This article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.
CheckpointXP on Campus is proud to present its first-ever award show in light of the many leaps and bounds collegiate esports has taken in the past decade. This award show not only honors the winners and nominees selected but to every individual who helps make collegiate esports improve in every way possible. This article is meant to highlight the various nominees and winners presented in our show. We will also be including their social media links just in case people are interested in learning more about their stories.
Our first category is Team of the Year. These collegiate teams help to bring some of the most impactful and exciting esports matches. Through the use of careful strategy and teamwork, these are the teams that, we feel, show the very best of collegiate esports. Our first nominee is the Ottawa Braves from the University of Ottawa (@esports_ottawa) with 3 national championships under their belt. Next is the Akron Zips from the University of Akron (@ZipsEsports) and their outstanding Rocket League performance. From the University of Maryville comes Maryville Esports (@MaryvilleGG) with 3 national championships and 17 tournament championships. Hailing from the University of Winthrop, it’s the Winthrop Eagles esports team (@WinthropEsports). Finally, Northwood University’s own Northwood Timberwolves Esports (@NorthwoodEsport). Based on the votes by the community, the winner for team of the year came out to be: The Akron Zips!
Our next category is for Player of the Year. A good team is nothing without the players who help make it up. The nominees are people we recognize for bringing a combination of supportiveness, team spirit, and dynamic plays to their matches. Our first nominee is William “Doxa” Lee (@lol_doxa), mid-laner for TSM FTX Amateur and 2021 College League of Legends Champion representing Winthrop. Our next nominee is Evan “EvanRL” Lawson (@EvanrlLOL), a specialist for Maryville’s League of Legends team. Next is Tristan “.tristn” Roberts (@tristanpdf), a pivotal player for the Akron Zips’ Rocket League. Zach aka “Mr. Traumatizing” from the University of Concord (@TraumaZR) helps make CUE Maroon’s Call of Duty team a staple to watch. Jacob “JWall” Wallack (@TheJwall567) from Northeastern University in Rhode Island made a name for himself in Madden 21 and was even featured on EA’s championship page. Finally, Cameron “Cameron” James Williams Watson is a major player for Maryville’s Overwatch team as a Tank player. According to the community votes, the player of the year is: William “Doxa” Lee!
Moving on to Coach of the Year. Many teams would not be able to make it where they are without the aid of a great teacher. This is the role of coaches and these are the coaches we have chosen to represent as some of the best in collegiate esports. First up is Coach Cody Elsen (@evolve) Esports Director for Northwood University’s Timberwolves. Next up is Coach Josh Sides (@WinUBo), the head coach of Winthrop’s League of Legends team. Followed by Head Coach Hunter Wood for @ZipsEsports representing the Akron Zips. Finally, we have Coach Connor O’Rourke aka Hypnott serving as the coach for the Maryville Overwatch team. With the votes counted, our coach of the year is: Josh Sides!
Our next category is Upset of the Year. There will be moments in esports where we just feel the sting of disappointment. Rather than looking down at these moments, it is best to reflect upon them in order to build ourselves past them to become better in our drive. These are, what we feel, are the biggest upsets of the year: Louisiana State University’s (@EsportsLSU) defeating Northwood in college Rocket League, Valdosta State University’s (Instagram: vcu_im_sports) defeating Michigan State in the CSL CS:GO League, St. Clair College (@SaintsGamingCa) beating CSULB Black (@csulbesports) in CCL, and Texas Tech (@ttuesports) beating Northwood in the Level Next Rocket League Division. While these left many of us feeling down, the upset garnering the most votes is: LSU vs Northwood in Rocket League!
The next category is for Production of the Year. These are groups that help in the act of broadcasting esports to viewers. Through the use of editing, sound bytes, and other technological miracles, they help make the games we watch that more entertaining. Our first production is the College Carball Association (@CollegeCarball). They work to bring the wonders of the collegiate Rocket League to life. They are also a proud partner of Twitch and Discord. Our next nominee is the Overwatch Contenders (@owpathtopro). They work to bring the Overwatch Open Division tournaments and the Flash Ops league to us. Next up is the Level Next Rocket League (@LevelNextGG). Level Next’s mission is to bring collegiate esports to a whole new level which is well reflected in their name. Our final nominee is the College Call of Duty (CoD) League (@CollegeCoD). Call of Duty has made massive strides in the realm of esports over the past few years thanks to dedicated organizations such as College CoD. While difficult to choose due to the complexity of each production, the community votes place production of the year to: The Collegiate Carball Association!
Next up is Talent of the Year. These are people who found great success in the esports industry via their own strength. Let them serve as inspiration for anyone trying to make a name for themselves following a similar path. The first nominee is Eren “kenobicasts” Erkey (@KenobiCasts) who is currently working as an analyst and caster who helps to liven the wonders of American Overwatch via his commentary. Our next talent is Richard “richradlive” Pontillo (@RichRadLive) also looks to bring the wonders of Overwatch via his play-by-play commentary but also serves as a Twitch streamer and a voice actor. Next up is Alan “iholdshift” Donofrio (@IHOLDSHIFT) for his commentary and content creation in the realm of College Call of Duty. Now we have Dean “rebelfoxcasts” Marek (@Rebel_Fox_Casts) for his work as a caster in the League of Legends scene. Followed by Tyler “T3Bates” Bates (@T3Bates) who is making great leaps as a collegiate Rocket League player. Let us also wish him the best of luck in Georgetown Law. Last, but certainly not least, is Jeff “thedangertaco” Skalamera (@TheDangerTaco) serving as both a coach and a commentator in college Rocket League. There are plenty of people making a name for themselves in the esports industry. These are just a few of the ones we chose to highlight. However, the community votes gave the notoriety of talent of the year to: Alan “iholdshift” Donofrio.
The next category is for Match of the Year. Hundreds of matches are held each year in esports, not just at the collegiate level. The matches nominated are the ones, we feel, showcase the best of esports for action, acts of teamwork, and excitement from the audience. The matches we have chosen to highlight are: Maryville v. Northwood in the Overwatch Finals, Winthrop v. Maryville in College League of Legends Grand Finals, Ottawa Gold v. Ottawa Black in CCL College CoD, and Iowa State (@GamingISU) v. Everyone in Hearthstone. While these matches came close, the winner based on community votes is: Maryville vs. Northwood in the Overwatch Collegiate Championship Finals!
Finally, we present the category for Breakout Team of the Year. These teams or programs we recognize as doing exceptionally well in esports over the past year and wish for them to continue their stunning performances in order to inspire the next generation of esports. Our breakout teams include Northwood Esports, Texas Tech Esports, Ohio State Esports (@OhioStEsports), and CSU Long Beach Esports. With the votes tallied, the breakout team of the year is: Northwood Esports!
As we draw to a close, we here at CheckpointXP would like to thank not just the people who voted, read this article, or watched the awards show live but also the various nominees and people who help make collegiate esports what it is today. The esports industry is vast and collegiate helps to open the gates to this amazing field. We wish luck to all current and future people who are or will be making great impacts for collegiate esports going forward.