In the NECC championship, RSU’s Rocket League Blue beat Texas Christian University (TCU) 4-1 in a best-of-seven match-up to claim the Emergents Southwest conference championship – the second NECC conference title in the program’s history and the first for an RSU Rocket League team.
“I’m very proud of our players – they did an incredible job,” said Holden Craig, RSU Esports coach. “For NECC, there are four tiers of competition: Champions, Challengers, Emergents and Navigators. This is our first-ever Emergents level conference title. It feels good to be moving up, in that regard. It’s very gratifying that we’re having national success in the program.”
Prior to serving as Esports coach at Rogers State University, Craig helped establish and oversee the Esports program at Texas Christian University, making this victory an “especially satisfying” one, he said.
“All the TCU players were class acts. They let us reschedule the finals the day before so we could use all our starting players – one of our starters had a conflict, but they (TCU) wanted to play us at ‘full strength’,” he said. “It was rewarding to see two such talented teams competing with one another, and for our team to come out as the winners.”
Rocket League Blue starters included Jon Biersdorfer of Bixby, Malachi Conn of Bristow and Santiago Serrano of Bogota, FN International along with substitute players Shane Gibson of Lawton, Parker Ward of Claremore and Corbin Harris of Collinsville.
The team entered the NECC playoffs as the #6 seed, upsetting #5 Sacramento State, #1 UC Davis and #2 TCU along the way.
In addition to Rocket League Blue’s victory, three other RSU teams made it to the semifinal round of the NECC playoffs, including Valorant, Overwatch Blue and Rocket League Red.
In total, five RSU Esports teams have qualified for the NECC’s postseason national tournament: Valorant, Overwatch Red, Overwatch Blue, Rocket League Red and Rocket League Blue. Group stage matches will take place through May 20, with group winners qualifying for the bracket stage and a chance to take home an NECC national championship.
In the Oklahoma Association of Collegiate Esports (OACE), RSU Overwatch mounted a comeback against the University of Tulsa to win the OACE title 4-2, capping off an undefeated Spring OACE season. The OACE Overwatch roster for RSU included Alec Aubrey, Tyler Johnson, Milik Laws-Gardner, Tyler Melton and Haden Wadley.
RSU competed in all 3 of the OACE championship games this season, with RSU Valorant and Rocket League finishing the OACE Spring season as runners-up. Eleven out of 13 eligible players from RSU were named to their respective OACE All-Star teams as well.
RSU Esports seniors graduating this semester include Alec Aubrey (Overwatch), Hannah Clardy (League of Legends), Jason Foley (Media) and Victor Holleyman (Valorant).
Rogers State University was the first college in Oklahoma to offer Esports competitive video gaming as an official university activity. During Esports competitions, gamers work individually and in teams. The program is open for all enrolled RSU students to participate.
For more information about RSU’s Esports program, visit www.rsu.edu/esports.