Carlmont’s eSports Club bolsters competition


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With people’s lives revolving more and more around technology, esports is on the rise as a new form of sport competition.

Competition, dedication, and teamwork: virtues that define esports and are fostered by Carlmont’s eSports Club.

“At the high school level, there’s a large opportunity for students to have fun with their friends but also compete at a very high level,” said John Rowe, a math teacher, and the eSports Club adviser.

Across the globe, esports is rapidly growing in popularity, with over 7.4 billion hours of content watched across popular streaming services, such as Twitch, in 2019. Specifically, North America has stepped up in the competitive esports scene, where it has been mostly dominated by European and Asian talent in the past. North America put itself on the map when it got its first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) major win three years back at the 2018 Boston ELEAGUE Major.

This popularity has spread to the high school esports scene with the growth of numerous high school leagues and programs that work with schools to create a healthy competitive scene for students. The High School Esports League (HSEL) allows students to compete for over $30,000 in scholarships for this year’s Spring Major, which encompasses 11 different games.

Moreover, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) integration as a governing body for high school esports has allowed schools like Carlmont to cooperate with the school administration and compete in esports events easily.

“Now that esports is a sanctioned sport by the CIF, the same organization that manages other high school sports; there should not be any worries about the administration’s approval of esports. Esports is a great opportunity for students to learn more about how to compete, how to get better, and how to work as a team,” Rowe said.

The Carlmont eSports Club is reflective of all this growing popularity and has had a lot of recent success. The club has grown to over 60 members and has teams for several major esports titles such as Rainbow Six Siege (R6), Fortnite, CSGO, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Valorant.

The club has also partnered with two prominent high school esport leagues to participate in competitive national tournaments. Namely, the HSEL and CIF sanctioned organization PlayVS have allowed the club to participate in its first year of competition.

R6 is a competitive 5v5 game that has grown to be one of the most popular titles in eSports.

“The goal was to have a place where we could get together with our friends and make teams with a level of competition higher than what we got from standard matchmaking,” said eSports Club President Stephen Abbas, a senior.

A higher level of competition was definitely achieved. Carlmont’s Rainbow Six Siege team was able to place second at HSEL’s Winter Challenge, a three-week-long national event for high school teams across the country. The Grand Finals lasted for almost five hours with professional casting and over 5.5 thousand viewers.

“Playing R6 in a competitive high school environment was a great learning experience for everyone; we learned skills like teamwork and communication,” said Team Captain and Club Vice President Jake Generalis, a sophomore.

The recent success will not come to a halt but rather serve as further motivation to build up the club. Especially as the school transitions back into in-person learning, the club will host more events and grow its popularity.

“There’s a lot of great players here at the school, and I hope that momentum continues to build and that we continue to get students who are interested in esports and take it to the next level,” Rowe said.