Three college students celebrate winning a championship with two other men. One man holds a plaque.

Victorious return: Esports celebrates successful first year back

Augusta University’s esports program officially returned to campus in fall 2023, unveiling a new arena housed in the Hull McKnight Building of the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center. Since then, the program has been a whirlwind of success, marked by outstanding milestones and victories.

The program has won several awards, including the Peach Belt Conference’s Rocket League Champions Division title, the NACE Open Plus Division Title for the junior varsity Rocket League team and, most recently, the PBC League of Legends Champions Division title.

Now, the teams will prepare to make the jump to the conference’s Masters League, where they will compete in fall 2024.

Six college students wearing long-sleeved esports jerseys stand with their coach celebrating having won a championship.
Joshua Mojia, Kile Sin, Victor Nguyen, Ethan Sumner, Thomas Kang, Aaron Mims and Joshua LaFavor celebrate the team winning the PBC League of Legends Champions Division title. [Courtesy of the Peach Belt Conference]

Joshua LaFavor, interim esports coordinator, attributes the program’s fast success to the student leadership team and dedicated players. The leadership team provides strong logistical support – from social media to graphic design and communication strategies – and has worked to build a lasting legacy on campus, according to LaFavor.

“I am beyond proud of the work done by our student leaders and the ways I have seen all of them grow over the past year in their professional, leadership and community-building skills,” LaFavor said.

The players’ hard work and dedication were recently honored at the February awards banquet. The highlighted players and their awards included Damita Trehan, Varsity Valorant Play of the Season; Adam Massa, Junior Varsity Valorant MVP; Zach Pye, Varsity Rocket League MVP; Byron Gibson, Junior Varsity Rocket League MVP; Carlton Collins, Varsity Rocket League Most Improved; Jordan Moratin, Varsity Rocket League Goal of the Season; and Ryan Hoang, Varsity Valorant MVP.

A group of college students gather in a common space to watch an esports compete on a television.
Students gathered for a watch party to watch
the AU esports team compete.

With over 240 students involved in the community and 47 students directly involved in competitive play, the program’s reach continues to expand. Students have the opportunity to compete as varsity or junior varsity in a variety of popular games, including Rocket League, League of Legends, Valorant and Overwatch.

For third-year undergraduate psychology major Malia Pryeor, her role as team manager of the junior varsity Valorant team has provided an avenue to contribute to the program’s success while also honing her skills in management, communication and multimedia skills. Pryeor transferred to AU in fall 2023, and she has enjoyed her role supporting a team that is both welcoming and inclusive.

“I’ve always enjoyed gaming, and I had a community at one point that I played with a lot,” Pryeor said. “With esports, I’ve really enjoyed helping out and meeting all the different people from different backgrounds and majors and then seeing how they all come together. It’s been such a journey for me.”

Three college students sit at gaming computers inside an arena waiting for an esports competition to begin.
Zack Pye (top), Jordan Moratin (middle) and
Jacob LoRusso (bottom) prepare for a
Rocket League competition.

Similarly, fourth-year undergraduate digital and visual storytelling major Noah Bowers, the general manager of esports, also joined the program and found friends and community. He encourages fellow students to get involved in esports, emphasizing its accessibility and the many opportunities it offers to sports and entertainment.

“Watching this new form of sport become popular and get not only support on the collegiate scene but professionally and out in the real world, it’s really inspiring because it shows that there’s going to be more opportunities for people with the internet and new forms of industries that weren’t possible before,” Bowers said.

Looking ahead, LaFavor expects the esports program to continue to grow. He can see the program offering academic courses, scholarships, more event casters, more watch parties and the addition of a Super Smash Bros. League. LaFavor is particularly excited about the iRacing rigs located in the JSAC Game Room that will be available for use in fall 2024.

Students interested in learning more about AU’s esports program can tune into the program’s social media accounts, including Twitch, Discord, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Written by
Jamison Guice

Jamison Guice is a communications strategist at Augusta University. You can reach her at or (706) 737-1411.

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Avatar photo Written by Jamison Guice

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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