5/17/2024 2:10:00 AM

DANBURY, CT – The ECAC announces its Major Awards for the Spring 2024 season.

Most Improved Player of the Season in Honor of Berend High – Davion Thompson, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Davion came into the Spring Season unsure of what his role would be on the John Jay Overwatch team. Starting the season, Davion played his DPS role very safe and was not as vocal as the team needed him to be. After listening to feedback from coaches and teammates, Davion became one of the most vocal members of the Overwatch team and began to play more in sync with teammates. He solidified his starting position as a DPS player, a spot that was not guaranteed at the beginning of the season. Davion ended up starting every game and was a consistent stats leader on the DPS end. He also continued to seek out feedback and coaching and always took the imitative to grow as a player.

Davion’s teammates have had very positive things to say about his progression this semester. One teammate stated “His flanks, off angles, and raw mechanical skill were something that became inspirational. Zyleq’s Soldier 76 gameplay has been the reason some fights were won and will continue to be the reason some fights are won.” Another teammate reiterated those thoughts saying, “What makes him stand out is his dedication, drive, and willingness to learn and adapt.”

Davion’s contributions were an integral part of the undefeated regular season as well as our playoff push, and John Jay Esports looks forward to seeing his growth continue as the program looks to contend for a championship in the Fall.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Rookie of the Season – Dylan Batterson, Post University

Dylan was the most committed substitute player on the Eagle’s Smash team. Even though he didn’t get much play time he never missed a practice, VOD review, or match and was always the first to cheer on the rest of the team. When he did play he made it count, setting a new personal record for stocks in a single season.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Player of the Season – Ashley “Hylian” Pike, University of Southern Maine

Ashley has been not only a leader for the USM Smash program but also has been a go-to for a dominant player on an additional Smash roster. Playing the game for 3 semesters, Ashley has constantly shown up and shown out for USM Esports. This is seen when not only competing in her matches but also when the team travels to tournaments. Ashley has been the key factor for the Smash team to be the powerhouse needed to progress in tournaments. They have shown the dedication needed to be a great esports player by showing up to every practice and session needed and leading practices.

Rainbow Six Siege Rookie of the Season – Gavin “CEO of Sink” Garcia, St. Mary’s University

Previously named ECAC Rainbow Six Siege Rookie of the Month (February), Garcia helped the 12th seed St. Mary’s Esports reach the 3rd place match in the ECAC spring postseason.

Rainbow Six Siege Player of the Season – Steven “Zeros_HH” Ajazi, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

A top performer for John Jay during the Spring, Steven played a big part in leading John Jay’s Rainbow Six Siege team during its first-ever semester of ECAC competition. Steven led the Bloodhounds statistically in most games during the season. He is one of the most vocal leaders on the team and is always looking for ways to improve not only himself but his teammates as well. Outside of esports competition, Steven is a Varsity Volleyball player for John Jay, and dedicates his time during the year to both esports and volleyball and is a high performer in both!

EA Sports FC 24 Player of the Season – Sarah “Burgerpringles” Laudati, University of Southern Maine

Sarah has been the Huskies only FC24 player which put a lot on her to perform. Despite this, she has remained motivated and ready for any challenge presented to her. This is seen by her not only playing FC24 but also playing Fortnite showing her dedication to Esports. When she’s not playing she’s streaming on her channel still with either Fortnite or FC24 practicing in different challenges or modes within those games. Sarah has shown that esports at USM is one of the things that not only improve yourself come match time but also outside of the game making a career in esports

Counter-Strike 2 Rookie of the Season – Kevin “Kgod” Kane, University of Southern Maine

Kevin is a graduate student here at USM and he has not only balanced that and esports but competes in multiple leagues for CS2 as well. For ECAC we can see that he has been a great asset to the team getting the necessary kills and frags that would put us at an advantage and having amazing map knowledge.

