UAlbany eSports Donates $5,000 to Students in Need through SUNY Tournament

UAlbany eSports teammates Jin Long Shi (left) and Aldair Hernandez.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 26, 2020) – UAlbany competitive video-gamers are bringing home $5,000 to the University’s Student Emergency Fund after a dominant showing in the first SUNY system-wide eSports tournament.

SUNY launched the tournament in late April, in partnership with Extreme Networks, the official Wi-Fi solutions provider for the NFL, to raise money for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. The three-week tournament offered a total of $20,000 in prize money, all donated to student emergency funds at the winning schools.

Participating SUNY school were invited to put forward teams of students to compete in "Fortnite" by Epic Games, "Super Smash Bros Ultimate" by Nintendo, and/or "Rocket League" by Psyonix. A total of 46 schools, 139 teams and nearly 500 students were featured.

UAlbany’s Fortnite team (Jin Long Shi, Zachary Ymbras, Aldair Hernandez and Brandon Nichols) won their tournament championship; the Rocket League team (Sam Barron, Shawn Edouard, Jaylen Robinson and Matthew Stuts) took third place. Students competed in three games per week, while also balancing their classes and final exams.

“We were honored to be a part of this event, as it truly represents #SUNYTogether. I couldn’t be more proud of our students for their professionalism, dedication, and their overall contributions to our team,” said Michael Leczinsky, professor of practice in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) and head coach/director of UAlbany eSports. “Our program had an amazing first year as a team and we look forward to a bright future ahead.”

UAlbany’s eSports team has hit the ground running since last November’s launch of a competitive video gaming arena at Draper Hall. After recruiting 75 students in two weeks last fall, Leczinsky expanded the team to 100 co-ed competitors (from 340 applicants) this spring, representing all class years, majors and diverse backgrounds.

Following the SUNY tournament, the Great Danes shifted focus to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC)’s spring 2020 championships. UAlbany’s No. 1 seed League of Legends team (Adam Bondoc, Kyle Hirsch, Kemp Dullin, Tyler Yox and David Zivotov) knocked off the ECPI University Rams on Saturday, winning the program's second league title.

Listen to Leczinsky on ESPN Radio to hear more about his team's early success

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.