By Wyatt Crosher, Assistant Director of Communications for Student Affairs
National recognition for Niner Esports, UNC Charlotte’s esports club, continues with the recent achievement of Club of the Year from this year’s Scholars Collegiate Gaming Awards on Nov. 28 in Las Vegas.
Current club co-presidents Alexis Diamond and Pake Cary, along with community events director Valentin Cannon and former club president and current Niner Esports alumni advisor Jorge Sanchez accepted the honor in-person at the gala celebration held at Resorts World Las Vegas.
The award announcement, as well as the acceptance speech by Sanchez, can be found on the Scholars Awards Twitch stream, around the 59:10 mark.
“Overall we’re just really excited,” said Sanchez. “Thank you to the University, thank you to all our students, we would be nothing without our students…We’re just really happy to be able to bring this back home to them in Charlotte.”
Niner Esports was one of 10 programs nominated in the category, along with Illini Esports (University of Illinois), Triton Gaming (University of California San Diego), Boise State University, UArizona Wildcat Gaming Club (University of Arizona), Coog Esports (University of Houston), CU Gaming (University of Colorado), Gator Gaming (University of Florida), Sooners Esports (Oklahoma University) and Drexel University.
In addition to Club of the Year, Niner Esports was nominated for two other categories, Team of the Year and Local Area Network (LAN) of the Year. Sanchez was also nominated for Collegiate Student Leader of the Year.
Sanchez also expressed gratitude for a recent $1.5 million state appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly allocated in the 2023 state budget that will be utilized to create a dedicated esports space in Norm’s Loft in the Popp Martin Student Union. State Rep. Jason Saine ‘95 was influential in the approval of the appropriation.
This is the second Club of the Year victory for Niner Esports within a calendar year. The club also won Club of the Year at the EsportsU’s 2023 Collegiate Awards in May. There, Sanchez was also named runner-up for Club President of the Year.
More information about Niner Esports can be found on the club’s website.