Esports takes second at NCAA’s first championship
GC’s esports team placed runner-up at the Peach Belt Conference championship on March 25, the first ever conference championship for esports in any NCAA division.
GC played in a seeding tournament leading up to the conference championship where they were able to acquire the three-seed. Their first matchup in the PBC championship was Lander, who they swept 2-0 in a best of three.
“We didn’t expect Lander to be too challenging as a six-seed,” said freshman Anthony Cheang. “We handled them pretty easily.”
The Bobcats moved on to the semifinals to face Augusta University, who they had previously lost to during the seeding tournament. GC came out strong and aggressive, sweeping Augusta 2-0 and advancing to the conference finals.
“We had lost to Augusta in the seeding play, but we knew we had a chance to win,” Cheang said. “When we won, it was a big boost.”
The PBC finals increased to a best of five match play as GC prepared to face North Georgia in the championship. UNG took a quick 2-0 lead over the Bobcats before GC could squeeze out a hard fought win that elapsed over a 45-minute span.
UNG won the next game and took home the conference championship honors with a 3-1 victory over GC.
“North Georgia has great overall players and experience,” said junior Nick Delor. “They’ve had their esports team for three years.”
GC moves on to the University League of Legends tournament hosted by the game’s creator, Riot Games. If the team finishes in the top eight, they will travel to Los Angeles for the national tournament.
GC esports first year program turned out to be successful. The Bobcats competed without a coach, unlike most of their conference opponents.“One of our team members [Kyle Kibodeaux] plans to step down as a player after this season and become the coach,” Cheang said. “He wants to take on a more supporting role for the esports community at GC.”
The team also emphasized their desire for a budget moving forward. At the moment, they support and fund themselves.
I think a budget would be a big help,” Cheang said. “In our first year, we reached the championship, and I think we deserve it to help the esports team progress.”
With players stepping down and taking on other supporting roles for the team, there will be available roster spots that can be filled. The team plans to hold tryouts next semester.
“We’re going to be good if not better next season,” Delor said. “Hopefully we can recruit some good players.”