of St. Mary, are embracing at local high schools and colleges. The opening season begins this autumn, becoming the 12th varsity esports school.
Kaitlin Teniente was born in San Antonio in March and became the first woman to direct a varsity sports athletic programme in Texas to become the team’s head esports coach.
“It’s important because, you know, there are eyes on me,” Teniente said. “There are eyes on this program and so I think it’s really important to set a good example, not just for anyone interested in collegiate esports but to set an example that women can be in Esports, women can be coaches, players and any of the roles that support competitive video games.”
Prior to taking on St. Mary ‘s role, Teniente played different roles in sports — coordinating events or acting on gaming panels to promote women. She and her classmate began their journey at UTSA, where they conducted events for sports which have taken her to Super League Gaming, StarLeague and, most recently, Seattles-based Wizards of the Coast intern.
Teniente was motivated and encouraged by a female colleague working for the University StarLeague to help empower other women.
“The majority of players were guys, the majority of club officers were also guys and so knowing that there was someone else super passionate about competition and playing these games and just building positive communities, gave me a lot of confidence to keep doing that,” she said. “…I guess the hope is that I can be that for someone else and hopefully they feel inspired or comfortable to continue pursuing roles in esports.”
The three will direct a team of twenty student-athletes starting this fall. They will be joined by assistant coach Mackenzie Moncada and mentor Carolina Fabela. The team has yet to determine which Rattlers will play in the matches but there are possibilities for Warcraft, Legends, Fortnite and Rocket League.
Teniente said that she was eager to build from the ground up the Rattlers programme.
“I hope this programme becomes a model for other schools, that others think we ‘re really, really doing something and would like to emulate it,” she said., “she said. “I hope those teams are really something that the students, athletes, universities and all those who support the team can be proud of.”