Loudoun County’s Park View High wins inaugural esports league championship

Virginia students participate in an esports competition. (Courtesy Stafford County Public School)

Loudoun County’s Park View High School won two close games against Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County Wednesday night to win the best of three League of Legends series and secure a top spot in Virginia’s inaugural electronic sports high school championship.

The players prepared for the competition at their computers in their respective schools, and spectators watched the action unfold with play-by-play online as the schools faced off to conclude the inaugural esports season.

“Here comes Leona with the zenith play. There comes the sun — elastic, sling shot … and it’s Colonial Forge picking up another takedown,” the play-by-play announcer remarked at one point.

Those involved in gaming say the competition contradicts the image of a gamer sitting alone in the basement playing video games. High-stakes video game competitions draw millions of viewers to the streams.

“Esports is like any other team sport. They have to work together, collaborate. It takes a lot of team work and communication,” said Jay Cooke, supervisor of technology at Stafford County Public Schools. “You have five people on each team. They all have different roles, some are like the tough guys … there’s a lot of strategy involved and techniques.”

The esports competitions are advantageous for the school systems because there is no transportation cost, which isn’t the case for other school sports, Cooke said.

“You can play [esports] all the time, no matter what the weather, and you also don’t have to leave your school to play it,” Cooke said.

Last summer, the Virginia High School League approved the one-year pilot program for esports as a competitive school activity. In its first year, the program allowed competitions in League of Legends, Rocket League and SMITE. The spring season starts next month.

Washington-Liberty took the Rocket League championship over William Byrd.

Schools were permitted to enter multiple teams of different students for each game title.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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