Counter-Strike 2 Player of the Season – Cody “Clrx” Plumley, University of Southern Maine

Cody has been an incredible asset to the USM CS2 team being a person the Huskies can always rely on, to top frag each game. This can be seen especially during USM’s playoff run this semester showcasing an ability to perform at the highest level while still getting the high kill count. Cody has been not only the top game performer but also duo-queuing with people on their own time to improve team chemistry among the team

VALORANT Rookie of the Season – Daniel “Yes” Treadway, Randolph-Macon College

Daniel joined RMC Esports this year and has done an amazing job on both the CS2 and Valorant teams. He constantly helped his team reach new competitive heights and was a member of the Spring Valorant Championship team. Outside of the arena, he also volunteers at on-campus events. Daniel truly has been an amazing addition to RMC Esports.

VALORANT Player of the Season – Connor “silverronnoc” Mahoney, Randolph-Macon College

Connor Mahoney is without a doubt the most outstanding player of the season at Randolph-Macon College. He stepped into being the captain of the Valorant team with no notice and led that team from a less-than-ideal season last semester to winning the ECAC Championship with an undefeated (11-0) season. Through immense leadership, long hours of watching VoDs, and developing strategies for his team, he truly pulled together one of the best teams RMC has ever had.

NBA 2K24 Rookie of the Season – Lance “Wrath “ Hanson, George Fox University 

NBA 2K24 Player of the Season – Cooper “Swazy” Swan, University of Southern Maine

Cooper has been an amazing addition to the Huskies NBA 2k24 roster. Joining late this season he still was able to clutch playoffs for himself which is something that he has now done 2 semesters in a row. Cooper has made USM Esports history by being the only person to be in the playoffs for a 1v1 game twice since its inception. Besides performing well in the game Cooper has also streamed all of his games for the program. Outside of ECAC competition, Cooper has helped with USM Esports social media and the program as a whole by giving feedback. Cooper remains a positive figure in USM Esports who is just excited to be playing the game and has been dominant when playing as well.

Street Fighter 6 Rookie of the Season – Emily “Empaninii” Pineda, Randolph-Macon College

This was Emily’s first season competing in any esports. As a team of one, she continuously held herself accountable, ran her own practices, did her own VOD reviews, and constantly strived to improve and be the best. She is an outstanding leader within the RMC Esports program and constantly helps with every event and volunteer opportunity the program is involved in.

Street Fighter 6 Player of the Season – Stephen “Stephen71” Vargas, Long Island University

Stephen can be found constantly practicing in LIU’s on-campus esports arena, often encouraging other competitors to join him. He has proven to be a valuable key player for LIU Esports, constantly working on perfecting his craft and bringing home several trophies for the school.

Apex Legends Player of the Season – Erich “Risky” Strohecker, Catawba College

Always around to help with events, match days, you name it. Catawba College’s return to Apex after years of no competition, led the team to a 4th place post-season finish. Never hesitate to stay up, get up, or spend more time with teammates to practice.

Overwatch 2 Rookie of the Season – Anant “Drqgon” Bhartiya, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Anant has accomplished many things in his first year as part of our John Jay Esports. As a First Year student at John Jay, Anant has balanced playing Varsity Soccer and being a starter for the Valorant team while also spending time weekly as a volunteer firefighter and Co-Captain of the Overwatch team. Anant has started every game as a DPS player, consistently being a top statistical leader in every game. Anant, as co-captain, has also taken initiative throughout the season, leading VODs and practices, handling communications between the teams and has gained the respect of everyone within the entire John Jay program. Anant is always looking for ways to improve not just as an individual player but also within his team. He is always open to seeking out feedback from his teammates as well as the coaches and takes criticism very well. Anant also looks to always include his teammates in any game planning and strategy that he may be doing as a co-captain.

Overwatch 2 Player of the Season – Billy “Distorted” Long, Catawba College

Billy is a great example of what it means to be a leader in and out of the classroom. Part of a Dynamic one-two combo on the overwatch team, Billy has been as consistent as his grades (REALLY GOOD). Billy has accomplished so much in his time with the team and the college.

