The University of Akron esports program is quickly carving out a reputation as one of the nation’s best.

Last week, the program’s Rocket League team won its third consecutive national championship, becoming the only team to accomplish that feat. Another Akron team, Rainbow Six Siege, also won the national championship in its game.

College esports programs are comprised of teams that compete in various games. The University of Akron has seven teams that compete with teams from other universities.

Akron currently competes in League of Legends, Rocket League, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Rainbow Six Siege, and Fortnite.

UAs esports program has proved useful as a recruiting tool and is respected among gamers as one of the nation’s best.

Esports Director Nate Meeker has been with the program since its inception in 2017 and said it has been beneficial for both the university and its students.

Meeker said the program has been able to keep active during the coronavirus crisis because the students compete remotely through the internet. Team members don’t even have to play from the same location.

“Overall, the program has stayed strong throughout this epidemic,” he said.

Meeker said the program is gradually gaining respect among faculty and staff at the university. It has been popular with students from the start, and has proven a useful recruiting tool with graduating high school students.

The Rocket League team has been able to recruit highly-ranked players who have worked well together — very well.

“We’ve been lucky to have them and they have been lucky to have the structure [of the program],” Meeker said Tuesday.

The national championships, which are held in both spring and fall semesters, are especially rewarding, he said.

The Rainbow Six Siege team dominated its opponent from the Rochester Institute of Technology. But the Rocket League team, with starters Buzz Krager, Tristan Roberts and Isaac Stecker, had to come from behind to beat Louisiana State University.

“It’s very cool — three seasons, now, in a row,” Meeker said.

Alan Ashworth can be contacted at aashworth@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.

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