E for Excellence

E for Excellence
Posted on 12/21/2021
Blue Springs High School’s esports team

Members of Blue Springs High School’s esports team picked the perfect time to get to know each other – taking full advantage of their first time being in the same room by teaming up to capture the first esports state championship in Blue Springs School District history.

The Wildcats won the esports State Championship Series featuring the game Overwatch this fall, competing at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and defeating Columbia Hickman 3-0 in the best-of-5 format. The teams faced each other in person at the Kimball Ballroom. The stage included 12 computers, six on each side in rows of three. The crowd was set up on the floor and were able to watch the game action on two large projection screens.

Overwatch is a team-based video game where squads compete to capture points and secure objectives. The state championships are hosted by the Missouri Scholastic Esports Federation (MOSEF). The competition marked a drastic change for the Wildcats, who due to COVID-19 protocols, had previously only played virtually.

“It was the first time they had ever played in the same room together at all,” Wildcats esports coach Kevin Clevenger said. “We had never even practiced in person yet. That will happen when we get the new esports room up and running (at the Blue Springs School District Career & Innovation Center).”

Wildcats Overwatch team members are Brandon Bachand, Ethan Bui, Ben Carrender, Ian Conroy, Luke David-Pennington, Trey Hines, Dylan Joos, Luke Watkiss, and Ashton Watson.

Brandon Bachand is a senior and feels having a state title on their resume will help with students’ collegiate searches. “It feels great to have the state title and it will also look good to college recruiters,” he said. “In 10 years, I think esports will be as popular as any other sport. Teamwork is a big deal when it comes to esports because every game that is played you must have coordination, especially with Overwatch - it involves a lot of communication.”

The Wildcats Overwatch team lost just one game the entire season and were focused on the big prize after placing third at state last season. “Most of our improvement can be attributed to individual player improvements and their application of knowledge in team play,” Ashton Watson said. “This win really means the world to our team. Our program has only been around for two seasons, so I’m very proud of both the individual and team improvements we’ve made.”