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This team has competed for a little over two years now and has consistently been very close but never totally victorious until now. It’s taught me to always get back up and try again, because maybe next time, it’ll work out.”

Charlie Sweet '24

The Kettering University varsity “Rainbow Six Siege” team can add a national championship to its list of accomplishments.

The team defeated Oklahoma Christian University 3-0 in the virtual National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) National Championship on June 14. The national championship is the University’s first since the Esports program started in January 2020.

“This has been the culmination of all the hard work our players and coaches have put in,” Esports Coach Dan Nowaczyk said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without their drive. I’m so proud of these guys and everything they have done to get to this point. I still don’t think it’s sunk in that this actually happened and we have a national title in Kettering Esports.”

“Rainbow Six Siege” is a multiplayer game in which teams defend their areas of a map from competing teams. The NECC National Championship was a culmination tournament based on a points system. Teams earned points based on their finishes in fall and spring tournaments. The top four teams with the most points earned a spot in the National Championship. Kettering defeated the University of Louisville 2-0 in the semifinals before moving on to the finals.

“During the regular season, both matches with these teams went to the full three maps, pulling out a narrow win over Louisville and losing to Oklahoma Christian,” Nowaczyk said. “To come into this against teams we struggled against in the regular season and not lose a single map is crazy. I’ve never seen our team playing at this level all season; it was like a completely different team than who was playing all season.”

Charlie Sweet ‘24 couldn’t believe what the team accomplished.

“To win after all of the challenges and obstacles throughout this season was a major relief,” he said. “It was something we had set our goals on since the start of the season, and at some points, it really seemed impossible, like it just wasn’t feasible. But after a lot of effort, work and practice, we walked into the finals and competed like we never had before. It was a refreshing sight to see all of our work suddenly come to fruition in the exact moment we needed it most.”

Sweet, who majors in Chemical Engineering, plays the flex-intel/support role for attack and as a flex anchor on defense for the team. This means he identifies and fills in various roles best for the team as needed.

Garrett Stockham ’22 previously played on the team but has moved into a coaching role since he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

“It felt very good to finally have all the pieces come together and win this championship,” he said. “... Lucas [Sweet] and I knew as coaches that our players could win a championship but saw there was a bit of a disconnect in how everyone worked together during the games. After switching a few things around in the prep time before the playoffs, the players finally felt like they were having everything sync up and got the level of chemistry we all knew would win a championship. So we stuck to it, and the players did a fantastic job closing the season out on top.”

Stockham is an associate calibration engineer in braking systems at Bosch. He uses many skills he acquired on the Esports team in his career.

“‘Rainbow Six’ is based on teamwork and requires a lot of communication among the players during their games and between the players and coaches during practice time,” Stockham said. “Applying the skills used to work in high-emotion, high-stress or high-pressure situations, where there are also considerable frustrations at times, is applicable to any career.”

In addition to teamwork and communication skills, Sweet said he’s learned about perseverance.

“We have had a lot of failures on the way, but we have always had to get back up, brush the dust off and try again,” he said. “This team has competed for a little over two years now and has consistently been very close but never totally victorious until now. It’s taught me to always get back up and try again, because maybe next time, it’ll work out.”

The team finished second in the NECC fall tournament and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) fall tournament and third in the NACE spring tournament.

The varsity roster for “Rainbow Six” includes seven students: Samuel Erman ‘26, J-D Gadd ‘26, Nolan Jones ‘24, Jason Sedluk ‘24, Charlie Sweet ‘24, Jack Tuttle ‘24 and Aaron West ‘24. 

More than 100 students are part of the University’s Esports program. In addition to “Rainbow Six,” the University has teams for “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Valorant” and “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.”

Kettering University offers Esports scholarships of up to $5,000 a year. To learn more, click here.