EDUCATION & SCHOOLS

High schoolers excited for sanctioned esports

Apr 4, 2024, 7:49 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 10:43 am

HERRIMAN — Big news for young gamers. The Utah High School Activities Association will soon officially sanction high school esports teams.

That status change means future team members will have more opportunities, get their skills seen by more people, and, yes, even a better chance at getting into pro gaming.

The change means a lot to the teens on Herriman High’s esports team, as they could soon reach a bigger audience.

“It’s kind of like other sports. Like we have a team, and we put in work just like they do,” said Rocket League team captain Quinton Atkinson, a junior at the school.

It’s also a slight bummer for some students. The UHSAA change will start during the 2025-26 school year, meaning some of the students will have graduated and moved on.

Still, these guys are excited it’s happening.

“It’s become part of my life. I love doing it, but I’m hoping to come back next year as a coach or something,” said senior Jadon Nelson, who is the club president.

Jadon Nelson shows YouTube page

Kache Bluemel shows the team’s YouTube page. (Mike Anderson)

And the students take it very seriously.

“And this is where we live stream almost every day of the week,” said Kache Bluemel, a senior at the school, vice president of the club, and head coach of the Valorant team.

Their competitions are broadcast live. The club watch the videos on YouTube to see where they can improve.

“And like, when it gets to point when you can see that, like you’re actually starting to do better and that you can like start doing like start like winning a lot more,” Ethan Robertson, a senior, said. He’s the club president for the Super Smash Brothers team.

The club has already won big together. But becoming sanctioned means they’ll compete in bigger tournaments, be seen by more people, and even have more chances for esports scholarships.

“Slowly we’ve seen the change happening. More and more people waking up to like, ‘This is a real thing’,” said assistant coach Tobor Redford.

Redford will be around to see future team members have those chances. For all of them, this added recognition, and increased visibility is also important to show people they are a team just like any other.

 “Yeah, it’s especially like a sports team. But you’re playing video games,” said Morgun Twitchell, a co-captain for the APEX Legends team.

Too bad they have to wait, but Redford said they’ll need the time to examine what games and tournaments they want to compete in.

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High schoolers excited for sanctioned esports