Syracuse CS2 team wins first Esports National Championship

SU CS2 team wins first National Championship

The Orange took home the new Varsity Esports program’s first title on Saturday.

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The CS2 squad beat Oklahoma Christian University to take home the program’s first trophy.

The Syracuse Counter-Strike 2 esports team won the National Championship in their first semester after being promoted to the top division.

The Orange beat Oklahoma Christian University 2-1 in a best-of-three series to take home the new varsity esports program’s first national title on Saturday. The National Championship took place in Orlando, Florida, hosted by Full Sail University and organized by the National Association of Collegiate Esports.

“Winning a national championship in our first semester is unheard of, and something that will go down in the record books that we can be proud of,” said Joey Gawrysiak, executive director of esports at SU. “This will help us launch all aspects of esports here at Syracuse in a big way moving forward.”

Syracuse’s road to the championship was not expected. The Orange came into the tournament as the No. 7 seed and finished second in their group behind Stony Brook. 

After defeating No. 10 seed Michigan Tech, the Orange completed three straight upsets against No. 2 George Mason University, No. 3 Stony Brook and No. 4 Oklahoma Christian.

“Not many students get to fly out to another state to represent their school for esports,” said captain Anthony “sensh1” Solt. “Being able to do that was very unique and special.”

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Kamron Manii, better knows as “kmrn”, encouraged his teammates on-stage. “I think I probably got in their head,” he said.

For senior Kamron “kmrn” Manii, standing on stage with the trophy was a “solemn moment.” His leadership on the team was felt, as you could hear him yelling and encouraging his teammates on-stage.

“I think I probably got in their head,” Manii said. “Made them overthink a little and kinda kept momentum on our side.”

Syracuse esports is currently undergoing changes. The new Esports Communications and Management major elevated five teams to a “Varsity” level this semester, including the Counter-Strike 2 team. As a result, the CS2 team was elevated from the “Varsity Open” to the higher “Varsity Premier” division.

This championship helps the program recruit players for next semester and beyond.

“This will definitely be a milestone that we talk about with students interested across all areas,” said Travis Yang, director of competition at SU. “It shows that Syracuse has arrived and is making a splash in the biggest ways.”