FHHS eSports Places Fourth in 2020 Spring Open

Posted on 08/24/2020
FHHS eSports Places Fourth in 2020 Spring Open

Long gone are the days where parents tell their children to stop playing video games and start participating in school extracurriculars. Video games are a Missouri State High School Activities Association (or MSHSAA) sponsored activity. Francis Howell High School, following in the footsteps of Francis Howell Central High School, started their own eSports group – and it’s thriving.

eSports refers to competitive online video game playing. “Players compete online in similar tournament style formats found in other sports, to compete for a grand prized champion title,” said junior Pascal Sikorski.

Starting their program in the fall of 2019, the group started competing during the winter of 2019-20. “I was talking to the coach at FHC and some of the students I knew on their team through Scouts,” said Ricky Reeves, eSports sponsor and industrial technology teacher. “I knew there was an interest at FHHS, so I asked around and got a group together.”

The team is already off to a great start, even after a challenging end to the 2019-20 school year. “Our Overwatch team during their first season as a team, ended #5 in the nation during the High School eSports League’s 2019-2020 Winter Open,” said Sikorski. “Then ending #4 in the nation during the 2020 Spring Open. Our Overwatch team also won both Missouri championship titles in the 2019-20 school year. Our Rainbow Six Siege team also ended with a 5-8th place finish in the 2020 Spring Open.”

There is still some stigma about playing video games. “Our mentality of treating the program as a sport helps players develop themselves with a team, providing great results in the process,” said Sikorski. “There is always pressure on an eSports player at FHHS to perform to the best of their ability. Players understand that this is a competitive environment where our end goal is to win. Yes, they are playing a video game, but there is a competitive aspect that we want to drill into our players to show how serious we take this program so we can strive to claim championship titles.”

The post-high school life for an eSports player is promising, as well. Scholarships are popping up all over the country for students who compete in eSports, and many colleges have started their own teams. During the 2018-19 school year, FHC students collectively received $392,000 in scholarship offers. Maryville University and St. Louis University both have thriving eSports programs.

“Just like other sports, eSports players can receive scholarships to other schools, in some cases depending on individual skill, up to a full-ride scholarship may be offered,” said Sikorski. “If a player is good enough, they can even join the game’s premier leagues, like the Overwatch League and Rainbow Six Pro League.”

“It’s great to be able to offer yet another opportunity for students to get involved and attached at Howell Being involved in an activity, club or sport is important to the overall development of our students at Howell. The e-sports program has quickly become a popular activity at Howell. The growth of eSports has provided a great avenue for our students to get involved and to participate with their peers. I am excited to see the success of the program in its first year and cannot wait to see the continued growth moving forward,” said Sean Erwin, Activities Director at FHHS.

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