Saturday Sports: SUNY Chancellor E-Sports Challenge unites students statewide

Saturday Sports: SUNY Chancellor E-Sports Challenge unites students statewide

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The SUNY Chancellor E-Sports Challenge has been taking place over the past couple of weeks, with SUNY Canton working with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson to make the competition a reality.

The tournament is co-sponsored by extreme networks and offers $20,000 in prizes for COVID-19 relief efforts.

“Every campus gets to participate but we’ve been the ones that kinda stepped up. We’ve provided shout-casting, we have a more formalized setup, program, formalized program, than many other SUNY campuses do, so we wanted to make sure that every student got to have a good experience. Any college can sign up to have shout-casters cast their games. You know, we wanna provide for the students in this time,” said Charlie Murray, SUNY Canton’s E-Sports Coordinator.

Almost 40 schools are participating with 2 teams from each school taking part in each section of the tournament.

Competition will take part in 3 games: Fortnite, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Rocket League, with a top prize for winners in each game of $2,000 , and a $5,000 grand prize going to the college with the best overall score.

“It’s been terrific to get this SUNY Chancellors Challenge going, up and running across all of SUNY. It’s been a challenge, really, to do that, because there’s so many schools. There’s 65 SUNY schools, but we’ve been able to recruit most of them. There’s 139 teams playing 3 different games. It’s been fantastic, so we started up this week and look to continue for the next 3 weeks and find some champions,” said Randy Sieminski, SUNY Canton’s athletic director.

With COVID-19 shutting down college campuses in March, it’s been over a month since students have had a chance to compete in a setting like this, albeit from the comforts of their own home instead of on campus, which makes this tournament a little more special for those taking part.

“I think this tournament is a lot more personal for a lot of our students. I think, that the opportunity when this time hit, this unfortunate time, to be able to come together while they’re all at home and being able to play with their team mates and their friends and other students from other colleges I think is a more personal experience,” said Alec Knowles, an E-Sports player at SUNY Canton.

“This is something that people get to look forward to when there’s not a lot of other good news going on. This is something that they get to wake up, be excited about participating in, and I’ve had colleges reach out saying this has been the determining factor. This event has been the determining factor that pushed their administration to help you know forward the idea of e-sports programs on their campus. So even during this time, we’re still getting people that are seeing the value in e-sports and I’m very excited about that, very happy about that,” said Murray.

Players will also have a chance to win other prizes from extreme networks and Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel.

On Wednesday, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season cancelled their 2020 season due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, meaning there will be no summer baseball at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds.

The season was set to start on May 29th for the Watertown Rapids, who were set to host the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs.

While the 2020 season is a wash, Rapids General Manager Nick Czerow says the front office is now focusing its attention on the 2021 season, reaching out to both season ticket holders and sponsors.

“So what we’ll do right now is anyone that was on board, we’re just looking to see if they’d keep their commitment into the 2021 season. And then, in terms of bringing on new revenue, sponsors, season ticket holders as well, we’re looking to go live a little bit later after the summer ends. But right now, we’re in a spin where we’re putting together cool packages, some different fan experience packages, maybe having people watch warm-ups from the dugout before the game gets going, or rounding the bases, or playing catch on the field. So, we’re gonna take this time to revamp what we’re doing and introduce some new, cool things for the fans to do and then we’ll go live with it a little bit later on this year,” said Czerow.

A few weeks ago, Carthage Comets senior running back Fombo Azah announced he would be continuing his career on the gridiron with the Albany Great Danes, a Division 1 FCS school.

Azah was a First Team All State selection in his senior year, leading the Comets in almost every offensive category.

He rushed for 2,552 yards and scored 36 touchdowns, leading the Comets to a Section 3 Class A title and the State Class A Championship game.

Comets Coach Jason Coffman says Azah was a leader both on and off the field.

“You know, everybody knows exactly what he meant to us. You know, he was a leader, you know, kids gravitate to him. When he worked hard, everybody else worked harder, you know he led us not only in stats but he was somebody that he didn’t have to be a rah-rah. He didn’t have to, you know, constantly barking at people. He’d just, you know, he could go over and pat someone on the back and it motivated them to do better. When he did well, we did well. He knew that he knew how to get other kids to buy in and he knew how to get other kids on board with that. You know, he was a big, huge part of our team,” said Coffman.

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