MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – Video games have become a staple for everyday entertainment. Now, schools and universities have helped turn them into regular competition. One local school started its first esports season this semester.
In a room full of computers and a drop-down screen sits a group of Mineral Ridge High School students, eyes glued to what’s going on.
“I thought esports was the next thing we should really get into,” said Sam Amoline, Mineral Ridge High School’s technology teacher.
Amoline helped start the program and serves as the head coach. He says he got support from the administration and most importantly, the students.
“A lot of kids coming at me, ‘When are we starting? What games are we playing?’ Video games are just so popular with kids nowadays,” Amoline said.
They’re part of Esports Ohio, competing against other Ohio high schools. On Tuesdays, they compete in Overwatch 2. On Wednesdays, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is on the drop-down screen with Rocket League on the computers.
“I switch between Rocket League, Fortnite and Minecraft but Rocket League was just the most fun of them,” said freshman Gabe Wright.
This week, the competition started.
“Not as good as I wanted but that’s alright. We’re still figuring out the footing of the team. Still learning on how to depend on each other in the game,” said junior A.J. Pugh.
It’s set up like other sports with fall and spring seasons.
“All the games require teamwork. They require communication,” Amoline said. “They require study and practice.”
“Went against the computer and you can set the level of that computer. So I started at a level 4 computer. I got comfortable at beating that level character and then I moved on to level 5, got comfortable with that, all the way to 9. Nine is the max,” Pugh said.
“It is hard to believe sometimes that video games, that there is some type of strategy involved but these kids have been playing and it shows because they’re very good at them,” Amoline said.