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eSports On The Rise In Nebraska High Schools

By Alex Loroff – News Channel Nebraska

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NORFOLK – eSports is not only growing across the country, but right here in Nebraska, as a variety of high schools around the state have established eSports teams in recent years.

The Nebraska Schools eSports Association was created as a non-profit group in 2017, and is represented by schools such as Elm Creek, Broken Bow, Grand Island Northwest, David City, Gering, Holdrege, Louisville, and Amherst. Elm Creek coach Ryan Hinds says his team started as just a club, but grew into a team as interest increased.

“We were trying to see how much interest there was at Elm Creek, and then if there was quite a bit of interest, let’s try and do something with other schools around us,” Hinds said.

When developing the NSESA, Hinds says the idea was for schools to compete against other local schools. While participating in international competitions was always an option, Hinds thought it would be more fun for the students if they competed against local teams.

NSESA is in the middle of its fall season, in which teams compete in games such as Overwatch, Rocket League, and Starcraft. Hinds says the tournaments teams are competing in this season will lead up to a state tournament later this fall.

“We’ve got an actual regular season going along in tandem with our tournaments, and the regular season is for all of the schools that are already organized,” Hinds said. “We’re going to base our regular season for the seeding in our state tournament, and the final four will go on to the state tournament at the end of the year.”

Hinds says the participation at Elm Creek has grown over the past two years, as has the number of schools involved in the NSESA. Despite the organization continuing to grow, eSports is not officially sanctioned by the NSAA, and Hinds doesn’t think that will change in the near future.

“We looked at that last year as far as what the options are for trying to become a state sanctioned organization, but we were very quickly shut down,” Hinds said. “The NSAA doesn’t care about eSports, and with bowling not becoming a sanctioned NSAA sport, we think there’s little to no chance that eSports will see anything like that.”

For now, the NSEA will continue to function as a non-profit organization, and they welcome any schools with an interest in developing an eSports team to either attend a tournament or reach out through their website http://nebraskahsesports.com/. The NSESA will be holding its next tournament on October 26th, which will be hosted by Scribner-Snyder.

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