Rocket League Rookie of the Season – Lorenzo “Kyono” Romero, Huntingdon College

Kyono had an amazing first semester at Huntingdon as the 3rd man on the Huntingdon RL team that went on to have an undefeated season and win ECAC Rivals. He competed as a C2 alongside a C3 and GC2, leading the team in saves, positive attitude, and competitiveness throughout the season.

Rocket League Player of the Season – Bill “KeramiK” Koch, Post University

KeramiK is ending his 4-year career at Post #1 in career Goals, Assists, and Saves. He racked up 48 goals and 68 saves during the spring season alone – leading the team in both categories.

Hearthstone Player of the Season – Warren “BluiiWhtDrgn” Bryson, Randolph-Macon College

Warren is an amazing Hearthstone player, student, and mentor. This year Warren made it to the quarterfinals and consistently has made it into playoffs every semester since he started playing.

Madden NFL 24 Rookie of the Season – Ian “MunDayne” Day, Post University

Ian joined the Madden team this season. Through his passion and Madden expertise, he secured a playoff spot as one of the top seeds and advanced to the Sweet 16, nearly matching the Post University Madden record in his first-ever season, finishing with an impressive +116 point differential and 7-3 overall record.

Madden NFL 24 Player of the Season – Daniel “Dcroft” Mycroft, Clarke University

Daniel came into the ECAC Spring ’24 regular season as the 10th seed heading into the playoffs. From that point, he swept every single game in the postseason, not dropping a single match. He fought his way to the Finals and was able to take home the ECAC championship, bringing home Clarke’s first ECAC Madden trophy, and 6th ECAC championship overall.

Fortnite Rookie of the Season – Sam “BPC ENZ” En, Brewton-Parker College

Fortnite Player of the Season – EJ “twitch ejcxrp” Corpus, Old Dominion University

Teamfight Tactics Rookie of the Season – Evelyn “Stars” Cao, Penn State Behrend

Evelyn joined the Behrend Esports program this semester with the addition of Teamfight Tactics as a full title within ECAC. The season started modestly with a number of good finishes that placed her in the upper half of the Contenders division. Evelyn found her stride with the advent of the new set in late March. Finishing the regular season strong, including her first lobby wins, she entered the playoffs as the 6th seed. Her good form carried over into the semifinals where a 3rd-2nd-3rd would see her safely into the finals. Going 3rd-3rd-1st in the opening rounds of the Finals put Evelyn on enough points to potentially win it all in round 4. She did so with style, hitting an early Irelia and powering to a lobby and title victory.

Teamfight Tactics Player of the Season – Brian “BriarPatchy” Scimeca, Russell Sage College

First season competing as in esports all together. Brian came in with a passion for the game and a desire to improve. Not only did he place the highest in school history in any game. 5th place (in the elite division). He also did all that while helping coach and teach a teammate new to the game. Consistent high places throughout the season. A great finish to the end of the season placement-wise.

Call of Duty: MWIII Rookie of the Season – Jason LaVacca, Concord University

Over winter break he fully committed his time to Esports taking it full time where he was the IGL and leader to help Concord capture a top 2 finish.

League of Legends Rookie of the Season – Aoqing (ZibiQAQ) Chen, Brooklyn College

Aoqing, known better as AQ, was a substitute for much of this season. Right before playoffs, the Brooklyn College League of Legends Gold team lost their starting mid-laner due to schedule conflicts that would persist for the remainder of the season. AQ stepped up on short notice and filled in for mid-lane despite being a bot/support main. This began one of the most fantastic rookie runs that Brooklyn College has witnessed yet. AQ averaged an astonishing 5.1 KDA across an entire month and assisted the team in securing a 3rd-place finish in the Elite Division. AQ’s greater strength during this period however was how easy he made himself to work with for his teammates. Joining a roster this deep into the season and being willing to adapt to the team’s playstyle is demonstrative of his best attribute, being a team player.

