Sunny Hills eSports adds Halo Infinite team to its list of five other competitive squads; its four members tout a 3-2 in the High School eSports League

Senior+Alexander+Flores+%28left%29+and+junior+Frank+Lopez+strategize+for+their+next+game+after+a+win+by+the+opposing+team%E2%80%99s+forfeit+Feb.+28.+The+newly+formed+four-member+Halo+team+is+currently+3-2+in+the+High+School+eSports+League.

Rebekah Kim

Senior Alexander Flores (left) and junior Frank Lopez strategize for their next game after a win by the opposing team’s forfeit Feb. 28. The newly formed four-member Halo team is currently 3-2 in the High School eSports League.

Jiwoo Han

Following the Super Smash team, the school’s eSports program has added its sixth competitive squad this semester based on the first-person shooter game, Halo Infinite.

Coached by captain and student-appointed coach junior Jonathon Alexander, the four-member team competes in the High School eSports League [HSEL] against hundreds of other schools, said Myra Deister, the eSports club adviser. 

Alexander, who has been playing Halo since 2009 (the first Halo video game debuted in 2001), said he agreed to be the team captain and coach after receiving a request from eSports club president junior Cole Sass.

By Jan. 29, Alexander was able to recruit his teammates who have since put together a 3-2 record, playing Halo Infinite, released Nov. 15.

As a long-time fan of the series, I had been anticipating the release of this title,” he said. “It’s been a positive experience with the team so far since everybody has positive mentalities, and while we’re going into matches looking to win, just having fun is the first priority.”

The Halo Infinite game provides various multiplayer game modes such as “Slayer,” “Strongholds,” “Odd Ball” and “Capture the Flag,” in which players have to formulate strategies and gameplans to win.  

Recruitment occurred without any organized tryouts but rather through an unofficial set of games. All students wishing to join the team are more than welcome to apply through the school’s public Discord server, Alexander said. 

Games are held every Monday after school in Room 44 via a matchmaking system on the HSEL website. The captain schedules games for the team and through the website, teams are able to see their opponents and play when they are available. 

Though all members have played the game previously, the players are working on solid and effective communication during their games.

“We cooperate as a team very well with each other,” Alexander said. “[The players] actively listen so we are able to have great control over our opponents.”

Although the players currently do not partake in any after school practices because of schedule conflicts, they still play scrimmage games against other teams online, the team captain said.

Halo Infinite team member junior Frank Lopez attributed the 3-2 record to his and his teammates’ strategy.

[The players] actively listen so we are able to have great control over our opponents.”

— junior Jonathon Alexander

“The fast reaction and fast execution of our players contributed to our success,” said Lopez, who has been playing Halo: The Master Chief Collection since 2014.

Deister acknowledges the team’s hard work and said Alexander has done an efficient job in his leadership role.

“I think they are doing pretty well for being a new team, even without a designated coach,” Deister said. “I would like to see them recruit more players so there would be substitutes. It would be great to have a JV and varsity team like our other [squads for other video games].”

Since the formation of eSports at Sunny Hills in the 2014-2015 school year, the school has four other competitive programs: League of Legends and Rocket League (both formed in the fall of the 2015-2016 school year), Valorant (formed in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year) and Minecraft and Super Smash Bros Ultimate (both formed in the fall of the 2021-2022 school year).

The Halo Infinite team will compete Monday, April 4, at 3:30 p.m. in Room 44, and information on the opposing team is not available because matchmaking is completely randomized.