Vikings esports wraps spring season with two championships
The Augustana College Vikings esports team wrapped its spring season by claiming two National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) championships. The team also claimed runner-up finishes in the NECC and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
The conference wins capped a perfect 12-0 spring season for the Vikings’ Rocket League and Valorant Gold teams. For the 2022-23 school year, the Vikings inaugural season, the team claimed four NECC conference championships, two NECC conference runner-ups and two ECAC runner-ups.
In all, five groups from the Vikings and two individuals have qualified for the NECC national championship tournaments, which take place May 8-20. The top eight groups will advance to the bracket stage of the competition on June 11-17.
Leslie Pacheco, a first-year student from Cicero, Ill., said it was gratifying to see the results of the team’s work and dedication.
"We have been working incredibly hard for this moment and seeing our goal of winning a conference championship come to fruition means everything to us," she said.
The Vikings esports team, directed by Joe Loomis, includes students from more than 10 countries. Guyen Bilguun, a first-year computer science major, is proud of the team’s wins.
"It feels incredible to win a championship, to show my success to my friends and family back home in Mongolia," he said.
- Rocket League claimed the NECC Navigators Great Lakes conference with a 4-1 victory over the Lions of Finlandia University. The team will enter the national tournament as a Top 16 seeded team out of 76 programs.
- Valorant Gold claimed the NECC Emergents West Great Lakes conference championship, with a 3-0 victory over the Hawks of Dunwoody College. This win qualified Valorant Gold for the national tournament as the No. 2 seed of the 24-team tournament. The team boasts a 20-2 overall record for the year.
- Valorant Blue, which claimed the NECC Emergents South Central conference championship in the fall, moved on to the NECC Challengers Division to finish seventh in the spring conference. They finished with a 4-4 record and were ultimately knocked out of the conference playoffs in the quarterfinal round. The team will enter the national tournament as the No. 26 seed of the 32-team tournament.
- League of Legends Gold finished second in the spring conference standings, with a 5-3 record. The team also qualified for the Emergents national competition as the No. 13 seed of the 16-team tournament.
- League of Legends Blue wrapped up the year with back-to-back NECC conference runner-up finishes and qualified for the NECC challengers division national tournament as the No. 4 seed of the 16-team tournament. This automatically qualifies the team to the June bracket stage, where the top eight teams in the division will vie for the national title.
- Sophomore John "Mr. Clean" Bolton, a business administration-management major from Ingleside, Ill., wrapped up the NBA2k spring season as the ECAC national runner-up with a 11-1 record. Bolton claimed consecutive ECAC national runner-up finishes as well as earning the ECAC fall 2022 player of the season, ECAC fall 2022 rookie of the season, and ECAC player of the month for both February and March.
- Bill Unyi, a junior computer science major from Plainfield, Ill., and Ryan Kammerzell, a sophomore psychology major from Wheaton, Ill., have qualified for the NECC Singles Super Smash Bro Ultimate national championship tournament as top 64 players out of the 451-player pool.
Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645; firstname.lastname@example.org