GCS Owls: Setting the standard in UK Esports

Updated 05/12/2023

Celebrating an extraordinary achievement in the realm of competitive gaming, Gower College Swansea's renowned Esports team - the GCS Owls - has solidified their 2023 legacy by finishing the year at the summit of the British Esports Student Championships' Winter Split.

With an unparalleled 100% win record, the Owls have triumphed in Rocket League, Overwatch and Valorant, showcasing their dominance across these esteemed leagues.

The British Esports Student Championships, a pinnacle in the realm of competitive gaming for school and college students, has over 700 teams and 3,000 players from across the UK, who battle it out in various Esports titles. Yet, amidst the fierce competition, it was the GCS Owls who stood tall, claiming victory and securing their place at the apex of the 2023 Esports landscape.

Notably, on the same day as the final Winter Split games, the GCS Owls Formula One drivers showcased their prowess by clinching victory in the inaugural Williams Esports Student Racing League race, held on the iconic Abu Dhabi circuit.

Williams Esports is the electronic branch of the Williams Formula One team and the Student Racing League is a series designed to engage educational centres to further grow education in STEM subjects and Esports. The GCS Owls have a comprehensive competitive sim racing setup, which has been carefully crafted with their industry partners, GT Omega, Iiyama and Moza. The rigs were recently used by the students to race 1,000 miles in a sponsored event which raised over £400 for the Children in Need.

Kiran Jones, the GCS Owls' Social Media Manager, highlighted the dedication and commitment exhibited by the players.

"Our team's success is a testament to their unwavering dedication and the support we've received from College management and our esteemed partners and sponsors: GT Omega, Iiyama, Stone Computers, and The Game Collection. Through the invaluable support of our industry partners, many of our students who might have faced barriers due to economic challenges, have been given an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Their contributions have opened doors for these talented individuals, ensuring that our Esports community is enriched by diverse and deserving participants."

Neil Griffiths, the Director of Esports at Gower College Swansea, underscored the invaluable educational benefits and employability skills that these competitions offer.

"Esports transcends mere gaming; it's a realm that nurtures skills indispensable in today's evolving landscape. The strategic thinking, teamwork, and adaptability honed in these competitive arenas are not just game tactics; they're life skills. Our partnerships with our sponsors and industry collaborators have been pivotal in providing a platform where our students, regardless of background or circumstance, can harness these skills. It's an empowering journey where economic barriers are dismantled and opportunities are created, allowing these individuals to excel and thrive in an environment that might have otherwise been out of reach. Our GCS leadership team and partners' steadfast support has truly been the catalyst for transforming aspirations into achievements."

Speaking on the Valorant team's achievement, team captain Ashton O'Brien expressed how the competition has fuelled his ambition to excel at the highest levels. Ashton, who is currently studying his second year on the Level 3 BTEC Esports course and is in the process of applying to university, credited the stimulating environment at Gower College Swansea, which includes guest speakers and opportunities like volunteering at Dreamhack, Europe's largest gaming festival.

Daniel Davies, the Valorant team manager and GCS Community Manager, commended the students for maintaining a work/competition balance, even while juggling part-time jobs.

"Their dedication is remarkable and we're excited to see what 2024 holds for us. The momentum is on our side and we're determined to stay at the pinnacle," Dan remarked.

The Winter Split games, many of which were streamed, captivated audiences worldwide, attracting over 250,000 live views on Twitch. This exposure not only showcased the Owls' exceptional gameplay but also solidified their position as Esports trailblazers on an international stage.

As the GCS Owls continue to make headlines and redefine the landscape of competitive gaming, Gower College Swansea stands proud, nurturing a legacy of excellence and innovation in Esports.

The future for the GCS Owls is bright, and their journey to the top is a testament to the dedication, skill, and resilience ingrained within the Gower College Swansea community.