Esports Team Wins Big in MAAC Championship

Julia Fishman
Marist Esports Championship

Marist honored as Esports Program of the Year.

April 27, 2020—With all sports sidelined right now, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Esports Championship presented by the New Jersey Army National Guard was in the enviable position of being able to proceed last week after play was interrupted by the ongoing coronavirus situation in March.

Although the games functioned a bit differently than they would have in Atlantic City, Marist’s club Esports team was able to compete. Players practiced the safest social distancing possible, playing from their own homes.

“The Marist Esports team has worked hard all year and was very excited to showcase their skills in Atlantic City. After the initial disappointment, it was especially rewarding the MAAC Championship was able to be conducted in an online format” said Julie Byron, Coordinator of Club and Intramural Sports. Marist has teams competing in four titles: League of Legends, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros and Overwatch.

All in all, the team had a great year heading into the MAAC Championship, earning the MAAC Esports Program of the Year, an honor based on greatest overall performance during the spring regular season.

Marist’s League of Legends Team earned the #1 seed going in and won two out of three matches. Ryan “CrossaintBandit” Millet ‘22 was named Most Valuable Player (MVP). The Rocket League team also secured the #1 seed and won the championship on Saturday afternoon defeating Canisius; Anthony “Tones” Gandini ‘23 was MVP. The Super Smash Bros. team was the #5 seed going into the event and was defeated in the Grand Final by #3 Siena College. The Marist Overwatch team was the #1 going in and did not disappoint: they were victorious over Saint Peter’s in the championship match on Friday. Jonah Caro ‘23 was named MVP. All matches were broadcast on Twitch, a live streaming platform for gaming.

Overwatch team member Tim Schindler ‘22, a computer science major, was pleased with the team’s success. “The team's performance this year has been amazing,” Schindler noted. “The improvement from last year has been outstanding. We’ve gone through a lot of changes recently and I am so proud of how we handled them.” 

Marist’s Esports practice room in the Hancock Center.

Esports at Marist started with an informal League of Legends team, which became an official team in 2018 and went 6-0 in the first ever ECAC/MAAC League of Legends Tournament in Albany, New York, bringing home the 2018 Championship Trophy. Since that win, the Esports has grown at the College with 25 students participating. Teams typically practice several hours per week. When on campus, Esports has well-appointed practice suite in the Hancock Center, complete with 12 gaming stations.

“Many of our computer science, games and emerging media, technology, and cybersecurity students are naturally drawn to gaming,” said Roger Norton, Dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics. “The Esports club team here at Marist gives those students a way to channel that interest in a more formal way and also serves to inform their academic work; gaming skills carry over into a variety of information technology careers. I’m very excited about the emergence of Esports into the collegiate arena. It can only be a plus in helping to encourage the next generation of information technologists.”

Tarik Narma ‘21, a chemistry major and member of the League of Legends team is excited about what’s ahead. “Our goals as a team are to keep improving and mastering our games. We will also be looking to compete in more tournaments and further seasons in the MAAC to continue the legacy of Marist Esports.”

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