Bulldog Esports Program Continues to Blaze Trails

Bulldog Esports Program Continues to Blaze Trails
Posted on 06/01/2022

Bulldog Esports Program Continues to Blaze Trails
By:  Amy Harris, Esports Coach

  Bulldog Esports, based out of Hart Career Center, continued to blaze trails in Missouri esports this spring with the first in-person regional playoff in the state. On April 23, HCC was host to Hannibal, Hickman, Linn, Ozark, Republic, Rock Bridge, and Warrenton for the MOSEF Region 2/3 Smash Ultimate Crew Battle Playoffs. The top three schools from the region (Hickman, Rock Bridge, and Ozark) went on to compete at the MOSEF Smash Ultimate Crew Battle State Championship at the St. Louis Science Center on May 7.

  While Bulldog Esports’ Smash Crew, Side B, did not make it to state, they did win the postseason consolation bracket after finishing the regular season 7-1. Captain William Bingham and crew members Logan Finch and Octavian Jeffries volunteered as tournament organizers at the state final, which gave them the valuable experience of running an area at a large tournament while working with a professional esports production company.

  “It was kind of stressful, but it was fun, and I’m glad I did it!” noted junior Finch, who worked with Bingham on the main stage.

  Also gaining experience from the Smash Crew postseason was HCC’s Esports: Beyond the Game class (another Missouri first!). The students were responsible for planning the regional tournament, from mapping the rooms, to choosing the menu for the lunch, to providing production and broadcasting for the event. They even worked together to scout all the teams to make sure the shoutcasters (broadcast commentators) for the day, seniors Gavin Kibble and Ryan Dorner, were prepared to speak about the matches as they were played.

  Mexico Middle School also fielded a Smash Crew. The crew finished 3-5, but the personal growth of each player was the real success story; each of them showed more confidence and took an increasing number of stocks as the season progressed.

  Side B as a whole participated in several MOSEF solo tournaments this semester, with sophomore Bingham taking top prize in two of them. 

  In addition to his wins in-game, Bingham was also the recipient of the 2022 March Player of the Month Award from the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors. This award recognizes players who balance achievement, sportsmanship, and citizenship. Bingham is now eligible for nomination to All-American status.

  On the PC gaming side of Bulldog Esports, The Breadwinners participated in MOSEF’s JV tier as part of its first season with the relatively new game Valorant. The team finished 4-4, picking up considerable momentum toward the end of the season. Since most of the team can’t play the game on home computers due to its graphics-heavy specs, they had to work hard to come together as a team during their time at practice. Finch served a second role as The Breadwinners’ captain.

  “This game is hard, but it’s our first year and we’re hoping we can play more as a team. This is not a one-player-carry game,” he explained.

  On May 18, Bulldog Esports gathered to celebrate all of their teams at their annual Family Dinner. Several Overwatch players received their first Varsity letter, while the Rocket League and Smash teams received both new letters and pins for returning Varsity members. Side B Varsity showed off the new jerseys that will be distributed to all teams during the 2022-23 school year.

  Bulldog Esports will return in the fall for the MOSEF Overwatch, Rocket League, and Solo Smash seasons. They also look forward to increasing broadcast and administrative support from their teammates in the Beyond the Game classroom. They will continue to offer opportunity for students from all of HCC’s sending schools, while offering guidance to any who would like to start their own local teams.

  In the meantime, they’ll keep looking for their next “first.”