Article by Editor-in-Chief, Zach Avery
Photos courtesy of Zach Avery
The Aquinas League of Legends team secured a swift victory against Ohio State University’s secondary team on Saturday, November 13. This finals series for the position of Midwest Conference representative in the upcoming NACE JV Nationals tournament ended with AQ taking the match 2-0, with a significant kills lead in both games.
All seems to be going well; AQ League of Legends is performing better than ever, and they will be competing against the premier esports programs at the national stage. However, one thing seems to be missing:
“The League team hasn’t had a coach,” said PJR, a third-year student and Esports competitor. “The team has come together to advocate for ourselves and perform the duties of a coach.”
This means the team has had to sign up for their own matches, schedule their own practices, and work with the athletics administration to find a way to participate in conference matches and tournaments. The result has been a successful collaboration and coming-together of esports athletes to compete at their highest level.
One such athlete is Stevenator, a second-year student who scored an impressive eight kills as “Jayce” in Game 1 against OSU.
“Our matches versus OSU never really felt like we were losing,” said Stevenator. “And it really felt like we were able to control the pace of the games and play how we wanted to.”
A supporter of this rocketing team is Aquinas’ new Head Coach for Esports, Riley Long. Coach Long recently filled the position after former Head Coach Adam Antor took on his new position at Southern Florida University with their blossoming program. Long previously held the title of Assistant Director of Esports at Michigan Tech University, where he oversaw recruitment, marketing, and media.
His inclusion into Aquinas’ three-year-old program is a good sign that the athletic department has not forgotten about AQ Esports. However, with no public news on a new hire for coaching League of Legends, it seems that the Saints may have to enter this national tournament on their own.
“Obviously, we’re still looking forward to when we can finally get a coach,” said Stevenator. “That being said, working without one has definitely forced us to learn how to be critical of each other without it being personal, since we’ve had to self-diagnose our issues so to speak. We’ve worked past the hardships of having to criticize each other, and that has definitely strengthened our bonds as a team.”
Aquinas Esports’ first match in the NACE League of Legends JV National Tournament is on November 30 at 8 P.M., and you can catch it at twitch.tv/AquinasEsports.