GTCC esports team captures NJCAAE national championship, No. 1 ranking

Published on: December 11, 2023
(l to r in front) DeShawn Surgeon, Jr., Tristan Fox, Diego Zeballos, Fernando Ramos, Noe Zaragoza-Tapia, coach Tu Nguyen (in back)
From left in the front row, DeShawn Surgeon, Jr., Tristan Fox, Diego Zeballos, Fernando Ramos, and Noe Zaragoza-Tapia, and coach Tu Nguyen (back) have brought home a national championship in just their second year of competition.

JAMESTOWN, N.C. (Dec. 11, 2023) – In just its second year of existence, Guilford Technical Community College's esports program has claimed a National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE) national championship with its Rainbow Six Siege team officially ranked No. 1 in the country.

The Titans defeated Trinity Valley Community College from Athens, Texas, 3-2 in a marathon six-hour match to capture the Rainbow Six Siege 2023 fall national title. Trinity Valley was undefeated coming into the title match and had beaten GTCC in a regional tournament match before Thanksgiving.

The championship match began at 10 p.m. on December 1 and wasn't decided until 3:58 a.m. on December 2. GTCC defeated Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology in a semifinal matchup on December 1 and less than 20 minutes later the championship match began.

"From a rough start back in their first competition in the spring 2023 season, the Rainbow Six Siege team embodied the values of teamwork and dedication as they fought against the odds for victories over multiple seasoned teams to claim the national title," Tu Nguyen, GTCC's esports coach, said. "All team members work in addition to being full-time students and while competing in a collegiate sports league which can take 10 to 20 hours a week during playoffs."

Members of the championship Rainbow Six Siege team included team captain Diego Zeballos, Noe Zaragoza-Tapia, DeShawn Surgeon, Jr., Fernando Ramos, and Tristan Fox. It was the second season these team members competed together.

Zeballos, a second-year student, talked about what it meant to bring home the championship with his teammates.

"From being counted out to counting our victories, our underdog story exploded into a symphony of triumph at the national championship," Zeballos said. "The excitement is not just in the win; it's in defying the odds and turning skeptics into our loudest fans."

GTCC's esports team is one of 178 teams that compete in the NJCAAE conference. GTCC played in a seven-week fall regular season followed by three rounds of matches in the regional tournament to qualify for the national tournament. GTCC teams competed in 10 titles this season and five advanced to the national tournament.

"We launched esports in August of 2022 and have been blown away with the student interest and support," GTCC President Anthony Clarke, Ph.D., said. "We're extremely appreciative of our faculty and staff for working with our athletes and supporting the growth of our intercollegiate esports program. We know esports is not only a fun and exciting sport, but that it also builds leadership and communications skills for our athletes, skills which are highly valued by our employer partners. Coach Nguyen has done a tremendous job building our esports program from the ground up, and we appreciate his hard work and dedication for our student athletes and the college."

Esports is online, competitive video gaming played through computers and electronic consoles, which allows interactive, virtual reality, multiple-player video games.

For more information about the program, visit the  about GTCC's esports page.

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