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Amherst High School sets the tone for Esports in Nebraska

By Shayla Fox

If you walked into Amherst High School Saturday, April 28th, you may have noticed that the high school’s computer labs and classrooms were full of students and spectators alike, competing intensely for their title. At this point, you’re probably wondering what sport could possibly be played in a computer lab. However, for this event, it wasn’t a sport at all.

Students from all over Nebraska competed in the second statewide ESports tournament. ESports itself is growing, especially in Nebraska. Students from Amherst, Broken Bow, Elm Creek, Kearney, Alma, and Grand Island Northwest all signed up for the weekend’s tournament.

True to its name, ESports is a form of competitive gaming – or ‘electronic sports’. However, this is nothing new. Nationally, ESports has been gaining ground all over the world. In truth, there are professional competitions, with lots of prize money given to the winners.

For Amherst’s tournament, the event focused on building student skills and interest while awarding the winners with certificates.

The two games included in the tournament were Super Smash Bros. and League of Legends. For students and spectators who couldn’t attend, a live streaming option was offered on Twitch for fans to watch the competition online.

In the first tournament, Kearney competed with 2 teams, Grand Island with 6 and Elm Creek with 3. They all played one another on Super Smash Bros. Rules were established that banned Amiibos, Miis, equipment, custom moves, and “random character select.” The items and pause options were off, and the teams played by a “Gentleman’s Clause”: if the players agreed on a stage, it could be chosen. Teams competed over a series of ten games via bracket style.

The bracket results go as followed. Elm Creek B team won over Grand Island Northwest, and Kearney’s A team conquered Elm Creek’s C team. Kearney’s B team found success again over Grand Island Northwest. However, Kearney’s A team then fell to Elm Creek’s A team, and in a turn of events, Grand Island Northwest was able to defeat the Elm Creek C team.

Towards the end, Kearney continued on as Elm Creek B lost to Elm Creek A. It was a short-lived victory as Elm Creek A then lost to Grand Island, but Kearney B came through to beat Elm Creek A. In the final play, it was Kearney B against Elm Creek A, and Kearney B, was finally crowned the champions and Oliver Sheldon and Alexander Maxson were awarded the winners.

The second tournament began with Amherst, Elm Creek, Alma, and Broken Bow’s varsity and JV teams competing in League of Legends. Just like Super Smash Bros., this tournament had rules of its own with a No Ban draft pick and no jungle invades at the beginning of the game. Different than the Super Smash Bros. tournament, this competition was played as single elimination and best of three.

The tournament began when Elm Creek and Broken Bow played against each other in the semifinals. After three games, Broken Bow’s varsity team was quickly crowned the winner.

This ESports event was one of the first in Nebraska, and it certainly won’t be the last. The tournaments can be viewed at home, as they are streamed on Striv’s Twitch channel just like the games with professional players.

If you’re a player, your school’s team is invited to join in the tournaments. If you don’t have a team, consider this a great opportunity to create one! However, playing isn’t the only way to support ESports. If you’re a viewer, you can watch future competitions in person or on Twitch,

Please reach out to Striv for more information.

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