League of Legends Player of the Season – Pierre “Frenchdeltaforce” Carpentier, Farmingdale State College

Omega Strikers Rookie of the Season – Jackson Steiert, University of Mississippi

Omega Strikers Player of the Season – Malakhi “ShiroAisu” Belanger, St. Clair College

Coach of the Season – Gidd Sasser, Catawba College

Gidd Sasser, Director and coach of Catawba College Esports, has had a tremendous impact this season. Gidd returned to lead his alma mater’s teams to multiple championship titles and now has been a leader for the program for 6-years. With his strategic guidance and demand for excellence, he continued the program’s success in the Spring 2024 season, coaching Catawba’s Overwatch 2 team to a back-to-back championship win. Described by his players as the “fun uncle who is also your boss,” Gidd’s passion for the industry and dedication to his program are clear in how he is regarded by his peers. He has significantly influenced both Catawba College and the esports community, and he will continue to pave the way for future success.

Director of the Season – Wayne Ebenroth, University of Idaho

Wayne Ebenroth has made a significant impact on the University of Idaho’s Esports program in its first year. His exceptional dedication and coordination have been crucial in both the front end, managing lab usage and events, and the back end, securing funding and improving lab quality. Wayne expanded the program to over 20 teams, earning respect from staff and players alike. He created a positive, competitive environment and has been instrumental in hosting major events. Wayne’s leadership extends beyond esports victories; he mentors students academically and professionally, fostering a supportive and inclusive community. His tireless efforts and strategic vision have laid a strong foundation for the future success of the program.

Words from the University of Idaho Esports Community:

  • Wayne’s outstanding dedication and coordination, both in the front end (coordinating lab usage, staffing, and event-quality) and the back end (gaining funding for device upgrades, bettering the quality of the lab space, etc.) has been more than stellar when compared to how long the esports program has existed. We literally wouldn’t be able to do it without him, and he takes it all on top of a full course load.
  • Wayne has thoroughly pulled together this first-year program and expanded it to include over 20 teams. He is respectful and earns the respect of his staff and the teams that are under the program. He has created a space of fun and positive competition while continuously aiming for the betterment of the program. I highly recommend him for the best director of the season for these reasons and more.
  • Wayne Ebenroth should be selected because of the amount of things he has accomplished this season. Our program started from nothing a year ago and he has helped it skyrocket to where it is. Because of him, he has given players and staff an area to be themselves as well as allowed us to host our own events to the entire surrounding community.
  • Wayne’s impact at the University of Idaho goes beyond mere leadership; he’s an inspiration that ripples through every corner of our campus and esports lab. As both staff and players. We’ve been privileged to work and play under Wayne’s remarkable guidance. Wayne isn’t just about esports victories, he’s a mentor who pushes our academic pursuits. From navigating issues to securing scholarships, his unwavering support has been a real game changer. Wayne embodies kindness. His open-door policy and willingness to listen have created a safe space for everyone. No idea is too small, and no challenge is too daunting for Wayne. Wayne pushes us beyond our limits. Whether in the esports lab or the staff room, he instills a work ethic that transforms us into better players and professionals. Wayne’s reliability is unmatched. He’s never turned down a good idea, and his commitment to our success has never wavered. While Wayne’s time as director may be relatively short, the impact he’s made is immeasurable. We’re fortunate to have him here directing us.
  • An overall incredible individual and is respected for helping his institution run as a functional team.
  • He is an amazing director and boss. He has built our program from the ground up and I cannot wait to see where he takes it in the future.
  • Wayne has kickstarted UIdaho’s esports program, without him we wouldn’t have so many teams and work-study employees. He’s built a fantastic community and is a great leader. He’s a very understanding person and has already run several large events, including Beak Bonk and a high school invitational.
  • Wayne has, almost single-handedly, built up our entire Esports program and in his short time here has held several tournaments with High Schools around the state of Idaho, Spearheaded the funding and networking for our program to grow, and is giving so many of us here at the university an opportunity to get into the world of esports.
  • Wayne is an incredibly kind and caring director who is great with staff and players alike. He does everything he can to allow everyone to play or have a voice heard. He works his tail off and has done so much for the University of Idaho’s esports program.
  • I’m a staff member at UI’s Esports Lab. Wayne has built up our program to be really amazing in such a short period of time. He’s provided a place for many people to belong and created a family for me. Being a Black woman, I never thought I’d be able to find community in an Esports environment.
  • It was intimidating pursuing a job in an area where I’d never felt welcome, but the moment I met Wayne I knew that I’d be safe in our lab. He had me start out being the TO for our Smash weeklies, which was terrifying at first, but it helped me get to know people and grow more comfortable with being in the lab environment. It also helped me discover that I had a knack for running tournaments. I was eventually put on shout casting for games, where I rediscovered my love for competitive gaming.
  • Wayne consistently pushes me out of my comfort zone, while still making sure I’m well-supported. At our most recent event, we hosted a Kid’s Super Smash Bros tournament that he put me in charge of. Though I’ve only been doing this for less than a year, I felt confident in hosting and it was a great time. I was able to lead an experience that I wished I could’ve had when I was younger and searching for my own gaming community.
  • Wayne is the director of the season because he’s given me, and others, a community. By prioritizing in-person events and matches, making sure we have enough PCs and consoles to accommodate everyone, and giving staff a place to experiment and break out of our comfort zones, he’s grown the impact of Esports on our campus, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
  • The 2023-24 school year was the University of Idaho’s first official year hosting an esports program. Not only has Wayne forged a new space for competitive and casual players alike to enjoy, but has made a significant effort to host many LAN and collaborative events between other institutions that seem ambitious for a brand new program. Wayne has done his absolute best to foster an environment for both players and staff to share new experiences, spark long-lasting relationships, and most importantly share their passion for esports in an incredibly special way. If anything, his dedication to his work in his first year alone showed significant promise toward the future of this program and continues to inspire me to continue to pursue the things that inspire me.

