Region One ESC Hosts Student Esports Tournament
As trailblazers for Esports in the region, the Region One Education Service Center (ESC) invited campus Esports organizations from area school systems on April 29 to participate in the Region One Esports Invitational, a double-elimination Rocket League tournament.
Rocket League is a fantastical video game based on soccer. It features a competitive game mode, titled “SocCar,” in which teams play as cars to launch a ball into the opposing team’s goal.
The tournament pitted nine teams of gamers against each other to win Region One’s highly coveted prizes, including a Nintendo Switch, desktop LED lights and keyboards and computer mice.
Participating schools included Edcouch-Elsa High School, Mercedes High School, Mercedes Early College High School, Mission Junior High School, Rio Hondo High School, Sharyland High School, Vanguard Academy, Weslaco East High School, and Weslaco High School.
According to Region One ESC Distance Learning Specialist David Rivera, the goal of the Region One Esports initiative is to assist schools in building sustainable and growing campus Esports organizations.
“Through Esports, we’ve seen a lot of student teams develop skills in communication, teamwork and problem solving,” Rivera said. “We want schools to build more structured Esports programs to involve students who may not be interested in traditional sports. Esports is a place for them. They can participate in video games and learn skills like web design, graphic design, informational technology, and entrepreneurship. Student Esports organizations provide a lot of potential to develop a wide array of skills.”
After the initial brackets of the tournament, four teams were left to battle it out for first place: Edcouch-Elsa High School, Mission Junior High School, Vanguard Academy and Weslaco East High School.
Mission Junior High School, the only junior high to compete in the tournament, defeated Weslaco East High School to claim third place.
Although they fell short of a top three spot, Weslaco East High School flourished in the face of adversity despite two emergency substitutions due to the storm on April 28.
Sophomore Celeste Alaniz, a member of Weslaco East High School Esports, stepped up to support her school’s Rocket League team.
“I had not touched the game since the start of the pandemic,” Alanis said. “I had to adapt on the spot. We ended up actually going pretty far, which is really amazing to me. I am thankful to my teammates for reassuring me and telling me that I’m doing great.”
In the end, Edcouch-Elsa High School battled Vanguard Academy in a best-of-five set of games for the winning spot. Vanguard Academy decisively defeated Edcouch-Elsa High School three to one.
Vanguard Academy Rembrandt Secondary junior Javier Leal, a Rocket League veteran with eight years’ experience, said it felt nice to win on his first time competing in an Esports tournament.
“Going against other schools was really different because I had never competed in an Esports tournament,” Leal said. “I feel like Esports is something that is up and coming in the region. I really believe that it can bring out the best in a lot of different types of people.”
With the success of its initiative and Esports events, Region One ESC is planning to expand its efforts by offering Esports tournaments for educators and diversify its game selection for events. Visit www.esc1.net/r1esports to learn more about Region One ESC’s Esports initiative.