Posted on 01/24/2022

Bulldog Esports Program Continues to Grow
By:  Amy Haris

Bulldog Esports continues to offer opportunities for middle school and high school in competition, community, and career and college planning. The program, housed at Hart Career Center, serves around forty students from the career center’s sending schools and Mexico Middle School.

  The year started in July with a week of Middle School Esports Camp. Around 20 campers from area schools participated in the half-day sessions, where they spent equal time between practicing competitive games and learning about relevant topics such as health and wellness, accessibility in gaming, and promoting a team.

  August saw the start of practice for the fall season with the Missouri Scholastic Esports Federation (MOSEF). The Bulldogs fielded Varsity teams in Rocket League (the Mexico Motors) and Overwatch (the Mambas), plus 14 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate solo players (Side B) across Varsity, JV, and middle school. The Mexico Motors, led by captain Harrison Miller, finished the season with a strong record. The Mambas, with captain Emily Yeo’s guidance, showed notable development from a largely brand-new team. 

  Side B’s Logan Finch finished in the top 25 of nearly 200 Varsity players. Brandon Duncan took fourth place in the JV bracket of almost 100, with Alex Wilson also finishing in the top eight. On the middle school side, Aurora Bingham finished in fourth place, followed closely by Kaesin Patrick in seventh. 

  Side B continued their success in December, with captain William Bingham rejoining the team to take first place with partner Finch in the MOSEF doubles tournament, followed by a solo win in the Smash random tourney. Also in December, Side B hosted an in-person tournament for area schools, with William Bingham, Duncan, and Landen Wilson taking the top spots.

  Bulldog Esports is currently preparing to start the MOSEF spring season at the beginning of February. Side B will switch to 5v5 crew battles, and will field crews at the Varsity, JV, and middle school levels.

  “I can't wait to see what our team will accomplish this year,” said captain Bingham. “We've improved so much, and we haven't even started the crew season. I'm expecting some major improvement during the season due to the fact that we are super competitive. We'll definitely try to win it all this year and beat the third place we got last year.”

The Breadwinners, the new Valorant team, plan to enter the inaugural JV season. Finch is taking on a second role as captain of the Breadwinners, and has been working with his team since last spring.

Along with the official seasons, the students will also be participating in weekend tournaments, including Smash solos and duos, online chess, and Mario Kart. 

The first year of the Esports: Beyond the Game elective course is introducing students to an array of career paths, including marketing, programming, networking, coaching, and more. They will also get their chance at competition through MOSEF’s recently announced Esports CTE Challenges, a series of ten contests designed to recognize students in career-based scenarios. 

One of the most important aspects of Bulldog Esports is the community built among the students. Several of the players from across the teams have formed a Dungeons and Dragons group for some mid-week fun and relaxation. The high school players have also had the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by providing instruction and mentorship to their middle school counterparts in Rocket League and Smash. Ultimately, this positive environment is the future we would like to see for esports as a whole.