Continuing to be a trailblazer at the junior college level, the Catawba Valley Community College athletic department announces the addition of two new sports to its ever-growing list.
CVCC will start competing in beach volleyball this upcoming spring, while Esports will start out as a club team this fall before transitioning into a varsity program next fall.
“We are in a very exciting time at CVCC where we are growing in all aspects of the institution,” said Catawba Valley Athletic Director Nick Schroeder. “The addition of these programs allows students to participate in nontraditional activities competitively and at a high level. Our goal with both of these programs is to not only be one of the first, but one of the best NJCAA programs in the nation.”
Beach volleyball was approved as an officially sanctioned sport under the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in April 2018, and competition started this past spring.
The Red Hawks will start their first official day of beach volleyball practice on Jan. 10, 2020, with the first official day of competition taking place on Feb. 1, 2020.
Catawba Valley is one of only 28 junior colleges, including three in North Carolina and five in Region 10, who have declared for competition in beach volleyball.
The first official national championship in beach volleyball will take place starting in 2021 — giving the Red Hawks one season establish their program before national competition.
Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson will serve as head coach of the beach program.
“We are so excited to add beach volleyball to our sports programs at Catawba Valley, and I’m honored to be a part of its inaugural season as an NJCAA sanctioned sport,” Hudson said. “It’s great to be able to offer another option for volleyball players to compete at this level, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
The Red Hawks become the first junior college in the state of North Carolina and only the sixth junior college in the United States to offer Esports. Only 13 four-year institutions in the state of North Carolina offer Esports through NACE (National Association for Collegiate Esports), which currently serves as the governing body for Esports.
Currently, 130 colleges and universities across the United States offer Esports, and more than 3,000 student-athletes participate in Esports through NACE.
The NJCAA announced on Tuesday its involvement in Esports, forming a strategic partnership with Chicago-based Legacy Esports and New York-based EsportsU, a division of Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) and creating competitions starting this fall with the structure design based on membership.
NACE currently competes in 14 different video games, including Fortnite, Overwatch, Apex Legends, League of Legends, Madden, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.
The Red Hawks plan to hold an information meeting later this month for Esports. Cody Dalton, who currently serves in a sports information role for the Red Hawks, will oversee all aspects of the program as the Director of Esports.
Dalton comes from a diverse background in gaming and has participated in an array of gaming tournaments.
“Esports are a largely popular growing avenue that give nontraditional student-athletes the chance to compete while also furthering their education,” Dalton said. “My goal is to make Catawba Valley Community College a platform for Esports athletes to not only compete at a high level while obtaining their two-year degrees, but also to eventually move on to the four-year level both educationally and professionally.”