University of New Mexico Esports's brand new Splatoon 3 team made its mark earlier this month after winning the Collegiate Cephalopod Association's Division 5 Championship. This is UNM Esports's first-ever national championship win.

The Collegiate Cephalopod Association describes itself as the flagship organization uniting college students passionate about the Splatoon franchise. Splatoon 3 is the latest game in the third-person game series developed by Nintendo where players compete in matches, similar to paintball competitions, to spread their team's ink color across a game map using splats and splashes.

The Splatoon 3 team members had not met before joining UNM Esports. Though they faced challenges as division newcomers, they managed to end their season with a record of 7-1, including the playoffs. Their playoff run consisted of competing against the undefeated Crimson Ink A-Team (5-2), the undefeated High Riders (5-1), and the Champlain Splatoon Cerulean who only faced one loss in the regular season (5-1). The UNM Esports Splatoon 3 team had a max match loss of two.

Watch the UNM Esports championship stream.

The team was started by Fernando Loya Avila, whose in-game name is Bean, a former Clovis High School Esports member. Bean came to UNM with a heart full of passion and motivation to start this team. They were involved with their high school’s Esports program playing Splatoon 3 along with Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. When setting up the team they assigned themselves the role of coordinator (along with co-coordinator Tony), coach, and player. 

Meet the members of UNM Esports' Splatoon 3 team:

Fernando Loya Avila (Bean) is Majoring in Computer Science and helped their high school win two championships in the 5A division in the NMAA League, which shows that winning championships is not new to them.

Sammy Ortega (KKArter) is a Music Education major and is currently a top 50 Splatoon player in America and Europe. 

Aaron Torres (Goteem) is currently working towards their Biochemistry degree with a head start from high school where they earned an associate's degree. Goteem knows how to get ahead of the competition.

Axel Mata (Yelow) is studying for a degree in Physics and spends their free time frequenting Round1 Bowling and Amusement. Having fun in and out of the game is something very important to them.

Zamari Ross (Ziamontri) is a Film and Digital Arts major who is also learning Japanese. The energy brought to the team is unmatched and you see the love for the game every time they compete.

Leticia Diaz (Melody) is working on degrees in Political Science and Spanish with plans to go to law school. Knowing the rule book in and out is something they are known for, so they are a great help to any teammate with questions.

Tony Devens (Hot Dad Deluxe)'s life revolves around gaming as they are studying game design and journalism. Devens is an incredible help in the coordinating department as well as in production and helped cast the championship match bringing much-deserved hype and excitement.

The Splatoon 3 team hopes to advance to a higher division in the next season and compete with even more national teams.

Photo provided by UNM Esports. From l. to r.: Fernando Loya Avila (Bean), Axel Mata (Yelow), Zamari Ross (Ziamontri), Sammy Ortega (KKArter), Leticia Diaz(Melody), Aaron Torres (Goteem), Tony Devens (Hot Dad Deluxe).