Randolph-Macon’s eSports program capped off an impressive fall season with two more additions to the trophy chest, clinching the top spot in both the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).
Young League of Legends Squad Has No Trouble Winning Big
The League of Legends team finished #1 in their division for the College’s first-ever NECC championship on December 6, 2021. The team dominated the regular season, finishing 10-0, and their playoff run included wins over Murray State University and Queen’s University—Randolph-Macon’s division rival. The only team the Yellow Jackets were unable to sweep, Queen’s proved a tough match in the finals. In the end, the Yellow Jackets claimed their division title with a 3-1 victory after nearly four hours of back-and-forth play.
Team Captain Sab Chizhik ’23, the youngest captain in the eSports program, was named Most Improved at RMC’s eSports Awards Ceremony hours before the championship match. He joined a quartet of freshmen—Aidan Berkel ’24, Lauren Lamb ’24, Njiaka Nkafu ’24, and Chris Surles ’24—and the team’s analyst, Caitlyn Scherger ’22, to provide structure and experience to this young squad.
“I knew starting off the semester with an entirely new team was going to be challenging, as well as it being my first semester as a team captain, but the team put in a lot of work to improve our skills, and it paid off,” Chizhik said. “Winning the championship really validates all the time and effort we put in this year.”
Back-to-Back Championships for Hearthstone Team
The Randolph-Macon Hearthstone team became back-to-back ECAC champions only days later on December 9, 2021. After five weeks tied for first in the conference, the team was seeded #3 going in the playoffs following losses to #2 Bay State College and #5 University of Delaware. They took advantage of a rematch against Bay State in game five of the semifinals, defeating them 3-2 en route to a shutout 3-0 championship win over Wayne State College.
RMC’s veteran Hearthstone team is led by Team Captain Josh Brown ’22, with Savannah Ritter ’22 and Jonathan Scholl ’24 rounding out the squad. Brown’s key performance this season earned him the ECAC Hearthstone MVP Award, as well as the eSports MVP Award at Randolph-Macon’s eSports Award Ceremony earlier this week.
“We really found our groove as a team this season,” Brown said. “There was a lot of pressure coming back into ECAC with a win on our backs, and it felt like every team was hungry to take us down. I think it was our focus and good attitude that pulled us through those tough matches for the win.”
Director of eSports Alex Gunnerson is in his third season at Randolph-Macon. Last spring he was named ECAC Coach of the Year. This semester he continued his success by leading a record-high 12 teams across 7 different eSports to playoffs in their respective leagues.
“I could not be more proud of these student-athletes,” Gunnerson said. “The countless late nights practicing in our Arena have truly paid off. These trophies will forever represent these Yellow Jackets’ accomplishments long after they graduate from Randolph-Macon.”