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Esports wins Collegiate Rocket League national title

November 22, 2023

Northwood Esports has won the Collegiate Rocket League National Championship.

“Northwood Esports — America’s first collegiate esports dynasty — continues to dominate the competition,” stated Coach Jacob Jacob. “What a run for the team — we are so proud of these students.”

The team includes Hunter Woitas, of San Tan Valley, Arizona; Stephen Hoelbinger of West Deptford, New Jersey; and Kadin Zineelabidine, Franklin Park, Illinois.

The Timberwolves had a perfect 15-0 season and dominated the playoffs, ultimately defeating St Edwards University 4-0 and Boise State University 4-0 and 4-1 in the grand finals.

“We wear the crown when it comes to Collegiate Rocket League,” stated Hoelbinger, a junior. “When we are firing on all cylinders, nobody can stop us.”

Esports is an umbrella for numerous competitive games, similar to a university’s athletics department serving as an umbrella for numerous traditional sports. So Rocket League is to an esports program what football is to a university’s athletics program.

Collegiate Rocket League National Tournament play was conducted virtually over the weekend. Now Northwood’s Rocket League team will play in person at the Collegiate Rocket League World Championship this summer. Dates and location for the tournament are still to be determined.

In other Northwood Esports news, Northwood’s Valorant team is in Istanbul, Turkey, for the Red Bull Campus Clutch Valorant World Championship. Following group play earlier this week, the team fell short, finishing No. 17 at the global competition.

“We are grateful for the support and love from Northwood University, and we truly are humbled by this experience — thank you to everyone,” stated Coach Jacob Jacob.

“Although we could not repeat as world champions, we learned a lot, and we are looking forward to trying again next year,” stated Benjamin Park, a sophomore from Virginia. “Thank you to everyone who supported us on our journey.”

Justin Marshall — Northwood’s chief development and engagement officer who has worked closely with the program since its beginning as one of the first collegiate esports in Michigan — noted he was proud of the Valorant team winning the national championship to represent Team USA in Turkey.

“The entire Northwood community is thankful for this team, for these incredibly gifted players and scholars who represented our great country at the Valorant world tournament,” Marshall added. 

For information about Northwood Esports, visit

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