Getting to Know Huntington’s e-Sports Team

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Huntington’s e-sports team is excited to compete. Credit: WXVU

Erin Ye, Editor

Huntington High School is no stranger to athletic success. From track and field to lacrosse to wrestling, the Blue Devils are among the strongest competitors in nearly every sport they take part in. The newest addition to this list is video gaming, and Huntington’s esports team is filled with talented players who are excited to give it their all.

The team’s advisors, Ms. Balducci and Mr. Corcoran, have been thrilled with the interest thus far and are looking forward to the first year of competition. 

“Right now, our league EGF (Electronic Gaming Federation), offers competitions for three games: Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate,” said Mr. Corcoran. “Our plan is to do the best we can in our inaugural year. If our best is getting to the national title matches, I’m all for it. For now, we compete within our state against other schools also in EGF.”

Ms. Balducci went on to share, “The meetings have been amazing so far! We have so much interest in the club and the advisors and members are so excited to be in a place where we can share interests that the meetings usually turn into a small video game convention.”

I sat down with a few members of the esports team to learn more about Huntington’s newest club and what the future holds for them.

 

Why did you decide to join the esports team?

Harris Levinson (11th Grade) – I’ve been playing video games for years, and I think it’s a really cool opportunity to be able to do it with a tangible purpose. 

Ally Kustera (11th Grade) – I love video games and am looking towards a future in the game development industry.

Jeffrey Ochoa-Alvarez (12th Grade) – Specifically for Rocket League. I hope to pursue an esports career in Rocket League, so I think it is important to get this competitive experience under my belt. 

Jack Alba (11th Grade) – I’ve been playing games since I was born and when I saw that the high school wanted to get involved in the esports world, I thought it would be a great chance to play one of my favorite games officially and competitively.

Jake Burton (11th Grade) – I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember and they’ve always played a huge role in my life, so this is a great opportunity to meet people with common interests and compete in something I’ve put a ton of work into. 

Tyler Wheeler (9th Grade) – I’m really into esports, especially the Super Smash Brothers scene, and I played competitively in the past. Since I am good at the games, I decided to join the team.

Brian Bonilla (11th Grade) – Games make up a majority of my life so getting to enjoy them with others sounded like a good idea.

Jake Amend (9th Grade) – I love Overwatch and Rocket League and I grew up with Smash so I’ve always wanted to play for a team.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about esports and what it is for those who don’t know?

Harris – Esports is presented like traditional sports, but it’s competitive video games. There’s tournaments where teams from around the world compete for prize pools. 

Jack – Put simply, esports is just like any other sport, the only difference being that instead of a physical game competition it’s an online competition.

Tyler – Esports is electronic sports, as is in the name. Esports have been big since the 90s when the FGC took off and have exploded in popularity since.

 

Is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to?

Harris – I’m excited to experience a real, new competitive aspect to something I’ve been doing for so long. I think it’ll give me a new perspective on video games in general. 

Ally- I’m really excited to see how far the team will go. There’s a lot of players who are really talented and have a ton of knowledge. 

Jeffrey – Learning new things or maybe even teaching news things to people who share the same passion as I do. I’m also looking forward to playing and competing at this level and representing my school.

Jack – I am a very competitive person and when I played soccer and other sports, I loved to represent my team and win. I feel the same way about playing Rocket League for my school.

Jake B. – I’m looking forward to competing on a different level that I’ve never experienced before and being a member of the team in its first year at Huntington. 

Tyler – I look forward to making new friends and improving my skill at video games. 

Brian – Just interacting with people of common interest is what I’m looking forward to.

Jake A – Just trying to play with friends and meet new people!

 

What’s your favorite video game at the moment?

Harris – My favorite game right now is probably Overwatch, which is one of the games offered by EGF. 

Jeffrey – My favorite game is Rocket League, which I have been playing for nearly 4 years now. 

Ally- Ooooo, that’s a tough question, there are so many! I would say right now if I was a video game it would probably be The Last of Us series because it’s a story about a teenage girl trying to survive the aftermath of a pandemic which sounds pretty familiar right? Except here there are no mutant zombies on the loose.

Jack – My favorite game at the moment is Rocket League. I love the competitiveness of the game and community and I love the fat learning curve that the game has. It makes it feel better when you hit new milestones in the game.

Jake B. – Having played so many different, amazing games, it’s difficult to choose, but my favorite game ever is Uncharted 2, as it is, in my opinion, the best game out of an amazing game series. My favorite competitive-based game changes often, having previously been Rocket League, but at the moment is Overwatch. 

Tyler – My favorite game of all time would have to be Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3 FES. It revolves around a high-schooler with a tragic past, who lives in Japan, and after a certain event, must defend the world from the Shadows with the help of his friends. It’s good because the characters are very relatable, the game has a great story, and it simulates school life. It takes about 100 hours to complete. 

Brian  – At the moment my favorite video game would have to be Dragon Ball FighterZ, which is just a classic 2d fighting game based on the Dragon Ball franchise.

Jake A. – Either FIFA or Madden; I grew up with both games and will never stop playing them. 

 

Why should people consider joining the esports team?

Harris – It’s a really good way to meet and interact with people doing what you love, either casually or competitively. 

Ally – There are so many roles and ways to contribute other than just competing. Everyone is super chill and willing to help.

Jeffrey – At the end of the day, there’s going to be moments where nobody is competing in any tournaments. At that point, this team will be a fun place to play your favorite games with people who also enjoy them, where you can meet new people and hang out. 

Jack – If you play video games religiously like I do, then I see no downside to getting into the competing side of video games.

Jake B. – It’s all around a great opportunity for everyone, as those who take games seriously have a platform to compete on and represent the school, while people who play casually have a chance to meet new people with shared interests. 

Tyler – It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and improve, and due to COVID-19 regular sports are scarce and gravely affected, while esports have been taking off, due to the online nature. Plus, when you eventually join tournaments, you can win prizes and get signed to a team.

Brian  – Anyone with any interest in video games would find this entertaining. 

Jake A. – Everyone should try it. It’s really fun to play with a team.

 

The Blue Devils’ first competitive season is set to begin in late February and the team is ready to go. In addition, they plan to host schoolwide tournaments for all Huntington students to watch and participate in. To stay updated, you can join their Remind thread with the code @egf2021 and follow their Instagram, @hton_esports.