Knox County High School Introduces Esports 

By: Damen Harden

Adding Esports has been an idea at Knox County since the pandemic hit in early 2020. The discussion to seriously add the sport at the district started in late 2020 and officially launched in the fall of 2021. Esports is competitive gaming, and many different games are involved with Esports. Esports became a Missouri high school sport just recently and many colleges are also adding the competitive sport giving students the opportunity to play beyond high school, as well as receive scholarships to play. 

The idea of adding Esports came from principal, Mr. Van Delft. He asked KCHS teacher, Mrs. Lucas, if she would be interested in this new opportunity for students to try something new, and she agreed to be the sponsor. The students participating in Esports this past fall were Austin Klocke, Gabe Clyde, Jake Aldridge,  Nick Benja, Chandler Guth, and Eli Vilmain. 

There is only one game that the students at KCHS play. “Rocket League” is a vehicular soccer video game. The season for Esports has two pre-season matches and eight regular-season matches. The regular season lasted until Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving break, the playoffs were held, where teams competed against each other to a best of five. The winning team was to be awarded a prize of $50,000. Although Mrs. Lucas admits that she has not had much experience with "Rocket League," the students quickly became familiar with the game. 

Sophomore, Eli Vilmain shared his thoughts on Esports and the strategies in the game. “Strategy one is the runners; these people go for the ball and try to score for their team. Strategy two is the demolition strategy; these people destroy the other team's vehicles until they can respawn.  Finally, the third strategy is to defend your goal from other players or be the goalie on your team.”  

Eli also shared how his team faired in the new experience. He and his team were very frustrated with all the losses they went through, but he has confidence in his team, saying as long as they try their hardest and maybe with a bit of luck, they will make it to the playoffs next year.