The newly formed Edmond Memorial High School eSports team won multiple competitions at the first Oklahoma eSports State Competition, along with Coach Kate Swearingen being named Coach of the Year.
Three teams played on Saturday, April 3, at Union High School including the League of Legends team which beat out the favored Union High School’s team to take first. Super Smash Brothers also took first and Rocket League took third. Additionally, Devin Roberts won first-place at Super Smash Brothers and was offered a $10,000 scholarship from a local university.
“I knew what esports was, but I did not expect to get this far,” Roberts said. “This was a great experience and I feel great.”
Teamwork, endurance and communication skills are just some of the traits needed when competing at an eSports event. Hundreds of students from across Oklahoma competed at this year’s event.
“What sets us apart is our ability to listen and know what each other is doing while competing,” said senior Teddy Shinn. “We know how to play to each other’s strengths.”
Swearingen said the students make coaching easy for her. “These kids have such a great time and they feel like they belong and they want to come back.”
The Edmond Memorial eSport team consists of students from varying backgrounds with some working full-time jobs to others being former athletes.
“It’s not just video games in school,” Swearingen said. “We want to show our value to those on the outside.”
Some students have gone from failing classes to A students after joining the club, Swearingen said. “I am so lucky to have the best kids in the state,” Swearingen said. “It is really only growing at this point.”
The team was officially started during the 2019-2020 school year when Swearingen and student Josh Swisher decided to begin recruiting students. The seventh-hour class has 31 students and the club has grown to more than 60. Swearingen is hoping to one day have an assistant coach.
In May, the team competes in the PlayVS, the central midwest eSport competition, where they compete against nearly 300 teams.
Several Oklahoma colleges sponsored the inaugural Oklahoma eSport State Competition. The success and popularity of eSports have led some universities to offer degree options and scholarships for those looking to make a career in competitive gaming.