Esports emerge on campus


Avalon Nash , Staff Writer

   In a increasingly technological world, Poway High is making efforts to keep up with the times. One of these is the development of an electronic sports, or esports program, part of a larger district-wide effort. Backed by investors including Intel and Logitech, esports spaces are being designated on every PUSD high school campus. 

   The creation of the Esports program was also due to the growing student interest in online gaming and competitions. Statistics from Pew Research show that 90% of American teens play video games on a computer, gaming console or cellphone.. 

   Co-Coach of the Esports team Kurt Jackson grew up gaming, and quickly got involved with the team’s creation. One of his future goals for the venture is for Esports to become a California Interscholastic Federation(CIF) recognized sport. 

   “There have been many difficulties in setting things up, but ideally we are planning to structure the team into different groups according to which game they want to compete in during tournaments. There is also the matter of choosing which games to play,” Jackson said. 

   An oversight committee consisting of parents is being established to approve games students are allowed to compete in, as well as to outline guidelines for the online behavior of competitors.  Current approved games include Super Smash Brothers and League of Legends. 

   Collegiate competitive gaming is also an expanding field. Over 170 colleges and universities participate in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NCAE). And an increasing number of scholarships have become available to high school gamers, an exciting prospect to those who wish to continue exploring their gaming passions later in life. 

   Principal Richard Nash has high hopes for the project and believes gaming will help foster teamwork on campus. “It’s really about making sure we have connectedness between students and educational institutions in ways that students find meaningful,” Nash said. 

   Gaming offers an opportunity to those who may not be passionate about conventional sports to represent their school and showcase their gaming abilities.

    Connor Sprouse, a member of the Esports team has found joy from competing in district tournaments. “I served as vice president of the club last year, and it was really cool to be surrounded by high level players and work together as a team. I hope to continue playing in the future,” he said. 

    The Esports room at Poway is still under development but will include high quality gaming chairs, computers, and two 86 inch televisions set up in a tournament style. A date has yet to be set for its opening, although the goal is by the end of the school year.