Howard Community College Esports Team Wins NECC League of Legends Championship
COLUMBIA, MD – In a stunning upset, the Howard Community College League of Legends Maroon Team beat the No. 1 seed Newberry College Wolves to claim the first-ever New England Collegiate Conference Challengers (NECC) conference championship in a 3-0 sweep.
The Dragons esports team launched in the fall of 2020 and is the only sports program at Howard Community College that has played a full schedule during the coronavirus pandemic. The Dragons esports program currently consists of 30 student-athletes over three gaming titles who have been practicing and competing from their own homes. Through the NECC, the team competes with more than 30 colleges and universities from NCAA Division I, II, and III athletic conferences, as well as National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) athletic conferences. The Dragons are the first team to win the NECC League of Legends championship in the Challengers Division.
"The support of the administration at Howard Community College, the vision of our Director of Athletics Erin Foley, and most of all, the dedication that the student-athletes of our esports program deserve all the praise,” said Mark Winkel, coordinator of esports. “Four out of our five esports teams made the NECC conference semifinals with one of them coming away with a championship in our inaugural year. It is an amazing achievement, and I am so happy we could provide this opportunity for our talented players."
Newberry College came into the championship match with an undefeated 7-0 regular season record, including a 2-0 win over the Howard Community College Maroon Team on October 1, 2020. The Dragons quintet of Duy Phuong Nguyen (team captain), Alex Petrusan, Abiola Monk, Minh Dang, and Daniel Finke dominated all three games in the match to shock the Newberry College team that had not lost a single round the entire season.
With Howard Community College’s winter and spring registration enrollment period now open, Director of Athletics Erin Foley hopes that prospective students will consider becoming a student-athlete on the esports team. “In this inaugural year, we could not be more proud of the accomplishments of our esports team and Coach Mark Winkel. Our program is open to all players, and I encourage any interested students to sign up and join the team.”
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