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The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

A junior girls group (L to R: Ava Nauman, Elsie MacCleery, Caroline Grist, Lucy Vigilante, Ella Pinto, Emily See, Gigi Hathaway, Jean-Nika VDW, Mackenzie Kinnan)  sings Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars for their singing valentine.
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Cooper Shelton, Staff Writer • February 20, 2024

Growing WAHS Esports Locks In for Fall Season

Smash+Bros.+Captain+Cal+Hughes+hones+their+defensive+technique+at+a+routine+practice.
Credit: Gray Tracey
Smash Bros. Captain Cal Hughes hones their defensive technique at a routine practice.

The familiar announcement is back: “Are you a gamer? Join WAHS Esports…” but what exactly is WAHS Esports, and who are the gamers joining it?

Senior Cal Hughes described esports as “competitive gaming.” “It’s basically like any other sport, but it’s different because it’s much less physical,” they said. “Instead it’s precise and involves lots of hand-eye coordination.” The team competes in a variety of individual games, from competitive favorite strategy game “League of Legends” to the wildly popular platform fighter “Super Smash Bros Ultimate.” Hughes, the captain of the Smash sub-team, also wants to expand both the team’s roster and their game selection. “It depends on interest, on the people who join and what they play,” they said.

“We’re constantly moving around,” said Esports coach Kenton Showers on the games the team competes in. “This year, we’re shifting to Smash.” He confirmed that the games the team competes in depend on player interest. No matter the game, though, Showers says that the team has the same simple goal: to perform well in Western’s division. Despite the straightforwardness, it’s no small task. Just like with physical sports, Esports in the state is organized by the Virginia High School League. The VHSL pits 140 Virginia high schools against each other through the online gaming hub PlayVS, according to Hughes and Showers. 

“I would say that the biggest challenge is practicing with opponents at your level,” Showers said. However, the struggle pays off. “It’s great to see everyone learning new aspects of the different games. Students are always coming up with new strategies and tactics,” he said. “A huge part of it is having fun learning and improving,” according to Hughes. “I love seeing people grow.”

Hughes described a Smash teammate who embodied the team’s ideals. “There was this new player who said, ‘I’ll take one round,’ and by the end of the season, they did. Even though Esports is meant to be competitive, it’s really to have fun and improve. Even if you’re not at a super high level, it’s been great playing the game with everyone.” Showers agreed. At the end of the day, he said, “It’s to have fun at a competitive level.”

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About the Contributor
Gray Tracey, Assistant Editor
Gray is still adjusting to the fact that they're a sophomore and Opinion Editor for the Hemisphere. Outside of WAHS, they study game design at Center I; and outside of that, they enjoy reading, gaming, and seeking gainful employment (with varying degrees of success).
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