ECAC Staff of the Season – Elle “Elle”- Assistant Manager of Public Relations

Elle came on board at the ECAC in October and has completely transformed the league’s esports presence. She is the driving force behind the league’s social media, community events, and broadcast/ production logistics. Elle also introduced Teamfight Tactics to the ECAC and oversaw the competition in its inaugural season. The first competitive season hosted 37 unique schools, and 80 teams across 2 divisions. Elle has helped the ECAC Esports social platforms gain 1,000+ followers.

On top of her ECAC work, Elle was granted co-presidency of the Saint Joseph’s University’s club in April of 2022. At the time, the club’s teams were still succeeding in competitive play, but was at risk of forceful disbanding as a result of not meeting SJU’s club requirements. Seeing previous success with Pace University Esports, Elle was motivated to keep this program alive, thus sparking the regrowth of Saint Joseph’s University Esports.  With their help, the program has almost doubled in size, gaining university support leading to the hire of Head Coach Logan Hermes as well as being able to generate scholarship opportunities for our students. SJU Esports has also competed at 4 LAN events.

Elle will be graduating this May receiving her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Clinical Concentration.

Words from the ECAC Esports Community:

  • Interacted the most with the competitors in my personal experience and overall seemed inviting and available including helping with the TFT competitions.
  • Incredibly helpful, professional, kind, and great to talk to.
  • They are the best TFT commissioner EVER! They have done an amazing job with the inaugural season of the Teamfight Tactics in the ECAC. I appreciate their hard work and candor.
  • Thank you for the TFT season <3
  • For her commitment to a good season of TFT. She made sure I was comfortable throughout the season with the incidents and was always on top of things when it came to rules and information. She connected to the community through open mic server calls and streams. Even though this season was stressful with the unpredictable schedule she did not falter at the pressure she was given. She is a genuine person and one of the main reasons why the season made it to the finish line.