Montgomery County Community College eSports Student-Athlete Named to National Sports Scholar Award List
A Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) student-athlete has won a national award recognizing her work both in the classroom and on the digital playing field.
“Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine announced its 2021 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award list of recipients, which includes Mustangs eSports student-athlete Kiratika Ariyamitr.
Ariyamitr, 19, holds a 3.8 GPA, and is the only community college student and esports student-athlete to make the prestigious list. The Upper Dublin High School graduate is among 40 students selected nationwide for the award from over 700 submissions.
A business administration major, she is a member of the MCCC Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) and is set to graduate this May. She’ll then transfer to Temple University-Japan campus in the fall to study international business.
“It’s unexpected,” said Ariyamitr of the award. “I don’t consider myself an award-winning scholar. I never see myself winning awards. So whenever I do win one, it surprises me. I don’t focus on what I did to get it. It feels great. It helps me recognize the qualities I should give myself credit for.”
Ariyamitr joined the Mustangs eSports team on a whim, after reading an advertisement on campus about it.
The team launched in December 2019 with “Rocket League” before expanding the roster of games to include “Overwatch,” “League of Legends,” and “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.”
The College surprised an overwhelmed Ariyamitr with the good news online before a regularly scheduled “Overwatch” team practice via Twitch.
“You’ve been a part of our esports family since the inaugural season. And you truly exemplify what a true student-athlete is and we are so proud of you,” said Kelly Dunbar, MCCC Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation.
“On behalf of the entire Montco Family – our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and your fellow students – we are immensely proud of you as an athlete, as a scholar and a leader on campus, and also as someone who is making a difference in your community,” MCCC President Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez said.
Ryan Plummer, Coordinator of Mustangs eSports, said he also was very proud of everything Ariyamitr has accomplished as a student-athlete on the team. “She has managed to be a leader on the field, a backbone of the program,” he said, “and balanced the responsibility of playing on team while earning incredible grades. She has one of highest GPAs on the team. I am so proud of her, so happy she was able to get that award.”
This is the Mustangs Athletics eighth collegiate sport and its first co-ed team. The Mustangs eSports team members compete against colleges nationally as part of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), which is composed of over 170 member schools with over 5,000 student-athletes.
Esports continues to see tremendous growth year after year. Viewership growth is expected to climb at a 9 percent annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023, from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, according to Business Insider.
Read more about MCCC Mustangs eSports student-athlete Kiratika Ariyamitr.
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