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Esports team to launch at Texas High School starting in the fall

Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas is launching an esports team in the fall of 2021.
Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas is launching an esports team in the fall of 2021.(TISD)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 1:43 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - Esports is making its way to east Texas.

Beginning in fall of 2021, Texas High School will have an esports team. Esports takes video gaming to another level, with organized competitive play between teams. Play is governed by strict rules and guidelines.

“Esports requires teamwork, communication, critical and strategic thinking, creativity, sportsmanship, and leadership, much like traditional sports,” said Gerry Stanford, athletic director for the Texarkana Independent School District (TISD).

Participation will be open to students in grades 9 through 12 as an after school club. Junior Varsity and Varsity teams will compete in several titles, including the League of Legends, Valorant, and Rocket League. School officials expect to compete in more events as the team grows.

“Like any other high school sport or extracurricular activity, students will attend team meetings, practices, and official matches. However, since esports is played online, there is no travel required throughout the regular season. Players will compete from our dedicated esports classroom, located on the second floor of the Multi-Purpose Facility,” said Rick Allen, esports coach at Texas High.

Each school year will be divided into two seasons, each with their own playoffs. Texas High will provide all equipment students need to compete.

“Esports allow students to come together over a common passion,” shared Patti O’Bannon, Texas High principal. “It has been shown that there is a strong correlation between student engagement and student achievement where students who participate in extracurricular activities perform higher on math and reading assessments. It also enables students to practice and further develop their STEM skills, spending hours analyzing data, game statistics, and strategies, which provide real-world experience and application.”

Many colleges and universities are also launching esports teams. Recently, Northwestern State University started its own team. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) oversees college varsity teams, and has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships and aid over the last five years. Right now, more than 200 college and universities offer almost $15 million in scholarships.

Students interested in joining Texas High’s team should contact Coach Allen at richard.allen@txkisd.net, or call 903-793-7731 ext. 57085.

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