The Woodstock Academy eSports team came out in full force and left victorious at the Connecticut eSports high school finals on Sunday, April 30. The competition was held at the University of Connecticut in connection with CTeSports and the Electronic Gaming Federation.
The Academy eSports, or competitive video gaming, team is made up of several teams each focused on a particular game. The Academy’s Overwatch team, Doneshot, faced off against New London’s team, a team The Academy had defeated previously on the road to the finals. Doneshot was once again victorious, making them the Overwatch State Champions for the spring season.
The eSports program is led by math teacher, Mr. Tom Young. Young captured the excitement of the tournament saying “We had to go to three rounds in the best-of-three and all of them were tense. After game one we all felt we were leaving soon with the victory in hand, but we got shut down pretty hard during game two. With both sides getting a taste of victory, our team played a great game for match three and secured first place for the spring season.”
In addition to conventional awards, each of the eight players on the Doneshot team received a one-thousand-dollar scholarship to UCONN, should the choose to attend. Doneshot is composed of Keith Carlson, Robert Boisvert, Mars Wang, Sunny Mo, Arash Liu, Harry Wang, Adam Anastasio, and Aaron Hu.
Each of these players will be recognized at an official awards ceremony later in May.
ESports at The Academy is significant, not only because of its success, but because it gives different students an opportunity to shine in the spotlight.
Associate Headmaster Mrs. Holly Singleton said “I’m grateful to Tom for providing this opportunity and for ensuring that the program is successful.”
Young said that “in addition to playing well, our team has shown great teamwork, leadership, and outstanding sportsmanship. They have really set the bar high for other eSports teams in CT.” It is these positive qualities that make eSports well worthwhile.
Headmaster Christopher Sandford said “we are always looking for new ways for students to get involved on campus, and, while eSports might seem unconventional, it has proven itself to be a great way for students to connect.”
Singleton noted that “eSports successfully draws a blend of local and international students and helps these students to find common ground.”
“A couple of teachers mentioned that their typically quiet international students really opened up and showed a different side of themselves when eSports came up. They were eager to chat about it and showed enthusiasm that their teachers didn't know they possessed” said Young summarizing the positive feedback he received from faculty and staff at The Academy.
School psychologist, Beth Coleman, said “Any time a kid is involved in something they enjoy and it enhances their sense of belonging and commitment it's a check in the win column!”
With the success of the eSports team this past season, the program is sure to grow.