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SUNY Potsdam Students Establish Esports Teams, Now Competing in ECAC

November 12, 2019

SUNY Potsdam Esports Teams Are Racking Up Wins in ECAC Competitions

Peter Park ’22 (right) and Atash Nassiri ’23 practice with the SUNY Potsdam Esports Team in the Lehman Hall Gaming Lounge. Park is competing on the League of Legends “A” team.

SUNY Potsdam students with a passion and talent for Esports banded together over the past year to establish their own campus club team. Now competing in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), SUNY Potsdam’s Esports Club is fielding eight teams competing in four events against 57 colleges and universities nationwide.

The 38 students in the SUNY Potsdam Esports Club come from all majors and bring a variety of extracurricular and academic interests with them, including several varsity athletes. The club’s self-chosen motto is “Commit. Persist. Learn.,” according to the group’s director and head coach, Dr. Anthony Betrus ’93 & ’94, a professor of educational technology and management.

“Our major goals are a commitment to academics and to our team, student retention and competing to have the highest grade point average out of all the Potsdam Bears club and varsity athletic teams,” Betrus said. “Gaming and Esports fosters creative problem-solving. It makes you think laterally across subject areas. You have to open your mind up. It builds real skills.”

Students practice and compete in the Residence Life Video Gaming Lounge, located in Lehman Hall. All matches are livestreamed on the team’s Twitch channel, at https://www.twitch.tv/sunypotsdamesports.

Betrus is gaining national attention for his research on and advocacy for Esports. His talk, “Esports is Real Sports,” at the first-ever TEDxSUNYPotsdam event, has more than 3,000 views, and Betrus was recently interviewed at length for the Esports Business Podcast. He also penned a “Game Connoisseur” column for Fourth Coast Entertainment.

“This really came from the students. This was their idea and we are here to make them as successful as possible,” Betrus said. “It’s an opportunity for empowerment. Our competitors learn grit and resiliency, which is so important for them as they meet with adversity. There are opportunities for everyone.”

The SUNY Potsdam Esports Club is competing in the following events with the following student rosters for the Fall 2019 season:

Fortnite

  • Brett Horn ’21, an exercise science major from Cary, N.C.
  • Abu Huraira ’21, an English major from Queens, N.Y.
  • Valentino Romero ’20, an exercise science major from Bronx, N.Y.
  • Nate Zweig of ’20, a business administration major from Binghamton, N.Y.

League of Legends “A”

  • Joshua D’Angelo ’21, a computer science and business administration major from Camden, N.Y.
  • Jemdryl De La Cruz Bueno ’23, a theatre major from New York, N.Y.
  • Chris Falcon ’20, a studio art and graphic design/new media major from Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Brian Fong ’22, a music education major from Jericho, N.Y.
  • Thomas Harper ’22, an art studio major from Barbados
  • Dong Hoon “Tyrone” Lee ’22, a business administration major from Gyungsangnam-do, South Korea
  • Peter Park ’22, an early childhood education major from Commack, N.Y.

League of Legends “B”

  • Matthew Carter ’23, a computer science major from Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Joel Daley ’21, a communication major from Bronx, N.Y.
  • Christian Guerra ’20, a criminal justice studies major from Queens, N.Y.
  • Eric Joung ’20, a mathematics major from New Rochelle, N.Y.
  • Will Nanna ’23, a biology major from Mount Vernon, N.Y.
  • Bao Nguyen ’21, an exercise science major from Queensbury, N.Y.
  • Eliut Ortiz ’23, a dance major from New York, N.Y.

Overwatch

  • Theo Cannamela ’23, a chemistry major from Potsdam, N.Y. 
  • Joel Daley ’21, a communication major from Bronx, N.Y.
  • Jemdryl De La Cruz Bueno ’23, a theatre major from New York, N.Y.
  • Chris Falcon ’20, a studio art and graphic design/new media major from Brooklyn, N.Y. 
  • Eric Joung ’20, a mathematics major from New Rochelle, N.Y. 
  • Isaac Martin ’23, an English education major from Boonville, N.Y.
  • Zachary Martin ’22, an exercise science major from Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Valentino Romero ’20, an exercise science major from Bronx, N.Y.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “A”

  • Theo Cannamela ’23, a chemistry major from Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Daren Mena ’22, a psychology major from Bronx, N.Y.
  • Thomas Harper ’22, a studio art major from Barbados
  • Keanu Wiens ’21, a business administration major from Bronx, N.Y.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “B”

  • Joshua Chien ’20, a music education and music performance major from Valley Stream, N.Y.
  • Liam Schmith ’22, a geographic information science major from Wantagh, N.Y.
  • Griffin Shenkel ’21, an English writing major from Utica, N.Y.
  • Samuel Wright ’22, an undeclared major from Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “C”

  • Alexis Diaz ’21, a graphic design/new media major from Lynbrook, N.Y.
  • Adam Hartmann ’23, an undeclared major from St. James, N.Y.
  • Sarah Johns ’23, a biology major from Fayetteville, N.Y.
  • Josh Kim ’21, an environmental studies major from Plainview, N.Y.
  • Patrick Silk ’23, a music education major from Hauppage, N.Y.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “D”

  • Elijah Bowers-Thigpen ’22, an undeclared major from New York, N.Y.
  • Sean Boylan ’23, a social studies education and political science major from Commack, N.Y.
  • Dennis “Ameen” Conrad ’22, an undeclared major from Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Aiden D’Angelo ’20, a computer science major from Bayport, N.Y.
  • Sean Martin ’22, a graphic design/new media major from Babylon, N.Y.

SUNY Potsdam plans to add teams in FIFA and Rocket League in the Spring 2020 season.

Two graduate students studying in the educational technology specialist program are leading production and support for the club. Ben Rawdon ’21 of Fairport, N.Y., is the community manager for web design and video production, while Fernando Valenzuela ’21 of Gouverneur, N.Y., is the community manager for social media.

In addition to competing and cheering each other on, the members of the SUNY Potsdam Esports Club also recently completed team-building activities at the Leadership and Challenge Center in Maxcy Hall, working on the indoor high and low ropes courses and the climbing wall. They even volunteered at the annual downtown clean-up day, assisting with raking leaves in the village, on Nov. 3.

The Esports Advisory Council includes Steve Canning (instructional support associate for the Center for Creative Instruction and adjunct professor for business administration), Joshua McLear (associate director of residence life), and recent graduates Nicole D’Angelo ’18 & ’19 and Rosario Fuschetto ’18 & ’19.

Canning is a former sponsored top 500 professional Overwatch player. For his part, Betrus calls Fuschetto “SUNY Potsdam’s top athlete,” because the recent music education graduate is a professional-level competitor in Super Smash Bros Melee, among the top 50 players in the world. Canning is helping the students with their training and strategizing, with the mindset of “perfect practice makes perfect.”

To view rosters, upcoming match schedules and results, visit the SUNY Potsdam Esports website at https://sites.google.com/view/sunypotsdamesports.

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.

For Media Inquiries

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke

news@potsdam.edu 315-267-2918

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