Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Photograph provided by Queensland University of Technology.
The 2020 Oceanic University Championships wrapped up on Saturday 23 May, following the grand final between Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and The University of Auckland (UoA). Both teams successfully battled their way through the state and national rounds against 30 other universities to secure their spot in the National Final.
The final was conducted in a best of five games format, with QUT drawing away to an early lead 2-0 against their counterparts. UoA had to draw on their experiences in last year’s final to get one back in game three, narrowing the gap to 2-1 in QUT’s favour. QUT didn’t let UoA’s retaliation rattle them, as they went on to secure game four, which was enough to claim the victory and the UniSport Nationals League of Legends pennant.
The QUT Team was represented by William ‘Tekker’ Maranic (Bachelor of Engineering - Computer and Software Systems), Danny ‘Eden’ Nguyen (Bachelor of Information Technology), Jason ‘HinGooby’ Nguyen (Bachelor of Pharmacy), Lachlan ‘Nightfaller’ Pham (Bachelor of Radiation Therapy), Allister ‘Akira’ Provan (Bachelor of Information Technology) and Russell ‘Rusty’ Rosenberger (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science).
All six team members are representatives of QUT’s Elite Athlete program and represent QUT in the League of Legends Oceanic Challenger Series, the league that sits below the Oceanic Pro League. In 2018, QUT became the first Australian university to offer scholarships for esports players, which in addition to financial support, provides academic assistance for the athletes.
Meanwhile, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and The University of Sydney (USYD) were scheduled to play off for the bronze medal. Unfortunately, USYD forfeited the match, which handed UTS the win, putting them second in the UniSport rankings (Australian universities).
2020 was the fourth year the competition has been held in conjunction with Riot Games Oceania, and the third year since League of Legends has been recognised as one of UniSport Australia’s (UniSport) 40 Nationals sports, with the highest placed Australian team taking home the coveted Nationals Div 1 pennant.
QUT’s victory etches their name into the history book alongside Monash University (2016), The University of Western Australia (2017), UNSW Sydney (2018) and The University of Auckland (2019).
The Oceania University Championships were played online from the safety of players’ own homes, with selected matches being streamed via Riot Games’ Twitch and YouTube channels. Approximately 60,000 unique global viewers tuned into each broadcast of the streamed matches over the course of the championships, indicating the growing interest in esports across the world.
UniSport recognises the growing participation in esports and as such are continuing to expand their esport offerings in 2020. UniSport Project Manager – Nationals, Natalie Broom elaborated, “Based on the success we’ve seen in Nationals League of Legends we are excited to build our esports program and to engage more students in more competitions in the months to come.”
As many of UniSport’s Nationals events have been impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic, UniSport is providing other opportunities to keep students engaged through online competitions. The Lockdown League presented by UniBank was launched on 7 May, which is designed to be a fun, competition to build student interaction, grow friendly inter-university rivalry and create a nationwide community environment.
UniSport have also just launched the Online Cycle Series in partnership with Federation University, which is being held in conjunction with the SRAM Send It Series on Zwift. The competition which starts on Tuesday 26 May is open to students, staff and alumni of all cycling abilities.
UniSport is looking forward to COVID-19 restrictions easing and are developing some Nationals Championships events for the latter half of the year. Keep an eye on the UniSport event calendar for more information.