Cinderella SUNY Canton Headed to Fortnite Final Four
One of the Cinderella stories in the first ever SUNY Chancellor Esports Challenge is the SUNY Canton Fortnite team. The #14 ranked Roos are headed to the Final Four in the tourney, which is co-sponsored by Extreme Networks.
The Roos have progressed through three rounds of elimination play by beating #19 Stony Brook (3-1), #3 SUNY Cortland (3-1) and #6 SUNY Poly (3-2). SUNY Canton is the only team outside of the top four seeds to reach the Final Four. The first-place team in Fortnite will receive a $2,000 donation to the winning school’s student emergency funds as part of the #SUNYTogether campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second-place team will receive $1,000 and the third-place team receives $500. The Roos Elite Eight match on Monday versus SUNY Poly came down to an exciting and decisive fifth game before the Roos were able to prevail. The SUNY Canton team is led by Dylan Santiago “Fennecks” of Bethpage who plays with Brandon McPherson “C.G. Osiris” of Massena and Thomas Cunningham “TommyBD444” of Slingerlands. The Roos came back from an 0-2 deficit against the Wildcats. “Dylan quickly adapted to the enemy team strategy,” SUNY Canton Esports Coordinator and Head Coach Charles Murray said. “They were able to reverse sweep their opponent and walked away with a 3-2 victory.”
SUNY Canton will take on #2 ranked University at Albany on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the tournament semifinals. The #4 seed SUNY Oneonta and #1 ranked SUNY New Paltz are the other two remaining teams in the battle for SUNY Esports Fortnite supremacy.
The coach said Wednesday’s match against UAlbany will be close.
“SUNY Canton Fortnite traditionally plays slower in the beginning, where UAlbany plays a very aggressive early game,” Murray said. “Now that both teams know each other’s playbooks, it will all come down to who can adapt faster. A single misplay can result in either team losing the whole thing.”
“It’s great to see SUNY Canton’s Fortnite team advance to the semifinals,” said Athletic Director Randy B. Sieminski. “However, the most satisfying aspect of the tournament has to be seeing students from all over SUNY compete against each other for the first time for a great cause. The competition is intense and battling our fellow SUNY schools has been spectacular.” All SUNY schools were invited to put forward two teams of students to compete in “Fortnite” by Epic Games, “Super Smash Bros Ultimate” by Nintendo, or “Rocket League” by Psyonix. The tournament was free to enter and all competition was held entirely online. Of the $20,000 prize pool, Chancellor Johnson committed $10,000 and co-sponsor Extreme Networks committed $10,000. The top prize for each game is $2,000, which will be donated to the student emergency fund at the winners’ respective school. There will also be a $5,000 grand prize given to the SUNY campus with the best overall score. Players will also be eligible for other prizes from Extreme Networks, Mountain Dew Game Fuel, and SUNY Canton. The tournament has featured 45 schools and 139 teams.
Nearly 500 students have competed. Games can be viewed on www.twitch.tv/sunyesports, which features its top matchups each evening and is hosted by SUNY students. Monday’s webcast welcomed viewers from 15 different countries, including U.S., Canada, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Russia and Belgium.
The webcast was watched across six different platforms (Web, iOS, Android, Console, Mobile, Other) accessed from major social sites like Twitch, Discord, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Viewer interaction was also active with more than 350 messages in chat per hour.