ESports has wrapped up its first year at Salina USD 305 schools.
According to the district, ESports at Central and South high schools has been a success with over 40 students joining the competitive teams between fall and spring seasons this 2022-2023 school year. This was the first year the activity was offered.
“My favorite part has been watching students who are shy, reserved, and quiet in class completely become active and engaged during practices and matches,” said Caleb Stewart, South High School ESports coach and English teacher.
Stewart emphasized the need for team members to develop strong communication skills in order for them to be on the same page during games. “Students have to be strategic when planning character choices, opponent bans, game approaches, player positions, and other in-game adjustments,” explained Stewart. “These kids are actively thinking, planning, and reflecting before, during, and after matches.”
Forrest Jenkins, Central High School ESports coach and math teacher, saw his team improve from the fall to spring, when they made it out of the first round of playoffs. “The competition can be tough,” added Stewart. “The students feel the joy of wins and the sting of losses just like any other sport.”
They are looking at some changes, based upon the first year. Rocket League and League of Legends were the two games available for team members to choose from this year. “We learned that if a team member couldn’t participate, the rest of the team members were out of commission,” said Greg Maring, Central High School athletic director. “Next year, they can pick two games and then they could sub for anyone who may be missing.”
Maring added that though they only played PC games this year, they plan to add console games for the second year. “We need to keep spreading the word about this,” explained Maring. “We had a successful first year and want it to continue.”
The ESports program, as well as Unified Bowling that was also added this school year, were funded by revenue generated from sports advertising.
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USD 305 Photo: South High team members are focused during a practice session